#DisruptersDen – GURARIDE and S.U.L E-Mobility: Sustainability in mobility

#DisruptersDen – GURARIDE (guraride.com), S.U.L E-Mobility banner

Some of the AltGen team got to attend the Kigali Sustainable Energy for All Forum this past May. While there, we got to engage with some amazing, innovative tech start-up pioneers and entrepreneurs making waves on the fronts on renewable energy and sustainable business, one that stood out, in particular, being a new market disruptor on the fronts of e-vehicles and e-mobility.

It took emptying their personal savings and moving to Rwanda for Tony Adesina and business partner Agenor J. Jean-Louis to get GURARIDE up and running, but four years later they have reaped what they sowed. GURARIDE, and its sister company S.U.L E-Mobility, are the leaders in electric and micro-mobility in Africa. 

Introducing GURARIDE (guraride.com); a public bike-share transport company committed to the sustainability of micro-mobility in Africa starting with Rwanda. The company’s main aim is to facilitate the transition from fossil fuel based mobility to other non-pollutant transport alternatives. Initially, GURARIDE launched a pilot bike-share system in Kigali with 30 dockets and 100 smart bikes. Based on a successful launch campaign, the company is now deploying over 300 geared bikes, 100 electric bikes, 50 kick scooters, and almost 15 mopeds spread across Musanze, Rubayu, and Huye with the aim of providing a nationwide non-motorized transport scheme. Having recently launched another pilot for Cairo University in Egypt, the start-up’s goal is to spread micro-mobility across cities in Africa.

 

Electric vehicles and NMTs are important for sustainable development, which is why AltGen was thrilled to be able to sit down and find out more about what inspired them and how this venture was established.

 

The two Americans credit their success to their passion for Africa and their hands-on experience and approaches to providing their best results. 

Figure 1: A GURARIDE 20 bicycle docking station located in Kigali's Central Business District at Marriot Hotel

“My passion and love for the continent of Africa drove me to explore the potentials and endless opportunities in the clean energy/EV sector starting with Rwanda, a country known for its favorable policies on electric mobility.” Tony B. Adesina, C.E.O, GURARIDE, S.U.L E-Mobility

 

The company has R&D departments in multiple countries overseas but claims to do its best research in Rwanda. They have been through five models of bikes. ‘If you can get a product to work in Rwanda,’ says Adesina, ‘you can get it to work anywhere.’ The designs, solid in theory, are sent to Rwanda for assembly and testing. The bike must be robust enough to weather the Rwandan climate and hilly landscape. GURARIDE bike-share system operates in a way that allows commuters to access bicycles across various docking stations strategically deployed throughout the city. The model works in a way that users are able to locate a nearby docking station, scan off a bike, ride to a given destination, and park conveniently.

Figure 2: GURARIDE docking station layout in Central Business Centre, Nyarugenge District—Kigali City
Figure 3: GURARIDE docking station layout in Remera, Gasabo District-- Kigali City.

In partnership with the City of Kigali, GURARIDE is starting its operations in two Kigali city corridors and will gradually expand to all city corners as cycling infrastructure/road safety measures are put in place by authorities. GURARIDE has set up partnerships with different government institution and relevant agencies such as the ministry of infrastructure, ministry of environment, the city of Kigali, and different districts’ offices in the country to allow the expansion and scale of its operations.

 

On the other hand, GURARIDE operates in tandem with its sister company S.U.L E-Mobility legally registered as SAFI Universal Link Ltd in Rwanda. S.U.L E-Mobility is an electric mobility solutions provider offering a complete value chain for green transport and logistics solutions in Africa starting with Rwanda. It’s value chain ranges from manufacturing of electric vehicles, assembling, maintenance & repairs, leasing management software, on-demand ride hailing, e-commerce & last mile logistics, capacity building, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. With 5 years expertise and proven systems across the continent, the company built on its series of success stories in the e-mobility industry to spur the electric mobility uptake in some of Africa’s key markets like Rwanda, DRC, and Ethiopia.

Under S.U.L E-Mobility, subsidiary companies have been established with the aim of providing a more robust green electric mobility business model

Under S.U.L E-Mobility, subsidiary companies have been established with the aim of providing a more robust green electric mobility business model that caters to the entire transport and logistics ecosystem.  The companies include:

 

SAFIRIDE founded 2018, is an on-demand e-mobility ride-hailing company committed to the sustainability of the environment through the use of electric motorcycle. It uses cutting-edge technology to provide on-demand ride request services, products for mobile app solutions, cashless easy to use payment systems, transport services for Corporate Businesses and Organizations.

