Non-technical skills are as important as the technical ones: How to hire talents in Africa
We recently had a chat with Omi Iyamu, a CTO with over 15 years of experience for one of our Dear CTO blog series, where he rightly said that ‘it is always more expensive to hire the wrong person and have to get rid of them than it is to take the time to hire the right person.’ Hiring the right person is instrumental to your company’s success, especially when your startup is only at its early stages.
For this edition of our Dear CTO series, we spoke to Ekundayo Temitope, the CEO at Printivo — an online print and design eCommerce platform that provides printing and design services to Corporates and Individuals alike online in just 3-5 working days.
Temitope is also presently working on a new Startup called GetEquity. GetEquity provides a platform and tools for technology investors (VCs, Syndicates, Communities) to seamlessly manage their capital fundraising process for intended startups and portfolios. Here’s what he has to say to CTOs about hiring technical talents.
My first experience as a recruiter was quite interesting; I was in the university, and I had to recruit for an international organization I belonged to — AIESEC. AIESEC focused on the leadership and development of youths. I expected that this is something people will be keen to join and learn, but alas, that was not the case. The entire process taught me to see things from different viewpoints. I remember that I had to remind a candidate that we were not a travel agency but a development organization during one of the interviews.
My biggest takeaway from that experience was setting candidate expectations when recruiting. It’s best to inform people about the business or organization they intend to join. Tell them what you stand for and what is important to your organization. Doing this will help you attract committed talents and help them know exactly what to prepare for. It’s also important to let them know the experience they stand to gain by joining the organization.
When recruiting for an early-stage startup, you need to be extremely selective of who you want working with you. You need to understand why you are recruiting that talent and whether they can meet your needs. Because at an early startup stage, speed of execution is EVERYTHING. Beyond skill and talents, I usually like to understand where a candidate is coming from as a person and what makes them tick beyond work. These are some of the things that help me decide on whether to hire a certain candidate or not.
If you are a non-technical founder like myself, it’s best to speak to your technical friends to advise you on getting a part-time technical lead. For example, you need a technical lead to help you structure your technical team or one that will help you subscribe to and set up no-code tools like Webflow. The technical lead will also attend events where founders meet online/offline, and trust me, you can meet the right people at these events that could help out and may even become your co-founder/CTO.
One of the things I wish I knew about hiring technical talents earlier is that non-technical skills are as important as technical ones. What do I mean by this? While skill is essential, attitude, behaviour, and communication are very big traits and very important in a fast-moving or growing company where you have to constantly be in touch with your colleagues and be aligned on specific strategic directions.
You need people that you can trust with executions. You want to work with people that bring out the best in you — creative wise. This is why I usually advise founders to go for experienced technical hires that see the big picture. For early-stage startups, you will need someone who understands what you want to achieve and is capable of wearing multiple hats. Again, an experienced technical hire will do most of these for you.
So, how do you even attract and retain top technical talent? Especially as an early-stage startup? Invest in building relationships with people across industries, and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. At Printivo, we mostly get talents from posts we send out and also from networks. An instance will be when we wanted to hire a new graphic designer. Being around many designers, we were able to select one that met our requirements under three days from conversation to hire. It was quite easy for us to tap into the network of designers we have around us.
In summary, hiring talents is never an easy task. But being able to succinctly identify your company needs and translate those needs into job descriptions and expectations will help you make better hiring decisions.
At Tamborin, we currently have a constantly growing community of over 15,000 technical talents where 4000+ are Frontend engineers, 5000+ are Backend engineers, 3500+ are Fullstack engineers, and 3000+ are product designer, product managers, mobile developers, data engineers, QA engineers, etc. You can promote your roles on our job board to these communities for just $10. We also offer bespoke services to companies that want us to handle their entire hiring process for them, for this service, you can book a call with our team by clicking here.
Visit Tamborin.io for more information about our services.
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