Recruiters in Nigeria are faced with the challenge they face in sifting through many applications for every job they advertise. Most of the candidates applying for advertised jobs usually do not possess the required qualification or experience, a show of the mismatch between the number of graduates and job opportunities in the market.
Why is this Such a Big Problem?
The challenge of finding and hiring qualified candidates is a major challenge to employers in Nigeria and the rest of the world because the process of recruitment is indeed cumbersome especially for medium and large corporations that receive tonnes of applications and CVs when hiring. Humphrey Olugbue, a recruitment analyst observes, “There is a huge disconnect between what Nigerian tertiary institutions are churning out and the quality of candidates that recruiters are searching for. This is not to say that all the graduates who leave school are half baked. Rather, what this means is that the work environment is changing.”
He also notes that employers usually have very defined expectations when hiring and when these expectations are not met, there is a wide disconnect. This is why employers take their time to come up with a job description that makes it easier for them to narrow down the number of candidates they are likely to attract.
Another recruitment analyst, John Bassey, adds, “This problem can be traced to the educational system because this is where the candidates are educated. We have a situation where most candidates have their heads filled with theoretical knowledge. This is a dangerous situation because what this means, for instance, is that you will have Computer Science and Computer Engineering graduates who cannot build or navigate basic websites. Who is going to hire such candidates?”
So, What is the way out?
Internships: Internships really help because what the internship does is that it gives candidates that on-the-field experience that they need. It helps them understand the practical skills they need on the field. The fact that a candidate was good in the theoretical aspect of sales and marketing while in school does not mean that he/she understands how companies practice their marketing. There has to be an alignment between what the tertiary institutions are teaching students and what employers and recruiters are looking out for. Bassey added that Nigerian graduates should be more receptive to free internships with organisations that can help them grow their skill-base and experience. “There is also a place for enthusiasm and spirited candidates. No serious employer will overlook or compromise the place of hiring qualified hands and honestly, they are not asking for too much,” he noted.
Training/Courses: The quality of training that candidates go for also matter. However, candidates need to understand that there is a need to build on what they have learnt in school and this is where training and courses come in. It is also important to ensure that these courses are relevant to their careers and the needs of employers and recruiters. For instance, an employer looking to hire a web developer will not find a HSC Masterclass training directly relevant to what it needs in a candidate. Rather, a course on Java Programming, HTML or PHP would be considered more relevant. Bassey explains that personal development is key to solving this problem. “The more skilled and experienced candidates are, the easier it becomes to hire the best hands. Candidates need to look outside what they have learnt within the walls of the university or polytechnic. They need to upgrade,” he enthused.
A growing number of employers have embraced assessment tests that help them assess the basis aptitude and the personality of prospective employees. AMCAT is a very popular example of assessment tests that help recruiters shortlist only the finest candidates.
AMCAT is a computer adaptive test, which measures job applicants on critical areas like communication skills, logical reasoning, quantitative skills and job specific domain skills, thus, helping recruiters identify the suitability of a candidate. This saves recruiters time and money.
While most aptitude tests only measure a candidate’s verbal comprehension and reasoning abilities, AMCAT also evaluates personality traits and domain skills, which explains why it is widely embraced.
Recruiters constantly need to separate the best candidates from the horse of applications they receive when hiring. This is not as easy as it would appear but by ensuring that the assessment process is thorough, employers end up saving more money and more time.