 

MISSION – To disrupt the transportation sector by innovating and re-inventing mobility in Africa alongside providing a sense of belonging, comfort, and safety to all consumers while enjoying their ride.

SAFIRUN Logistics Ltd founded in 2018 is an all-in-one Eco-Friendly product delivery & logistics technology company that connects people with the best local merchants/stores in their cities via convenient delivery, pick & drop, and catering. 

 

The company offers cost effective logistic solutions to local businesses, government and non-government organizations, and home delivery companies all over Kigali. The start-up’s approach allows it to assume our partners’ logistic operation workload by reassigning all fleet management responsibilities to its staff while generating new revenue streams for their partners’ businesses.

 

MISSION – To make life easier for consumers with lightning-fast eco-friendly delivery while protecting the environment by cutting down carbon-emissions.

 

Figure 6: SAFIRUN Logistics' delivery staff and fleet posing for a group picture and ready to kick-off another. SAFIRUN (safirun.co) is the eco-friendly logistics and last-mile delivery company and a subsidiary of S.U.L E-Mobility.
Figure 7: SAFIRIDE fleet (an e-mobility on-demand ride-hailing service and a subsidiary of S.U.L E-Mobility) , charging at EVP (evpcharger.com) EV charging station located at Total Energies in Kigali.

EVPLUGIN is one of the leading EV charging station network in Africa, with focus on aiding the transition to electric mobility while creating worldwide awareness on the importance of e-mobility to our environment and providing the best charging experience to all its users.

 

MISSION – To lead the evolution of e-mobility by promoting green transport, zero carbon emission vehicles, and by providing a reliable charging network across Africa.

The aforementioned innovations are not their only home-grown solutions. The organization has internal IT, accounts, HR, customer service, design, media, operations, repairs and maintenance and training departments, all consisting of individuals who have been recruited and trained locally in Rwanda and elsewhere on the continent, including the SAFIRIDE riders knowns as ‘Captains’ or SAFIRUN delivery staff known as ‘runners’. The organization’s founders see it as illogical to hire internationals permanently instead of giving the residents of Rwanda and Africans in general the opportunity to be trained, and thus empowering the local economy while creating a feasible business structure. Their approach to recruitment is not founded on resumes or first impressions, but on the employee’s response to the company culture. Tony Adesina, the C.E.O himself, is a Pennsylvania State University Engineering Alumni who decided to turn a blind eye on white collar jobs in pursuit of becoming a serial entrepreneur, founder, investor, innovator and philanthropist. Today, he is the founder of GURARIDE, SAFIRIDE, SAFIRUN, EVPLUGIN, and SUL MOBILITY, companies all operating in the green transport/e-mobility sector. Tony Adesina and his fellow cofounders believe anyone can be trained and enabled to the extent of unlocking unprecedented life-changing opportunities.

 

GURARIDE and S.U.L E-Mobility organizations is founded on an impact driven set of innovations that  reflect the company’s community-centric business model and youth empowerment initiatives. One issue they’ve dedicated themselves to tackling is sexual inequality, which is particularly present in male-dominated spaces such as the transport and logistics industry in Rwanda and Africa. In their efforts to upskill the labour pool, they have trained 300 women and 2150 youth to work in their assembly line. Their goal is not only to employ these skilled workers, but to equip them with the tools to begin their own businesses and ventures, and to essentially create a skilful and financially independent community. As of June 2022, S.U.L E-Mobility launched the ‘Women Empowerment in Entrepreneurship’ (W.E.I.E) initiative under its E-Mobility Academy with the purpose of training 120 women in Kigali and further equipping them with electric motorcycles, work kits, and electronic gadgets. The initiative is set to generate a daily revenue of 12 to 15 US Dollars per day to each beneficiary that has successfully graduated from the initiative’s training program. November 2022, predicting an increase to around 400 trainees, the organization’s commitment and dedication to sustainability also goes one step further than its innovations and solutions in the electric mobility space. In an effort to ensure an authentic transition from ICE motorcycles to electric motorbikes, S.U.L E-Mobility has partnered with ENVIROSERVE which a local authorized recycling and E-waste management company. The partnership is set to trigger the recycling and repurposing of electric motorcycle batteries that have reached their end of life while retrieving ICE motorcycles engine parts such as exhaust pipes from operators in order to scrap them.

