Most times human resource challenges can cause a major upheaval in organizations. Aside the revolving door issues, many times there are cases of new employees that stand out as sore thumbs, causing a lot more ordeal than benefits in the organization that hired them. So just for balance, this week, we are assessing the values that employers should look out for when hiring staff. The employer must have a good idea of the qualities that he/she is looking for and plan the interview chat that would help highlight the candidates’ suitability.

On a general note, here are a few attributes that employers should look out for:

Experience and Skills: The candidate should have the relevant skills and experience necessary for the position they applied for. They should have a proven track record of success in their previous roles. Many candidates produce some very impressive CVs without backup references and they bank on the realization that many employers hardly take the time to cross-check references. One of my organizations had an experience with a marketing manager. His CV was quite rich. He’d studied abroad and gained some work experience working in a company that was in the same industry with ours. In Nigeria, he also had made some significant marketing contributions to some big organizations as a consultant. The management team was elated to get someone of his pedigree as a member of staff and quickly employed him. In less than a month, it was obvious that the values he brought to the table did not match the expectations he had created. That was when the HR vetted his CV and found his claims were totally bogus.

It is important to conduct the background check and prove the claims of the applicant.

Education: Education is important when hiring for specific positions. Although there are roles that basic education and loads of experience on the job can handle; for a majority of positions, a very good tertiary education can provide a level of versatility in the candidate that would impact positively on the job.

Personality: The candidate’s personality traits such as mind-set, work ethic, ability to work with a team, confidence and communication skills are very important and should be given careful consideration. The most talented candidate can only be of benefit to the organisation if his/her personality is not disruptive. It is therefore important to ascertain that the candidate has a positive attitude and would be easy to work with.

Cultural fit: The hiring officer must know the company culture and through targeted questions, determine how well the candidate would fit into the company culture and be able to adapt to the work environment.

Emotional intelligence: The candidate should have strong emotional intelligence and be able to manage their own emotions and effectively communicate with others. They should be able to handle conflict in a professional and constructive manner.

Referees: It is important to check the candidate’s referees. There are many times that job applicants fill in names of people that they feel are impressive but who hardly know them. Verification of the relationship of the candidates with their referees or otherwise can help an employer to identify any red flags or potential issues.

Adaptability: The candidate should be able to adapt to changes in the work environment and be willing to learn new skills or techniques. Again this can be verified through the educational qualification and testimonials.

Problem-solving skills: The candidate should possess excellent problem-solving skills, be able to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to problems. Again, a company that I was involved in developed a slightly unique interview method for its first level marketers. The hopeful candidates were given two weeks to go into the streets and do the job that they were being interviewed for. With a commensurate subvention, average back office support, they went into the market to do their job. They were told to daily document where they went to, who they saw and spoke with and what the outcome of their interaction with the person was. There were only a few occasions when some candidates actually made sales; that was not the focus of the exercise because the organisation was yet to train them. However, in the two weeks, just by reading the candidates’ daily reports, the hiring officers were always able to know the ones that would fit into the team and who would achieve results.

Time management: The candidate should be able to manage their time effectively. He should be organized and effective in prioritizing tasks to meet deadlines. Effective time management also means being mindful of other people’s time. This cannot be overemphasised.

Leadership skills: If the positions require a leadership role, the candidate should possess strong leadership skills, be able to motivate others in the team and inspire confidence in them.

In general, the employer must be clear about what core attributes are required for the role the candidate is being interviewed for and strive to assess the candidate’s suitability during the interview.


Fatherhood with Ibe


The story had been flying around for more than a week before I heard fragments of it. As it was told, a girl heard from her Dad’s PA that he was ill and would not be going into the office for a day or two on doctor’s orders. The concerned daughter rushed over to her Dad’s house to check on him and instead met her father’s young wife in bed with a rascally-looking young man. She took out her phone and recorded them straight to her sister’s WhatsApp page. Something alerted the careless couple that they were not alone. The young man jumped up and seized the phone and smashed it. The enraged stepmother joined her lover to beat the stepdaughter to a pulp. Not satisfied, they pushed her down the stairs and called the police rather than an ambulance.

My cousin’s daughter follows all the influencers on social media and is quite up to date about their private lives, at least the parts of their lives that make it into the social media. She can be an encyclopaedia of sorts when it comes to the lives of celebrities. She had come to my house to introduce her fiancé to my family and in between sips of wine, she was full of the story of the stepmother and her ‘intrusive’ stepdaughter. I was happy to note that her fiancé shared the same love for drama and social media with her. They discussed animatedly between themselves and reviewed the diverse versions of the story online. Soon, it was time for them to leave and it was not soon enough for me, I must say.

