minimum that many companies require for employment nowadays is a Matric Certificate. This applies to positions for security guards and cashiers as well. Last year’s statistics have indicated that the Matric pass rate (in Gauteng) is on the rise. In the real world, however, many of these candidates cannot solve the simple maths equations required at basic screening tests.
It seems that people of a ‘higher calibre’ that can easily pass the screening tests tend to think that there are too many employment opportunities that are below their station in life. It seems as if getting your foot in the front door and seizing opportunities have been forgotten. A large proportion of people that do not have employment fail to understand that many large companies and corporations look internally first and promote from within.
There are many jobs to be had. In fact, according to Errol Freeman, Managing Director of Lulaway, within its network of clients only, there are entry-level employment opportunities for, on average, 500 to 600 people monthly in Gauteng alone, and the same again in the Western Cape – but there are a couple of barriers to entry. One, as already mentioned, is the minimum qualification of matric, and the other is passing the most basic of screening tests – an easy proposition for some people, but a seemingly insurmountable one for others. Finally, job seekers with matric but no university degree often feel that entry-level jobs that do not require particular skill are beneath their station.
A Numbers Game
Let’s break it down into numbers. An internationally renowned fast-food company is looking for multiple people to work in various positions at its Gauteng outlets. Between 3 000 and 5 000 SMSs are received in response to a small recruitment advert placed in the local newspaper. Ten to 15%, or 300 people, respond to a screening invite and actually arrive to be screened at local Lulaway centres. Of these, 15 to 30% pass the screening tests, leaving a total of 45 hopefuls to be sent to the fast-food chain to begin the interview process. Thirty percent of these hopefuls then decide that they cannot make it to the interview for whatever reason, leaving the company with 31 interviewees to interview. A further 20% neglect to take the necessary documentation (e.g. Matric Certificate) and six more people are immediately disqualified from the process. Of these, some do not make it past the interview stage, but let’s assume that 25 get hired. At least 50% of hired people do not make it past the first two weeks. Of the original 3 000 interested parties, 0.4% actually become gainfully employed and get a foot into a company that will promote from within.
“If 100 people (with Matric) apply for a specific job, how does one know which 10 people are most suitable to employ?” asks Errol. “The answer is reliable screening. It becomes much easier for companies to select the right people if the correct calibre of people are sent for interviews in the first place!”
Thereafter, the process must be reviewed. If there are any specifics that companies find that need to be addressed, the screening process can be reviewed and modified to suit specific company requirements or, alternatively, an industrial psychologist could design specific tests for them. “In ongoing recruitment reviews between ourselves and companies that we partner with, we strive to streamline the process and make it more efficient. When we discovered that 50% of people do not make it through the first two weeks, we placed more emphasis on, and tightened up, the psychometric testing aspects of the screening process. We included specific company tests that were recommended and have dramatically increased the number of people that go to the interviews and then stay. This reduces the number of applicants that we send to the interview, but we send a better calibre of person.
“We know that we find the ‘high-calibre’ people in the haystack of potential for business and we know what it takes to ensure that they have the aptitude to make a success of their new opportunities.”
Potential Employees - Calibre is Key
How are retail companies in South Africa able to employ high-calibre people when potential staff don’t want to work, think that the job does not suit them or consider it too low-class and demeaning? As the saying goes – let’s start at the very beginning. The solution lies right at the beginning of the employment process and in refining the process over and over.
While it is said that many South Africans are desperate for work, the reality of the matter is that the bulk of people that are desperate for employment cannot pass a simple screening test. The absolute
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