Six Career Mistakes You Need to be on the Lookout for;

“A step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.”- Kurt Vonnegut

career_mistakeAnyone seeking to grow in his or her career will make mistakes along the way. Some of the mistakes made as one seeks to grow career wise will be costly. Some of them will hardly be noticeable. Regardless of the mistakes you have made in your career, there are valuable lessons that can be learned by reflecting on the mistakes, owning them and learning from them. If you are just starting out career-wise, here are some of the mistakes you need to look out for and avoid:

#1:  Pursuing Status at The Expense of the Growth of Skills

In a world that is increasingly becoming image oriented, many people get lost in the pursuit of success. We interview candidates who want to look the part but do not want to do the hard work. In the process, they lie, put in very little or no effort yet they desire to be applauded for barely showing up. The problem with this approach is that it keeps you from taking advantage of some useful career opportunities that do not necessarily come with a high status. It is often said that opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed as work. That entry-level marketing job might be an opportunity to develop meaningful networks that will help you grow two or three years down the line. The drab accounting job could be an opportunity to hone skills that will help you become an auditor.

Pursue the skills that matter, the status will come. Pursue the status, you will never develop the skills you need to succeed in your field.

# 2: Staying in the Comfort Zone

It is easy to get comfortable in one’s current position. You rarely take any risks in your comfort zone. The environment is predictable. There is a certain way of doing things which ensures that you get the expected outcome hence uncertainty is greatly reduced. Successful people are not necessarily the people who take big risks. They take small risks every day which prepare them for the big leaps that they need to take in their careers.

#3: Not Asking People for Help

You cannot get the help you need unless you ask for it. It is often assumed that the most successful people have it all figured out so they do not ask for help. This could not be further from the truth. The quickest way to avoid mistakes that would waste your time and effort is by asking those who have gone ahead of you in your field for advice. You just need to ask in the right way and you will get the help you need.

#4: Getting Distracted by the “Shiny Object Syndrome

There will always be a position that seems more attractive than your current position. This position might be in your organization or outside your current organization. Because it is often said that all that glitters is not gold, the allure of a certain office or position can become a trap. Countless hours that should be spent being the best you can be in your current position can be wasted as you try and reach out for the elusive position. In addition to this, the “shiny object” might not necessarily be as attractive as you think it is. A higher position with better pay requires a certain level of dedication, skill, experience and commitment. You can only develop this by giving your best in your current position.

# 5: Assuming that Your Career Should Be Linear

The current job market is characterized by rapid technological changes as well as nonlinear career trajectories. Most successful people in this age did not just “move up the ladder.” Some of them have to “jump” in order to advance to the next level. The “leap” is different for everyone and can only be made based on a high level of self-awareness and personal drive. Successful people do not wait for their experiences to fit into a linear career trajectory. They seek opportunities to grow their skills and make the leap once the right opportunity comes along.

#6: Assuming That What You Have at Level 1 Is Sufficient to Keep You Going at Level 2

Most people assume that being good at their craft is enough to get them noticed. While it is important to grow one’s skills, it is equally important to go the extra mile. You need to be emotionally intelligent in order to grow. You need to learn how to identify gaps in your company and provide solutions. You need to learn how to work with people. You need to an avid reader who can tell where your industry will be in the next couple of years based on an in-depth understanding of current trends.

If you are ready for a career change, then reach out to us, as Crystal Recruitment is a Leading Recruitment Agency that connects top talents to top brands every single day.

Five Things that Many Candidates Miss in Job Postings

images WE ARE HIRINGThe information age has resulted in the bombardment of consumers with too much information. As a result of this, it has been reported that attention spans are increasingly becoming shorter. Most of us have lost the art of reading. Instead, we have adopted the habit of scrolling through information in search of what we consider important. This often happens when candidates are going through a job posting. Based on the applications and resumes we have received over the years, it is not hard to see that most candidates spend less than a minute reading through a job posting before hitting the “ Apply” button. As a result of this approach, most candidates miss out on opportunities that they are qualified for.

What should you be on the lookout for in a job posting? Here are some of the key elements of a job posting that you should be on the lookout for;

The Job Title

It sounds obvious, right? It is right there in front of you. It is in bold font. Most candidates still miss out on it. If you are applying for a job via email, make the job title the subject of your email. Make it the filename of your resume before you send your resume. At any given moment, recruiters have to sift through hundreds of resumes as they seek candidates for various jobs. Make your application and your resume stand out of the crowd by demonstrating that you know the position you are seeking.

