Monday, October 2, 2017

Tips for Women Leaders in Kenya

In September, Duma Works powered its first ever Women in Leadership breakfast held at the Newscafe in Adlife plaza, Kilimani. The purpose of the event was to look at the issues surrounding what leadership looks like in Kenya in 2017 from a woman’s perspective, and highlight lessons that can be learnt and taught to the next generation of women leaders.

For the session, we were joined by a group of 31 women leaders in Kenya (as well as some mentees!), and 5 panelists.

The panel consisted of: Dr. Laila Macharia, Serial Entrepreneur and Board Member at Centum and Barclays KenyaWambui Kinya, Chief Strategy Officer at Andela and ThoughtWorks, Esther Ndeti, Executive Director at EAVCA, Njoki Ndegwa, Co-Founder at Life Mastery Solutions and, Joyce Mbaya-Ikiao, Entrepreneur, Trainer, Management Consultant, Author of GIBÉBÉ, and Founder of Zydii Ltd.

We’ve documented some of the key takeaways from the event for your reading pleasure. 🙂

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  Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How to Interview Sales People in Kenya

Hire Sales People in Kenya with Duma Works

Sales people are tricky to assess before an actual conversation with them, because at the end of the day, their job boils down to, well, talking to people. That being said, there are a few ways to be smart about your interview process for sales people.

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  Friday, July 14, 2017

Turn Your Musical Passion into a Career …with Sauti Sol

It’s a great time in Kenya to be a musician.

The internet has increased the possibility to “be found,” and by local and international record labels. There are also opportunities to make money from music outside of the difficult process of being signed by a record label – Musicians can use popular venues like Youtube and Facebook to record videos and appeal directly to their listeners.

But let’s be honest. When you tell your parents you want to launch a career in music, the immediate response is that music is not a career and you should get serious.

We’ve spoken to the guys at Sauti Sol to see what it was that drove them to persist in their musical career, and to offer inspiration to other aspiring musicians.

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  Friday, July 14, 2017

The Future Of Recruiting In Kenya

In July, we held our first ever Future Of Recruiting event in Kenya! We were joined by some amazing professionals to share knowledge about how top companies are taking advantage of technology in the recruiting process, how job candidates can brand themselves professionally and tips on how to increase employee retention in your company.

Our awesome team of panelists included Rita Muigai from IBM Kenya, Sam Kitonyi from Jumo World , Donald Bedney from Gallup and James Ndiga from Andela.

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  Monday, April 3, 2017

How to Establish a Sticky Company Culture


Creating a “sticky,” or simply put – AWESOME – company culture is something we pride ourselves in having built at Duma Works. We’d like to share some of the tricks we learned along the way – what works and what doesn’t work – to build an outstanding company culture at your company.

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  Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Should Aptitude and Personality Testing Impact Hiring?

Should Aptitude and Personality Testing Impact Hiring?

Last year, Duma Works launched an aptitude and personality test feature as an additional tool for companies to use to screen talent for their organizations.

The question always comes up about how much weight HR Managers and Recruiters should place on these aptitude and personality tests, because after all, it’s very difficult to understand the intricacies of who someone is and their motivations from a 30 question survey. It’s also tough to knock candidates out for test scores – maybe they aren’t as good test takers, maybe the tests were developed in other markets, maybe they haven’t been trained as well in standardized tests…

We thought we would share how Duma Works uses the aptitude and personality tests in-house to help advise on how to fit aptitude and personality testing into the job candidate screening process.

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  Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How to Find and Keep Manufacturing Talent in Kenya

What It Takes to find top Manufacturing Talent in Kenya. Check out Duma Works to hire the best talent in Kenya in the Manufacturing sector.

What it Takes to Land the Best Talent and Jobs in the Manufacturing Sector in Kenya from our Experts

In February, we held our monthly What It Takes Talent event, focusing on the newest talent trends in the Manufacturing sector in Kenya, namely how to find and keep Manufacturing talent in Kenya. The event was incredible and we were joined by some amazing young professionals and HR thought leaders to share knowledge about how top companies are retaining talent, hiring the leaders of tomorrow, and up-skilling their team to maintain relevance in a fast-changing sector.

We were joined by some incredible individuals for the panel event, including Khalil Anjarwalla from African Cotton, Asim Shah from Tarpo Industries, Nicholas Kasidhi from Diageo, Andrew Stirling from Brown’s Cheese, John Chege from Tru Foods, Hannah Karuru from Kenafric, and Agnes Mwanzawa from Kapa Oil Refineries.

Needless to say, it was an incredibly illuminating discussion! Please find our notes below.

