Many people have been asking us this question and we will be addressing this today alongside several other questions, including finding jobs in Lagos, changing careers in Nigeria, finding oil & gas jobs in Nigeria, phone interviews, government jobs, face-to-face interviews, jobs in Abuja, finding graduate jobs in Nigeria, etc
Tell us about your career as a job recruiter from the beginning
Thank you for the opportunity to feature here. I started my career as a Customer Service Officer with Careers Nigeria, and I was posting jobs, screening CVs and matching them with job descriptions. I later moved to Talent Bureau as a recruitment consultant where I did much more than screening CVs. I shortlisted CVs for our external customers, headhunted candidates, conducted interviews, negotiated final offers and onboarded them. I interfaced a lot with the IT and FMCG industries. I later joined Best Search where I handled bigger portfolios and worked on senior management positions, admin and HR jobs, manufacturing jobs, customer service jobs, engineering jobs, accounting jobs, and so on.
I thereafter worked at Africruiters as a recruitment manager, which included business development job responsibilities. Here I also worked on hiring expatriates. I moved from Afrirecruiters to Wow jobs (a Dubai headquartered organization), where I focused mainly on international clients. I handled search, screening, interviews, and onboarding. I worked with the West African team and managed the end-to-end recruitment processes across Africa and beyond. I then worked for Tranter IT infrastructure Services Limited as an Assistant HR manager where I mainly managed banking jobs for IT professionals, before I joined my current employer – Centdoor Limited, as HR Manager. At Centdoor Limited, I manage recruitment across Nigeria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Uganda, Zambia, and Tanzania. That’s the summary of my career till date.
The roller coaster experience in recruitment world has really taught me how to manage disappointment and rejections in life. I have seen cases where a role that I had completed the hiring process for, got reopened because the selected candidate refuses to resume after getting an offer from another company. Sometimes only one of the candidates shortlisted to meet with the client or hiring manager will show up for interview. At other times, the candidates I shortlisted and prepared for hiring manager interview get rejected not because the candidates were not great for the job, but because hiring manager has a preferred candidate from another source.
Sometimes hiring managers set very unrealistic job requirements, yet a good recruiter must find a way to navigate the process and satisfy both the hiring manager and the candidate. Overall, I thank God and I would say that it’s been a great privilege connecting great talents with great companies. It’s really very fulfilling to me especially that I have been able to help many people get their first-time jobs, and I still keep some of those relationships till date.
What are the top industries currently hiring most people in Lagos in 2020?
From my personal point of view of current jobs in Nigeria, I would say the IT and Financial Technology sector is the top hiring industry right now, followed by the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry.
What experience do you have hiring outside Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, etc?
Hiring outside Lagos is the same except for issues such as the logistics cost and accommodation for the candidate, should the candidate need to be in another location for the final interview. Also, I found it significantly more challenging to use linkedin to find candidates in the north and always had to depend on my friends within the area for referral.
It’s unfortunate that there are not many jobs outside Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Abuja, and the oil-producing states. But that has also made talent scarce in those other locations because many ambitious people want to move out to Lagos and other states where there are more jobs. Sometimes we have to relocate people from Lagos to these other states because we didn’t find suitable candidates.
My suggestion to people living outside Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Abuja and oil producing states is to be very active on linkedin and make it easier for recruiters to find them. You shouldn’t make it easier for us to be sending Lagos people to take up your jobs. Be aggressive like the Lagos people and improve your skills a lot to properly market yourself.
In this Corvid-19 lockdown period, how should people that have lost their jobs approach the job market?
It is sad that some people have lost their lost their jobs at this period but that is not end of the world. Remember, you have to take absolute responsibility of getting yourself a job and not depend on any family or friend. Be strategic about your search. Appreciate the fact that you have some experience through which you can market yourself. Now is the time not to keep quiet. Talk to people about your condition so that they can refer you whenever they stumble on good opportunities for you. Do not look down on anyone as you never can tell whose contact will help you with the right information about opportunities.
Some positions do not get to the job portals before they get closed. That is why you need to consider contacting old colleagues, join other professionals in your industry on whatsApp groups, linkedin job groups, facebook, etc. Don’t just send your CV without a cover letter tailored for each role you are applying for. Looking for job is a job itself. If you want to get good result, you must dedicate some hours each day for job hunting. Explore all the channels that will help you get to interview stage. The more interviews, the more opportunities you will get to land a job. Remember to update your CV and profile. You can use the feature on linkedIn that makes recruiters know that you are actively looking for new opportunities. Think about how you got your last job. If you were contacted by a recruiter, there is no shame in reaching out to the same recruiter again for new opportunities.
For people seeking Online Jobs within this lockdown period, what will be your advice?
Be careful as you search for opportunities. Online scammers are also actively looking for victims. No recruiter will ask you for money to get a job. Once that comes up, do not proceed.