The Recruiter’s Name

Should the job application you are about to send be addressed to a recruiter or human resource manager at a particular organization? Knowing the recruiter’s name is important as it will help you customize your application appropriately. In some job postings, the title of the person you will be reporting to will be included in the job description. For instance, a marketing manager may be reporting directly to the chief operations officer. Before you send your application, try and find out some information about the person you will be reporting to through professional networks.

If you are applying via email, can you learn anything from the address? It is not uncommon for con artists seeking to fleece desperate job seekers to create dummy accounts using Gmail or Yahoo so be on the lookout for such email addresses. A legit job posting from a credible organization will not mention the name of the person you will be reporting to. It will also include the name of the organization. For instance, if you are applying for the position of an intern at XYZ fashion, the job posting will state that all applications should be addressed to: recruitment@xyzfashion.com.

Instructions on How to Apply

Job postings will include instructions on how to apply for a particular position. If an organization is seeking a photographer who must include a sample of his work, ignoring these instructions will dim your chances. In some job postings, candidates may be required to include the job title and a reference number in the subject line. Adhering to such instructions gives you an edge over the other candidates. It also shows that you pay attention to details and you can follow instructions.

Keywords to Use in Your Application

Read and re-read the job description very carefully. Ask yourself the following questions:wood-cube-abc-cube-letters-48898

  • What are the skills that are required for the job?
  • What are the academic qualifications required for the job?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities you will be required to carry out as part of your job?

Your answers to these questions should shape your application. Most recruiters use software that sifts through applications based on relevance. The relevance is based on specific keywords that the employer wants to see in your application.

When writing your resume, avoid making it too long even if you have the professional experience and academic qualifications that would make it long. Most recruiters do not have the time to read through a novel. Instead, make it about two pages long with key highlights.

Qualifications Required

Most organizations will clearly spell out the qualifications that are required for a particular job and the skills that are relevant to that role. Do not worry if you do not have some of the skills. For instance, a job may require a candidate with five years of experience yet you only have three years of experience in a similar role. Highlight your achievements in those three years. Demonstrating that you have the ability to deliver results could actually make you stand out.

As a candidate, you need to spend a little more time reading the job posting before sending your application. The clues you need are often tailored into the job posting. All the best in your search!

We at Crystal Recruitment work with candidates by connecting them to great career opportunities with Potential Employers. Reach out to us via Email and let us talk about your next career move.

Six Factors to Consider Before Promoting an Employee

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How do you know it is time to promote an employee? Identifying internal candidates who should be promoted is not a walk in the park. Apart from using tools such as performance appraisals and reviews, it is also important to be on the lookout for character traits that distinguish a candidate from the pack. Some organizations who have embraced Talent Succession planning often compile a list of individuals who would take up the vacant roles when they arise. Below is a guideline that can help you identify employees within your organization who are ready for promotion:

  1. They have a good work ethic

A good work ethic is characterized by good prioritization skills, punctuality, consistency and commitment to continuous improvement. An employee who is always rushing to beat the deadline is a poor manager of his or her time and lacks the ability to prioritize. An employee who burns the midnight oil in the office is not necessarily the most productive employee. Research is increasingly pointing towards the need for productivity at work instead of long working hours. Sweden led the way a few years ago with an experiment on the effect of a 6-hour working week.

Toyota services in Gothenburg switched to a six-hour working week about 13 years ago and reported that the employees were happier and more productive as a result of this shift. Your organization may not be in a position to make the working day shorter but it should encourage a culture of balance.  Workers should work within reasonable working hours and be rewarded for respecting the limits of the working day and meeting their targets within those limits.

  1. They are oriented towards solutions to problems within the organization.

It is often stated that there are two types of people in the world: those who create problems and those who solve problems. An employee who works towards solving problems regardless of their position should be given an opportunity to exercise his or her problem-solving abilities. One’s ability to solve problems is often evidenced by creative thinking, eagerness to learn and implement new ideas and the ability to ask the right questions. Your organization should foster an environment in which employees can thrive as they solve day to day problems that are being encountered by the organization. A valuable employee does not always have the right answers to problems but he or she is willing to consider the possibilities and explore them.

  1. They are respected by their co-workers

pexels-photo-1438510An employee who is ready for a promotion easily earns the trust and the respect of co-workers through their diligence, ability to work with others and the support that they offer to others in the process of working with them. An employee who has already earned the respect of his or her co-workers will thrive when he or she is given more responsibilities since he or she will lead others towards the attainment of organizational goals. In addition to this, he or she will foster a culture of collaboration thereby minimizing the effect of toxic competition within the team.

