Are you wondering whether it’s possible to get a job during this crisis? At C.S.S, we have been advertising jobs and conducting recruitment. It’s not business as usual, but they are employers out there still hiring.
Starting this week, we shall be profiling professionals who have applied to our job adverts, have gone through our interview process and got hired.
Today, we start with Rahab Mbiriti & Mercy Jerono.
On 28th May 2020, we advertised the Online Writer Internship on our website and other partner websites. We received over 800 applications. Of those, we shortlisted 20 for the first interview, where we got six candidates for the client interview and ultimately two candidates were successful for the role.
Initially, our client was looking for online writers to manage their growing online business for their two platforms, Fashionable Step Mum and Image Redefined. However, based on the interviews conducted and upon further discussion, the role transitioned to a Digital Marketing Officer role.
We recently had a chat with both the candidates and the client, and this is what they had to say:
Candidate 1: Rahab Mbiriti
Tell us who you are.
My name is Rahab. I’m a digital marketer by profession. I have however been trained as an Economist.
I got my first job through Twitter when I came across the hashtag #IkoKaziKE. I was interested in a few offers. However, what caught my eye the most, was Soko Analyst and that is what I ended up settling for. I was brought onboard, taught everything about digital marketing, and I realized I could write too. That’s how I made my switch from Economics. That was in 2018.
2 years into the job, the coronavirus pandemic happened and I lost my job at the end of March. Although my work was online, we were making money through events, and with the prohibition of public gatherings by the government, we had no way of making money. Everything went downhill and that’s how I lost my job.
You lost your job at the end of March. What was going through your mind? Were you looking for another job?
I was very scared, but not worried. I had some savings and had been thinking of starting my website. I thought that in as much as I was losing my job, I was going to gain something at the end of this.
So 2 weeks after I lost my job, I started my website and continued applying for jobs through various job boards.
Knowing about Corporate Staffing from their YouTube channel years back, I would also check their website.
How did you come to know about this job?
I got various responses to my job applications. But this particular one is what caught my eye the most.
How were the application and interview process?
I was called by the recruiter who told me that I had been shortlisted for the role, and would get an email on the ZOOM details before the interview.
The turnaround time was very fast, considering the current situation, I wasn’t expecting to be hired during this period.
With the fast turnaround time, did you think it could be a scam?
I didn’t think it was a scam at all because this is a reputable company I had known about for a long time. I had also verified the job from the website.
The interview process…
Because of technical difficulties on the scheduled ZOOM interviews, we ended up having a phone interview that was a little scary and hard for me. As a writer, it’s easier to write down what you’re thinking, rather than say what you’re thinking. The interviewer however made it easier for me to bring out my writing skills.
After the interview, I didn’t think I would move on to the next stage. I was therefore excited when I got the call asking me to avail myself for the one-on-one interview. Even with the ongoing pandemic and the government’s directives to stay home whenever possible, I thought I should try it out because, at the end of the day, I didn’t have anything to lose.
When I came for the one-on-one interview, I met my now colleague and we exchanged ideas. I was a little nervous walking into the room, but I relaxed as I felt comfortable. It was simple and better than what I was expecting.
I left the interview room still not knowing my fate. I was however hopeful because the questions I was asked, I was able to answer.
I later reported to the client’s office thinking this was going to be another interview, and that’s when I was told I had gotten the job!
Many job seekers are skeptical about finding a job during this time. Based on your own experience, what can you tell them?
Don’t give up. Also, if you are looking for a job, look for jobs in reputable companies. In my past experiences, I have used some hiring companies which were not so dependable. The process of hiring at Corporate Staffing is better than what I have gone through. Lastly, be hopeful. I lost my job in March and got another two months later. Anything is possible.
Candidate 2: Mercy Jerono
Tell us who you are.
My name is Mercy. I am still a student at Moi University taking Communication and Journalism and I am a Digital Marketer.
I came to Nairobi in September last year for my school attachment. I got an internship instead, at Standard Media Group as the Social Media sub-editor. I would manage all their social media handles and because I love writing, I would write articles for the digital site.
My internship was to end in mid-April, but the pandemic happened. Also, around the same time, the company was planning on downsizing. With these two factors, all interns were sent on unpaid leave in March, just after the first case was announced.
When I was sent on unpaid leave I went home – Nakuru. While there, I got a call about attending an interview for a role that my friend had referred me to. I eventually got the job, but then we never started because it was a startup company that was also affected by the pandemic.
To keep myself busy because I could not leave Nairobi, I decided to do more freelancing and update my blog too.
Did you think you would get another job during this time?
I was hopeful, but then realistic, especially with the situation. But I applied for numerous jobs, remaining hopeful.
Before applying for this job you didn’t know about Corporate Staffing?
No, I didn’t, but through my research, I got to learn about it.
Did you think the job was a scam?
No. I had seen other jobs and gotten credibility from the fact that Corporate Staffing is a reputable recruitment firm. Also, I wasn’t asked for any money.
What was the application and interview process like for you?
When I submitted my application and got the auto-response email from CSS, I thought that was good because I’d rather a response than silence.
I got a call and was told about the scheduled ZOOM interview. Due to technical difficulties, we ended up having a phone interview that was simple as the questions were relevant to the position.
I was a little unsure of how I had performed after the interview, but I felt I had done my best.
Then I got the call inviting me for a one-on-one interview with the client. I met Rahab and we exchanged notes. It gave me hope to see her there because it was just the two of us.
The interview went well, and the questions were almost the same as those I had been asked during the phone interview. I was able to let my personality shine. I left a little unsure, but hopeful all the same.
When I reported to the office, I was told I had gotten the job!
Based on your experience, what would you tell job seekers about finding a job especially during this time?
It’s doable. Just be careful especially with a lot of scams going around, look for jobs through the right channels – directly through the company, HR firms and job boards. Lastly, not all hope is lost. Put yourself out there and you will get a job, even with the high number of applicants applying for the same position as you.
Client Feedback: Susan Gitonga – Editor & Operations Manager
Many companies are cutting costs by requesting their employees to take pay cuts, take leave without pay and others have had to let them go. With all the uncertainty that exists during this time, what made you keen to recruit?
With our work being online, our business was not affected. The current situation provided a bigger opportunity for us to grow. With many people home, our articles and videos have received more traffic.
With the growing demand, we, therefore, felt we needed to bring more people on board.
In the past, we have worked with referrals. However, for this role, we wanted people who not only had the skills but were seasoned. That’s when we decided to reach out to an expert to help us in the hiring process and we reached out to Corporate Staffing Services.
Why did you settle on CSS?
Being a reputable HR and recruitment firm, we visited the website and were able to see the clients they have worked with in the past. That is the expertise we were looking for. We felt that we were in good hands and they would be able to get us the people we were looking for.
What was your experience with the whole recruitment process?
It was very quick. And they involved us in that they shared the CVs of the people they had shortlisted, and we were able to have a look at them before meeting the candidates.
It’s an uncertain time for everyone, did you think you would get people?
When they said they would go to the market, we were wondering whether there were people out there looking to be employed. We didn’t know whether there were interested people. Referrals would have been an easier option for us, but we didn’t want that route.
The truth is, businesses that are not necessarily corporate in nature can also get employees through using professional services.
We got good people and we are glad.
Some industries have been affected by the ongoing pandemic. However, there are still other industries, such as our client, that are still hiring. So don’t give up.