CVs and interviews will always be an important aspect of recruitment, but given the historic and current educational landscape in South Africa, these tools might not be very efficient in allowing employers to recognise the talent and potential of young people. Some employers are therefore using creative recruitment strategies to identify talented youth and to determine where a young person might need support if they were to be employed. Here are some of these strategies:
Partnering with sector specific non-profit organisations
Instead of recruiting directly, PERI, Aveng-Grinaker (A-G) and Sutherland partner with the NGO, Go for Gold. Go-for-Gold is an innovative public-private partnership that recruits and prepares disadvantaged youth for careers in the construction sector through an integrated four-phase programme. It provides tutoring at the high-school level, an internship and sponsored training in the industry, and employment within the sector. Keith Adams of Sutherland says they know that Go for Gold students will be “head and shoulders” above the rest and this then allows them to consider a wider range of qualities when recruiting, rather than narrowly focusing on academic performance.
Partnering with a youth recruitment social enterprise
Harambee connects employers looking for entry-level talent to young, high-potential work-seekers who are currently locked out of the formal economy. They begin their recruitment process by identifying key skills gaps within its partner companies (for example, Hollard, Nando’s, Woolworths and so forth). In the recruitment process they make use of the ShadowMatch assessment tool, a customisable aptitude test, which assesses individual fit for specific positions – mostly based on behavioural indicators. With each intake of new candidates, Harambee thus develops a ShadowMatch assessment based on the specific needs of the company they are partnering with. Selected young people then go through a tailor-made bridging programme that ensures that they have the neccessary confidence, skills and functional behaviour. Note that they also support Small and Medium Enterprises.
Creative DIY solutions
Khulisa Management Services is a for-profit consulting firm in the social development sector. They have been implementing a highly successful internship programme for over a decade. Their recruitment success rests on a one to two-day assessment centre during which selected applicants are put to the test on a range of skills, including creative and strategic thinking, information synthesis and report writing, statistical analysis and the manipulation of data, information management, presentation and communication skills, working in groups and so forth. They are not selected by a single person, but by a group of Khulisa employees, based on the potential they illustrate during the assessment centre. For the hopeful intern, the assessment centre is not about doing everything perfectly, but it is an opportunity to let their talent, skill and creativity shine through in a way that a CV and interview don’t allow.
Business/IT solutions provider MIP Holdings identify talent and potential among overwhelming numbers of applications for their intern positions as follows: they require interested candidates to solve a logic puzzle in order to be given a website address giving them access to the second part of the application process – another logic test. Once the test is completed, the website asks the applicant to email contact details and a copy of their CV or areas of interest in technology. At the same time, the system tells MIP how long it took the participant to solve the puzzle. Based on the successful solving of the puzzle and the emailed details, MIP sends those applicants a psychometric test. Those who pass these tests are then interviewed. MIP reports that once a participant has completed all of the phases, they have found a 99% success rate in converting these individuals into successful programmers.