An Interview with Faith Akintunde, a global Human Resources Professional in Lagos, Nigeria.
"Faith Akintunde is a performance and productivity advisor, senior human resource business professional, and the founder of HR Pro Leverage (HRPL); The HRPL Academy, and Finance Pro Leverage. She is a value-driven HR Professional with varied work experience across Financial Services, Oil & Gas servicing, and the Manufacturing industry with expertise in Performance Management, Talent Management, Learning & Development, Competency-based people management, etc".
Welcome Faith, it's a pleasure to have you here.
How did you start off your career in Human Resources?
Thank you for having me.
I'm a mom of three kids married to a very lovely Son of God. And I believe we're doing well. I have been an HR professional for about 14 years now. After graduating from school, my first job was in investment banking, I was to become a stockbroker when I caught the bug of HR, and the passion hasn't left me since.
I've done HR across a couple of industries, from investment banking to oil and gas servicing, to manufacturing where I am currently at. I've watched a couple of professionals across different spaces or industries. I worked with professionals from the medical sector, to telecoms, I mean across the space.
It's been an amazing experience for me and quite exciting. Every day I wake up looking forward to helping 1% or one more person to get to their dream job or their desired career.
I have known you for a while now and you are an approachable person, I say that you're fantastic at the job, good thing that you moved to HR. Of course, if even if you were still in the stock exchange, I'm sure you still have been good at that was a good thing.
In all your years of his hour, what would you HR? professional, what would you pick out as one of the most defining moments in your career?
I wouldn't say I'm surprised about that question. Because over the years, I get to answer such questions around how I got into HR was actually a defining moment for me. I had to make a call between stockbroking, that's an investment banking role and HR. Like I shared recently on one of the platforms, I was invited. I started as an investment officer, top booking officer, right and I got an opportunity to act as an HR manager. But it got to the point where my business leadership wanted me to come back into stockbroking.
I had to make a call whether I was going to do that or not. I mean, at that point, it was a career decision. and a sensitive one at that. I didn't have HR certifications, I did not have so much experience at the time. But I just had the passion and the drive.
I had to make that call whether to go into that career where I didn't have any assets, maybe certifications. I studied Economics Education, my first degree, I was in a masters program in economics. I was writing a certification exam to become a chartered stockbroker, I had that journey ongoing when I got into HR. And my business leadership wanted me to continue to do stockbroking, I was willing to start learning because there were just a couple of years to go, before I get certified as a stockbroker. So I had to pray Yes, I had to discuss with my husband.
And then an HR opportunity came my way. In another organization where the person recruiting me was a good friend of my boss at the time. So I was likely to be torn in between two good friends if I chose to go that way. But I had to, I had to really sit down with myself and I found out that really HR is it for me. And today, I'm grateful that I made that call, even though it almost cost me my relationship with my boss, then I thank God that's, I mean, we're back. Now, my boss is still very impressed with what I'm doing. I believe my former boss, I mean, is quite proud of me. So it was a defining moment for me because I had to make a tough call.
That definitely was a good decision. And it goes to show that sometimes we want to take a tough decision that we feel is the best choice for us. We shouldn't be afraid of what other people may think or what I had to break the relationship with them. Because if you had been thinking about your boss's approval, you may not have made this decision. I look now the same person I wasn't happy with you now is happy with you, and also proud of what you have achieved.
I know as fresh graduates or people who are looking for a job, sometimes there's this myth about what exactly is HR's job? What exactly are they actually doing? Or why didn't I get the invitation? Can you just give us a brief explanation of the end of the hiring process carried out by the human resource function in a company?
Okay, that's a very solid question. So let's give a bit of clarity. the hiring process actually does not start with the HR manager. It starts with the hiring manager, right? When we say hiring manager in HR, it is the manager that that candidate is going to be working with. So actually, it starts with the hiring manager, so the process of recruitment starts with a manager in a department that sees a vacancy or the organization leadership that says we need more salespeople, or we need management trainees.
Then the HR manager now picks up a form that we call the staff requisition form or employee requisition form. In other places, it is called a recruitment form, HR asks the hiring manager to fill that form. in that form, you will see the job title, you will see qualifications you will see experience if experiences are required, what type of experience what type of skills are required. All that and then the location of the job, all that would be on that form, when the hiring manager, the head of the department, the line manager signs off on that form, the management would approve it, and then the recruiter or the HR begins working with it.
Now, in some cases, the HR of the company auditor of the organization may not be the one to carry out our recruitment, they may hire or outsource it to a recruiting company to carry out that recruitment. If that happens, that same document is what the recruiting company will work with. If it is the HR manager of the company that is recruiting, now that form is what the recruiter will use to craft the advert that will be sent out.
When it comes to the advertiser you will see zero to two years of experience, you will see two to four years of experience in marketing or in sales or in related experience or in the real estate industry. Maybe industry experience will also be specified, on the adverts. In some cases, a candidate can have nine of 10 of those requirements. And that one they don't have might be one of the defining or significant requirements for that role.
You may not know it, but the recruiter knows it, for instance, I was recruiting for a salesperson in the northern region. Hence I had to be looking for someone that can speak the Hausa language maybe a Muslim because most people in northern Nigeria are Muslims. But I'm not going to put this in my advert.
Yeah, that shed some light on the hiring process. And this is because we know that most people don't get to know about such things they only just see what's in front of them which is in the advert.
So just give us a brief preview into what exactly those things HR is looking for on a resume.