 

The organization’s founders came up with strategic approaches to generate funding for these large-scale programmes. Such approaches including, but not limited to, GURARIDE sponsored bike-share programs that allows businesses and big corporate brands to place their adverts on bicycles, partnerships with financing institutions to offer leasing system to operators interested in acquiring EVs, and fund sourcing from international sponsors and donors who take heart in spurring change in this world through the organization’s different initiatives. S.U.L E-Mobility and GURARIDE own the entire system, allowing total control over the brand. All on-ground solutions and assets are a long-term investment; the founders are not in the business for quick money. Instead, they view their innovations as ‘social solutions’ with the purpose of uplifting the community. Their advice to cleantech entrepreneurs is commitment to the ideas, when you have a truly feasible and unique idea it’s worth investing in. Don’t worry about the money at first; it will come. First you must solidify your idea and be committed, and if you don’t believe in what you’re selling, don’t sell it. Look at everything as a lesson to do better next time.

 

These insights are so valuable in the entrepreneurial and tech start-up space. AltGen has the privilege of engaging with and learning from some seriously innovative individuals and companies in the renewable energy and sustainability sector, and truly believe that the lessons from Tony Adesina and Jean-Louis on backing your ideas, taking the risk and investing in your venture, and strive for socio-economic betterment through your business, then you are on the right path!

 

We hope you have found our second instalment of #disruptorsden insightful and inspiring. Are you or anyone you know doing amazing things and making waves in their field to totally change certain economic and social paths? We really want to know more, so send us an email at careers@altgen.com or click here to fill out this form telling us more!

 

How to Retain Staff When Your Top Talent is Leaving.

It can come as a shock when one of your top performer’s hands in their resignation out of the blue. What influenced their decision? Who else may want to leave? How will your business be impacted? It’s natural to be concerned about these things. Other staff members will be asked to take on additional tasks and responsibilities to make up for the gap, and you don’t want that to negatively impact their motivational levels. So how do you go about preventing this from happening? Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Retention plays a role from the beginning in your recruitment process. It’s essential to know the culture and strategy you want to instil in your business and make sure your potential candidate(s) match those. When using a recruitment company, the company you’re working with must take time to fully understand you and your business needs in order to find you the ideal candidate. AltGen’s recruitment team will always set up a meeting with you before working on your role to ensure that everything about your vacancy and business is understood.
  • Pick a candidate(s) who has a history of longevity with previous employment. This is one way to ensure your potential employee won’t hop from one job to the next after just a few months, increasing the likelihood of a longer employment relationship with your company. Seeing a candidate’s dedication to previous companies gives you a better idea of who they are as a person – loyal, determined, willing to ride the waves and not jump ship.
  • When deciding on a new hire, another thing to keep in mind is, do their values, vision, and mission align with your company’s? Finding an employee who resonates with your company’s core values is a recipe for success from the get-go. There is a higher chance of longevity when individuals feel they share the same values, vision and mission with their company.
  • A more obvious retention solution is to ensure you’re offering competitive packages. Specific skills can be scarce, especially in the renewable energy industry, and while money can’t solve everything, it can be a significant influencing factor in an employee’s decision to leave. AltGen offers free salary advice to clients in the Renewable Energy space if you’re unsure of salary ranges for specific roles. Click here to get in touch with us to find out more.
  • Lastly, recognition goes a long way. It could be something as simple as going out of your way to thank an employee for going the extra mile, but it is essential your employees feel valued and appreciated. Your gratitude or lack of what they do for your company can significantly influence how they think about their work.
It’s important to keep in mind that your company is only as strong as your staff. AltGen is here to help you hold on to your talent, and we’re here to help you find exceptional employees.

Protection of Personal Information Act – July 2021

The Act has been in play in South Africa since 2013 but has only become compulsory to enforce as of 01 July 2021. The POPI Act sets the conditions for responsible parties to lawfully process personal information.

Personal information is described as any information relating to an identifiable natural person or juristic person. This would include information such as name and surname; date of birth; contact details; age etc. The POPI Act is important as it protects people from harm such as identity theft and discrimination.

Each organisation is affected differently by POPI and the results of non-compliance can include fines, imprisonment, and reputational damage. As the Act becomes enforceable in South Africa, organisations are impacted by the way they process personal information, especially special personal information, children’s information, and account numbers.