**Quick note from the author: The Q&A is transcribed from the event, and I apologize for any grammatical errors or fragments as I was attempting to get everything done. To our panelists, I apologize if I’ve paraphrased anything.

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  Monday, November 28, 2016

What It Takes Talent: Finance Sector in Kenya

What it takes to make it: Finance. Join Duma Works for monthly events that bring together entrepreneurs, HR and Talent Managers, and Professionals to discuss how to connect with top talent and jobs in Africa

Our monthly #WhatItTakes Talent Event focused on the Finance Sector.

We brought in amazing panelists to lead the discussion about how HR and Talent Managers can recruit, train, and retain top talent in the Finance Sector in Kenya, and shared insights with professionals on how to position themselves for their career in the Finance Sector.

Our partner for the event was Invhestia, and our panelists were Stephen Gugu, Director of Invhestia, Kate Gathii, Marketing Manager at Direct Pay Online, and Joel Macharia from Abacus.

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  Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Why Leveraging a What It Takes Screening Approach Leads to Better Hiring

Get Top Talent in East Africa and get a better hiring process by having candidates prove they have what it takes during the application process.

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“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.”

What Lou Holtz, former football coach and lifetime motivational speaker, did not realize is that he was describing the core challenge and opportunity of recruiting:

How do you figure out what candidates can do, how motivated they are to succeed, and what kind of attitude they bring before even meeting them?

Based on our last 4 years in Kenya building a digital recruiting platform from scratch with a local team and local recruiting partners, we strongly believe in and recommend the “What It Takes” approach for better hiring.

We find that this practical assessment based method gives Hiring Managers the ability to objectively measure skills, motivation, and attitude candidates bring before a face to face interview.

What is the “What It Takes” approach and why does it lead to better hiring?

Instead of wasting your time looking over CVs, trying to use grammar and formatting to understand a person’s ability, try something else.

To create a better hiring process, we recommend basing all of your decisions on a systematic, objective screening process that makes job applicants show you they have the skills to do the job, instead of just telling you.

At Duma Works, we do this through a rigorous analysis of the job opening with our clients, and the creation of a customized set of screening tests to put applicants through.

For this article, I’m going to skip through the job analysis and get right into the screening process, but if you are interested, I’ve built a case study that can help you think about how to analyze your job openings more deeply here.

Step 1: Identify the Skills the Job Requires

The first step is to understand what the day-to-day at work activities look like for your job opening and the skills (soft & technical) candidates will require to get the job done.

Examples of soft and technical skills include:

  • Proficiency in a specific language
  • Knowledge of Salesforce software
  • Proficiency in Powerpoint
  • Understanding of SPSS
  • Itinerary planning on a budget
  • Client relations
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • etc.

The next step is to create specific questions to evaluate each one of these skills, along with a grading rubric to assess the candidate’s performance on each question in an objective, consistent way.

N.B. Creating a grading rubric is HUGELY important, do NOT skip that step!!

Step 2: Build a Screening Test To Assess Each Skill 

This step consists of a rather tedious and creative process to build case studies that a candidate will need to complete.

When creating the case studies, you should think about what skills you are assessing and how concretely you will be able to judge a candidate’s ability based on response.

I think the best way to illustrate our process is based on examples (again, showing, rather than telling! :))

Case Study 1: Junior Level Field Sales Manager

Imagine you have a job opening for Junior level Field Sales Manager. The day-to-day activities they will engage in include responsible for (a) recruiting a sales team, (b) managing a sales team, and (c) reporting back to HQ in Nairobi. The skills they require include: Recruiting, Managing Sales Team, Creating Reports, Communication, Leadership.

To test candidates for these skills, we would do the following:

  • Issue a basic questionnaire to check to assess their interest in the role and confirm they have the right specific experience level, educational background, and communication skills
  • Issue an advanced technical skills test with a practical case study to test for the 3 skills above. For example:

Imagine you are managing a team of 5 field sales staff in a rural area of Kenya who are approaching micro and small enterprises to begin accepting mobile money at their kiosks and shops.

A – When recruiting for your sales team, (a) Describe 3 methods you would use to source for candidates in the rural region, (b) What 5 key experiences or skills would you look for in candidates, (c) Describe 3 questions you would ask candidates during the interview to assess these skills.

B- Create a report template that you would use to keep your management in HQ in Nairobi up to date with sales targets for your team.

(a) What KPIs would you track and how would you prioritize those KPIs? (b) What anecdotal information would you include in the report, (c) how many times per month would you issue a report and why?

Do you see how practical testing is a way of having candidates prove to you that they have what it takes to do the day-to-day activities that will be required of them on the job?