A few days later, I switched to a local television channel and the entertainment news anchor was talking about a viral picture of a celebrity in bed with a man who was not her husband. The news anchor talked about the discovery of a certain video and how it had changed the whole story that had been circulating. I felt it was the same story as the one my cousin’s daughter had chatted so animatedly about a few days ago.

It all came together a short while later when one of my managers told me that he heard that Mr. Paul’s daughter was involved in an accident and was in a coma in the hospital.

“Which Paul?” I asked with mild interest.

He told me and instantly, I recalled my last discussion with Kenneth, Paul’s elder brother. He’d wanted me to talk with Paul over what he felt were a series of poor business and family decisions taken by Paul at the perceived instigation of his new wife. The thought triggered a light bulb moment. Was it Paul’s new wife that had been seen in bed with another man? Knowing what Kenneth had told me about Paul’s devotion to his new wife, I knew the news would have crushed his spirit. Even more devastating was the thought that one of Paul’s lovely daughters was fighting for her life.

I called Paul but he didn’t pick up. A few minutes later, he sent a text saying he was not feeling too good and was with his doctor and that he would call later. He didn’t call back till far into the night and even then, he sounded weary.

“How are you doing?” I asked.

He sighed deeply.

“Health wise, not so good but we are pushing.”

I muttered my good wishes.

“How is your daughter? Is she out of coma?”

“I don’t have any idea.” Paul’s voice was suddenly cold.

I paused, unwilling to probe further.

“I will stop by in your office to see how you are doing. Do take care of yourself.” I said hurriedly, unwilling to prolong the conversation. I ended the call. A few minutes later, he sent a message to me that he would not be in the office for a few days. Good, I responded quickly, I will see you at home then. The next day, as if on cue, Kenneth called me.

“You need to talk to Paul. He is not acting like a man that has all his faculties in good working order.” He said, wasting no time on preambles.

“I spoke with him yesterday and he did sound ill.” I replied.

“That wicked cheating wife of his is trying to kill him. He’s just wasting away daily and he would not accept any help from anyone else. That woman told him that it is his daughters that are using diabolic charms to kill him and he believes her. Do you know that his younger daughter, Francesca has been in coma for over a week and Paul does not care?”

“This is really getting out of hand.” I muttered. “Where is the girl receiving treatment?”

“The police took her to a health centre first, that’s where she fell into a coma. She was there for a full day before we located her and moved her.” He named the hospital that she was presently admitted in.

“I think I should go and see Paul today,” I said, taking a quick decision.

Ken thanked me.

I can’t really say that I was sure of what I really wanted to achieve with my visit. I felt strongly that something was not right with Paul but I wasn’t sure if I could be of any great assistance. I arrived at his Ikoyi residence that early afternoon. I hadn’t visited for a very long time so I was expecting to be kept at the gate for a bit and was quite surprised when the security men threw the gate open.

I felt compelled to ask the guards why they opened the gate without even asking who I was and who I wanted to see.

“Madam said we should open the gate for you. She checks through the surveillance camera.” He explained.  I nodded and drove into the compound and parked.

A uniformed maid was already at the door. She frowned slightly when she saw me but greeted courteously and ushered me inside. There was a tray with two glasses, a chilled bottle of wine, an assortment of small chops still in their cellophane containers and several bottles of water.

“Madam said you should feel at home. She will be with you shortly.” The maid said and hurried out of sight.

I looked on in puzzlement. Was every worker in that house so robotic? I took out my phone and sent a message to Paul that I was in his house but it didn’t deliver. It took a few minutes before I heard the click of female heels. It seemed to be coming from behind me. Inbred good manners forced me to my feet and I turned towards the sound. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The woman walking towards me was wearing a floor-length red negligee, made of the sheerest lace. It was obvious that she had no stitch of clothing underneath. It was the most inappropriate clothing to receive a visitor in. From the gasp that escaped her lips and the panicked look, I knew without doubt that Madam had been expecting a different visitor.

“I guess Paul isn’t around.” I noted.

“No,” she replied rapidly, sitting on a sofa and using throw pillows to cover herself. At least, she has some small sense, I thought uncharitably.

“Is he back at the hospital?” I asked.

“Yes, I thought he was the one that came in.” She said, trying to say something to explain her indiscretion.

I looked pointedly at the tray prepared for a guest.

“Yeah! Of course!” I replied sarcastically. I wasn’t ready to spare her.  “Which hospital is he at?” I asked.

She gave me the name and I left the house without a word.