In order to process information, organisations need to ensure that the following processing conditions are upheld:
  • Accountability: All legal entities need to be responsible, accountable and must comply with the conditions of the Act.
  • Processing Limitation: All legal entities need to know why they are processing and capturing private information. There also need to be limitations in place as to what information you process and how much there is.
  • Purpose Specific: The data must be captured for a specific and justifiable reason and the data subject needs to be aware of this.
  • Further Processing: Any further processing or use of information collected needs to be related to the original purpose of the information being collected.
  • Information Quality: All information collected must be correct, up to date and not misleading.
  • Openness: In order to ensure openness, notifications need to be sent to the party whose information is being captured.
  • Data Subject Participation: The party whose information you have, has the right to ask for any data you have about them. They can also request for this information to be deleted.
  • Security Safeguards: Firstly you need to identify the data that contains personal information and treat it with care. Secondly, all such information must be secured.
To ensure AltGen remains compliant, we have updated our internal policies and would like to bring the following changes to light:
  • Privacy Policy: Our Privacy Policy details why we make use of your personal information and the types of information we store about you. It can be found on our website here.
  • PAIA Manual: Our PAIA Manual, also found on our website, outlines how you may access information and who to contact within AltGen. See our manual here.

We also want to assure all our international clients and candidates out there that we are compliant with the GDPR.

AltGen respects the privacy of our candidates and clients. We will always provide you with the option to unsubscribe from marketing communication.

Our Information Officers are Lisa De Sousa and Lané Höll.

If you have questions – we are happy to help, just drop us a line.

AltGen Team.

Restraints of Trade in Employment Contracts

While the competition for skills in the renewables space is intense, there has been a definite trend of Employers resorting to imposing codified employment restrictions on current and potential Employees in the form of a Restraint of Trade in contracts of employment.

EMPLOYERS

So at the outset, in the interests of transparency, I have to make it clear that I do not support generalist and broad “Restraints”. In some instances, where there is a clear competitive edge to be gained from “opening up shop next door”, I would say a restraint may be justified and enforceable, but the restraints that we have seen coming through of late are so generalist and broad in scope, that they have zero chance of being upheld by a court.

Refer: “Hardware Centre versus Vallabh and Another” of March 2019, where the Respondent did in fact open a store next door (800m away) and the restraint was not upheld by the court.

Hardware Centre versus Vallabh (2019)

EXHIBIT A

“The Employee undertakes that he shall not… for a period of 12 months after leaving the employ of the Company for any reason whatsoever directly or indirectly set up in business or form part of any business in competition with the Company and/or which carries on a business similar to the Company”.

Guys, please go and get your lawyers / HR to please do the work that you pay them for. If you are serious that you have a specific service or product that is deserving of protection, the least you can do is specify what it is. This is such a broad clause and so arguable, any lawyer worth his or her fee can sidestep it in an instant.

  1. SPECIFY THE INTEREST DESERVING OF PROTECTION

For example: “Set up a business or work for another Employer in the manufacturing and/or assembly of energy storage components for sale and supply into the renewable energy industry”: may (I am not saying will) stand up, as long as it is accompanied by a qualifier on the geographical location as well as a time limit.

  1. SPECIFY THE GEO / SCOPE OF THE RESTRICTION

For example: “Set up a business in the manufacturing and/or assembly of energy storage components for sale and supply into the renewable energy industry into the distributed / home PV & storage market in the Western Cape”. Is possibly somewhat more enforceable, but still not enough.

If you are serious about having a service or product that is in some way unique and deserving of protection, then you need to be serious about how you word your restraint.

  1. SPECIFY THE TIME PERIOD

For example: We have seen restraints that are valid for 24 months, in PV component sales, in South Africa – clearly not enforceable! How is it reasonable to prevent someone from making a living in the area of their expertise in such a broad geography for such a long time? It is not, and it won’t be in the eyes of the courts either. The shorter the restraint, the greater its chance of its success. 6 months would perhaps be considered reasonable. 12 months or more, very unlikely, unless you are patenting a new COVID vaccine.

Lastly, take it seriously. If you honestly think that your product/service is worthy of a restraint, then make sure you are prepared to spend a year in court and spend R 100,000 to enforce it and get nothing in return. Are you seriously prepared to do this? if not, then all you are doing is using intimidation to hope that the ex-employee doesn’t come and work in your backyard.

EMPLOYEES

Do not make the mistake of taking a restraint personally. An Employer is also doing no more than trying to make a living and will often feel that need to defend their hard-won gains and turf. And very often, they are poorly advised and do not understand the HR or the law for that matter.

