There are many sides to a story; some sides generally acceptable, some generally unacceptable and some leaves us feeling indifferent. But if there is one thing experience has taught us is never to pass judgement based on one side of a story. This may be what must have prompted the TED talk titled “The Danger of a Single Story” delivered by the famous African novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
From a recent thread on Twitter that awakened the minds of many people to a different side to job recruitments, it is then safe to conclude that indeed there are many sides to a job interview. Overtime, the popular reasons given to explain why most prospective employees never get employed after an interview ranged from being badly dressed, to lack of confidence, to inexperience, to poor composure, to incompetence, to ill mannerism, and so on. Never was it told that being rich or looking seemingly rich could disqualify one from getting a job.
In a tweet which stirred the conversation, a recruiter had shared her reservations about employing a young lady. Her reason was based on the fact that the young lady appeared “too rich” for the position. On her wrist was a flashy apple wristwatch while her expensive iPhone was in her hand. The clothes on her body and the bag that dangled on her shoulders were oozing of plenty money. At the end of the interview, the recruiter watched from the window as a latest Lexus car came to pick her up. After all the speculations, the recruiter drew a conclusion that the lady had it all and doubted if she would be submissive and obedient enough for the job since she was rich.
Unfortunately this was the only side of the story that was told. We are left with several mind boggling questions such as; did the lady have the necessary skills for the position she applied for? Was she rude or ill mannered? Shouldn’t one be assessed based on their performance in an interview rather than a perception of them? Is it right to pass off a potential employee because of their look or their status? Should one dress shabbily when going for interviews? These and so many other questions remain unanswered.
Certainly recruiters are in the best position to give answers to these questions since they are the ones faced with the task of fishing from the pool of job seekers. We believe there should be a professional standard that guides recruitment processes, but can personal reservations be part of that standard? Is it an acceptable norm for recruiters to put their sentiments ahead of professionalism?
We would like to know your thoughts on this issue. What should be the acceptable and unacceptable criteria for any company’s recruitment? Are there no gains that could be derived from employing a supposedly rich looking employee?
Let’s know your perspective in the comment section below.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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One of the rarest things is seeing a young person with five years experience in a challenging field like mechanical engineering. With the effect of the rising unemployment in the country, most graduates are left handicap hoping for when the grass gets greener. But that doesn’t seem to be the case for John Jimoh.
Whether it’s a stroke of luck or a result of competence, John Jimoh didn’t have to stand in the queue of unemployed populace. He actually began to take bold steps towards his career path before he answered the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) call and continued his journey immediately after that. “I have been working for 5 years. I started before I went for NYSC and continued afterwards.”
To add to his full cap of good chances, John didn’t have to settle for any other filed asides his field of study. “I studied mechanical engineering and I currently work as a mechanical technician in a manufacturing company.”
For him working has awakened a sense of independence and has equipped him financially.
“Working has impacted my life in many ways. I must say, since I started working, I feel more responsible and independent. I’m not dependent on anyone especially for financial support. I can only mention but a few.”
Measuring his growth since he started working, John had this to say, “In terms of growth, I have really developed into a better person. In school, we were only taught theories but in the field, you handle real life situations. I have been given the opportunity to identify and solve problems. Doing this often has increased my level of commitment and confidence.”
Expressing his scepticism about promotion owing to the fact he is still finding his foot in his field, John said, “Well, promotion has to do with time and many other factors are involved. I can’t possibly say much about this.”
In the area of benefits, John believes there are several aspects of the daily work that can be categorised as benefits which may not necessarily be what most people consider to be one.
“I think the main reason we work is to earn. If you’re not earning, you’re not working. So the work and position occupied is what determine the benefits. Besides the financial benefit, the experience gathered is a benefit on its own. It’s a tool to get opportunities in the future.”
As regards, having a side hustle, here are his thoughts, “It is not advisable to put all your eggs in one basket. Having other source of income is good in order to meet every one of our needs.” From this reply you can tell that, like most employees, John is open to increasing his opportunities to earn more.
Since he has embraced his work with all diligence, John boldly indicated, “I would say every day was an adventure for me. So I can’t specify only one remarkable experience. I see work as a part of my life. It is fun. I learn every day. I always see myself as a learner and not pro. With this attitude, I have really evolved and what I used to see as problem, I now see as opportunity.”
He went further to expatiate the reason behind his appreciation for his work by identifying some qualities it has added to him so far, “for example, before solving a problem, you have to think. Thinking itself is a lot of work. You don’t jump into a problem without troubleshooting because if you get it wrong, you have to start all over again. Where I work, we work with time. If you spend too much time solving a problem, you’re probably going to be queried for it.”
