3 Reasons Why Placard Carrying Job Seekers Are Actually Getting Jobs in Kenya

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Desperate times call for desperate measures. No one knows this better that the Kenya job hunting community part of which has resorted to the most unconventional means of making their need and skills known to the potential employers. This lot has decided if the online job application processes don’t yield fruit, then the public or highway placard displays would be an option. Why not give it a try anyway.

It started as a joke sometime late 2015, picked up steam in 2016 and as early as January this year we are already seeing strong signs of the same. From a career analyst point of view, I could certainly predict that this trend will be big in 2017 owing to the fact that it has been bearing success almost instantly.

Job seekers waving placards seem to have a magical breakthrough. They pick strategic locations or highways to display their competencies, soon they start trending on social media attracting even the attention of mainstream media and viola!! the next day or week we see and hear it in the news headlines: they got a job.

This begs the question, why is this seemingly unorthodox job hunting strategy bearing quick results. A number of factors contribute to this as I discuss them below.

It is emotion driven
Emotions have a strong way of making humans do things they would otherwise not have done. In the job search world, an emotional appeal could cause an employer or a recruiter to take certain actions that defy talent resourcing policy framework of an organization. This is true especially if the individual is the senior most staff or the business owner.

Seeing a job seeker waving a placard early in the morning and possibly for a whole day (or even just reading about it on social media) elicits an emotional response from a human standpoint. You develop pity toward the individual. This rarely happens when the same individual applies for a job in the conventional way since you do not see the person in that state of desperation. You only engage documents.

The emotions are magnified further by the media running stories about the individual’s life struggles, job search failures while highlighting his/her academic credentials and other qualifications.

If a decision maker in an organization gets “trapped” in this pity ocean, then it’s very easy to instruct the HR team to get in touch with the placard waving job candidate and offer him/her either a full time entry job or an internship opportunity.

Sympathy, empathy and pity overshadow the prescribed recruitment framework and policy at that moment.

Good PR for the employing organizations
The placard job seekers have always attracted lots of social media and mainstream media attention. Certain organizations have known how to ride the wave while it’s still high and jumped onto the opportunity to steal the limelight albeit positively.

The story of the job seekers does not end with the placard stuff. Once they get a job, the employing organization then becomes the main story. As such the trend has had a fair share of success because there are organizations out there ready to employ them and be seen as the employers of choice to the Kenyan public thus raising their approval profile and stand a better chance of attracting better talent.

This opportunities are equally cost saving to the organizations considering the amount of money it would cost them to have the same kind of publicity. Their “act of humanity” gives them a fair air play which is critical for business operations.

The trending effect of social media plays a major role in leading to this success for the job seeker.

The admiration for courage and “out of the box” thinking
The trend has borne success because certain individuals in decision making position as far as recruitment is concerned, feel the placard carrying job seekers are a courageous lot whose ingenuity ought to be rewarded.

Whilst the a job search option could have been precipitated by desperation and the whips of life, someone would look at it and think, “that guy/girl had the guts to do the most unconventional thing by making a placard and carrying it every single day to their vantage point hoping to catch the eye of a recruiter.

This thought contributes largely to the decision by certain bosses or companies to track the candidates and offer them what they asked for through the placard; a job.

We all see and interpret events and actions in different light.  

The Kenyan job public may have different views as far as this job seeking style is concerned. Other see it as an out of the box creation while others think it’s a way of just seeking cheap publicity and pity. The truth remains that the few who have gone down that route have been rewarded for their labor. These positive results will attract many others to try the option in 2017.

All the best to those planning to give it a try.

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