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Sustainable Hiring: Looking for something a little more “serious”?

Navy Valentines Day themed banner - A guide on sustainable hiring

Sustainable Hiring: Looking for something a little more “serious”?

A guide to sustainable hiring and building a sustainable relationship:

The world of hiring, much like that of dating, can sometimes feel a bit cold, and dismal, one might use the word exhausting – but let us settle on challenging. There’s hot talent out there but connecting with them can be difficult when everyone else in the industry is performing their courting rituals – fanning out plumes of colourful feathers and performing dramatic dances to attract their perfect partner.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, we thought we would offer you our advice on how to ensure that, as a company or jobseeker, you are attracting the right long-term partner one who mirrors your objectives, goals, and vision.

Let’s establish the lay of the land…

With disappointing CVs, slow communication, and flaky candidates who are always looking to move onto the next best thing, securing a sustainable hire is becoming more and more difficult. Candidates just are not as easily satisfied as they used to be and are more likely than ever to jump ship in search of higher salaries. Companies must now vet their candidates for gold-digging tendencies, gone are the days of being married to a company for 14+ years.

On the other hand, companies aren’t always creating an environment/culture where company loyalty can be fostered. Candidates need a reason to stay, job security isn’t the be all and end all of a long-term relationship anymore, professionals have choices. Let’s be honest with one another…we are in the “If I don’t love it, then I should leave” era.

Does this mean that we’re permanently stuck in the friend zone???

Don’t panic! If you are wondering why, you’re attracting low-hanging fruits, then we suggest some time for self-reflection. No more of that “it’s not me, it’s you” energy! Take some time to recognise whether you have toxic-traits that might be holding you back, or perhaps how you select the “apple of your eye” may require you to do a bit more “Facebook” stalking (aka – vetting through networks and research). Despite the challenges that this year poses to hiring, companies have expressed their desire to continue hiring throughout the year, and 87% of passive candidates are open to new job opportunities…. it just takes “Mc Dreamy” to seal the deal.

In short, you just need to find the right person for you.

Are you being honest with yourself and your prospective partner?

Honesty is important in any sustainable relationship. It’s how we build trust and is crucial to any budding romance. It’s how we make sure that our partners are the right fit. Be upfront and honest about what you are looking for (in terms of your career progression or skills demands) and what you have to offer (project experience in most cases for candidates, and growth or interesting developments for companies).

As a company looking for a new team member, be transparent about the job, your management style, what the toughest components of the role are, and what your expectations might be, allow your prospective partner to help assess their suitability. Luring a candidate in with a romanticised (incomplete) job description/understanding and then presenting them with a disjointed reality, just isn’t good business practice, it costs time, and yes – time is money. You’ll lose their respect, and it could lead to reputational damage for your future hires (we all know people talk). Remember the wrong hire can cost you up to R150K+ in training, management time and or lengthy legal engagements. In the dating world…this type of illusion is called catfishing.  Not cool or attractive!

As a job seeker, the same applies. Don’t fake it until you make it! Wrong approach here. Be honest and clear about your experience, about who you are your technical capabilities, and what environment you thrive in (entrepreneurial and fast-based or a more structured environment that has a steady tone of certainty and role responsibilities). Ask enough questions in the interview and conduct enough research before applying or before an interview to make sure you know what you are getting into, consider who the prospective employer rubs shoulders with – is it the type of friend/social group you can see yourself with for the next couple of years? Setting up false expectations results in one of two things…. a toxic environment in which your management expects more than you are capable of…or you know…a messy (or in this case, costly) breakup.

Ever heard of the 5 love languages?
One of the 5, is quality time. Our suggestion to both clients looking to hire and job seekers looking to be hired…spend some quality time with yourself! More specifically, we’re suggesting that you and your professional profile get cosy!

Every company and every client within this niche industry is offering the some of the same thing. You need to convince your potential partners why they should choose you above all others, so make sure that there is at least one element of your profile that makes you unique and speaks to your ability to add value to the life of your better half!  

      For Candidates:

    • CV Writing Tip: Don’t crowd up your CV with random hobbies and interests, they’re a space waster. Use that crucial space to speak to the value that your experience holds, maybe you worked on a unique engagement with challenging stakeholders and went over and beyond expectations – make it clear! Ask yourself, “what are my assets and how do I flaunt them?”. Shake that tail feather!