One of the joys of the work life is earning and John is not left out of that excitement, “my financial life has changed greatly ever since I started working. I handle my finances with care because I know how it feels to work and earn. My needs are met and I feel independently responsible.”
Like they say, life is not a bed of roses. No matter how good a thing is, there are challenges to it. John pinpointed this about his field, “it is exhausting. I once posted on my Facebook and WhatsApp status these words, ‘Engineering is not for babies, it is for those who can chew meat; if you are not physically and mentally strong, you will fizzle out quickly or get sick regularly.”
Lastly, John gave a piece of advice to the youngster hoping to build their career, “my advice for young people is for them to identify their passion or their talent. Either of this two will pave a way for a career. Don’t choose a career that you don’t have passion for. So passion is the key to locate the right career. After identifying a career, then focus is needed in order not to deviate. You have to stay put except you are considering a career transition.”
With the above perspective from John Jimoh, we can’t help but emphasise the need for business owners to ensure that the recruit they best match for their brand.
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Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
The recruitment process was tough for Wale and his hiring team. Being the Human Resources Manager for his company, there was no way he could escape the draining process of selecting the best candidate from the pool of applicants. Having passed the most challenging stages which had to do with going through tons of cover letters and CVs and the aptitude test screening, he felt a bit relieved. Still it wasn’t over yet and he hoped this final one-on-one interview session would go smoothly with less stress.
From the moment the third candidate walked through the door, Wale’s senses signalled red alert. He wasn’t quite sure if it was the way the young lady was dressed or the grace in her steps but there was an unexplainable aura that hovered around her. For a minute he could have sworn she had cast a spell on him. Her confidence, her smile and her body language was all too charming.
While Wale motioned for her to sit, he quickly checked her score in the aptitude test and was surprised to see that her score was one of the highest. He allowed his colleagues to keep her engaged as he continued to painstakingly observe and search for a concrete reason to disqualify her. He would never take the risk to employ someone like her because he couldn’t stand the temptation her presence brought. He would never be able to resist her flawless beauty and the last thing he wanted was to complicate business with pleasure.
As she spoke, he felt tension rising up fast all over his body. His emotional and logical sides were in total chaos. Wale knew the problem wasn’t about her but his inability to control his desires. He asked her the hardest questions and was pleased when she stuttered. This would be the conceiving factor he would present to his team to disqualify her. He watched her leave with the same confidence she had walked in with, hoping that she would be called but he knew better. They would never call her.
This is the case of some job seekers who never get called after an interview not because they are not qualified for the role. Sometimes it could be because the hiring manager doesn’t like something about them. They could be disqualified for mundane reasons like the way they talk or smile, their height, their confidence or even their appealing body structure like the scenario above. There is a long list of silent disqualifiers most hiring managers never dare to mention because they may not make sense to normal professional reasoning.
Nevertheless, every now and then potential team members are faced with this unfortunate turn of event and keep wondering why they never got the position they were qualified and worked hard for.
This is one of the many issues that most brands and organizations are silent about, but is there something that can be done about it? Imagine losing a great talent that a brand can derive a lot of value from, should it be a cause for concern?
We would love to know what you think. Please leave a comment.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
EMPLOYEE INSIGHT: “I HAVE ALSO GOTTEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPAND MY NETWORK AND NET WORTH,” – MR STEPHEN HEART
For a number of workers, the workplace could be the most dreaded place they have to put up with while others see it as a place filled with lots of opportunities. For this week’s employee insight, Mr Stephen Heart, who has over eight years experience under his belt in the aviation sector, shared his perspective about his work place and work life in general.
“I work in the airport, an environment where you have the opportunity to meet and interact with people from all walks of life – the high and mighty, the movers and shakers, and all. Having to meet and interact with these set of people made it easy for me to decide on the kind of life I want to live and make for my family. I have also gotten the opportunity to expand my network and net worth,” Mr Stephen said to emphasize the level of impact his work has made in his life.
Unlike most people who set job hunting as an after school plan, Mr Stephen Heart joined the labour force early and has continued to advance since then, “I actually started working while I was in school and I have grown in my department.”
When asked if he had changed his career before, he replied, “For me, I know this is where I need to be for the big picture and I’m flourishing and sincerely I have never thought of leaving.” From his words, you can tell that Mr Stephen finds satisfaction in his workplace.
Many employees are driven by several factors as regards the quality of work they deliver. Arguable statistics have shown that ninety five percent of working class people work mainly for compensations and benefits while the rest work to add value. Mr Stephen can be classified under the five percent who seek ways to improve in order to add more value to the company.
“Completing and passing the ‘ICAO AVSEC Instructors Course’ made a huge difference in my career. The feeling of knowing that I’m impacting the people around me by imparting knowledge as a certified instructor gives me a sense of fulfillment and relevance.”
Giving some insights about the impact his job has made in his finances, he said, “the idea of having a constant and assured inflow (salary) at the end of every month avails me the opportunity to really plan my finances well. Earmarking comes with ease for me because I know exactly how much I will be having at the end of every month. So, it has made me a better financial planner and a prudent spender and of course my work has increased my net worth.”
DAILY LIFE LESSONS
Like every journey with lessons to be learnt, Mr Stephen sees his workplace as a learning ground full of thought provoking lessons;
“meeting and interacting with different kinds of persons; happy people, angry people, good people and not so good people, proud and humble people, wealthy and not so wealthy people, etc. has been remarkable. I have learnt the importance of not judging a book by its cover, that appearance can be deceptive and most importantly I have learnt the importance of cultivating and nurturing relationships both with colleagues and clients.”
While advising the young people in the area of career choice, he had this to say; “the environment should be very important to you when trying to make a choice. Is it an environment that allows room for growth? Is it an environment that avails you an opportunity to meet people of great minds, both colleagues and clients?”
“Look for and find a motivating factor about your job and hold onto it with everything. This is because after all is said and done; it’s your motivation that will help wake you on Monday mornings when you really don’t feel like reporting to work that day.”
THOUGHTS ON SIDE HUSTLE
“Actually for me, my job is my side hustle while my business is my main hustle,” he said amusingly. “Don’t be in a hurry to conclude,” he continued. “Remember I told you about choosing your environment wisely and getting a motivation on your job. I already knew what I wanted to do and become in life before I started working but I needed a platform, a facilitating environment.”
“My job environment is an enabling one for my vision. My job is a shift job; it gives me time to focus on my private business while also carrying out my job functions accurately and excellently without one affecting the other.”
He concluded by adding, “at the end of the day, it boils down to what you want for yourself in life. I mean the decision to have a side hustle or not to have one.”
As an employee, understanding that you spend a greater part of your life in your workplace should help you plan your life better. So finding the right place that makes you fulfilled should be your priority.
How can employers create an encouraging workplace for their team? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
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Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
Throughout the history of the world, one gift man has never lacked is land; to walk, farm and build on. But with the passing of time, this originally free gift has become scarce and expensive, reducing the chances of one comfortably owning land these days. Still, man continues to strive to gather as much pieces of land as can be acquired.
Awakened by the harsh realities of land acquisition in Nigeria, Bamboo Real Estate emerged to solve it and increase the opportunities for more aspiring land owners with the target client being young people. After being exposed to the idea of land acquisition and going ahead to acquire his first plots of land in 2012, the founder, Oseyomon Ighodaloh, would later conceive the idea to start the Bamboo real estate arm in 2014. Amazed by the opportunities that exist in real estate investment, he continued to nurse the idea until March 2018 when an opportunity presented itself for him to begin his entrepreneurial journey as a realtor.
However, within that period, Oseyomon focused on the energy and construction aspect of the Bamboo brand. In his word, “The Bamboo Company doesn’t focus on real estate alone; we are also players in the energy and construction sectors too.”
THE BAMBOO VISION
Bamboo Real Estate sees itself becoming Africa’s leading Real Estate and Service Company. The brand prides itself first as an African company, starting from Africa to the rest of the world, and would not just want to be seen as a global company.
A layman will assume that the brand name Bamboo was coined from their sense of Africanism but they are quick to mention that that the plant bamboo isn’t just African but could be found in virtually every continent. However the name Bamboo was chosen based on a deep conviction which connects all that they stand for.
THE BAMBOO MISSION
Though still growing into their mission, it is clear that their target is to give the youth market the opportunity of owning their first plot of land. To make them realise that investment in real estate is the best form of investment. They intend to achieve their mission by offering their clients convenient payment plans based on their income. They look forward to bringing development to underdeveloped locations and by so doing expanding the city.
THE BRAND VALUES
Like most unique companies, the Bamboo brand has its foundation laid on these core values;
I- Integrity in all their dealings.
I- Innovation in all their ideas and services offered.
E- Empathy towards their clients and business people.
A- Africaness in the strength of their brand.
THE BAMBOO CULTURE
They are a contemporary company that tends to strike a balance between playfulness and seriousness. They believe in the spirit of community, one that unites them and creates an attitude of oneness born out of a deep love for what they do.
With a team size of six persons and some outsourced departments, the Bamboo brand keeps waxing stronger, deepening their impact in the city of Port Harcourt. They also highlighted that they have a team of over a hundred marketers which they continue to train in order to add value to lives.
Even though the CEO currently doubles the Marketing Manager, the Bamboo group indicated that they will be hiring a qualified candidate to serve in that position soon. They said the idea is to develop a system and structure that can stand the test of time.
With just a small down payment, a client is one step away from acquiring land in a conducive environment with professional estate management. Clients are advised not to focus on the location but instead dwell on the future returns that come along with land investment.
They hope to bring back the green environment with lots of trees and flowers beautifully and strategically planted to aid more oxygen for respiration in the residential areas.
Bamboo Real Estate has gone the extra mile to ensure all registrations and documentations have been cleared with the communities and the Rivers State Government. Clients can be rest assured that there will be no misunderstandings and cases of fraud.
The Bamboo Brand believes that as development spreads, man moves with it and that has informed their catchphrase, “don’t wait to buy land, buy land and wait.”
The marketing drive of Bamboo caught our attention. From the recruitment of a robust sales force to the setting up of various billboards across the City of Port Harcourt, the Bamboo brand demonstrated an understanding of the importance of brand visibility. It isn’t enough to have lofty ideas and dreams, business owners and visionaries must learn to push their brand out there by all legit means possible.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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While most employees these days struggle to pursue a career and retain a job for a few years, Engr. Boladale Abiodun Adegbenro has followed his career through for over thirty five years.
“I actually started working before I left the university; I was doing a part-time job then. Ever since, which is over thirty five years now, I’ve always been working,” he said at the beginning of the interview in his office at Aero Contractors’ branch in Port Harcourt.
Engr. Boladale admitted that during the course of working with both machines and human beings, he has learnt patience and to build relationships with several people from all walks of life. “I have worked with all kinds of individuals, some easy going and some as tough as a nut, but in all those experiences, I have become better at building relationships.”
He went further to share his first experience as a project leader, “another thing I have learnt while working is how to handle challenges. During my early years in practice, I was put in charge as a trainer to manage the assembling of an aircraft, Air Beetle, which was new in Nigeria as at that time. I had never done anything like that before and by far the most challenging project I had ever faced.”
The Growth Process…
When asked about his career trajectory, Engr Boladale admitted that he had to flow with the tides of change that came with his career and simply embraced the opportunities that came across his path.
“There is no straight way in life and that goes the same for career path. You can change your career and explore other options along the line if the need arises,” he said. “I was trained to be an Aerospace Engineer but later on, I switched to aircraft and helicopter maintenance engineering then went on to become an administrator of operations.”
“I have also had to change my location several times. I first relocated from the United States back to Nigeria, then from Kaduna to Lagos, and down to Port Harcourt. So you see, it hasn’t been a one way traffic,” he added.
His View on Side Hustle…
Unlike most people who believe one cannot live on a single salary income and that a side job is needed to sustain one’s self and their family, Engr. Abiodun begged to differ, “when you are passionate about what you do, it pays you and meets all your needs. You have to be satisfied with your job.”
He noted that the reason why most workers have financial issues is as a result of their way of life. “Your way of life will determine how you spend your money. Be contented with what you have, plan within what you earn, and go for things within your reach. For me, working has made positive impact on my financial life.”
And on Job Security….
From his confidence level, one would think Engr. Abiodun is one whose life is banked on job security believing that the job is always available. However, he debugged this ideology. “No job is secure,” he said. “From the first day you are employed, you should be prepared to pack up and leave as well. Which is why I say, ‘always have a plan for your life in case anything happens’.
To end his interview Engr. Abiodun shared some words of wisdom to young people looking a career path. “I think many young people are too ambitious and want to make fast money,” he pointed out. “They need to be ready to learn and listen attentively because there is no rush in life.”
Like they usually say, it’s different strokes for different folks. What’s your perspective? Please leave a comment.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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The story was told of a man who was completely unconscious and hospitalized at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital [UPTH]. His Wife didn’t have a penny on her, but she had her husband’s ATM Card with her; that would have been helpful, right? Wrong! She could not use it because she did not know the PIN. So the man’s own money couldn’t rescue him when he needed it most. His Wife had to ask other people for money or possibly borrow.
Another story was told of a Carpenter who lived somewhere in Port Harcourt. The Carpenter lived in a compound with his wife and children. The compound had two plots of land with an uncompleted building inside it, but the man built a makeshift home with wood by the fence where he lived with his family. As time went by, it was gathered that the man was once a laborer in the said property which his “Oga” was developing before he died. The story had it that the original owner of the property was building a house as a surprise gift for his girlfriend; he was married and of course his wife had no idea about this. So when he died, both girlfriend and wife didn’t know about the property. Carpenter positioned himself as custodian and gradually started claiming ownership. He was the one who attended all meetings of Landlords and even Tenants.
Some level of secrecy becomes foolish if the right things aren’t done.
Why do folks treat even the concept of writing a will with levity until some terminal disease or helpless situation comes lurking?
Why are folks so adamant to think that nothing bad will happen to them, so much that they never bother about succession planning even in their business endeavors until it is perhaps too late?
Why is the concept of passing the baton even in the realm of political and social leadership such a big issue in Africa? Why do we like to sit on things till we kick the bucket and we deny generations of what could have been a blessing to them?
If you are the only one with the password to your business email accounts, there’s a problem, start working at fixing it. I guess this is why the request for next of kin is mandatory in most legal transactions, whether you like it or not the system compels you to present someone else to stand in should anything happen to you.
If you have no one in this whole world to trust with your ATM Card pin, you probably will need to re-evaluate your relationships.
Branding is much more than identity and marketing communications, it also has to do with how your business or organization is structured.
Written by Maple Dappa
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During the era of Nazi Germany, a secret-police organization was created to deal with persons suspected of disloyalty; they employed even crude means in carrying out this task.
While extreme measures may not be employed in their case, employers often treat their employees as corporate slaves. They pay the salaries, so employees should just keep quiet and do the bidding of the masters. Anything outside that is perceived as disloyalty or even treachery in worse cases. Such employers are not concerned about the reservations employees may have about the operations of the organization, and that is where they start missing out on crucial feedback that could help in shaping the organization better.
When the employers eventually get to ask employees if they have any comments or opinions to share, the employees opt to stay mute for fear of being victimized unless such a comment is in favour of the powers that be, just like the Gestapo operated. Supposed team members would rather stomach their reservations than risk being in the black book of the masters, that’s if their jobs aren’t even threatened. This is so because the culture of feedback is in actual sense non-existent in the organization, and I daresay many Nigerian and African organizations. Our understanding of power seems be a function of might and self-assertion.
And so, the unexpressed reservations eventually reflect in the form of nonchalance, it’s sometimes the reason why customer care representatives don’t give their all in serving clients, asides personal attitudinal flaws. A team that is less passionate about driving the organization’s vision, functioning in a more or less dispirited environment, and working the job just to earn a living and nothing more, truly cannot be as outstanding as the organization desire.
Let’s consider the personal relationships in our lives. It is at the point people no longer feel free to express their reservations that our relationship starts going awry. Our associates, friends and family owe it to us as a duty to express their reservations in line with the terms of engagement, so adjustments can be made where necessary and corrections taken as well and we also have the responsibility of giving them our ears so they can let it all out.
Stronger relationships can only be forged when we can freely express both the pleasant and unpleasant observations and also be willing to listen to others when they do same. This should not be mistaken for being swayed by the expectations of others, no. It also doesn’t mean organizations should pander to the dictates of their employees, far from that. What this means is that we value relationships, even with organizations, so much that we don’t take for granted anything that could possibly threaten it.
There should be a feedback system that ensures no one is victimized for expressing concerns that doesn’t conform to the soothing desires of management. Corporate organizations must have that moment of truth within its team, that’s how solid and well bonded teams are built.
It is profitable to harness strength out of divergent viewpoints instead of bludgeoning people into acquiescence.
Written by Maple Dappa
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Building a loyal and effective team is one of the most critical factors in building a sustainable brand, but there’s a silent malware constantly disrupting the process of building a team. Let’s call it the Superiority Complex.
The idea is yours or originated from you, so everyone else is a Lilliputian around you, almighty Gulliver. You may have conceptualised the venture, you may have even built the product, but you must see the value of everyone in your team and their importance to the vision.
If your business will succeed, so many things must fall in place to make it happen beyond ideation and product development. The person who writes marketing content is important, the person who takes care of everyone’s welfare is important, the person who keeps the work space tidy is important, no work should be described as “just” — just to clean, just to write a copy, and so on.
Putting an effective business system together is like having a super functional automobile; from the gear system to oiling to air conditioning, and so on, all systems have to be in shape. Likewise your business, all units need to be in shape for you to have an effective system. Everyone’s work matters.
I see many young entrepreneurs basking in the euphoria of having a “great idea” with no grasp on the basics of practical business administration, so the attached photos are from a basic course we usually offer for a fee, but I am sharing it here for free as part of the commitment to encourage those who need the knowledge. What we call “basic” could be a “breakthrough” to someone else. There is love in sharing, right?
If you need help with organizing your business or organization, we are here to provide custom solutions. Let’s hear from you, send an email to email@example.com