The State of Recruitment in Africa Post COVID-19

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa rise, we are facing an unprecedented employment and recruitment crisis. Many potential new hires who have applied for, gone through numerous rounds of interviews, and even been offered a position are now in limbo. Our lifestyles have changed with physical distancing, self-isolation and remote working becoming the new norm. The pandemic has increased the difficulty of vetting talent, pushing recruitment and people operations online. Adapting to this change and creating a new online recruitment culture will be difficult at first; however, this is an essential move needed by companies in Africa and around the world to ensure business continuity.

Some questions posed about recruitment currently in Africa are: will the coronavirus pandemic entirely turn the recruitment process online for the foreseeable future? How will we at Talenteum go about strengthening our connection with our talent and international employer partners who are seeking the opportunity to embrace remote working? Will a remote workforce be the new normal? Will the “Traditional” companies in Africa begin embracing digital tools in recruitment such as the emerging Zoom, Skype, Hangouts and more? In this article, we will seek to find an answer into how Africa can emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and embrace a different way of working in recruitment and people operations.

One thing that is for sure is that if recruitment of talent in Africa does not adapt to the changes brought about by this pandemic, it will fail for the following reasons:

1. Changes in regulations around how nonessential businesses can conduct daily operations.
2. Shifts in the labour environment
3. The pace at which hiring needs to happen in numerous industries

For the above reasons, we should expect the talent acquisition process across all sectors of business in Africa to require a more flexible and adaptable approach to hiring. As with any significant upheaval and change, there will inevitably be a period of realignment and transition post-COVID-19. Where the pandemic is different is that once it abates and life begins to return to normal, we should expect and actively work towards a safe, inclusive hiring process that embraces the idea of worldwide distributed teams.

Luckily, we already have businesses in Africa that have remote recruitment contingency plans or those that we're able to step up and change their ways of working. Companies such as Talenteum, the African Leadership Group, Moringa School and MEST Africa have all talked about their shift into a total online hiring and remote working process. This shows the unbelievable acumen we have in Africa to deal with this unfortunate global pandemic and the opportunity that Africa has to continue to grow.

Post COVID-19, companies in Africa will need to inform the public and those in their recruitment pipeline that they are moving forward with hiring provided they have frozen those operations. The candidates will tend to move and show more interest in firms that show they are active in their talent acquisition process. Companies will need to immediately shift to digital tools for all aspects of their recruitment process, including traditionally in-person stages, such as interview rounds and onboarding. Video conferencing applications such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts have seen a resurgence. They will continue to be utilised for the foreseeable future. They have been successfully used in structuring hiring coordination, with one-way and group interviews, and applicant presentations. This will make up for the loss of not being able to hold face-to-face interactions with prospective talent.

With a continent full of high-potential talent, I believe Africa has what it takes to emerge from this pandemic like a phoenix. Companies will resume hiring and will embrace the numerous benefits that total online recruitment and remote working bring, such as greater flexibility and motivation for prospective African talent.

Thank you to our Marketing Coordinator Ian Kamanu Wanjohi from Kenya

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