After all, Employers are in the business of doing business and HR and the legalise that come with that are often pretty low on their list in terms of priorities. Yes, yes I hear the coach commentators say, it is an Employers task to understand! After all, they are taking on the responsibility of employing.

But, the Renewable Energy space is by its very nature dominated by start-ups and early adopters, and they, by their nature, do not have the time and capacity for deep HR skills and understanding.

CLOSING

Let it be known: Not once in 8 years of recruitment in renewable energy in South Africa, have we ever had a case where an Employer has successfully defended a restraint of trade that they have imposed on one of our candidates/placements.

Exploring the Gap Between Skills and the Renewable Energy Industry

The renewable energy sector is one of the fastest-growing industries globally. According to the 2017 Global Talent Index, there is an estimated 8.1 million people employed within the renewables space. In South Africa, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) had estimated that an additional 109,444 direct, FTE person-years of employment would be created through the REIPPPP Bid Rounds 1- 4. The industry is still expanding and has the capacity to employ many more people but is hindered by the fact that not all required skills are always readily available. Based on our recruitment experience, there are some occupations which have proven to be very difficult to source for, often going for months before finding the appropriate candidate. Conversations with multiple employers in the IPP industry confirm that there is indeed a skills shortage in certain verticals.

There is a general scarcity of experienced technical support skills in South Africa’s PV space, such as Electrical Engineers, Operations and Maintenance Managers, and Mechanical Technicians – the scarcity of skills is amplified as the IPP’s and C&I service providers compete for transferrable skills. While most entry-level engineers graduate from universities equipped with a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in either electrical or mechanical engineering, most of them would have little to no exposure to renewables and therefore cannot add any form of substantive value from day one. It then falls on the employer to get them into some type of learnerships or mentoring programmes to facilitate skills transfer needed to equip them with relevant industry skills like Solar PV, Wind, Energy Storage, etc, depending on the industry, and technology. According to the ILO report titled “Anticipating skill needs for green jobs”, published in 2015, there are two main types of skills shortage, which may exist separately or in combination:

  1. A quantitative skills shortage, under which the number of workers available with broadly suitable skills is insufficient.
  1. A qualitative gap under which the number of people available may be sufficient, but their skills are deficient relative to what is needed.

Based on the above, clearly the latter is true for the renewable energy sector in South Africa. The use of AltGen outsourced services can provide a solution to this deficiency. We provide basic upskilling services and where the sought-after scarce skill cannot easily be found AltGen Recruitment focuses on sourcing the applicable skills from the local districts. Currently, in the Northern Cape, AltGen Employment Services has developed a Renewable Energy Industry Specific Skills Programme, for IPP’s and O&M’s, with the aim of upskilling members in the local community to prepare them for formal employment. Due to the high unemployment rates in the Northern Cape, the goal of AltGen’s Solar Works Programme is to develop training programmes that allow community members to contribute meaningfully to the IPP’s operations and in turn, find long-term employment in the local community or start their own businesses.

WFM Sewing Ladies
Women in the Workforce Management programme making PPE for community members.

The scarcity gets deeper when we go into specialist niche roles like SCADA Automation Engineers, Wind Analysts, Power Studies Engineers, Energy Storage Engineers, Project Developers, and the list goes on. After further probing with employers as to why these skills are scarce, 90% of them responded by saying there is “simply not many of them around.” This scarcity puts employers in a predicament to outsource these skills to expatriates from European countries until this option is no longer cost-effective. Searching for this kind of talent locally takes more than the generic methods of recruitment, including techniques such as word of mouth. The Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) survey reveals that there is cause for concern regarding skills training and knowledge transfer within renewables. In South Africa, Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) is playing a vital role in coordinating and funding skills development initiatives. According to the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) 2018-2019 report, they have successfully supported 115 firms with mandatory skills development grants.

There have been many instances where employers incur the costs of developing entry-level talent for periods of 12 – 18 months only to lose them to their competition before they reap the returns on such investments. When talent is thin, the immediate reaction by some employers is to throw money at the situation and out-bid their competition. This has an adverse effect of inflating the price of talent and can potentially degenerate into some kind of a price war. What therefore begins as a skills shortage, quickly translates into a retention challenge. Attracting skilled talent is generally a challenge and retaining scarce skills is even harder. Based on the conversations we have had; 70% of employers have developed different strategies to hold on to their treasured skills. This involves taking a genuine interest in their career development, planning advancements, and creating favourable conditions to keep them enthused. Over and above, employers also shared with us that they offer profit-sharing incentives and extended leave as additional incentives to remain loyal to the company.