  1. They take responsibility

Progress, not perfection is one of the key elements you should consider before promoting an employee. An employee who is ready for a promotion takes responsibility for his/her actions at work and has a clear sense of direction for the progression of his/her career. In every organization, decisions are made concerning the day to day running of the organization. An employee who is ready for a promotion makes decisions based on the company’s vision and goals. They have the company’s best interests at heart. Whenever such an employee makes a mistake, he/she does not shut down. They own up, learn from it and moves forward.

  1. They ask for feedback and take it well

There are very few employees who ask for feedback and actually consider it. If a member of your team is eager to get feedback and consider it, take note of their ability to listen to others. An employee who is keen on their current performance level, what they need to improve and what they need to do in a different way is not only capable of taking initiative but is also keen on growing beyond their current role.

  1. They seek opportunities to share knowledge

An employee who is keen on being promoted is not afraid of sharing knowledge with his or her colleagues. Such an employee will be enthusiastic about training new employees in addition to sharing the knowledge they have acquired in some aspects of the job with their team members. Sharing knowledge is an indication that the employee cares about the growth of others as well as his. Such employees also actively seek out opportunities to gain knowledge that will help them improve in their areas of weakness. They seek out resources from other departments and try out new ideas.pexels-photo-260024

At Crystal Recruitment, we make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent. We endeavor to work with candidates who have such qualities. 

TOP FIVE REASONS WHY EXECUTIVE SEARCHES FAIL

EXECUTIVEExecutive recruitment is a daunting task. It entails working with a limited pool of talent in a given segment. The candidate who will ultimately fill the role must be someone who can be held accountable for the growth of the organization or growth of a key department within the organization. Some organizations successfully navigate the murky waters of executive searches then end up with a candidate who is not cut out for the job. Most organizations work with headhunters in their quest for executive talent yet they still end up with a failed executive search. Below are the top five reasons why executive searches fail:

Poor Research

Information is power, particularly in this age. In the quest for executive talent, some recruitment firms assume that all the information that they require about a candidate can be found in the candidate’s online profile. This conclusion is often arrived at following the delegation of the research work to someone who has little or no experience in research. As a result of this, the executive research is done haphazardly. The executive mapping process is characterized by gaping holes. The candidate sourcing process lacks discipline hence the recruitment firm ends up missing out on the best candidates who are hidden in plain sight. The digital age makes research even more difficult because recruiters need to have the ability to distinguish between the noise and the signal. While there are many executives who are a click away on LinkedIn, there are very few interested, qualified and passionate executive candidates.

Conflicting/ Unaligned Needs

This problem arises if there are multiple decision makers with conflicting views on the executive search process. For instance, the co-founders might consider a candidate’s experience more valuable while the board members consider the candidate’s educational background more important. Whether the executive search is being carried out by an external party or it is done in-house, conflicting expectations within the top leadership of an organization are bound to interfere with the process. Sometimes, it is not clear whether the organization desires to have a leader who will have an impact on revenue growth as soon as possible or a leader who will set up operational procedures that will translate into revenue growth in the long term.  The conflict in expectations can arise from an unrealistic desire to have a candidate who can solve all of the company’s problems.

Shifting Priorities Mid-Search

This problem is an extension of the aforementioned problem (refer to no. 2). A company begins an executive search, creates a job description, searches and interviews several candidates. Mid-way through the process, the organization realizes that there are aspects of the executive role that were not covered in the initial job description. A quick shift in gears takes place in order to correct this. In the process, precious time and money is wasted. To address this problem, firms need to recruit external recruitment firms to help them in the identification of priorities and drafting of a job description. An organization does not have to retain the recruitment firm after this. Consulting an external party gives the organization to save time and recruit more efficiently.

Creation of a Wish List

There is a common saying that states that perfect is the enemy of the good. This applies to organizations during the process of creating a wish list for the perfect candidate to fill a certain role. For most organizations, the wish list often comprises of a long list of acuities and experiences that the ideal candidate for the executive role is expected to have. This list may fail to account the realities in the talent market. For instance, it is difficult to find an executive who will accept a mid-level salary in order to perform a C-suite role. In other instances, a firm may require an executive with 10 years of experience yet the organization is in its infancy hence does not necessarily need someone with such experience. It is important to go through the wish list for the executive talent that is being sought by the organization and sift through the “nice-to-haves” in order to remain with “must-haves.”

