The current pandemic has brought many challenges as well as opportunities to be innovative. In light of this, foremost Nigerian based job portal and career platform, Jobberman is working tirelessly to ensure  many more people find their dream jobs.

The organization is hosting the largest virtual career fair in Nigeria with the aim of connecting 250 potential employers from diverse industries with 10,000 highly qualified job seekers, also known as “Jobberman Champions.”

In an interview with Ventures Africa, Tofe Adejumo Youth Engagement Associate – Learning and Development at Jobberman, shares more information about the fair, how to maximize the experience and insights on Jobberman’s operations.

Ventures Africa (VA): In your opinion, what are some of the setbacks youths are faced with in the job market? 

Tofe Adejumo (TA): One of the major challenges youth face in the job market today is they are meant to come into even entry level positions with some experience. Unfortunately, the educational system especially at the tertiary level focuses on theoretical knowledge and testing with no emphasis on practice. There is a huge gap in the job market where the youth lack practical skills and experience to make them attractive hires.

VA: Is the company running any program(s) to help employees remain relevant in the workplace given the new normal? 

TA: Jobberman prides itself on bringing employment opportunities to the market with continuous learning to keep you employed and growing in your career. We have always partnered with learning and development providers to showcase their training workshops on our platform at reasonable prices. This year, we also launched our partnership with Mastercard Foundation to upskill 5 million Nigerian youth and place 3 million in dignified work. To launch the partnership we developed our soft skills program as a response to our findings from a skills gap analysis we took in the Nigerian job market reflecting both employers and job seekers. This is a free training we offer, to certify young Nigerians in the pertinent soft skills they need to shine and deliver excellence.

VA: How can participants prepare themselves to maximize the career fair? 

TA: As we consistently advise in our soft skills classes, they must have a clear plan of their career which will help them also know which masterclass to attend and which employers they need to make a connection with during the career fair. Also, they should have taken the time to research the top employers they would like to connect with during the career fair so they can have a robust conversation that keeps them relevant in the employer’s mind. Finally they must have their elevator pitch ready to introduce themselves, their educational and professional background, and their career goals.

VA: The career fair will be hosting 10,000 of the country’s most skilled candidates, what are the metrics for selecting the participants? 

TA: We had a very simple criteria for selecting job seekers. They had to have completed the Soft Skills training and earned their certificate as well as have their Jobberman profile at 100% complete.

VA: How has Jobberman maintained her position as a leading online training and job placement website over the years? 

TA: Jobberman has been able to maintain their unique position and reputation in the industry starting with hiring the right team to execute the vision, partnering with amazing organizations and people that push us to innovate. But, most importantly we are an organization that is not afraid to evolve. We listen very attentively to the market and our key stakeholders. Our focus is on serving them to the best of our ability and being 1% better every single day. We speak, show and breathe excellence into everything we do. We are not afraid of mistakes and risks because it is where we find innovative solutions. Our focus is consistently putting our customers first and making sure their experience end-to-end with us is unmatched.

VA: What are the goals of the career fair and what does it mean for the organization? 

TA: The main goal of the career fair is to provide a bridge where employers can meet the most skilled job seekers that Nigeria has to offer and create matches that bring about success and fulfillment. The virtual nature of the fair is not only in response to the pandemic we are living through but to make sure that we bring together employers and job seekers across state lines in a place where they can all meet and interact and form mutually beneficial connections. Our greatest aspiration is to make sure our job seekers grow their network and secure an opportunity to achieve their career goals.

VA: What are the requirements for companies to participate in the fair? 

TA: For companies we had one criteria, they must be hiring. This is important for us because we do not just want this career fair to be another event that happened, but we wanted to make sure that our employers and job seekers leave with something more tangible than just the experience.

VA: Does the company have career development programs that help undergraduates get prepared for the job market? 

TA: Please tell us about them. Jobberman has several initiatives to help undergraduates get ready for the job market. Our Jobberman Youth Engagement team focuses on providing the free Soft Skills Training for undergraduates and job seekers, the team is growing the employer partnerships of Jobberman to bring more opportunities for undergraduates to gain relevant experience and for employers to be matched with the right people for their roles. The Youth Engagement team also has various events focused on employability training and learning sessions where experts from various industries come to impart their knowledge and share with job seekers how to go about preparing for their career, remaining relevant and securing those sought after opportunities.

VA: While interacting with youths, can you say that the Nigerian educational structure is doing well to prepare graduates to meet the demands of the labour force? 

TA: Sadly, the honest answer to this question is no. There is a dearth of youth that are ready to go straight from the university to the workplace. There is a need for a collaboration between the educational institutions and employers to bridge the wide gap that exists between theory and actual expectations on the job. Our educational system needs a complete overhaul. The testing requirements in our tertiary institutions should not be testing for memorization of concepts but rather application of the concepts being taught. All degrees should offer an opportunity for gaining on the job experience or build some practical project into the curriculum.

VA: How do you maintain the quality of job candidates on your platform? 

TA: We are obsessed with excellence and with that commitment we ask for more from our job seekers. They are not expected to only have technical knowledge to highlight on their Jobberman profile but also show competencies in soft skills and people skills. We also make sure that we share opportunities to upskill with them based on their profile. To maintain the quality of job seekers we also look at the calibre of jobs and employers that we have on our platform. You can only attract what you put out there.

Jobberman’s commitment to its vision even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is very laudable and well expressed by the goals of the career fair. As companies have begun to seek new approaches to bounce back and employ a better strategic recruitment process for improved results, programs such as this will go a long way to satisfy the interest of both employers and job seekers.

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