The renewable energy sector, just like many other sectors in South Africa, is still very much a male-dominated space. In South Africa, it is estimated that the sector employs an estimated 32% women and 68% males. According to the GETI 2021 Report, it is found that globally the renewable energy sector comprises 78% males and 22% females. Within AltGen Recruitment, females constitute 25% of our total placements into the industry, which is a success story as female talent can be difficult to acquire. It is also notable to mention that currently, 44% of AltGen Employment Services upskilling programme consists of women. In our experience, it can prove challenging to source female engineers or technicians. Historically, it was accustomed that women were placed in strong administrative roles, however, times are changing with an increasing amount of woman seen in managerial roles.

Solar Works Programme Members
AltGen Employment Services Staff Compliment Consists of 44% Women.

There is no silver bullet or instant solution to solving the scarcity of skills and lack of gender diversity in the industry. Listed below are some of the steps and initiatives, which if implemented, might potentially help to alleviate the situation: –

  • Gender diversity and transformation in the sector needs to be more deliberate, planned, and more structured to avoid leaving it to chance. Employers should consider deliberately setting targets to attract more female talent of colour into technical roles in the industry, even if it means bringing them in as semi-skilled technicians.
  • Take a genuine interest in the growth and development of your talent to keep them enthused. Implement proper employee retention strategies which extend beyond good salaries which will provide them with a sense of belonging.
  • A closer partnership between the industry and tertiary institutions is required. A deliberate acknowledgement and strengthening of this symbiotic relationship by increasing interactions and collaboration between the two will influence the quality and diversity of graduates which tertiary institutions produce. The 2017 Global Energy Talent Index shows that 45% of employers in the renewable energy sector believe that they can overcome the skills gap through partnering with tertiary institutions.
  • Create deliberate opportunities and platforms for skills transfer by pairing skilled specialists with junior engineers and technicians. This will inspire younger talent to venture into niche spaces of specialization which they never knew existed.

Job Hunting: 3 Ways to Make the Process Seem Less Daunting

Beginning the career searching process can seem daunting and incredibly time-consuming if you don’t know where or how to leapfrog the process. But despite the challenges that many face on their journey to professional development, we have some good news! For most, the benefits of engaging with an executive search firm may not be glaringly obvious – for one, the right recruitment agency will generally have a much stronger and established relationship with the companies you’re wanting to work with. In fact, in most cases – they are probably already working with them, so why not leverage their networks to help you land your dream job?

From AltGen’s perspective, we can help you learn from others’ mistakes. AltGen is niched in the renewables game in Africa – and has been in the last 10 years… ever heard the saying “It’s about WHO WE KNOW and WHAT YOU KNOW”? Well, it is a real thing. Too often we have candidates approach us asking us to represent them on their career journey but to their detriment, they have already applied to the firm and have not showcased themselves accurately. Sadly, for the candidate, recruitment firms can’t represent a person if they have applied to the company themselves. The best thing you can do for yourself is find an executive search company like AltGen to showcase you in the best light possible in the renewable energy job market or the relevant industry you are wanting to enter.

This leads us onto the next hot point – identifying your next ideal employer. The job search process is more than just looking for employment and/or sending your CV to a recruitment firm. You need to make sure you’re well suited for your upcoming career move (be pragmatic – make your goals achievable). Furthermore, you need to know how to effectively attract a recruiter’s attention – highlighting how well positioned you are to take on the role and hit the ground running, and should they respond, that you are thoroughly prepared for a screening interview.

Here are some aspects to keep in mind when conducting your job search:

  1. Know your career goals. It is very important to map your next career steps and long-term career goal before beginning the search (do yourself the favour, it will save you a lot of time). Ask yourself, which or what type of company do I want to work for (additionally, ask yourself why – is it a technical and/or cultural reason?). Make sure you have a realistic career trajectory planned out and that you isolate your target company… there are thousands of renewable companies out there – focus on quality over quantity.

Next, once you know who you want to work for and why, find the person whose job you want. Conduct a benchmarking exercise (or matrix) to see what someone in your ideal position has in terms of experience, skills, and qualifications in order for you to become aware of what you need to have under your belt, or at least be close to. Use the tools you have at hand, go onto LinkedIn, you will be surprised how much information you can learn from a person!