    • Don’t be afraid to boast about your project track record, your technical achievements, or even about a particularly difficult challenge that you were able to overcome. Think about projects that were out of the norm or mirror the project needs of your prospective employer. If you’re looking to work in sales for example, list your SSI score or include a brief report on your network demographics alongside how you compared to the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you had. The proof is in the pudding. Keep bringing it back to telling us why you are the perfect partner, make it real, and position yourself as desirable. After all, “we” all worked on a PV project, but how did you rise to the top, crème de la crème. P.S. remember to mention YOUR inputs on a project and avoid the reference to your team’s achievements – your future employer is looking for their “one” and only and is likely to try multiple relationships.

    • We strongly suggest leaving out that picture of you proudly holding a fish or you on your wedding day. Keep the photos professional, let them imagine you Linked-”In” to them.

       For Clients:

    • Don’t be ‘that guy’, the unlikable rom-com character who 3 months down the line, still doesn’t know “what they want”. Time is money and the longer you prolong getting your thoughts wrapped around who that perfect partner is, if you had met them during the hiring process, they are probably long gone.

    • Ensure that your job description mirrors the profile of your perfect candidate and isn’t just a long list of skills and experiences that anyone might have. The essence of a job description is about thinking about WHAT YOU REALLY NEED, not what a generic job ad from the internet says you need (yes, we mean ChatGPT or an old spec rehashed). Consider, how this person alleviates your business challenges or takes the load off of their hiring manager opening them up to drive more value to your business.

    • Take the time to hash out the KPIs of the role, in short, it’s the KPIs that allow room for the employees to be creative in achieving them, you going to want to ask them how they would go about achieving them and how they can dovetail into your company’s growth objectives.

    • Ultimately, don’t do a slap-dash job and expect premium results, it is going to cost you time (screening CVs/interviews etc) and potentially have a brand-ability ramification.

Have you been ignoring those red flags?

If something doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t going to be. Trust your intuition and make sure that you properly vet your potential partner. Trust your intuition because when it’s love, you just know, and usually when it’s not, you do too. If you need more info or proof, ask for it, sometimes the devil is in the details.

Pay attention to the basics; a bad attitude, an unwillingness to adapt to change, underperformance even after an adjustment period, and what’s worst, consistent domestics (fights to align). Addressing these issues with your partner sooner rather than later, is always a good option, and sometimes solutions can be found through discussion and understanding.

But why not avoid the growing pains all together and avoid the risk of damaging both your bottom line and your reputation.

Maybe it’s time to consult the professionals

Reaching out into the void and taking anything that reaches back is an unpredictable way to go about the hiring process…especially if you want to crack down on sustainable hiring. Do I really like them?  Do they like me back? What’s their rep? Honestly, the uncertainty can be exhausting, and costly. A bad hire can cost a company anywhere in the realm of +++ R150K.

Look we get it; things can get complicated when love is involved. We’re here to help you meet the right person.

    • A quarter of successful meet-cutes happen through friends AKA networks. This method of connection is preferable to most people because there’s trust involved – the likelihood of something going horribly wrong rises significantly when meeting a complete stranger. And AltGen is the probably the most connected Renewable Energy recruitment firm across Africa, we KNOW people and we use these networks to vet our networks. Afterall, we speak to people all day, consider us much like cupid or the “knowledge bearers”.

    • Our extensive but specialised network along with our in-house recruitment insights, allow us to narrow in on high-quality relationships, making us far more successful than generalised recruiters. We don’t match you with just anyone, it is about the PERFECT MATCH

Candidates, not ready to make a commitment yet? Waiting for your prince in shining armour? Send us your CV in the meantime and we’ll start setting up some potential (hiring) matches for you. Like any good friend, we don’t tolerate catfishing, gold-digging, or any other red flags. Neither hiring nor dating is easy, but there are ways to make the process a little easier, maybe even to find your hiring happily ever after. But remember – no one ever rushed into marriage!

Like in any successful long-term relationship, you need to be open and honest, willing to put in the time, and perhaps most importantly, you need to know what you want.

Here is a little something to get you started, see below our top 10 Competency based interview tips & questions.

Sean Gibson

Managing Director

“AltGen is all about effecting change, through people. With integrity, and passion”. 

Managing Director and Founder of the AltGen’ Group. Sean has played a pivotal role in steering and leading the vision and mission of AltGen, making AltGen the only highly specialist renewable energy recruitment firm operating within the renewable energy and sustainability space in Africa. Sean oversees the success of the entire group of AltGen companies.

Sean holds a Master of Philosophy in Sustainable Development from Stellenbosch University as well as an Honours degree from Rhodes University

Robert Veith

Sales Director

“Without quality and intelligent effort, there is no success and no reward.”

