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Stuart White

The other day a prospective employee gave me a link to their resumé web page. It was pretty impressive, certainly more so than your standard CV. Resplendent in colour with photographs, logos, reference quotes etc. Now, those that know me will know that I hate gimmicky CVs. Strange fonts and other weird and wonderful bells and whistles that people attach to their profiles but this was something else-this was/is the future. It was the epitome of something I read the other day along the lines that twenty years ago, a CV was merely a piece of paper but now it is a collection of all the data that can be found about a candidate online. So with pre-interview or pre face-to-face contact, recruiters can not just learn if a candidate has the right skills for a job but begin to assess whether or not a person is the right fit.  And this got me wondering about what is likely to trend in recruitment in the future.

So looking into my crystal ball here is what I think is a safe bet if we were to predict where recruitment is going. It is inevitable that it will be even more high-tech.   Technology will increasingly influence and drive how we recruit candidates and deal with them up to selection.  At its core will be Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), software applications that enable the electronic handling of recruitment needs. Now as tedious as they once were, ATS’ are quickly becoming easier to use and more valuable to both recruiters and candidates. What a really good ATS does is manage the entire recruitment process. They also make excellent data platforms for all of recruiting and analysis needs. Through ATS’, recruiters can now do more, from conducting pre-employment testing to filtering candidates, as well as combining biometric data and proprietary algorithms to better match candidates to jobs. It may feel high tech and low touch-it is-and in future the soonest you are likely to connect with a real person is if you get called for first round live interviews.  I also believe there will be more reliance on testing of abilities. Everyone writes a great CV and too many people talk a great story so there will be more effort to look beneath the surface at the stuff we can’t easily see or measure and the ATS access offers a solid pre-testing personality and ability data bank.

The other pathway to the future is through job boards and what is delivered to your mobile phone. Let’s face it; it’s definitely easier to search for a job online than to sit scouring the newspapers’ employment opportunity sections to see if there might be something for you.  It’s easier still if you register on a job board to get alerted when a job comes along that you might be interested in and having this information on your mobile phone is clearly the way to go, especially for young people. ‘Simply Hired’, a large US job board, they reported that their mobile-based job search traffic jumped from 2.3 million in 2012 to 9.3 million in 2013 and that mobile traffic now represents about 30% of the site’s total job search interaction.  It’s in the here and now and Botswana’s own niche job board, Careerpool, is experiencing massive growth and traffic is phenomenal.  This can only increase as people switch their behaviours on how they look for career opportunities.

Looking at this from the other side, remember that job seekers have to jump through a lot of hoops these days to land a job so if candidates find it nearly impossible to apply for a job on your career website, or if they never hear back from a recruitment manager or are treated poorly during their interview process, it reflects badly on your company. Hands-on management that improves the candidate experience has become paramount to candidates who expect a fast, easy application process. Today's job seekers are more likely to know their worth and are aware of the competitive landscape. They see opportunities everywhere, and if one employer takes too long to respond or makes it difficult to apply, they'll quickly pass it up for another job offering acquiring top talent. So I anticipate that HR departments will start to come under pressure to make the recruitment experience quicker, easier, techier and generally more pleasant.

By far the biggest impact on the changing recruitment scene has come from social media, as in LinkedIn, Facebook and other social talent networks.  With the expansion of social media, companies are using these platforms to promote their brands and create a talent network where they can engage with potential candidates, as well as fans, employees, and even customers. These viral service communities connect many people to your brand and can effectively attract job-seekers.  Many employers maintain that referrals are their best source for talent and with increased social and business networking that scope has hugely widened. Employees’ online and personal networks of friends, past co-workers, and family allow organisations to tap into thousands of potential recruits. While incentives and bonuses can help motivate referrals, successful referral programmes often have a strong cultural basis in which employees are expected and want to help build the organisation’s talent base. I think we will see a greater appreciation in this method of finding good talent through fishing in a much bigger pool.

Even interviewing is likely to also have a different face in the future, with increased reliability on inter-connective tools like Skype. Five years ago it was hardly possible to do video-phone interviews locally because of poor connectivity but now interviewees are asking whether it is really necessary to drive across town, leaving more carbon footprint for a 30 minute preliminary interview which ends up being a 2 hour investment once you have negotiated your way through traffic anyhow.   And what better way to interface with an out-of-town or overseas candidate than a one-on-one via a phone or laptop to determine initial fit?

So to sum up, it may seem like the stuff of Futurama mixed in with a touch of 1984 but I predict that very soon the hard copy CV,  just like a verbal contract, simply won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.

STUART WHITE is the Managing Director of HRMC and they can be reached on 395 1640 or at  HYPERLINK ""

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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The Era of “The Diplomat”

30th November 2020

Youngest Maccabees scion Jonathan takes over after Judas and leads for 18 years

Going hand-in-glove with the politics at play in Judea in the countdown to the AD era, General Atiku, was the contention for the priesthood. You will be aware, General, that politics and religion among the Jews interlocked. If there wasn’t a formal and sovereign Jewish King, there of necessity had to be a High Priest at any given point in time.

Initially, every High Priest was from the tribe of Levi as per the stipulation of the Torah. At some stage, however, colonisers of Judah imposed their own hand-picked High Priests who were not ethnic Levites. One such High Priest was Menelaus of the tribe of Benjamin.

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Land Board appointments of party activists is political corruption

30th November 2020

Parliament has rejected a motion by Leader of Opposition (LOO) calling for the reversing of the recent appointments of ruling party activists to various Land Boards across the country. The motion also called for the appointment of young and qualified Batswana with tertiary education qualifications.