Last Minute Executive Hires

Sometimes, organizations simply drop a post on their LinkedIn profile for an executive role and expect that executive talent will simply show up at their doorsteps the next morning. This often happens whenever an executive is leaving the organization or the company is launching a new service or product that requires a leader to spearhead the process.  Last minute executive hires often fail to meet the organization’s expectations. On average, an executive search can take up to 2 months from the signing of the contract to offering the letter of acceptance. If you know that your CFO is leaving in May, do not wait until mid-April to begin the process of recruiting a new CFO. Give your organization and your recruitment partner time to find, engage, interview and onboard talent that meets the needs of the organization.

We at Crystal Recruitment make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Executive Search Firm in Kenya. Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent.

Five Untruths You Need to Address Before Engaging an Offshore Recruitment Partner

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As the world increasingly shrinks and becomes a global village, most organizations find themselves grappling with the need for offshore talent. For most organizations, it is better to partner with an offshore recruitment partner than to rely on internal recruitment networks which take time to set up and manage. Making the most informed decision about offshore recruitment can be difficult because there are certain misconceptions that are associated with offshore recruitment partnerships.  Surveys that have been carried out across the globe indicate that most hiring managers are unsure as to whether they are working with the most suitable recruitment agency. This uncertainty particularly applies to offshore recruitment partnerships where the financial implications of recruitment errors are much higher. While the fears are based on valid reasons, there are certain untruths that also prevent organizations from engaging offshore recruitment partners:

Untruth #1: Offshore Recruitment Partners in Low-Cost Destinations Have Poor Infrastructure

What comes to mind when you think of an offshore recruitment partner? Offshore recruitment firms are often judged by their physical addresses. A fancy address does not always mean that an offshore recruitment firm is competent, techno-savvy and customer focused. A startup offshore recruitment firm might be the best offshore recruitment partner because of high levels of employee morale, dedication to its customers, investment in the best technological tools and data-driven decision making. For these reasons, an organization seeking an offshore recruitment partner should evaluate offshore recruitment partners based on their track record, competence and ability to make sound recruitment decisions that are backed by data.

Untruth # 2: Offshore Recruitment Firms are Not Dedicated to A Single Business Entity

Some organizations avoid engaging offshore recruitment firms because of the fear they have about the team structure. This is based on the belief that all of the firm’s employees are not dedicated to a single client hence they end up submitting the same candidates to a number of competing clients. Some organizations consider this threatening because it slows down the hiring process as a result of a low submittal-hiring ratio. While this may happen in some instances, not all offshore recruitment agencies are willing to compromise on their results and ability to deliver. Competent offshore recruitment agencies understand the organization’s culture and best practices hence they are dedicated to proper offshore candidate sourcing and screening practices.

Untruth #3: The Metrics of Offshore Recruitment Firms are Difficult to Determine

This misconception not only applies to offshore recruitment firms but it also applies to onshore recruitment firms. It is a byproduct of years of having incompetent recruitment firms that fail to develop metrics that are significant to their customers. This problem is further compounded by lack of transparency and accountability in the process of offshore recruitment. Prior to engaging an offshore recruitment firm, it is important to work with your preferred offshore recruitment partner to fine tune the metrics and align the recruitment services being offered with the objectives of your organization.

Untruth #4: Offshore Recruitment Makes an Organization Lose Control of Its Recruitment Process

Having an offshore recruitment partner can make one lose control of their recruitment process especially if the metrics are unclear. To avoid this, an organization should work closely with the offshore recruitment partner in order to give its input as the process of recruitment is going on. Unlike internal recruitment networks, offshore recruitment partners can provide an objective look into your organization’s talent needs and give a much needed fresh perspective.

Untruth #5: Offshore Recruitment Partners are Expensive

This misconception is often guided by a one-sided look at the recruitment process. Some organizations only look at the cost of engaging a recruitment partner but fail to consider the return on investment. A good offshore recruitment partner not only performs well but also provides a return on your investment as an organization. Some of the ways of evaluating an offshore recruitment partner’s ROI are:

  • Satisfaction ratings: Previously conducted surveys can give an indication of whether the firm’s offshore clients are satisfied with the services that they have been provided with.
  • Placement per recruiter: An effective offshore recruitment partnership should be measured by its effectiveness in placing candidates per recruiter.

In evaluating the cost of engaging an offshore recruitment firm, the organization should determine whether it wants to engage the firm on a permanent or on a temporary basis. It is advisable to have this in writing in the terms and conditions prior to any engagement. Your organization should also leverage the nature of the relationship it wants to engage in with the firm when negotiating the price.

