Hello People. I trust you have had a productive week so far. In a few weeks, we would be kissing 2021 goodbye. Yes, I said ‘weeks’ and not ‘months’. The truth is, for me, it feels easier on the lips to say “2021 would be over in less than 15 weeks” than “2021 would be over in a little over three months” even though both statements mean the same thing. It is simply a question of perception here and we would be bringing a lot of this to bear during this series on Experience and Employability which Lizzy started last week. It feels good to be writing again and I would simply dive right in and drop my thoughts along this line. I hope you find this piece engaging.

Every organization needs people to deliver its mission and objectives. A products-based company would need people to carry out every vital step of the production process – from the extraction to manufacturing, packaging, delivery etc. People would be needed to do the work! Likewise, a service-based company would need people to deliver its services to its prospective customers. Without people, no organization can effectively function and quite often, it has been said that every organization is only a function of its people. For this reason, employers pay attention to the people that make up their workforce hence, the recruitment process is a vital process for every employer, whether they realize it or not. Recruiting the right people could make a whole world of difference between a business that scales up significantly or a business that crumbles.

Funny as it may sound, a lot of employers today would rather have their employees ready to hit the ground running and deliver the goods in the shortest time rather than spend quality time training such employees before they can begin to deliver. Because every organization has its own peculiarities, it would be quite difficult to find employees who come right in and immediately fit into the organization’s operational model. At the very least, that employee would need to understand the new work environment. However, employers usually expect that this would probably be the only thing to deal with and every other area would have been sufficiently covered by the new employee. This is where the concept of ‘relevant experience’ usually pops its funny head. Lol.

A very simple scenario like this would be very familiar in Nigeria today. You find a job vacancy for a business development personnel with the following criteria: Must have had a minimum of three years’ experience in the FMCG sector and must not be more than 26 years old. Now, this would imply that this employee would probably have graduated from university at 21 or 22, undergone the mandatory National Youth Service by 22 or 23 and had post-NYSC experience for about 3 years. In most cases, you hardly find such people but no matter how scarce they may seem, they exist! Employers understand this and thus set their standards high to reflect their penchant for the best and nothing less.

There are cases of employees who have had to settle into a job that would likely not be the most preferred choice but simply the available choice and they end up spending a few productive years in this role. For instance, a Business Administration graduate who leaves University at 22, fulfils the NYSC requirement and after almost two years of combing the streets searching for a job in a related field to no avail settles for the role of a teacher in a secondary school and spends the next 4 years there still hoping to land the ideal job someday. Luck smiles and at 28, the ideal job comes knocking and after applying and getting to the interview stages, the ‘relevant experience’ debate comes knocking. Would you say the 6 years post-University should be discarded as not good enough as ‘relevant experience’?

How about if such an organization decided to factor in the years spent on the job search and as a school teacher and see how these experiences can come to bear on the role, even if it means creating a form of accelerated training for such an employee to be able to fit into that new role in the shortest possible period rather than just tossing out that person for lack of relevant experience in the role? The question remains however: How many organizations today can afford such sensitivities, especially in this time and age when all businesses want to do is make money and stay relevant? I strongly believe if we bring these matters to the fore and take time to ruminate on them a bit more, we will find a common ground somewhere and realize that the experiences from the school of life itself might be more relevant than any ‘relevant experience’ in a related role.

Often, the experiences we go through while job hunting or in less preferred roles might be the impetus we need to deliver effectively when the right opportunity comes knocking. These experiences birth in most people a hunger to succeed against all odds and sometimes, a few employers do realize this and take the gamble on such prospective employees and only time would tell if these gambles would pay off. Sometimes, all that is needed is just a little faith!

Till next time!


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