The ruling party could not allow that motion to be adopted for many reasons discussed below. Why did the LOO table this motion? Why was it negated? Why are Land Boards so important that a ruling party felt compelled to deploy its functionaries to the leadership and membership positions?

Prior to the motion, there was a LOO parliamentary question on these appointments. The Speaker threw a spanner in the works by ruling that availing a list of applicants to determine who qualified and who didn’t would violate the rights of those citizens. This has completely obliterated oversight attempts by Parliament on the matter.

How can parliament ascertain the veracity of the claim without the names of applicants? The opposition seeks to challenge this decision in court.  It would also be difficult in the future for Ministers and government officials to obey instructions by investigative Parliamentary Committees to summon evidence which include list of persons. It would be a bad precedent if the decision is not reviewed and set aside by the Business Advisory Committee or a Court of law.

Prior to independence, Dikgosi allocated land for residential and agricultural purposes. At independence, land tenures in Botswana became freehold, state land and tribal land. Before 1968, tribal land, which is land belonging to different tribes, dating back to pre-independence, was allocated and administered by Dikgosi under Customary Law. Dikgosi are currently merely ‘land overseers’, a responsibility that can be delegated. Land overseers assist the Land Boards by confirming the vacancy or availability for occupation of land applied for.

Post-independence, the country was managed through modern law and customary law, a system developed during colonialism. Land was allocated for agricultural purposes such as ploughing and grazing and most importantly for residential use. Over time some land was allocated for commercial purpose. In terms of the law, sinking of boreholes and development of wells was permitted and farmers had some rights over such developed water resources.

Land Boards were established under Section 3 of the Tribal Land Act of 1968 with the intention to improve tribal land administration. Whilst the law was enacted in 1968, Land Boards started operating around 1970 under the Ministry of Local Government and Lands which was renamed Ministry of Lands and Housing (MLH) in 1999. These statutory bodies were a mechanism to also prune the powers of Dikgosi over tribal land. Currently, land issues fall under the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services.

There are 12 Main Land Boards, namely Ngwato, Kgatleng, Tlokweng, Tati, Chobe, Tawana, Malete, Rolong, Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Kweneng and Ngwaketse Land Boards.  The Tribal Land Act of 1968 as amended in 1994 provides that the Land Boards have the powers to rescind the grant of any rights to use any land, impose restrictions on land usage and facilitate any transfer or change of use of land.

Some land administration powers have been decentralized to sub land boards. The devolved powers include inter alia common law and customary law water rights and land applications, mining, evictions and dispute resolution. However, decisions can be appealed to the land board or to the Minister who is at the apex.

So, land boards are very powerful entities in the country’s local government system. Membership to these institutions is important not only because of monetary benefits of allowances but also the power of these bodies. in terms of the law, candidates for appointment to Land Boards or Subs should be residents of the tribal areas where appointments are sought, be holders of at least Junior Certificate and not actively involved in politics.  The LOO contended that ruling party activists have been appointed in the recent appointments.

He argued that worse, some had no minimum qualifications required by the law and that some are not inhabitants of the tribal or sub tribal areas where they have been appointed. It was also pointed that some people appointed are septuagenarians and that younger qualified Batswana with degrees have been rejected.

Other arguments raised by the opposition in general were that the development was not unusual. That the ruling party is used to politically motivated appointments in parastatals, civil service, diplomatic missions, specially elected councilors and Members of Parliament (MPs), Bogosi and Land Boards. Usually these positions are distributed as patronage to activists in return for their support and loyalty to the political leadership and the party.

The ruling party contended that when the Minister or the Ministry intervened and ultimately appointed the Land Boards Chairpersons, Deputies and members , he didn’t have information, as this was not information required in the application, on who was politically active and for that reason he could not have known who to not appoint on that basis. They also argued that opposition activists have been appointed to positions in the government.

The counter argument was that there was a reason for the legal requirement of exclusion of political activists and that the government ought to have mechanisms to detect those. The whole argument of “‘we didn’t know who was politically active” was frivolous. The fact is that ruling party activists have been appointed. The opposition also argued that erstwhile activists from their ranks have been recruited through positions and that a few who are serving in public offices have either been bought or hold insignificant positions which they qualified for anyway.

Whilst people should not be excluded from public positions because of their political activism, the ruling party cannot hide the fact that they have used public positions to reward activists. Exclusion of political activists may be a violation of fundamental human or constitutional rights. But, the packing of Land Boards with the ruling party activists is clear political corruption. It seeks to sow divisions in communities and administer land in a politically biased manner.

It should be expected that the ruling party officials applying for land or change of land usage etcetera will be greatly assisted. Since land is wealth, the ruling party seeks to secure resources for its members and leaders. The appointments served to reward 2019 election primary and general elections losers and other activists who have shown loyalty to the leadership and the party.

Running a country like this has divided it in a way that may be difficult to undo. The next government may decide to reset the whole system by replacing many of government agencies leadership and management in a way that is political. In fact, it would be compelled to do so to cleanse the system.

The opposition is also pondering on approaching the courts for review of the decision to appoint party functionaries and the general violation of clearly stated terms of reference. If this can be established with evidence, the courts can set aside the decision on the basis that unqualified people have been appointed.

The political activism aspect may also not be difficult to prove as some of these people are known activists who are in party structures, at least at the time of appointment, and some were recently candidates. There is a needed for civil society organizations such as trade unions and political parties to fight some of these decisions through peaceful protests and courts.

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