The first time I met Mr. Dave (pseudonym) was when I went for the practical test during a recruitment process. I had applied for the job, done the oral interview and written test. I needed to do some hands on proof of my competence for the position, and it was web related.

He was the one who had set the tasks I was to accomplish and would score my performance, too. So I sat with the computer system trying to get things done. I got stuck at some point. I couldn’t remember exactly how to get some things done, and I truly didn’t know some, too.

Having the mindset that it was a test, I didn’t want to engage in any form of “mal-practice,” so I didn’t bother checking up things online. After a while of fruitless efforts, I walked up to Mr. Dave and told him I couldn’t go farther than what I had accomplished so far. He looked at it and asked what the challenges were. I told him I didn’t know some things and had forgotten how to do a few others. The next thing I heard from him shocked me.

Mr. Dave looked at me and said something like, “I know this is a job test, and you think we are trying to see how much you know. But the real test is not on how much you already know, rather it is on your ability to use tools and resources around you to solve problems facing you. You have the Internet, and you should feel free to check it up and use it to solve the problem. This is real life, and when you are on the job you can source information from anywhere to solve your problems. So, go make use of the Internet and search out the answers you need for those tasks.”

Has anyone heard anything like that in a job recruitment process? Believe me, I was shocked. It was one of those times I came face to face with a big difference between school and real life. During tests at school, we are not allowed to consult; your ignorance easily brings you down. But in real life, the situation is different. It is okay not to know. Ignorance is not the real problem. The problem is refusing to seek knowledge when you need it.

So I went back to the computer, got straight to Google, asked all the questions I could ask for the tasks, and got things done. And, yes, I got the job.

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