  1. Plan ahead and consider your timelines. While your recruiter will be handling the job search on your behalf, it is still a good idea for you to create a job alert (using keywords of interest) with the recruitment company so that if new jobs pop up, you will be notified and can chat to your recruiter about your interest in this position. It is vital to ensure the CV you present to your recruiter is up-to-date and formatted correctly (follow us to stay informed through our next post where we will be discussing your CV) It is also important to remember to create milestones for yourself, keeping in mind your current notice period, and if you are currently involved in projects – you don’t want to change jobs at the wrong time and end up jeopardizing your reputation. Planning helps you know when to focus on engaging with recruiters, perhaps give your recruiter a heads up that you will be looking in the next quarter, etc.
  2. Use multiple job-research platforms. Pnet, LinkedIn, and Indeed (amongst others) are great platforms to search for jobs as well as connect with recruiters who are actively looking for talent. For a recruitment company like AltGen, 87% of our monthly applicants come from LinkedIn, which shows that it is a valuable platform to be a part of, not only for jobs, but for live content and info. We also recommend keeping an eye on other job boards for new jobs that are posted (and creating that alert we spoke about!). Last but not least, we would suggest following your preferred brands so that when you see a role you would like to apply for, you can touch base with your recruiter regarding this vacancy.

Since job searching isn’t always a quick process, you need to remind yourself to not get disheartened easily, sometimes the right job for you is only ready for you later on (job hoppers be warned). You need to manage your expectations and realise that there’s a chance you won’t always hear back from every firm you’ve applied to. However, with AltGen representing you on your job search, our recruiters have your best intentions at heart and they will provide you with as much feedback as possible throughout the process. It’s also important that you remember to protect your image – before starting this process, go through your online profiles and make sure that you remove anything that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to discover. Make sure you are contactable, so update your details across your preferred platforms for a recruiter to be able to get ahold of you if need be.

Keep posted for the next installment, where we will discuss what is involved in a cover note and elaborate on the CV writing process. We will provide you with ways to better improve your resume as well as inform you what you should and shouldn’t have in your CV and intro message in order to make the best first impression possible – that is what your CV is all about!

Want To Make Your Firm More Desirable to Work For?

You may have asked yourself: “ How do we position our company to ensure that when we need new top skills to join the team, we have excellent profiles contacting us left, right, and center? ” In essence, how do we make our business a desirable one to work for? Well, the easy answer to this is to establish a fruitful relationship with a skilled recruiter, whose reputation in the market speaks for itself and can help you fulfill your recruitment needs. When the time comes for a growing firm to onboard new talent to join the team, it is important to consider that the recruitment process lends itself to building a sought after brand which will attract great talent down the line, making the need for outsourced recruitment services obsolete in the future.

In this sense, it is pivotal the senior management team, line managers, and HR professionals guiding the process align themselves with the opportunity to leverage the marketing activities of the recruiters who are conducting the top talent skills search for your company. Simply put, this means that you need to properly outline your niche in the industry, determine the culture of your company and what types of individuals would thrive in your organisation as well as consider other factors that may impact the recruitment process. All of this is useful information to the recruiter, which they will utilise during the recruitment process to get the candidates on board.

When one speaks of the recruitment process as a branding opportunity, it means that you will have specialised recruiters who are well networked and connected in the industry which will be used to their advantage in order to conduct verbal engagements with a minimum of 15 prospective professionals through a variety of communication channels. Of those 15 prospective candidates, a maximum of 5 will be shortlisted before CV’s land in your inbox. A great recruitment firm will focus on getting talent on board for the idea of joining a firm prior to interview stages which ensures that your firm does not find itself facing counteroffers. In summary, they will effectively screen the requirements against the skillset you want the profiles to possess, and in the same breathe shed light on why the candidates cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity to work for your firm. This would include discussions on what makes your company better than its competitors, why your company culture is perfect for them, and what they can expect when beginning the recruitment process with your team as well as where a career with your firm may take them. See how those initial conversations with your team are so important?

One of the major factors companies tend to overlook is how their management of the recruitment process creates perceptions of the brand in the candidate’s minds. Be cognisant of how professionals in the industry talk, and if your processes left a bad taste in their mouth, others would likely find out about it too. So how do you manage this? First off, the HR team or hiring managers need to outline how many steps there will be in the process, who will be involved and what the timelines are. Those involved in the hiring processes need to take responsibility for their deliverables in the procedure if they are going to secure the best candidates. One of the biggest disappointments to candidates who have been involved in a recruitment process is not receiving feedback within the stipulated timelines. Simultaneously, companies have often lost exceptional talent they were engaging with because they simply took too long to make an offer, did not outline the next steps in the process, and/or did not keep the lines of communication open with the representative recruiter or candidates in the process.

