Diverse businesses perform better by every measure. The combination of styles, perspectives and experiences they can direct at problems to solve, opportunities to maximise and experiences to create make them stronger and more agile than their competition. In 2022, diversity is going to mean more than ever before across Africa. There will be a renewed focus on gender at senior levels, while organisations will examine whether they can do more to enable diversity through equal opportunity approaches to disability and sexual orientation, or by recruiting from both local talent and the diaspora.
You want to recruit a bunch of people? That’s going to need a campaign. And no recruitment campaign is complete without the face element of a recruitment or assessment day. Here, Global Career Company shares the lessons learned over 18 years of delivering worldwide recruitment campaigns for African organisations.
Sourcing from the widest range of locations and channels is going to give you the best talent pool later in the process. It is about getting under the skin of where talent studies, works, socialises, networks, relaxes and comes together online and offline, across the world. Key channels for us, assuming we’re sourcing worldwide are:
The Careers in Africa network of over 650,000 African professionals
Local job boards
Universities and business schools
Country and social associations and groups
Social media groups on Facebook and Twitter
You have never got the right number of candidates. There are always too few or too many. This is the wisdom of doing long experience. Assuming you nailed the sourcing, you have too many, so pre-selection is key. This is the experience for many major employer brands, particularly in certain markets with large talent pools where applicant volumes can become unmanageable.
1. Get applications into a talent management system. You do not want to be manually pre-screening several thousand applicants per job;
You need to securely manage applicant data
You want to expedite further stages and applicant feedback
Ensure you have profiled your roles effectively, so that you can set pre-selection criteria
2. Automate the pre-selection on knock-out areas, like qualifications for example.
3. Double-check availability, commitment to the role & ID to ensure selected people are serious.
4. Hire specialists to do this process. It’s hard to conceive of the internal team set up which was designed to successfully do this job. The combination of regional specificity and volume make it something that is almost definitely not the best use of your in-house team’s time.
Once you know where your talent is, pick your venues. If you’re lucky enough to have offices with sufficient meeting, presentation and interview rooms to host the day, great. However, for the majority who don’t, serviced offices work well for interviews and hotels are ideal for multi-faceted events. Negotiate hard.
The face-to-face part of the recruitment campaign is a key brand touchpoint. The quality of what you do will have a big impact on the perceptions people leave with, and the best talent has a choice. Here are a few brand areas worth thinking about:
Check-in area – First point of contact, ideal for branded tablecloths, point of sale material and delegate bags.
Networking area – Trim it with your brand colours, as well as making sure the purpose is on show – focus on the impact you’re making to attract talent.
Exhibition stand – As a focal point for talent, this is the shop window. Is a table with a pull-up banner the impression you want to make?
Presentations – Likely to take place in a different room, so make sure the brand is applied in there as well.
Refreshments – People will congregate around refreshments, so make sure information with key takeaways is featured. Can your brand also be incorporated into the settings, or even the refreshments themselves?
Invitations are about key information. Remember to include:
The person’s name, so you can verify who’s been invited later if need be
Venue address and travel guidance
Schedule for the day
Overview of what they will need to prepare – they will be worrying about it, so help them out.
Requirements for any ID processes you have in place. Do they need to bring any ID?
While we’re talking admin, you should clear up in advance what travel expenses you will cover, if any. Bear in mind, for example, that a recruitment day in London will often serve talent as far away as Aberdeen, and the several hour train journey will cost up to £100. Add in the likely requirement for accommodation and it might be reasonable for candidates to expect recompense. Plan ahead and manage expectations.
The more of your people on site for networking, the better. The chance to talk to real people about what your organisation is really like is extremely valuable, and there are no better brand advocates than your engaged people. Additionally, a networking session gives your candidates the chance to interact with each other, which is good added value for people in the same professional space.
This is your showcase for the role and the brand. Make sure you think ahead how to do something impactful, and avoid, at all costs, the 20 slides and Q&A approach that will guarantee your target talent is turned off.
Make it interactive - Use presentation tech like Mentimeter.com and interrogate the audience to put the emphasis on interaction from the beginning. Don’t give your audience time to settle and get bored. Opening with a joke is old and bad advice because it encourages presenters to crack one and move to the slide deck. Open with a sustained period of engagement to get people on their toes instead.
Make it real - Ditch the corporate brochure. People want to hear what it’s really like from people who are really there. Get out the case studies, testimonials and videos.
Change the pace - Never settle into the slide deck. Keep varying the delivery and keep returning to asking questions of the audience. Compel them to engage with you.
Speak to key drivers - Keen students of the Employee Experience and Employee Value Proposition design that we are, we believe in featuring core attraction drivers throughout candidate communications. The following should come through in your presentation.
Development – How will their skills be developed
Promotion – What’s the path for them in the organisation?
Innovation – How does the company compete and stay ahead?
Purpose – What impact is the organisation making?
Total Reward – What are the conditions? (With more emphasis on areas such as healthcare and less on pay.)
Leaders – Who are the organisation’s leaders and what do they stand for?
Get leaders on board - Speaking of leaders, they are key. Seeing that a recruitment drive is backed by your organisation’s leader will make an impact and help build the trust in leaders which is relevant for both motivating candidates to join and engaging them when they do. Surely you can get a camera in front of the CEO and record a special message for the group, or even live stream them in? That would be a magic touch.
Make it open - When it comes to Q&A, try to avoid off-limits areas or things which need to be discussed later. The applicants have committed to you by applying and turning up. You need to give as much back as possible
Having wrangled so many perfect candidates in one place, you can start making some decisions. Assessments are a good way to start, as they can give you a quick view of capacity and personality versus the roles you profiled earlier. A combination of an appropriate verbal, numerical and diagrammatical assessment with a behavioural style assessment would be a good start. You could administer these in advance, but it’s usually easier to invigilate the tests in person.
10. Group Interviews
A great way to assess group work, or plough through multiple interviews in a shorter period of time. Here’s a solid guide to running them: https://www.talentlyft.com/en/blog/article/251/the-best-guide-for-conducting-group-interviews.
A structured face-to-face interview is next up. No explanation needed, but remember:
To use structured interview formats
To anticipate some rejigging of the schedule for travel challenges, and have someone responsible for coordinating that
To allow time between interviews for write-ups
To give candidates enough time that they feel their commitment has been returned
12. Follow Up
This is the big one. Recruiters, in-house and out, we let ourselves down with this too often. Ensure that every applicant, whether they made it to the recruitment day or not gets an update on the status of their application. We’d suggest that attendees of your recruitment day should get a feedback phone call.
Beyond that, while we know business conditions and plans change, it’s important that if they do, and the change affects the hiring for your role or roles, you keep the candidates in the loop. It’s never OK to go silent.
Careers in Africa has a track record in bringing the diaspora and diverse, regional talent pools to our clients through a combination of our digital platform and the specialisation of our recruiters and GCC Search can locate and hire the very best African leadership for you.
Diversity is at the heart of our company. Africans for Africa; localisation of talent and increase female ratios within our clients.
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