As the world’s largest Executive Search team with a pure focus on Africa, we believe it is critical to spend time on the continent to visit our clients, experience their office environments, and get a proper understanding of the cultural and personality requirements which work in a particular organisation. This is the same for Search Firms all over the world, but how many of those covering Africa have actually been there?
“In order to ensure we find the right person for key leadership positions based on the ground in Africa, it’s simply not enough to assess if they have the right skill set and personal competencies. We have to also understand the operational challenges they will face and be able to interrogate whether an individual has the ability to be resourceful and come up with appropriate solutions which will work in practice,” comments EiA Managing Director, Sarah Fitzgerald who is on her way back to Nigeria once again next week, and taking South African-born Search Consultant, Colleen McIntyre on her first trip to Lagos.
“To be able to say that you have seen the international schools where candidates will send their children, enjoyed goat curry at Bogobiri on Thursday evening open mic night in Ikoyi, or that you have attended a ‘raisin wine’ tasting session in Addis, having struggled with the altitude in a surprisingly pleasant climate all day, are the sorts of experiences which not many ‘Africa’ focused Search Firms can claim in reality. Being able to describe what to expect on arrival at the airport is minimum expectations in our book. We need to be able to help candidates really understand the country, and we believe this is instrumental to our phenomenal 98.6% rate of success.”
Fitzgerald loves travelling to Africa, having visited over thirteen countries on the continent. Despite economic challenges in Nigeria currently, she is delighted to be heading back to one of her favourite cities, meeting four specific clients who have just signed off new search mandates with Executives in Africa. The biggest challenge is to find enough time for all the other clients wanting to discuss roles in the pipeline on behalf of the rest of the fifteen strong Executive Search Team.
“Clients often ask us if we have an office on the ground anywhere in Africa, but actually our UK base is a real strength. Candidates and Clients want to deal with an international Search Firm for the kudos it gives and to send a serious message to the market about the commitment to hire, but equally, they want to know that we understand the environment.”
Having recently had to fly a candidate from South Africa via two major African cities and then take a private car and driver across yet another border to get him to his final destination for his interview, we would argue that the UK is just as accessible to the countries we cover as much as any location.
So next time you are thinking of hiring a key leader to deliver growth for your business in Africa, make sure you are speaking to a firm who is truly committed to the continent. Even better, invite us over to meet the team and take the Briefing in person.