So the next time you decide to engage with a recruiter to assist you with filling your companies vacancies, clearly define the process with your team as well as provide insight to your recruiter on why your firm is better than others and what it is that makes your team and brand unique in that space. The aim is to develop a name that attracts the right talent whether you are presently seeking new talent or not.

If you have questions during your engagements with our recruiters, please speak up! If you would like to enquire about our Career Coaching services, feel free to drop us an email at careers@altgen.com.

Customising Your Profile To Help Land a Job

You are a highly skilled renewable energy professional with so much to offer in terms of your experience and expertise but, you tend to ask yourself: “Why are recruiters not reaching out to me?” or “Why does everyone else seem to be getting headhunted but me?”. Well, the answer is simple. There could be a few simple items you may be forgetting to mention on your CV, LinkedIn profile and or job application which could very well change how successful you are in being found or perceived.

We as recruiters have a few tricks up our sleeve when it comes to finding great talent, and if you are out of the loop, you could be out of a new and exciting career opportunity too.

So, we decided to ask our recruiters for some nuggets of insight that they often feel candidates fail to mention when looking for a new opportunity. We suggest that when you are updating your CV or LinkedIn profile that you take into consideration that highlighting these points (where applicable) – could help you get your foot in the door when planning to land your next job!

This is what our team had to say…

Sean Gibson, Managing Director:

“Never say your reason for leaving is “conflict with management”, or similar. Always move on to something bigger and better, never present yourself in a negative light.”

Wiehahn De Jager, Recruitment Consultant:

“Your CV shouldn’t just explain to a recruiter what you do, but also speak to how well you do it. A CV should not define a candidate, but rather distinguish them.”

Robert Veith, Sales Director:

“Explain how you have reacted in difficult situations on power plants. What are your achievements that set you apart (provide at least four bullet points)? But more importantly, highlight how you have rectified issues on site, turned a project around or even saved money for your employers.”

JP Roos, Operations Manager:

“Do not copy and paste content from your job description. Recruiters want the nitty-gritty details of a day in your work-life. Let the passion for what you do shine through and boast about what makes you great at your profession. We want to be able to see the value you can bring and the first selling point for this is your CV or LinkedIn profile.”

Lindy Taylor, Innovation & Business Development Lead:

“Be searchable and consider that the terms you use to describe yourself may not necessarily be the terms recruiters are using. What other synonyms that are relative to your renewable energy technology experience can you use that you could be found for? For example, “rural electrification,” “mini-grids,” “energy storage” and “off-grid”. Mix it up!”

Lisa De Sousa, Recruitment Administrator:

“Show that you are well connected. Whether it be at university or past experiences, you will have met a multitude of different people – show that! Having influential networks shows that you have great communications skills which is always something that an organization looks for.”

Samantha Saunders, Recruitment Consultant:

“Speak more to your achievements rather than your everyday responsibilities. Be sure to highlight successful projects, sales figures where necessary and any company wins that you’ve been involved in! These highlight your value to your potential employer. And remember to make your CV look good – aesthetics do play a big part! Simple, to the point and easy to read.”

Rob Slater, Recruitment Consultant:

“Honesty is very important when putting your CV together. Take time to think and plan your CV so that it shows off who you are and what you will be able to bring to a prospective team. Don’t be shy to put your best foot forward.”

Phillip Khumalo, Recruitment Consultant

“Do not try too hard to over-sell yourself. Let your profile tell a story about your “talent”, what you are good at and enjoy doing, in essence, that is your contribution to the industry. You get hired for contribution to bottom-line goals, not for presenting the most flamboyant CV, name-dropping, or the use of complicated jargon. There is a lot of power in simplicity, honesty, and genuineness.”

It goes without saying that there are a lot of elements that you can add to your CV or LinkedIn profile to make you stand out, such as listing all the projects you have worked on or even that you have a work visa for a country that you are applying to a job for. So the next time you take the time to update your professional profile, take these points into consideration. Who knows, your phone might soon be ringing off the hook! Think outside the box. There are many people who can do what you do, but not necessarily as well as you do it!

If you have questions during your engagements with our recruiters, please speak up! If you would like to enquire about our Career Coaching services, feel free to drop us an email at careers@altgen.com.