To maximize on the ROI, an organization should ensure that its offshore recruitment partner provides some form of guarantee. For instance, it can offer a free replacement for a candidate who fails within the probationary period. The terms and conditions should also cover any eventualities such as waiting period for work permit approval.

At Crystal Recruitment, we make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. We have recently started engaging candidates who would like to work abroad in Dubai.

Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zanzibar and for your offshore Needs in Dubai!

5 Reasons Why the Best Employees Leave Organizations

pexels-photo-1563355.jpegEvery organization takes pride in having an employee who is passionate, disciplined, industrious and keen on going the extra mile. Most organizations would want to keep such an employee for life because their performance at work is guaranteed. It often comes as a surprise when one of your best employees decides to leave the organization. While most bosses will not admit it, a notice from such an employee can be devastating news. It is common for managers to blame everything and everyone under the sun whenever a good employee leaves. A manager who is keen on learning from such an experience will take time to critically examine the reasons why his or her best employee is leaving.

If your organization is struggling to retain its best employees, here are some of the most common reasons why this might be the case:

Lack of work-rest balance

We call it work-rest balance because referring to it as work-life balance would be an indication that work is not part of life. In a quest to maintain healthy bottom lines, some organizations push their employees out of their jobs. They demand more than is humanly possible within unrealistic timelines. Even the best employees struggle to keep up with the workload as the managers demand more and more from them. A job that is supposed to be done from 8am -5pm with breaks for lunch and tea ends up becoming a twelve-hour job with no breaks. The employees barely have time to eat, interact as normal human beings or even take breaks that would enable them to acquire a new perspective on the tasks that they are handling. The overall effect of this becomes visible in their physical, social and mental well-being. An organization that treats its employees as mere “resources” without taking their well-being into account will end up losing its best employees.

Overworking employees is counterproductive. A research study carried out by Stanford University showed that the productivity of an employee decreases sharply as the working hours per week exceed 50 hours. It is important for all the leaders in an organization to create a realistic workflow that will help the organization meet its goals while ensuring that the workers are not overworked. It is equally important for line managers to learn how to respect the personal boundaries of the employees they work with. An employee does not have to be on call on weekends, holidays and after working hours unless it is utterly necessary. Organizations seeking to maintain the productivity of their employees should insist on creating a culture in which working late is not considered an indicator of good performance. This will ensure that all employees manage the tasks for the day effectively hence maintaining a healthy work-rest balance.

Failure to Tailor the Talent to the Tasks

going.pngSome of the most talented employees in organizations end up using only 10% of their potential because their talent has not been matched to their jobs. As a result of this, the best employees gradually become discontented and begin to seek other avenues where they will realize their full potential. The mismatch between an employee’s tasks and talent happens as a result of “straight line” mentality. This mentality believes that an employee who is employed in one department should stay in that department. It fails to have a comprehensive view of what the employee is good at and finding ways of providing an opportunity to make use an employee’s talent.

Lies, Lies, Lies

There are organizations that have perfected the art of dangling carrots in front of their employees. For instance, employees can be told by their manager that they will receive a bonus once a certain project has been completed or if they meet their sales target. Employees strive to attain the goal but once they do, the goal post is shifted. Then, the management of the organization provides a long, winding explanation as to why it cannot keep its promise. There are organizations that give their employees contracts that enumerate several benefits but once the employees start working for the organization, the benefits mysteriously fail to show up. Whenever an employee tries to find out why he or she is not getting the benefits as promised, the explanation that is provided is barely sufficient. An organization that lies to its employees loses credibility among its employees. This eventually demotivates the best talent and makes them leave the organization.

Unaddressed Concerns

Addressing the concerns raised by employees is an essential aspect of ensuring that the employees can trust their organization to look out for their best interests. In some organizations, leaders have created a culture in which they remain detached and unapproachable. Issues such as discrimination, unethical practices and sexual harassment can remain unaddressed in such an environment. This leads to widespread fear among the employees. Eventually, leaving the organization becomes the best option.

Poor Pay and Benefits

employee leavingAn organization does not have to offer an employee a bucket load of money in order to retain the employee. An organization just needs to work towards offering fair compensation in line with market rates for a particular type of job. Additional benefits such as flexible working hours for young mothers help in retaining an organization’s top talent. An organization that does not pay its employees on time or fails to pay after several promises is setting itself up for failure because it will eventually suffer from talent drain. It may be easy for an organization to get away with failing to compensate its employees as expected but in the long run, it ruins the organization’s reputation and has an effect on its bottom line. Employees need to know that their financial well-being is not secondary to the company’s profit. They need to see the results of their productive days become tangible benefits.