I think that at the heart of shortlisting are these requirements that are required and include competencies, which are broken into skills, knowledge, and attitude, of course, cannot read attitude on the CV. But if your resume shows your skills, it might be shortlisted.
So that means the point you're raising here now is that there is nothing like a generic CV. So your CV should match as much as possible to the particular role you're applying for. That's what you're saying, right?
Yeah, so yeah, I'm getting to that conclusion, right. But that's the conclusion. Okay, I'm saying before I can shortlist, I would have checked the requirements and say that it matches. But before I can check your requirements, or even pick your CV, to look through it.
And that is where the appearance of the CV matters. So the presentation of the CV would first attract me to now explore further to find out those skills, the knowledge and attitude, and experience that you have. So I've seen CV stacks that were snapped with a mobile phone.
And then you send it to a recruiter. The appearance is funny, but if you're looking for a professional, I'm unlikely to look at our CV. In some cases, the spacing, no adequate spacing, or the letter you use are so tiny.
So for the Manual review of CV, you want your CV to be, I mean, appealing. So I'm not saying you should paint it in corners and all that, but the spacing, the font size, the lettering, right, why choose the side too? Yeah, I mean, reasonably, I mean, adequately spaced lines. I think those are basic for the physical appearance of a CV. Most importantly, is to put your trains your content, I mean properly in a way that is readable and appealing to the eyes.
Okay, that's fantastic. I know I could wonder why somebody would take a photo of a CV with a mobile phone. I've seen that It's no good at all. Okay, moving on to the next question.
So what qualities do HR look for in an applicant or in an employee who's already in the company?
Okay, so I don't think the requirements are cast in stone, because they would vary with the environment. But what I know that is consistent across the board is attitude. Your attitude, how do you respond to difficult situations or difficult people? How do you respond to hard situations, let's say there's a job that needs to be done within a short timeline. The attitude you have towards your peers, the people that are junior to you, your associates, the people that are working on your team, even your seniors, now it's easy to be nice to the seniors because you want some promotion. But how do you relate with that person that is not your peer, that person that is junior to you? They don't determine your promotion? Yes. But sometimes you may not know, they may have input, in some way that you're not aware of.
Do you go the extra mile way when your manager gives you a task, do you think about what your manager is thinking when he gave that job to you.
Yeah, that's actually a great thing. Because it's not just enough to just do exactly what is said, at least add in your own initiative to show that yes, you're able to adapt to different situations and to improve upon what is given as a task to you. It's actually a great thing.
But what about somebody who's applying for a job and doesn't have any way or means of showing you that he has this attitude? So what can he do or put on his CV or this to help the person who is gleaning through the CV to know that okay, it has not been verified, but according to this person, he has the right skills or attitude.
Yeah, I think that for me would come in the segment of achievement. Now, I heard someone say that I don't have experience. There's always a starting point, right? So in school, what did you do? Did you I mean, volunteer? Did you do anything in school, and I just hope that young people, fresh graduates, and university students take heed of this.
I think this is the right time to start, especially if you're still in the university, take on responsibilities, take initiative, there are a couple of things that are wrong where you are. So when you fill a gap, when you add value, within the capacity you have in that sphere of influence you are, you're able to lay claim on that thing you have done is this is one of my favorite sayings that you cannot claim an experience that you have not tried your hands on.
Yeah, so and you want to create your own platform, you have to just find a way to express yourself to show that yes, you can do with it given the opportunity. So I'm on a crusade telling people to create their own platform, do their own thing. I have a very young niece who is an undergraduate in one of the universities. She used her phone, just did a video and started reaching out to people. She did a very short video. Right now I'm sure she can lay claim on the experience of that five-minute video she made.
The world has an open space for every one of us to start something. There is something that is not going right where you are. Can you fix it? Can you talk about it? Can you rally people to do something about it? And that can be an experience you can claim? That can be something you will put forward to say yes, I've done this. I can do this.
Yeah, it just goes to point out the fact that we all have a talent or something that we can put to good use, just left for us to find it. And we all, if you know it already put it to good use.
Whether or not you've not gotten your first job yet, you should be involved in something. Even volunteer work doesn't have to be something that's getting you paid.
When you're being interviewed, and your experience has been shared, nobody asks you if you were paid or not. Yes.
In summary, remember that when you're putting your C.V. ensure they are in a presentable manner. And then, of course, like she has pointed out the qualities that we all need to grow in our career showing the appetites for taking on more responsibilities, or having the initiative to be in a better condition to impress your line manager, and also having a good relationship with other senior officers, and also people in your team and those beneath you. And you know, sometimes, even if you are the boss doesn't mean that those who report to you will not have a part to play in your carrier growth.
So fantastic points are free that's being pointed out there for us. And we are truly, truly the wiser, especially for those people who are wondering why they've not yet gotten their dream job or why they've not gotten a promotion yet at their place of work. Yeah, we know that sometimes it could be due to some subjective factors. Yeah, we can't rule that out. But we know that if you are open to grow and develop yourself, you can , whether it be in your current organization or somewhere else. If you feel that somebody is trying to suppress you, keep doing all the necessary things, definitely, your light will shine out on somebody out there.
My book is out now, the 360-degree career, you can order it from my website. I'm quite very active on LinkedIn. You can also follow me on Facebook. It's the official I have a Facebook page and you'll see a lot of my videos on my Facebook page. Especially and then on my website. You can find so many resources to support you or to guide you in your career.
Both hardcopy and E copy is available on Amazon.
Thank you Faith Akintunde for accepting to have this interview, I wish you the best in your endeavors.
I am happy about being here, thanks.
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