For the Uninspired Woman: Do you have a name that reads well on a CV but have expereienced discriminion, racism or negative energy when meeting your employer in person ?
In celebration of Black history Month, we thought it would be a great idea to empower our readers with strong black women who have a story to tell. We have an exclusive interview with Kate Kelly a woman who was offered a job based on her phone persona but rejected as soon as she turned up to the interview.
Be Inspired interview every Monday.
Katie Kellys story
I needed to find a job. Of course people need jobs for money, to pay rent, pay bills, go to school do what they have to do, and that’s exactly what I needed a job for. I was in a position to where I was in need of one, it wasn’t a choice for me. I went on indeed and started filling out a lot of job applications and I received a message from a lady that ended up calling me either that same day or the next day, we spoke on the phone and it was a wonderful conversation.
While we were on the phone she was talking about how much she loved my voice, personality and my professionalism. She stated all of the things she really loved about me including my qualifications that made me fit for the job. She said:
“please we need to go ahead and schedule a face to face interview, I need you to meet my manager so we can go ahead and move forward with this position, if she loves you like I do and I know she will then you know everything is great.”
So I said:
“OK great, that’s wonderful I’m so excited.”
And scheduled the interview for I the next day or the day after that.
I wore my slacks, with a nice shirt and a blazer with some black heels. I was so excited because I just knew I had the job in the bag, like I just knew that based off of the phone interview alone. I arrived at Dillards and I was very nervous, my stomach was in knots, hands were shaking, but I’m I was still so excited. I walked to the store and I asked a couple of people where I was supposed go for an interview. They sent me to where they do the returns because that’s where they their offices were.
Once I got to the returns area, I prepared my thoughts and figured out things to say that would enhance my interview.
I saw a lovely black lady, she went to help with some returns so I waited in line to ask her about my interview.
“oh you have an interview?”
and she said:
“OK just go ahead and take a seat over here and I’ll make sure that they get to you.”
My interview was a 2pm and at 2:30 I saw a slim white lady in heels, this lady was literally walking back-and-forth from the office to the returns desk. In my mind I starting to think that she was looking for me because there was no reason as to why she was looking so eager walking back-and-forth if she’s not looking for a participant. The lady on the phone said that she would love me. So the lady finally stops walking back-and-forth and she approached the desk to ask the same black lady if she had seen somebody here for an interview.
The lady said:
“Interview yeah right right right umm a Kelly I think?”
And the interviewer said:
“Yes yes Katie I’m looking for a Katie Kelly.”
You could hear in her voice how excited she was to meet me.
The interviewer said yeah I had an appointment at 2 for an interview but I haven’t seen anyone come in. Now remind you I’m sitting right behind her and I’ve been waiting here for about an hour.
So the black lady said:
“Oh yeah Katie Kelly she’s been sitting here for quite some time now, she has been waiting for an interview”
The interviewer turned around and said:
“Oh I’m so sorry to keep you waiting”
When I stood up the look on her face described parents telling their 10-year-old child that they’re taking them to Disneyland but then ended up taking them to the dentist and you can just imagine the disappointment in their eyes and in their heart.
When I saw the disappointment on her face, I was worried that I wouldn’t get the position. I found it very weird that she was so excited to see me until she actually saw. I felt nervous and was scared. Back then I wasn’t the type of person to always base things on race, I was very neutral. She invited me to her office for an interview, but once we got to her office I remember answering a few questions that had nothing to do with the position and then she told me that she would keep my resume and my application just in case other positions opened up because there were no positions open at the time.
Now looking back, is there anything you would’ve changed in terms of your approach ?
So, looking back there would have been a lot of things that I would have changed, about myself, about my mindset about the situation, about handling everything, everything would have been different now that I’m looking back. I would change my confidence, I would have definitely been more confident in my qualifications. I would have definitely been more confident enough to confront the lady who interviewed me face to face as well as the one on the phone, I was not confident in my thoughts, I was not confident in my life, I was not confident in what I had to offer, I had no confidence which means that whatever happened just happened, and that is never any way to ever live your life.
Do you think more Black people should aim for managerial roles, if so why ?
The question is, have we been being hired for these roles and are we being able to show our full potential in these positions, or are we being watched and micromanaged to the point where we’re not able to present ourselves.
But if we’re getting to the nitty-gritty, we all know that things are different for black people, we are one of the lowest paid people in any company. What are we African-Americans going to do about it? Or as Americans what are you guys going to do to help us, I have gotten a lot of messages from non-African-Americans saying,
“Sorry we apologize, we are really shitty people, things shouldn’t be like this”
But there are ways that they could help us. Apologies are good but use your connections, use all of these resources that you have to help other people the best you can. The best apology is changed behavior.
How should Black people with non stereotypical names approach the work place ?
Be yourself, be who you are don’t pretend to be anyone else, my voice is just proper that’s just how it is, that’s how it has always been for me but don’t change yourself to fit in somewhere, not every place you see with an opening if it is meant for you to go. Find a company, find a business, find a place where you can always be yourself. It’s not our fault that we’re black and there are ways to get around it, like starting our own businesses. It’s okay for us to have our companies and live our lives, it’s okay for us be comfortable around people who look like us. It is perfectly fine and no one can tell us otherwise because you guys work in places where everyone look like you and if that is okay then it is for us.