Do you need help with identifying and retaining talent in your organization? Talk to us at Crystal Recruitment, a leading talent solutions provider in Kenya.

Putting Her in Her Place: Making the Workplace work for Working Mothers

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Ann* did not understand what her boss meant when she was warned of “wavering” commitment during the last trimester of her pregnancy. She had been an award-winning salesperson for the five years she had worked for the organization.  That month had been hard for most enterprises because of a global financial crisis. Her entire team had had a difficult time. Ann was not the only one who was struggling with clients who were barely able to keep afloat. Ann did not understand why she was the only one who got a verbal warning for her performance. When she went for her maternity leave, she had to attend meetings over pending matters in spite handing over prior to her maternity leave.

Ann’s case is just an example of the subtle microaggressions that working mothers have to put up with in Kenya. With an increasing number of women joining the workforce in Kenya, one would expect that working mothers would have a supportive working environment regardless of the industry they work in. The Employment Act of 2007 recognizes that a working mother is entitled to 90 calendar days as maternity leave. A female employee should not be asked to forfeit her annual leave in lieu of maternity leave because the Act has clear provisions for annual leave for all employees. As compared to Tanzania which only has provisions for an 84- day maternity leave if an employee has been working for an organization for at least six months, the provisions for maternity leave in Kenya apply to all mothers who have a valid employment contract in spite of the duration they have worked for an organization.

Organizations in Kenya have strived to provide supportive working environments for mothers but there are gaps that have not been fully addressed. For instance, mothers who have children with special needs or premature babies are not catered for by the provisions for maternity leave. A study carried out in 2016 by Orion Foundation showed that 91% of the caregivers of children with cerebral palsy are mothers. These mothers have to consider quitting their jobs or take on fewer responsibilities at work in order to continue taking care of their children. Similarly, mothers of premature babies often find themselves taking unpaid leave in order to continue catering for their children’s needs. The “motherhood penalty” is particularly severe for these mothers because they miss out on opportunities for career advancement or risk losing their jobs. Some of the mothers we spoke to while researching this article spoke of the difficulty of getting their bosses to give them time off to attend to a sick child. In some cases, mothers reported that they ended up being late for appointments because of the fear that has been instilled by their bosses.

The Health Bill of 2015 which was sponsored by MP Rachel Nyamai requires employers to set up nursing stations in workplaces to enable lactating mothers to express milk and store it. The implementation of the bill by organizations in the country has been slow but some progress is being made. Some of the companies that have provisions for lactating mothers as outlined in the bill include: Oserian Farm, Safaricom, National Bank of Kenya, Kenya Red Cross, Intrahealth International, PWC, Oxygene MCL, CIC Group, Liberty Life Assurance, Heritage Insurance Company, Webtribe Lt/Jambo Pay, DPO Group, Eka Hotel, Airtel Kenya and Nestle Foods, to mention but a few. Over the years, there has been an improvement in the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their children for six months as recommended by the World Health Organization. The National Demographic Health Survey carried out in 2015 indicated that 61% of mothers in Kenya breastfeed exclusively for 6 months. In Eastern and Southern Africa region, it is estimated that 51% of women exclusively breastfeed.  To sustain this progress, organizations who will ultimately rely on the young ones as their workforce in the future should be supportive of nursing mothers once they return to work after maternity leave.

Most working women struggle to exclusively breastfeed their children after going back to work due to lack of lactating facilities and the demands of their jobs. For this reason, there has been a proposal to increase maternity leave to 6 months, but this has not augured well with the Federation of Kenya Employers which argues that this would be counterproductive.  This provision would particularly benefit mothers who have premature babies. Premature babies have to be hospitalized for longer periods as compared to babies born at full term. By the time the mother leaves the hospital, she has very days of her maternity leave left. Most mothers end up being stressed as they try and keep up with the delicate demands of their young ones. This is compounded by the fact that most organizations do not offer flexible working arrangements.

Below are some of the steps organizations can take to make the workplace a better place for working mothers:

Identify and confront biases towards working mothers

The biases towards working mothers can be subtle but they are alive and well. It is a well-known fact that children need their mothers often but this can easily be ignored at expense of the organization’s bottom-line. These biases are supported by outdated management principles that focus on one aspect of an employee’s life at the expense of all other important aspects. An organization seeking to promote work-life balance must confront its biases towards working mothers and begin to address them

Make room for flexible work arrangements

Technology has made it possible for meetings to held using virtual platforms by people in different continents. A mother who needs to attend a sales meeting can make a phone call and conclude the sale. The changing nature of work should be embraced by all organizations for the benefit of all employees, particularly working mothers.