Case Study 2: Entry Level Monitoring & Evaluation Officer (NGO)

Imagine you are hiring for an Entry Level Monitoring & Evaluation Officer at an NGO responsible for (a) data collection and data entry, (b) community organizing, and (c) basic data analysis. Skills required are therefore: Data Collection, Data Entry, Organization, Community Organizing, Leadership, Data Analysis, Knowledge of Excel.

Here’s how we would test for these skills:

  • Again, issue a basic questionnaire to assess education level and skills. I would also throw in some multiple choice questions to test their knowledge of functions on Excel and basic logic questions.
  • Issue a technical test to assess for the three skills above. For this, I would include an Excel file with some data points to assess both their ability to analyze on a quantitative and qualitative level.
    • On the quantitative side, I would include some incorrect formulae and calculations in the Excel file and ask them to find the mistakes.
    • On the qualitative side, I would ask them what other data points they might need to collect from community members to make a viable recommendation to the NGO. I would ask them what types of questions they might ask community members in order to gather these data points.
    • For community organizing, I would ask them to give me an example of potential partners in the community they would approach to work with to gain better access to the community.

For all these screening tests, I would create a grading rubric with grades from 1-5 for each question, pegged to different levels of excellence of answers.

Creating a grading rubric isn’t hard, it’s just another step you need to do to create this systematic recruiting process. To make things easier for you, I’ve created a template for how to build your skills tests and grading rubric here.

Step 3: Assign someone responsibility for managing this process 

Whether you want to do this in-house or hire someone else to do it for you, that’s up to you! Every organization is different and sometimes it is helpful to begin creating the process internally so you get a deep understanding of how it works and its benefits.

Despite being more time-intensive to set up, we’ve found the What It Takes approach definitely pays off in the end and yields a better hiring process. For us, this is mainly because of the following:

  • You gain an objective standard for all job applicants in your recruiting funnel
  • You begin creating a systematic approach to recruiting that can be scaled and delegated to other team members
  • By creating a standard, you give yourself the ability to reflect on your hiring process so you can analyze and improve it as your company grows

Most importantly, you assign someone responsibility for managing this process. If no one is responsible, it will not get done, and you will find yourself hiring by CVs and relying on gut instinct again.

This approach to recruiting does take a bit more time to set up, and requires a deeper understanding of the job type you are hiring for. It is difficult to build this process while you are in the middle of handling compliance, culture, payroll, and all the other things you manage.

If you don’t want to do this in-house because you’d rather focus your energy on actually running your business, I would encourage you to try using Duma Works.

We’ve built a system that’s a blend of human touch and digital as well as customization and scalability to help you create a What It Takes-based, systematic recruiting system for your organization.

Duma Works already has a database of screening questions to use for specific roles, and our amazing Placement Success team can offer you guidance as you think through what strategic goals your job opening will seek to fill.

Another benefit of using us is that we’ve created a software to execute this recruiting process at scale. So instead of you personally looking through a thousand screening tests, our software and Placement team can do that for you within 5-10 business days.

In Summary

I hope this article and the resources I’ve included are helpful to you.

If you have any questions, want to chat about your recruiting process, or want to learn more about Duma Works, please visit our website or reach out at [email protected]. I’m always happy to meet new people, exchange new ideas, and build new partnerships.

You can also check out other articles I’ve written about What It Takes based recruiting like this one here.


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  Monday, September 5, 2016

A New Era for Duma Works

Apply for our Chief Technology Officer position and join one of the fastest growing startups in the recruiting space in East Africa

It’s official: We are recruiting for a Chief Technology Officer at Duma Works!

After what I presume was an excruciating and tearful thought process, our amazing, funny, talented CTO, Linus, has decided to move back to Sweden. He will therefore be stepping down from his operative role at Duma Works.

Given that Duma Works is growing and generally killing it, this move for Linus is not due to any doubt in the inevitable world domination of Duma Works as the recruiting platform for growing companies in emerging markets. For him, this was a personal choice due to family, lifestyle, and a deep longing to experience Swedish winter again.

“Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” – Orrin Woodward

I think it’s safe to say that Linus, embodies that leadership quality, and Duma Works has certainly become a better company for it. Linus’ agile, humble leadership, and wise presence as the resident FOG will be greatly missed.

We wish Linus the best of luck with the move and are packing him many boxes of tissues for the flight home.

Onwards and upwards!

PS. It goes without saying that rockstars who are interested in applying to fill Linus’ very large shoes as CTO of our humble rocketship should certainly cast their luck and check out what we are looking for here and then contact me directly at [email protected]

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