Joining AltGen in 2014, Robert started as a Recruitment Consultant and has since become our Recruitment Director overseeing the Recruitment and Executive Search division. Robert has extensive experience in securing talent for rare skills in the energy engineering market, including skills to the likes of Power System Engineers, SCADA Engineers, Project Developers and Electrical Engineering skills specific to design.

Through Robert’s leadership, each recruitment team is enabled to focus on their specific area of expertise, ensuring all client hiring needs are met. Through Robert’s years of dedication to sourcing and securing top talent in the industry, he has a wealth of insight into the skills market and provides our clients with a competitive advantage in a scarce skills environment enabling them to effectively execute on some of the most challenging renewable energy projects across Africa. Robert is also responsible for growth of the engineering recruitment team.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management from UNISA as well as a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from CPUT.

Lindy Taylor

Business Development & Innovation Director

“The success of an organisation is defined by its people.”

As the Innovation & Business Development Manager, Lindy is responsible for the marketing and business development activities of AltGen. Through her big picture vision, Lindy has enabled AltGen to remain responsive in the cleantech space. She is responsible for engagements with new clients.
Lindy initially joined AltGen in 2015 and has grown into being an integral member of the senior management team. She ensures a collaborative approach with clients catering to their custom needs. Her focus is on attaining new clients, as well as handling contractual relationships with new and existing stakeholders.
Lindy holds a Bachelor’ Degree in Social Sciences from Rhodes University.

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Chris Roetz

Workforce Management Services: General Manager

“My goal is to deliver exceptional operational performance within AltGen – Northern Cape building on people, energy and sustainability”

Chris Roetz oversees AltGen’s Workforce Management division in the Northern Cape. He is responsible for the successful execution of HR advisory and management services for clients’ utility-scale projects in the region. Currently, Roetz mobilises an outsourced staff complement of over 200 employees. He also steers AltGen’s Solar Works programme in conjunction with his Pofadder based team.

Chris has 20 years of professional experience in an HR and outsourced staffing capacity within the energy environment and holds a National Diploma in Human Resource Management from UNISA.

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Muslim Janoowala

Consulting Services: Senior Consultant & Business Development Lead

“My focus is to be able to do impactful work, being in the front lines of the development sector finding solutions to safe and reliable drinking water, power and sanitation”

Muslim Janoowala drives AltGen’s consulting services arm. Muslim has 10+ years of experience in the renewable energy, water and general engineering space in Eastern Africa and has played an instrumental role in the success of AltGen consulting engagement on the AFD Green Mini-grid Programme in Kenya. His expertise caters to M&E activities, project management, impact analysis and assessments of funded water and renewable energy programmes that “enlighten” and uplift communities in rural Africa.

Muslim holds an MSc in Construction Management from Cass Business School and a Bachelor of Engineering in Architectural Environment Engineering from the University of Nottingham.

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Wiehahn de Jager

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Wiehahn de Jager has specialist recruitment expertise in the finance sector and has worked on various mandates for large international and national clients on both a retained and contingency basis. Wiehahn has gained an in-depth understanding of the professional skills operating within the capital markets, fin-tech, and green finance space, with a keen focus on talented professionals within the African context. He has a strong track record successfully working on a range of skill levels, from Directors to Analysts, with a special focus on professionals from mid-level up to Corporate Executives.

Wiehahn holds a Bachelor in Law from the University of Stellenbosch.

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Robert Slater

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“I love to serve people and be the steppingstone between them and their dream job.”

Robert Slater is an expert in the talent acquisition of carbon management, environmental and social governance-related professionals across Africa. Robert has successfully closed mandates for clients who are focused on sourcing skills with experience in climate change, clean cooking, sustainability, and agricultural environments.

Slater cares deeply for people and the planet, he has a Life Coach Training certification from New Insights and volunteers at ON A MISSION, an NPO which enables businesses and individuals to invest in carbon offset projects. He holds an Honours Degree in Environmental Management from UNISA.

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Natascha Marais


“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. I look for people who want to change the world and introduce them to like-minded companies.”

Natascha Marais is highly skilled when it comes to sourcing those “unicorns” for our clients in the OEM, AI and technology, economic development, and legal spaces.

Natascha has proven experience in identifying and onboarding professionals to the likes of business developers, sales, and account managers as well as technical sales or software developer skills.

Marais holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Law from Pearson Institute.


If you are serious about moving to the UK and are a PV Design Engineer or have engineering experience in offshore wind, in grid & transmission/network planning, or sub-station design and construction then let us know!
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