Support and promote working mothers

A woman does not become less competent because she is a mother. On the contrary, being a parent equips one with skills that are useful in the workplace such as empathy, ability to handle tense situations and patience.  If a promotion opens up within the organization, working mothers should have an equal opportunity for promotion.

Are you a working mother looking for a better company/organization that supports the careers of working mothers? Then do reach out to us as Crystal Recruitment Ltd is a leading recruitment agency in Kenya and we do work with amazing clients who support working mothers.

TO HIRE OR NOT TO HIRE? HERE IS YOUR FOOLPROOF CHECKLIST

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Sometimes, hiring a candidate can seem like rocket science before the era of Google. You hire an experienced sales manager only for you to realize that the manager cannot handle the changes in market dynamics. You hire a candidate who seems to have immense potential as an executive assistant only for you to realize that the assistant is tardy and untidy hence he can hardly keep up with the demands of the job. What are the indicators or clues that an employer should be on the lookout for before hiring a candidate?

Hire a candidate who has the right potential

Potential is often defined as the ability to grow and adapt to different working environments. It is easy to weed out the candidates who lack potential during the preliminary stages of an interview. However, determining whether the candidates possess the right kind of potential takes skill. Globally, jobs are increasingly subject to change due to the fast-paced nature of advancement.  A good employer knows that uncertainties are a part of the future hence he or she hires with that in mind. Look for interview questions and assessments that bring out a candidate’s inquisitiveness. Ask candidates about practical steps they have taken to learn something new and apply it in their field. Having the right potential is demonstrated through one’s eagerness to learn in order to reach one’s full potential. A candidate with the right potential is competent, curious, insightful and engaged. A candidate with a few years of experience may have more potential than a candidate with many years of experience. A candidate with the right potential does not want a new job because he/she “can no longer learn anything from their current job”. Instead, he or she wants a position in your organization because it is in line with his or her career goals.

Hire a candidate who understands their career trajectory

Some candidates are one disaster away from a career head-on collision. Their career journey is a random doodle with no goals, ambition or direction in sight. Other candidates know where they are headed, why they want to head in a particular direction and how they are going to get there. Job hopping might look like it is in vogue but from a recruitment perspective, it might also speak of indecisiveness and red flags in one’s character. There might be a shortage of permanent jobs in this economy so it’s okay for one to have some temporary jobs in one’s resume. However, if the stories behind the departure from one organization to another do not add up, then there is a problem.

Hire a candidate who can ask good questions

The wise man, as it is often said, poses the right questions. A candidate who asks questions for the sake of asking questions might be a disengaged candidate who is not curious. A good interview is engaging because it is a two-way conversation. Be prepared to answer a candidate’s questions with clarity and honesty. A candidate’s questions can be an indicator of the candidate’s ability to think creatively and learn. It is also an indicator of whether the candidate is eager to join the organization and bring new ideas.

Hire a candidate who is passionate and determined

Does the candidate have new ideas that can be applied in solving problems in your organization? What practical steps would they take to bring that idea to life? How would the candidate counter the legal/ economic challenges that might be encountered in the course of the implementation of their idea?

Sometimes, the most determined and passionate candidate who would be the right fit for the job does not have the academic skills required for the job. A good programmer might have coding skills that he or she learnt through open courseware on the internet while he/she was working at a restaurant to make ends meet. Such a candidate might lack some of the technical skills but their passion and determination makes them an excellent fit for the position. A good project coordinator might have the right skills and attitude but he or she studied biology as their first degree then took online courses in project management.

Do not hire a candidate who is overconfident and proud

Confidence is essential in successfully executing any role. Overconfidence, on the other hand, is a success killer. A candidate who is overconfident does not understand the importance of taking calculated risks. He or she does not know the limits of what they know and the importance of acknowledging that there is a lot to learn. Such a candidate will overpromise and under deliver, take unnecessary risks and constantly pass the buck to others instead of taking responsibility for their mistakes. Ask questions that will help you determine whether a candidate knows their limitations and is willing to seek help where it is necessary.

Do not hire a candidate who brags about other job offers

If a candidate is bragging about other job offers, then he or she should probably be allowed to pursue other job offers. A candidate who brags about other job offers is manipulative and greedy. He or she is probably trying to arm twist the organization into offering more in terms of monetary benefits by overstating the value that he or she would bring to the organization. Bragging about other job offers is also an indication that the candidate will accept other job offers using your organization’s offer as leverage.

