Irene Gloria Addison is the owner of HIRE Ghana, a leading Human Resource Management and Recruitment Agency and Organizational development consultancy company started in 2014 out of her strong belief that bringing the right candidates with the right organizations makes for great organizations. Prior to that Irene worked in Educational Project Management. Irene also writes IreneWorkplace a column at modernghana.com where she offers advice for job hunters. More on Irene’s work at www.HIREgh.com
You own and run a successful recruitment company. How did you determine what area to start a business in and what were your ambitions at the start?
I came to HR from Educational Project Management, where I started slowly getting more and more involved into HR & Recruitment and fell in love with it over the years. I saw first- hand how Recruitment Agencies tend to treat both their candidates and clients. My aim (and thus part of HIREghana’s vision) has always been to bringing the right candidates and the right organizations together. That might sound simple, but implies caring to understand who the candidate is, who the potential employer is and their organizational culture and then orchestrate that ‘symphony’. I lead the team to strive daily to become the best Recruiting Agency for both candidates and employers.
What would you say have been the factors for the success you’re enjoying so far besides the fact that there are always people looking for jobs?
Kindly allow me to correct a misperception. Recruitment Agencies are paid by their clients to find future employees; they are not paid by the job applicants to find them jobs. Simply, we are always after a long- term partnership with each one of our clients and do not seek just a search assignment from them. We also work in building long term relationship with all our candidates. We never forward blindly CVs matching a given vacancy. We invest a lot of time in prescreening candidates before we present them to the client to make sure that we send the right ones. For the 3 years that we have been operating, none of our placed candidates has ever been fired.
What are some of the most common mistakes you see job seekers make and what are your top tips on how applicants can increase their chances of at least making it to the interview?
Applicants must follow the precise instructions on how to apply as outlined in the job announcement. They must take care with presentation of their application documents such as using a clear subject title (if they are applying by email), typing a clear cover letter/ email and making sure the CV is professional using appropriate fonts and that there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. They should not list tasks and duties but a list of accomplishments instead. In all application communication, the jobseeker must show what they can do for the potential employer and how they can add value to their organization.
Everyone looks for opportunities but increasingly one has to create them. What are some ways of creating career building opportunities?
There is the old expression, don’t lunch alone; basically network! And choose a few platforms (whether LinkedIn groups or something else) – a few where you can respond to questions or participate in discussions. This will slowly establish you as an expert in some people eyes… then opportunities will follow. Build a good long term relationship with your local headhunters, but don’t overload them with irrelevant communication
You also do Executive searches. There’s the assertion that women tend to face more challenges in attaining especially senior jobs. What’s been your experience and how can women attract the interest of recruiters to senior level roles?
This is just our own statistical observations so far, and not a golden rule. Some industries (e.g. transport/ logistics and manufacturing) tend to have a preference for men for senior roles. Men seem to always have updated CVs and LinkedIn profiles and be ready to move. It would be helpful if senior women did the same. Updated Linkedin profiles generally would make it easier for one to be reached too. Women seem to be more loyal to their current employer or more fearful of change instead of considering why a new job or employer could be a good career move or be the source of professional growth. Women tend to seek ‘challenge’ in a job and unfortunately, not all companies present their vacancy as a ‘challenge’ which means women may overlook such a job opportunity. As I indicate these are our general observations at HIREghana and not a formal assessment.
As the head of your own organization, how do you determine and ensure what will move your organization and your team forward?
We have a business plan that guides us. We also invest time to follow and understand trends both in our industry and in our geographical space. We also have a semi-formal Board of Directors that provides good direction and also challenges every new idea that deviates from our original corporate strategy.
I am sure you’ve had your fair share of challenges. How do you handle difficult times and which personal traits and values have served you well in that regard?
A sea in not always calm, and sure ‘a ship in the harbor is a safe ship’. But a ship is built not to stay in the harbor but to travel on the seas and faces all unforeseen challenges. That’s what our ‘HIREghana– ship’ does too. We overcome all challenges mainly with patience, and a strong faith in what we do and in our ability to adjust constantly. We also believe in good karma, and often go out of our way to actively help people -whether they are candidates of ours or HR functionaries at a client’s.
In what way have you grown in the last few years that has surprised you?
We decided not to advertise and test whether we could grow organically. It seems everyone we meet has heard of HIREghana and we have managed to get clients by old fashioned word of mouth. In the last year we have had recruitment assignments in other parts of West Africa and Kenya and now getting requests to work with Middle Eastern and European companies even though we still don’t advertise for business. We also now have the biggest CV repository in Ghana.
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