If you weren’t in Sierra Leone this January, you missed out on attending the first Salone Job Fair on January 16th at the US Embassy’s Parking Lot in Freetown.
Organised by Careers.sl, the most popular job board and recruitment company in the country, the Salone Job Fair was the first large scale local gathering of job seekers and employers in recent years.
Over 400 local and international job seekers, 30 employers and 60 recruitment specialists attended the event and got to experience a successful mix of CV screenings, recruitment advice, speed interviews, CV clinics and of course, job offers.
Job seekers started queuing up to enter the venue well before starting time, most of them dressed in sharp business outfits and carrying copies of their CVs. Inside the venue, there were 30 stalls being run by Sierra Leone’s most prominent employers, ready with pamphlets and brochures and eager to meet top talent.
Some of the organisations who participated include Save the Children, GOAL, World Hope International, Adam Smith International, Rising Academy, Easy Solar, the U.S. Mission Sierra Leone, InterNews, Family Kingdom Resort, Concern Worldwide, Africell Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, ChildFund International, Cordaid, Shansteel, YAS Learning Center, Handicap International, Swiss Spirit Hotel and of course iDT Labs and Careers.sl.
During the 3-hour event, job seekers and employers got the rare chance to interact face-to-face and learn about each other’s expectations. Job seekers got answers to their most pressing questions from over 60 recruitment specialists who in turn got access to a diverse pool of CVs to fulfil their urgent and long-term hiring needs.
According to Andra Marin, Business Unit Manager of Careers.sl, job seekers have expressed an overwhelmingly positive response to the 1st Salone Job Fair:
“…a wonderful experience…first in my life”. – Conrad, job seeker in Freetown
“Thank you for making us the unemployed youth access jobs through your programme.”- Mohammed, job seeker in Freetown
“Thank you for organizing such a wonderful Job Fair at the American Embassy. It was amazing and worth reckoning with.” – Jusufu, job seeker in Freetown
The participating employers also expressed positive feedback as well as a desire to be part of future job fairs:
“I was very pleased to see the efforts made in preparing for this job fair…the event itself was well organised which enabled a spacious and free flowing environment for job seekers to move around in and share ideas. I was able to get over 60 CV’s related to a position we are recruiting for so for me, the event was a big success.” – Representative of Easy Solar
“The Job Fair was well organized and productive. With recruiters within their reach, the job seekers were able to ask questions without fear and were satisfied with the response they got.” – Representative of ChildFund
“Thank you for having us at the job fair. We found it very productive and it was exciting to see all the job seekers that attended. RAN would love to attend any future job fair you put together.” – Representative of Rising Academy Network
Internationally, job fairs serve as bridges to connect individuals and companies in mutually beneficial ways. They have proven to be one of the most efficient and cost-effective recruitment methods for companies and NGOs across the world.
However, Sierra Leone has not had a job fair in years. Until now. With a large number of unemployed professionals and graduates coupled with limited access to internet or newspapers, the two main recruitment channels in Sierra Leone, Careers.sl decided to organise the first Salone Job Fair, the first event of its kind in the past several years, which was the ideal solution to helping employers and job seekers meet and understand each other’s expectations and needs:
“Careers.sl, the leading job board and recruitment company in the country decided to organise the first Salone Job Fair to confirm once again our community driven thinking and our social involvement in addressing major issues such as unemployment and limited access to information. Fortunately, we found another organisation just as committed as we are to helping the local community through sustainable projects and initiatives. The US Mission Sierra Leone partnered with us in co-hosting the first Salone Job Fair by providing the venue and by ensuring that everything went smoothly, despite the large number of people present at the event. We had planned to have around 250 participants and ended up accommodating twice as many job seekers and employers. Because of space constraints we had to leave many more job seekers hoping to get a chance to attend the following edition. We chose the month of January because this period coincides with companies allocating new recruitment budgets, identifying staffing needs and with NGOs receiving new donations and starting new projects. The response that we received from both job seekers and employers was overwhelming, so was the turnout! Hence, both the US Mission Sierra Leone and Careers.sl decided to organise another Salone Job Fair, right before the rainy season. Follow us on Facebook to learn more about it. Details will follow soon!” – Andra Marin, Business Unit Manager of Careers.sl
Anna Huynh, Community Liaison Coordinator for the United States Mission Sierra Leone, considers the first Salone Job Fair a step in the right direction to counter unemployment and lack of access to information in Sierra Leone:
“In response to low unemployment rates in Sierra Leone as well as the U.S. Government Hiring Freeze, the U.S. Mission Sierra Leone was proud to co-host the first Salone Job Fair in Sierra Leone with Careers.sl to benefit not only local Sierra Leoneans, but also American family members who are currently seeking employment while posted in Freetown. Over 400 local recent graduates, professionals, and expats attended the event and had an opportunity to introduce themselves to NGOs and companies in Sierra Leone. This successful job fair was more than just a job fair: it was a networking forum for talented individuals to share with organizations and companies their knowledge and skills.”
Since 2013 Careers.sl, powered by iDT Labs, have been pioneers in using technology to provide solutions for youth unemployment and lack of access to information. Through digital job search, recruitment and head-hunting services, Careers.sl has connected thousands of professionals to the right opportunities along with providing employers a steadily increasing talent pool to make the best hiring choices. The Salone Job Fair is the first in a series of job fairs and new initiatives which Careers.sl is planning to undertake in order to expand their services and reach those who need them the most. In December 2017, Careers.sl conducted two FREE CV Writing Workshops to help young job seekers in Freetown write effective CVs and several other similar sessions are scheduled to take place in the following weeks in preparation for the second Salone Job Fair.
Subscribe to the Careers.sl Facebook page to get updates about the next Salone Job Fairs and upcoming FREE Recruitment Workshops and events: https://www.facebook.com/careerssl/.