Balloon Kenya and job interviews…


I’ve just started working in September as a graduate associate for an executive search firm in London. Beforehand I had to go through the usual process of forms, interviews and assessment days that seem to have become the bread and butter of all graduate application processes. Balloon Kenya came in useful at pretty much every stage and was something that I constantly referred too throughout.

For a start it provided me with an alternative line of conversation in my interviews with it making me stand out from the rest of the competition. How many other people are talking about working with a Kenyan entrepreneur who was producing tile detergent in his house? Probably not that many! I found that a lot of my interviews ended up being almost entirely focused on Balloon Kenya because the interviewer was genuinely interested in what I was talking about.

In addition although it’s easy to see the Balloon Kenya program as being purely international development related, in reality the problems and challenges that you encounter with your entrepreneurs are in fact very scalable and comparable to any business context. Micro businesses fundamentally work in exactly the same way as any big cooperation and therefore it provided me with real life business situations that I could use in interviews.

This was particularly helpful when it came to answering the classic competency questions which interviewers and application forms seem to love. The standard question of: ‘When did you demonstrate team work?’ was easy to answer as I was instead able to provide a detailed response that focused on the processes of building relationships with my entrepreneurs and at the same time working alongside my partner and the wider Balloon Kenya group.

It was having these sorts of experiences that I think played a big role in making me appear individual and helped me through the process. It is just another reason why the Balloon Kenya experience has been so beneficial in the long term.

Will Smith