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TOP 5 TIPS FOR JOB SEARCH IN AFRICA, PART 2.


TOP SKILLS FOR JOB SEARCH IN AFRICA PART 2 OML Africa brings to you part-two of its ‘Top Skills for Job Search in Africa' series. In this edition, we are looking at hiring from the perspective of the employer in relation to the top skills employers seek when hiring candidates for jobs in Africa. In Africa, most employers like their counterpart in the developed world are seeking candidates with soft and hard skills. However, in Africa, more emphasis is placed on soft skills. The practice is that technical and hard skills can be taught if necessary, however, soft skills are harder to develop and therefore finding candidates who already poses soft skills is the essential desire of many employers in Africa. This is because many candidates including those in employment tend to lack these skills and majority of employers develop these skills whilst the candidate is working on the job. By soft skills, we mean the attributes of an employee, other than technical competence, that makes them an asset to the employer. We have selected the top five (5) soft skills that employers in Africa look for in addition to hard skills when hiring candidates. 1. Problem-Solving Skills One of the biggest headaches for employers in Africa is in the area of problem-solving. The vast majority of graduates entering the job market do not know how to problem solve. The main reason for this is attributed to the education system in Africa where students are not thought to solve problems through their learning. As a result in most workplaces solving problems has become a struggle for managers. In more often than not most employees bring the problems to the manager to solve. The lack of problem-solving skills leads to managers micro-managing their staff in order to get problems effectively solved and work delivered. The ability to eliminate or manage problems as they arise is important in the work environment. This skill usually requires the ability to brainstorm a problem as well as following a logical step-by-step decisionmaking process that leads to options to solve the problem. It also requires the ability to think on your feet as well as in and outside of the solutions box. Organizations are seeking the candidate who can demonstrate their ability to solve problems. We recommend that job seekers assess their problem-solving skills as well as find clear examples to use to demonstrate their abilities at interviews. 2. Leadership and Management Skills The general perception is that when employees leave their jobs they are in fact leaving their managers. It is true that management and leadership styles are one of the contributing factors for staff turnover. As such, good leadership and management skills are essential skills for employers. In today’s workplace employers require their employees to poses good leadership and management skills in the delivery of their duties within the team. Leadership skills are no longer just a skill for the person in charge but a requirement for the employee too. Page 1 of 4


Possessing leadership skills can enable people to be able to lead themselves when required as well as work without supervision and lead others. Therefore, candidates able to demonstrate leadership at the job interview point tend to be the hot cake. The ability to lead and manage puts you in the position where you are the boss in your area of specialty with the ability to influence, lead and achieve through others. This is what employers want and candidates with good leadership and management skills set themselves above other job candidates. 3. Communication and interpersonal skills In every work environment, communication and interpersonal skills are an essential ingredient in working together. A candidate with good communication and interpersonal skills is a gem to any organization. This is a skill often lacking in candidates especially in the area of written and verbal communication as well as interpersonal relations. In Africa, the common problem is that for example when it comes to communicating in the universal language of English, many African job candidates struggle, mainly because English is not their first language. So, what usually happens is that some candidates tend to translate the local dialect into English which can sometimes lack clarity or lack the verbal or written sophistication an organization may desire. A way for candidates to overcome this is to take a basic course in English. As some form of English is widely spoken in the formal and informal sectors in Africa learning to communicate effectively in English is vital. Interpersonal relations is also an important ability because it is a core to all workplace interactions, if you cannot work or interact with people, it will be difficult to function well in the workplace. We recommend that candidates conduct 360, selfappraisal on their communication skills and this should include asking friends, family, and colleagues to rate their communication and interpersonal skills and then work on the areas for improvement. There are a lot of information and videos online to help candidates to improve or assess their level. It is not enough to make claims to have good communication and interpersonal skills you have to be able to demonstrate with clear examples of your ability and experience at the job interview. 4. Time and Self Management skills The ability to manage one's self and time is perhaps one of the hot potato skills that the majority of companies desire from candidates in Africa. This is because time and self-management is a big problem in Africa. Time and self-management culture is poor in most African countries. In relation to self-management employers also look for evidence on the candidate’s ability to use their own initiative as well as proactively manage themselves and their time. These two particular skills are so essential because the lack of it really affects productivity. Employers usually assess these skills using scenarios or assessment tools designed to access this types of skills. We would recommend that if you are reading this article and you are searching for a job, you need to assess your time and self-management readiness. 5. Willingness to learn Page 2 of 4


Learning and development are one of the top priorities for good employers where talent is valued and regarded as adding value. As systems change, and technology improves, most companies also strategically adapt. In Africa, we have a skilled talent crisis in many occupations and as a result, most companies look for candidates willing to learn on the job or be trained. Unfortunately, you don't always hire candidates who want to learn despite efforts to get them to embrace a continuous learning and development perspective. Companies in Africa continually poach talents who have the willingness to learn, be coached and molded to meet the needs of the organization. Willingness to learn may not be an exact soft skill and more an attitude but is essential for many employers in Africa. In our experience we found that candidates looking for paychecks are not usually willing to learn, however, candidates looking for career jobs tend to be more willing to learn as these types of candidates are seeking long-term jobs with prospects for learning and growth. At the job, interview candidates should be able to demonstrate their willingness to learn with examples cited from their personal career development plans or from previous workplace learning programs that they have participated. Companies in Africa also seek the characteristics of candidates who are innovative as well as candidates with integrity. In conclusion, looking for a job in Africa as stated before is not easy and is a job in itself but with some persistence, dedication, and perseverance you can get a job. Developing and acquiring some of the above skills as outlined will improve your chances of getting a job. In Africa the struggle for both local and international talents is very intense and as such job applicants should position themselves to prove to the recruiter that they can communicate, problem-solve, manage their time and themselves as well as lead with the willingness learn. OML Africa specializes in selection and assessment for recruiting companies and employers. This means that we assess the competencies of job seekers for job fit. We also conduct skills assessments, competency tests, and psychometric testing etc. We provide recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services to our clients so we are more than adept in the area of recruitment in Africa. We specialize in recruiting HR professionals at all levels for companies in Africa.

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TOP 5 TIPS FOR JOB SEARCH IN AFRICA, PART 2  

OML Africa brings to you part-two of its ‘Top Skills for Job Search in Africa' series. In this edition, we are looking at hiring from the pe...

TOP 5 TIPS FOR JOB SEARCH IN AFRICA, PART 2  

OML Africa brings to you part-two of its ‘Top Skills for Job Search in Africa' series. In this edition, we are looking at hiring from the pe...

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