I don't know if anyone really enjoys job-hunting. I mean sometimes one may enjoy browsing through the finished product of a CV, or actually enjoy job interviews - walking into a new organisation and trying to picture oneself in that environment. People may also enjoy getting the occasional email from a recruiter on LinkedIn, asking for interest in a role. Don't be a kill joy - we know that such emails are probably automated and sent to a million other recipients. But the point to note is that many only often enjoy these things when they have an existing job. When they are pretty secure and not wondering where the next meal or rent will come from. When they have the bargaining power, or a negotiating tool, so to speak.
For someone who is unemployed and looking to land a job in order to survive, or looking to make a necessary job-switch, it is often not an enjoyable process. And it is only fair that this process is made as easy as possible for such hunters. It's therefore baffling some of the things that operate (or do not operate) in the recruitment sector. Let's just list a few, shall we?:
1. Age Discrimination:
If you choose to not respond to any of the other items I list, could you please respond to this. Why do you choose to discriminate a pool of candidates on the basis of age? This cuts across recruiters even in top organisations! I've spoken to a lot of people on this and no one seems to have a plausible answer. Many of your job ads tend to read "No more than X years of age by December 2016". I pray thee tell: If someone is born on the 31 of December 1988 and another on Ist of January 1989. That could automatically disqualify the latter person if your age limit is 28? That clear analysis is nevertheless far fetched. Why do you pick a certain age? What factors do you consider? What makes you think someone who is 25 is a better candidate than someone who is 35? What if someone is willing to change careers and happy to start at the entry level? I know of someone who after almost 12 years in a different industry entirely, decided to switch to law - obviously happy to start at the bottom of the ladder, as a graduate trainee, despite being almost 40 years old. This was in the UK. With your requirements, this may not have been possible in Nigeria, Do you also consider the many strikes in Nigerian Universities that often mean people graduate later than they should? Why do you place so much emphasis on age? Do you underestimate the varied experience older people could bring to the table? Do you think it's an issue of older people not submitting to bosses who may be younger than them?
2. Other kinds of discrimination:
I've lumped this together. It's definitely in the minority, but some employers are still guilty. You may have seen something like this. "If you are a graduate (schooled abroad or in the UK) with foreign experience and need a job send an email to X". Aha, I'm sure even you are surprised by that. Schooled abroad? Really? So many questions. Coming from Nigeria, what qualifies as abroad. Ghana? Togo? the US? Malaysia? Does it matter what Uni I went to at all, or so far as it was outside the shores of Nigeria? Are we impliedly saying our Nigerian universities are below par? Then there's gender discrimination. You may argue that this is sometimes a tricky one, and i may be inclined to agree, based on how well you articulate your points. But, even if you think some roles are better suited to a particular gender, putting it out there in black and white is a NO!. The most popular one has to be "Female receptionist needed for... ". One more ridiculous bit - skin colour! "Light skinned lady needed for employment at... ". It's bad enough you choose to discriminate on gender, you now had to add skin colour. C'mon!
3. Little or No Information on available roles:
I don't know how you secured your current role as a recruiter. But many people have testified that opportunities in Nigeria are often not publicised. Trying to find the roles to apply for is arguably much more draining than drafting the application itself. It has become a game of "Who knows who". Of connecting with people on LinkedIn, and hoping they'd respond to your request of "Just wondering if your company is recruiting and if i can send my CV". I'm not knocking down the importance of networking, but that should not be the initial step. Available roles should be publicised! I know you sometimes battle with the huge number of people that could potentially apply. But choosing to get around that by not putting the information out there is not, in my opinion, the better way. Again, if you'd rather not have the name of your organisation out there in public, then engage recruiting companies who should willingly do this for you, and could possibly assist in shortlisting candidates. Some amazing candidates really have no where else turn to, but to search for these jobs on public media. Please make it available.
4. Ridiculous Interviews requirements:
I know, I know. You're trying to sift the wheat from the chaff. You're trying to set a standard to show how thorough you are and how much you value thinking out of the box. But you may have missed a beat here, as some of your processes are simply out of this world! And no, that's not a compliment. I've heard some ridiculous requirements. Few months ago, I almost went crazy trying to find the jersey the Nigerian football team wore to the Atlanta 96 Olympic games. Because a recruiter had asked potential candidates to find this. How do you, ask someone who is job hunting to spend $99 on a piece of clothing, in an attempt to show that they go the extra mile? For weeks, I was stuck to an online thread as these candidates, had to figure out a way round this situation - which still involved spending money to buy a locally made replica jersey. I've also heard that a company once asked candidates to present the now extinct 1 Naira note. Goodness gracious. I'm all for thinking out of the box. But we'll have to draw the line at some point. I recall not following up with an interview, because the next step seemed outrageous to me. Unfortunately, I can't remember what it was at that time. Interviews are not exactly an opportunity to exploit and humiliate applicants. It might be worthwhile to reconsider what your processes are like, and scrap or tweak as necessary.
5. Not getting back to candidates:
Right after one has swam through the proverbial seven seas and seven oceans, or maybe (luckily for the person) after just an initial test, it's heart breaking to not hear from you any longer. I know some of you say from the outset that "Only short-listed candidates will be contacted". But in many cases, you don't exactly leave a time frame. So we stay waiting… fingers crossed and hopeful. But no word. Until we realise that six months of silence probably means we didn't make it through. Or until we hear that our next door neighbour, who was also present at the interview has secured the job. Some feedback or closure will be nice, and at the earliest opportunity as well. It shouldn't be too hard to send these.
That's pretty much some of the concerns I have at this time. I'm sorry if I come across a bit antsy. I just think we all need to try to lessen the burden on people who are job searching. Particularly in these times of economic recession, and way too many redundancies.
for and on behalf of a wider group of people
Now, your turn guys. Do you think these are issues? Am I making up a storm in a tea cup? What's your experience? What will you have added to the above letter? What do recruiters have to quit and what do they have to do to make job hunting better. If you're in Nigeria, What are your go to websites for job searches? Any experiences or point of view in general, to add to this?
If you're a recruiter / employer (or if you have answers to the above), please share.
pS: Please feel free to share to your social circles. Really hoping for some sort of change, especially on Number 1.
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