Having organized and participated in not a few recruitment exercises in fulfilment of one of my job responsibilities, I have come to observe that I, like many other recruiters world over, often set requirements, intentionally or otherwise, that swing hopeful job seekers to very fuzzy sides of the job hunting spectrum.

Requirement No. 1: YEARS OF EXPERIENCE:

This here births so many questions. How is experience logically evaluated?… What are the criteria for a suitable experience?… How do years of experience translate to actual value?… How does longevity determine quality and proficiency?

In Nigeria, most organisations, and this will account for over 95%, consider work experience as any form of engagement, acquired after the one-year National Service. This also determines the quality of pay and the status that is accorded. So,

  • if in the course of one’s undergraduate study, the candidate had acquired and engaged the particular knowledge, skill or ability and has become adept at it such that s(he) is now being considered for employment based on that skill, should that count? 
  • if the candidate had engaged in direct or indirect practice such that appreciable skill has been acquired cumulatively, should that count?
  • if also the candidate has shown skill in related aspects or otherwise and is enthusiastic about taking on the new role in hope that he will be equipped adequately to take on the new challenge, should that count?

It takes daring investment to get desired results from humans as with goods and services. Risk is just as inevitable with a business venture that requires financial commitment as it is with any human commitment. Commitment to make it work, commitment to keep it secure, commitment to make it productive and commitment to make it sustainable.

Presumably, the people with the “years of experience” are actively engaged somewhere, where a PLATFORM for career improvement, growth and success was offered to them.

Investing in today’s potential in anticipation of tomorrow’s experienced highflyer could be a very smart way to engender succession planning. Otherwise, how else?


Sometimes, we specify that all the certifications and educational/professional acquisitions of a candidate would not be relevant to determine what is expected for an allegedly senior job role nor influence admirable pay. Other times, we demand specific and generic job knowledge inclusive of the application of extensive work tools as a requirement to be considered for the job role, with mouth-dripping pay. Even more, we request for everything possible, yet specify that the Company will only pay what it can afford. What would be the fate of the candidate then – to improve or not to improve self? As industries differ, so do areas of specialisation differ.

If each candidate has to self-evaluate by these criteria, how much self-development is s(he) expected to or not to acquire? Then for value acquired, how does it translate to return on investment also for the candidate who constantly burrows trenches in her/his finances in faith that the skill acquired will count for something in the anticipated job interview? Are we, recruiters, willing to pay for the quality and wealth of talent that we often seek? Where there is generalist knowledge to considerable degrees and the potential to acquire additional knowledge/skill and apply same dexterously, what can we offer?

In today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving business world, what should job orientation, training/retraining, coaching, career planning, engagement, etc. count for?

Requirement No. 3:   THE “FIT”

I recently read up an article where it was stated that the recruiting decision is mostly reached based on 3 criteria – professional/skill astuteness, personality fit and social fit. More often, in seeking the “fit” for a job role, potential candidates are severely chiselled to suit different “fit requirements” that could sometimes result in irreparable distortions.

How about engaging potential highflyers possessing zeal, motivation, appreciable and applicable knowledge and then showing them “The Way”?

About the DOOR…

Doors can be ready-made or tailor-made (Ok…carpenter-made, to soothe probable debate on controversial nomenclature); bottom-line, customised. Each door has its specific key engine with its matching key. This key is a perfect fit (appropriate, suitable, right, acceptable, proper), only because both key-engine and key were made in sync with each other – the engine was made for the key and the key was made for the engine. Sounds like love-relationship jargon. Simply put, the key engine and the key were fabricated with the door in context, just as the door was fabricated with the specified entrance/exit in context, and this latter was designed with the building in context.

Many times, a well-meaning door man seeks and tries to use an estranged key, crafted with a unique key engine, for another door. Other times, a new and beautifully crafted key with its matching engine is fixed on an old wooden and rusty door, where even the simple process of changing the locks could destroy the door. Even worse is replacing the old rusty door on a cracking building structure with a brand new door. While perspectives may differ, sometimes the solution may not be to acquire a new key; the solution could just be to reinforce the cracking structure.

In a nutshell, the recruitment decision is NOT one to make haphazardly as a negative outcome can be far more damaging for the individual and the organisation. Nevertheless, successful recruitment cannot be determined 100% even with the best combination of recruitment tools – psychometric tests, personality profiling, traditional interviewing, competency-based interviewing, scenario-based interviewing, gut-feeling interviewing, and any other futuristic technique. Sometimes, one method wins over the other for one organisation and is catastrophic for another, just as with any other risky venture.

The ability to persistently fail forward, with a profound understanding and respect for human idiosyncrasies, will make a whole world of difference.



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