May , 2015
“Throughout my four years at University, my friend and I used to go dropping off application letters to firms in Nairobi, but it was all in vain since we never received any responses,” Zach Ngugi recalls.
Then he met Deborah Beaton, chief executive of Kenyan online recruitment service Kama Kazi, at his university’s annual career week, who introduced him to the world of online job hunting.
As internet penetration increases across Africa, and the continent’s famous mobile boom continues, the recruitment sector is also using tech-based solutions. However, online jobs-listings and application platforms have inevitably resulted in some 10,000 ill-matched applications for a given position.
Kama Kazi is based on the belief that online recruitment companies must offer a personalised approach to offer the best service to job seekers and employers. This means making the most of both the online and offline worlds.
While the online platform hosts job advertisements, and enables online applications, Ms Beaton and her team take the time to engage with job-seekers and provide training before making any applications.
She believes this helps job-seekers make the right decisions about where to apply, and eases the pressure on employers to identify suitable candidates.
“Several of us emailed [Ms Beaton] and she invited us for some training sessions before forwarding our resumes to any firms. The training was relevant and of great importance in our career path; she taught us communication skills, basic accounting skills, how to prepare for – and conduct yourself during – interviews,” Mr Ngugi explains
He went on to quickly secure his desired accountancy internship, and was subsequently offered a full-time position at the same company.
According to Ms Beaton, it is imperative for online recruitment companies in Africa to offer added value – such as training, and post-application feedback.
“In Kenya, customer care has become accepted as poor quality and so to rise above the expectation is key to our success,” she says.
While technology is making the recruitment market in Africa more streamlined, she cautions against letting technology take centre-stage in a market so intrinsically centred on people.
“Technology is proving a much quicker, easier solution to HR and recruitment. I do think it is here to stay, but I also think we need to be careful the recruitment process is not simplified or devalued in the process,” says Ms Beaton.
“People are still the number one resource that contributes to an organisation’s success. Machines will never replace people, and so making decisions about your team should never be a small process, it should always be hugely emphasised. We need to ensure this is not lost in the need for speed, efficiency and the ‘here and now’.”