Be very active on the internet. Create a profile worth attention on linkedIn if you are not there yet. Recruiters are recruiting, even with the lockdown. Be deliberate about your search for a new job. Apply for jobs online every single day as job portals update their websites. Connect with professionals but do not take rejections as a way to put yourself down. People are still interviewing candidates virtually. Use this period to also get more skills that would boost your confidence and your CV. Take free online courses if you cannot afford paid courses. The internet has given everyone almost equal opportunity to be informed. Most companies now keep database of talents, go to their websites and register as a candidate on their careers page even if they are not recruiting at the moment. Your internet enabled phone is a great tool that can help you.
If you have certain skills that you can use to complete some job tasks remotely, consider registering with platforms like fiverr.com or upwork.com. Nigerians are making a lot of money from fiverr.com and you should take advantage of it. In fact, I have a friend in the United States who told me he has hired several Nigerians on fiverr.com to work for him. Digital marketing jobs are perhaps the most common online jobs that I am aware of. So I encourage you to improve your skills in this area or learn it if it’s new to you.
I know your company is also connecting a lot of people to buy and sell online, and that’s great. I was also impressed when you told me that your job site helps job seekers to search for online jobs in Nigeria and that you post international jobs like Zambia Jobs, Chad Jobs, Malawi Jobs, and so on.
What’s your advice about trade jobs like carpentry, tiling, mechanic, etc? Government keeps talking about reviving this sector.
I have not recruited much in this area, but I have recruited Diesel Generator Mechanics. And it will surprise you that it was hard to find qualified people. Unfortunately, there are many under-trained professionals in this industry. Many people don’t finish their learning program before they jump out to start providing service. Many auto mechanics today cannot properly service vehicles like the old mechanics could while I was growing up. Today, most of the expert tilers in Lagos are from Togo. It’s a big shame and I hope young people will begin to consider these types of professions as viable options. You can become rich if you are excellently skilled in tiling, diesel generator repairs, auto repairs, rewire, etc. Today, many graduates have gone into fashion design (which is technically same as tailoring that we used to think was for people who didn’t go to school). Most of the photographers today went to school. So I don’t understand why educated people don’t want to go into professions like diesel repair, tiling, etc.
You have done a lot of phone interviews for people. What are you generally looking for when you call people on phone for first screening?
The readiness to receive all calls with courtesy is very fundamental. I remember calling a potential candidate who answered by saying “Who be dis”. Though I did not judge the candidate immediately based on that but it could be a turn off for another recruiter who might just make his or her decision based on that initial response. I have also called lots of candidate whose phone ethics were impressive. Generally, we should try to answer our calls nicely especially if we do not know the number.
To talk about the interview proper, you should be upbeat and show enthusiasm about the job during the phone conversation. A phone interview doesn’t give you the opportunity to communicate with body language or to gauge your interviewer’s body language. So it’s a much more difficult interview than face-to-face. I suggest to people to keep a cup of water close to them to clear their throat, maybe stand up while talking as it can help your voice, and raise your phone volume a lot to ensure the call is very clear.
You should also prepare very well for the phone interview just as you would do for a face-to-face.
After COVID-19 is over, what industries do you think will be hiring the most? And how do you think people can prepare themselves for these industries?
I personally believe some industries will struggle to recover even after COVID-19 is over, but if you have the chance to get into healthcare, this will be a good opportunity. Agriculture and FMCG will also continue to grow because people have to eat.
You need to have skills that are practicable. Companies are looking for people that will drive change and provide solutions that will lead them to achieving their goals and objectives. In that light, you should spend this break period to prepare yourself for the future. You may need to explore career change and this is the time to prepare ahead.
Do you guys still score people for dressing during interviews? If yes, what are your typical dress expectations in terms of colour and description?
Well, it depends on the role and the industry. I have recruited young people for IT related positions and I didn’t care about their dressing because it doesn’t matter in that industry. The skills are not common so we focus on their skills. It’s different for a banking, business or executive role where dressing and carriage matter a lot. In all, I tell people to dress decently no matter the role.
I can remember a Graphics Designer that came to an interview dressed in T-Shirt and Jeans for an interview with me. I shortlisted him because he was the ideal candidate for the role. And the hiring manager accepted my recommendation. But it was not the same for a candidate for an IT sales position that appeared in his current company’s branded shirt for a final interview with hiring manager. The hiring manager didn’t offer him the job despite the candidate’s experience because of the dressing. A sales person should always dress corporately.
You don’t have to dress expensively. Be corporate and try to wear something close to dark blue, dark grey, or grey jacket and pants. Wear white t-shirts and simple coloured ties. Avoid flashy colours or red.
Now to my last question, you know about the equal pay law in the United States. How does this work in Nigeria? Do women doing same job as men earn exactly same salaries as their male counterparts?
In my opinion, Nigeria uses more of bargaining or negotiation ability in the corporate world. Here, regardless of your gender, you earn according to how well you negotiated during negotiation of salary and the budget for the role. I do not think people are paid according to their gender. I don’t know about sports or entertainment industry but based on my experience in the past ten years, I can confidently say women are not discriminated against in terms of salaries or positions. Thank you very much for having me.
Thank you very much for your time. I really enjoyed talking to you and believe that our viewers will learn a lot from this interview. Jobs.delon.ng is Nigeria’s top job portal where you can easily post your jobs free of charge. Our value proposition is to offer the easiest way of creating job opportunities in Nigeria and across Africa.
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