 

Are you looking for talent with the above qualities? Do talk to us.

Crystal Recruitment is a leading Recruitment Firm in Kenya, with presence in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda and a reputation of getting the right people for your open vacancies.

Age is a Number, not a Sentence

One of the questions that was raised following the tragic accident involving a bus at Fort Ternan, Kericho was the age of the driver. According to reports in the newspapers, the driver of the ill-fated bus was 72 years old. He had, according to his employer, been a competent employee until then. Questions as to whether his age affected his capacity to perform his duties will remain unanswered. Every organization has to consider the age of its employees. Section 58 and 59 of the Employment Act of 2007 recognize that the minimum age for any industrial undertaking is 16 years. Most employees are required to retire by the age of 55 years but in some instances, an employee can continue working up to the age of 70 years.

As technological advances shift the nature of work, jobs are continually evolving. There are jobs such as digital asset manager which did not exist twenty years ago while there are others such as typists that have become obsolete. The ratio of Kenya’s youth to the population stands at 20.3%, which is above the world’s average of 15.8%. A 2016 World Bank report stated that the unemployment rate in Kenya among the youth stands at 17.3%.  This is higher than the unemployment rates in Uganda and Tanzania which stands at only 6%. It is against this backdrop that organizations have to find the right balance in order to attain diversity in terms of age in their organizations.

There are stereotypes that are associated with both the young and the old that do not necessarily apply to everyone in these groups. Many hiring managers consider millenials a good fit for certain roles because it is often assumed that they are “energetic,” “digital natives” and “agile learners.” These assumptions have driven a shift in terms of considering the criteria for labelling an employee as “too old.” In certain industries, anyone above the age of 40 years is considered “too old,” hence certain roles are reserved for employees below the age of 40 years. In other organizations, those who are below the age of 40 years do not stand a chance because most positions are occupied by those who are 40 years and above. Both extremes create an imbalance in the work place and stifle the rich experiences that would be created as a result of having a diverse workforce comprised of workers of different ages. Organizations can take the following active steps towards ensuring that they create a diverse workforce:

Have a talent acquisition strategy that spells out skills/background required for each role

Having a talent acquisition strategy ensures that you hire the right talent for the right job. It forecasts the organization’s need for talent in line with its growth strategy and helps in planning in advance for talent acquisition. Having such a strategy in place can help in eliminating some of the age inclined biases because the skills and background of the required talent is clearly outlined in the strategy. Some cliché words used in describing talent are regarded as ageist. For instance, “highly energetic” is regarded as a euphemism for “young”.  Avoid using such words in your strategy. Instead, focus on attributes that would make a candidate valuable regardless of their age. The talent acquisition strategy should be shared with external recruiters to ensure they understand the organization’s needs when it comes to talent.

Create interview templates that are related to candidates’ skills and work experience

A good interview should be an opportunity to delve deeper into a candidate’s competencies and work experience. All the questions that the interview panel intends to pose to the client should be geared towards ensuring that the hiring team has a clear picture of the value that the candidate would bring to an organization if given an opportunity to do so. Experience is valuable and it often comes with age but this does not mean that a candidate who does not have many years of experience would not be of value if given an opportunity to put their skills to use.

Make training opportunities available to all employees

Learning, as they often say, is the only way to avoid rusting. Training is an essential part of your organization’s growth hence it should be offered to all employees on a regular basis. Organizations often assume that they will not benefit much by offering their older employees opportunities for training since the older employees are on their way to retirement. This assumption results in a huge skills gap between the older and younger employees.  Training offers an opportunity for the older employees to share the wealth of the experience they possess with the younger employees. It offers the younger employees an opportunity to share the new developments in the field with older employees in an environment that is interactive and friendly.

There are three ages to consider according to psychologists. Which age are you focusing on?

Psychologists argue that there are three “ages.”

Chronological age is determined by one’s date of birth. It is subject to the clock and seasons on earth hence there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Biological age is determined by one’s lifestyle. A 20 year old can have the heart of a 90 year old due to bad eating habits, lack of exercise and a bad attitude towards life. A 60 year old can have the heart of a 30 year old due to proper eating habits, regular exercise and a good attitude towards life.

Psychological age is determined by how an individual views himself or herself as he/she advances in age. As Henry Ford, the American business magnate and founder of Ford Motor Company rightfully observed: Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

Are you stuck in a rut when it comes to talent acquisition? We at Crystal Recruitment make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent.