Ever wondered how recruitment looks like from the side of the employer, especially for small businesses?

Most people apply for jobs while assuming that the recruiting person will read through your applications in detail, and with the best intention in mind. They will fill in the blank spaces and will give the benefit of the doubt where details are not clear.

Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.

Screening Challenge

I once did some recruitment and that is the time I realized how hard it is to carry out recruitment in Kenya. With so many jobless or underemployed people in Kenya, a simple advert for an internship that is not very widely shared will result in hundreds of applications. There are reported cases of a hotel advertising for 15 positions and thousands turning up for the interview. This is where it becomes a nightmare.

How do you go through 100 CVs and application letters just to get 3 candidates to interview and eventually hire one? If you are short on resources, as most SMEs are, the first step you do is to start eliminating the candidates. Remember that most small businesses do not have a dedicated recruitment person.

You ignore the CVs that you do not understand. You ignore those that lack important information. You look for evidence that someone has relevant knowledge through what they mention in the CV.

For a developer, you want someone who says that they have created something, not the ones who say they know XYZ languages.

You are still not sure if the person you are hiring is a serial killer who has not yet been arrested. You cannot contact referees for entry-level jobs until the person has passed the interviews. In any case, referees are likely to tell you good things about the person, even when they know that the person has never in life woken up before 9 am.

This is why instead of advertising for jobs, small companies will just look for referrals. This is a common practice that means that those who do not have the networks may not get the jobs, even when they have all the skills. Those without networks and connections end up losing the game.

Job Scams

There are also many employment scams that seek to con people. People are asked to pay for job applications in nonexistent positions or to pay somebody who will help them secure a job position. Unknown to them, the job position does not even exist – just a bunch of scammers whose end goal is to extract money from jobless people.

Others advertise for jobs with the end goal of harvesting relevant data. Do you want to get the phone and email contact of thousands of accountants? Just advertise for an entry-level/ junior accountant position with a very high salary. Data will fill your inbox in a short time. Nobody will ever be shortlisted for the position because the position did not exist in the first place.

Such factors make some people lose confidence in job recruitment systems and may not even apply.

Recruitment Agencies

One of the people that are filling the recruitment gap is the recruitment agencies. These agencies seek to connect job seekers with employers, and charge fees for the same.

To solve the problem of costs, some of these agencies have models where the applicant pays only if they get a job placement (from their initial salary), or the employer pays for the service. This model is becoming popular and leads to a more equal society, as opposed to one where the most connected people get all the opportunities.

In all these challenges and solutions, the one elephant in the room that must be addressed is the lack of employment opportunities in Kenya.

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