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Direct Pay Online attains high level certification

News posted in the Business Daily, a Nation Media publication, on 5th September 2017.

Direct Pay Online Group (DPO) has received Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) level 1 certification for operations in 12 African countries.

The high security and privacy certification for payments industry comes after comprehensive audits in the group’s global headquarters and its African head office based in Nairobi, which runs all other markets in 11 countries.

PCI DSS applies to entities that store, process or transmit cardholder or sensitive authentication data.

The certification is administered by the PCI DSS council, which was founded by Visa Inc, MasterCard Worldwide, American Express, Discover Financial Services and JCB International.

“As Direct Pay Online, our goal is to keep up with the highest level of security, privacy and standards in any market we go into…This compliance certificate demonstrates that our systems are at par with international security standards,” said DPO group chief executive Eran Feinstein on Monday in a statement.

DPO offers payment services to over 25,000 online merchants including over 50 airlines, hotels, restaurants, travel agents, tour operators, schools, insurance and other players in the e-commerce sector.

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What’s the Worst Interview Question to Ask?

You’ve probably experienced plenty of job interviews in your time, and whilst you may have prepped yourself as much as possible, there is always that one question you hated being asked. In fact, you hated it that much that now that the shoe is on the other foot you probably avoid asking that question yourself when you are recruiting.

Our panel of 10 recruiting experts share their thoughts on what they think is the worst interview question to ask

Leela Srinivasan

Any question that begins with, “How would you…?” is subjective and not based in reality. If you ask a candidate a hypothetical question, their answer is necessarily made up, and you risk hiring the person who knows what the answer should be rather than the person with the experience to do the job. Much better is starting with ‘Tell me about a time when…’, then probing deeper to understand how the candidate handled the situation and their role in driving impact. In other words, behavioural interviewing for the win :).

Leela Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer at Lever.

Amy Volas

Do you have kids? Are you pregnant? Are you in a relationship?  What do you think about today’s political climate?  If you were on an island and had to escape and you didn’t have tools, food or water, what would you do and how long would it take you?

Amy Volas is Chieftain of Avenue Talent Partners.

Lars Schmidt

“Where do you want to be in 5 years?” It’s irrelevant to the current interview, and an obvious stock question.

C’mon, you’re better than that. Show some creativity!

Lars Schmidt is the Founder of Amplify.

Chad MacRae

What’s your biggest weakness? People just make things up. It’s important to be self-aware, there are other ways to ask that question. Otherwise, you’ll get canned responses. Instead, you might ask: What skill do you feel like you’re still missing?

Chad MacRae is the Founder of Recruiting Social.

Stacy Zapar

I think everyone’s tired of “your greatest weakness” by now. Most answers are pretty canned and uninformative anyway. There are different ways to ask that question and get more meaningful responses. Perhaps ask about an area of opportunity in a past review and what steps they took to improve and how it all turned out. ​Much better than hearing “I’m a perfectionist” again and again.

Stacy is the Founder of Tenfold & The Talent Agency.

John Feldmann

Interview questions are like a stock investment portfolio – diversification is key. Asking too many of any one type of question most likely will not provide the adequate information required to identify a successful employee. Generic “tell me about yourself” questions, behavioral “tell me about a time when…” questions, Google-type brain-teaser questions – which are the worst? Limiting the interview process to only one type of question instead of incorporating them all – that would be the worst.

John Feldmann is a writer for Insperity Recruiting Services.

Erin Wilson

Rather than pick specific questions I would say the worst interview questions come from ad hoc interviewing practices. It’s amazing how many companies just wing it. The go through the trouble of lining up 5-6 people or in other words $500-600 of time spent interviewing one person on site. Would you ever spend that kind of money without putting one second of thought into it? I expect to see hiring teams partner with their talent teams to co-design thoughtful processes down to the question showcased by models and an overall interview architecture.

Erin Wilson is Founder and Tech Engineer at Hirepool.io

Maren Hogan

“Tell me about yourself.” Not only is this an awkwardly, broad question, many people ask this question. You want to ask those curveball questions that generate interesting responses. Especially with our ability to source social media, asking candidates to describe themselves during the interview is an empty question. Ask impactful questions like: what do you do best? Who inspires you and why? What are your expectations? What motivates you to come to work every day? These speak volumes.

Maren Hogan is CEO and Founder of Red Branch Media.

Craig Fisher

“What is your current or most recent salary?”.  Why?  In the U.S. women earn, on average, 79% of what their male counterparts earn.  One of the few ways to break that cycle is to stop requiring salary history to dictate what a job will pay an applicant.  Ask salary expectations if you must.  But a job should pay an equitable wage, period.

Craig Fisher is Head of Employer Brand, CA Technologies, and Allegis Global Solutions.

Will Staney

The worst question to ask someone is “What is your biggest weakness?” You’re never going to get an honest answer during an interview. It’s almost setting the interviewee up to lie on your first meeting, setting a precedence that you very well don’t want to set early on. Let the candidate reveal their character early on or by asking other questions and not with silly questions like this one.

Will is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies.

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SOCIAL ENGINEERING ALERT!

TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE BAA CLUB, A REGISTRATION FEE OF KES. 2,500 + VAT IS APPLICABLE. NO OTHER FEES ARE REQUIRED TO FAST TRACK CANDIDATE APPLICATIONS OR CERTIFICATES FOR VACANCIES, WHETHER YOU ARE A BAA CLUB MEMBER OR NOT.

WE HAVE HAD ATTEMPTS OF SOCIAL ENGINEERING WHERE CON MEN HAVE TRIED TO CREATE THE IMPRESSION THAT THEY HAVE BEEN DEFRAUDED BY ALLEGED FRAUDSTERS. WE HAVE STRONG EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT THESE ALLEGATIONS ARE FALSE .

SHOULD YOU RECEIVE A CALL FROM ANYONE PURPORTING TO BE A BAA STAFF MEMBER,  ASKING FOR MONEY FOR ANY REASON, PLEASE REPORT THEM TO US ON OUR OFFICIAL NUMBERS OR EMAIL ADDRESSES.

PLEASE BE VIGILANT. 

WE REMAIN COMMITTED TO OFFERING YOU QUALITY SERVICES.

 

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A Rant About Recruiter Rumours

Agency recruiters are susceptible to pretty harsh reviews sometimes.

This week I attended a Q & A session with social media expert and million-dollar business builder, Gary Vaynerchuk. He talked about success factors; work ethic, believing in yourself, persisting, having patience and well, you get the point. One thing that really stuck out to me was his take on misconceptions, and dealing with things that are out of your control. That includes dealing with falsities that he has little power over. He talked about his competitors stealing his ideas and advice, repackaging it and selling it back to his fans, who buy it. Frustrating stuff. Does he care? Not really; he seemed super confident that truths would come out eventually.

It got me thinking about the bad reputation and rumours that hard-working, honest and passionate recruiters have to deal with. I guess every industry has it’s generalisations and stereotypes. Real Estate Agents? Slimy. Journalists? Nosy. Actors? Self-obsessed. Teachers? Bossy. You get it.

In all of these cases, it’s largely a matter of a some bad eggs ruining the public’s perception of everybody else in their line of work. Agency recruiters aren’t exempt from being generalised, and tend to cop it pretty badly. For a bunch of professionals who, at the end of the day are trying to help people realise their dreams and find work, some get a pretty bad reputation. I know there are some absolute slime balls out there, but it’s just a fact of life that these types of people will pop up in every corner of the globe, irrespective of industry.  I believe there are several misconceptions about people working in agency recruitment. So, let’s set a few things straight.

 Every Tom, Dick & Harry could not do the job

Not just anyone can be a successful recruitment consultant on agency side. It is true that a lot of people do just ‘fall’ into recruitment. A lot of people come from completely contrasting careers to give it a go. Sure, you can study HR or Business Management at university, but there isn’t a Bachelor’s Degree in Recruitment on offer. Why? Because there is no rigid set of requirements to what it takes to be a great recruiter. The recipe for success in recruitment is made up of a mix of organisation, people skills and determination. Recruitment tends to operate on an open-door policy; if you want to give it a go, the option will be out there for you. But that doesn’t mean you’ll stick at it and be great, there’s a lot more to it than a lot of people think, and some people just aren’t cut out for the challenge.

In regards to why there is an open door policy, it’s not just to let every man and his dog in for number’s sake.  More than 100,000 people work in the recruitment industry in the UK alone, but there is  still a genuine talent shortage in recruitment, and competitiveness among firms. One of the biggest struggles agencies face is hiring and retaining top talent. Considering the variety of backgrounds great recruiterscould come from, it makes sense for managers to give eager people a go, and a chance to succeed. Whether they’ll actually make it or not is another matter altogether.

Recruiters are not serial liars

I feel like there’s always talk about recruiters just telling people what they want to hear. I’v heard people hold the viewpoint, “Oh, they will just say whatever it takes to make the placement, whether its unethical, immoral and goes against the best interests of client and/or candidate”. I just don’t agree. Agency recruiters operate on a consultative basis where their reputation is everything and referrals are the make-or-breakers of their career, on both the candidate and client side. Lies eventually come out and bad recruitment decisions attributed to the recruiter involved will only damage their career. Recruiters have to think of their long term strategy, and lying isn’t conducive to longevity in the industry.

What I do believe, however, is that recruiters are excellent sales people. They have to be because at the end of the day, recruitment is a career in sales, where people are not only the purchasers, but the product too. Any sales person has to be persuasive and clever-talking, knowing what to say at the right times. Anyone working in a business setting knows they have to carefully craft what comes out of their mouth in order to get people on board with their company, vision, product or idea. Being persuasive is called ‘doing your job’ and being successful.

Everyone in the industry is not making it rain

It would be great if this was the case, but it’s just not true. A lot of recruiters make great money, there’s no doubt about that. It’s certainly a lucrative industry and there’s no denying that either. The UK turnover in 2015 was £31.5billion. Apparently the average annual sales for a consultant is around £96k. When you team statistics like that with testimonials of high billers dressing to perfection, going out for expensive dinners, driving super speedy cars and holidaying at the world’s best locations, it’s easy to assume everyone is well off in recruitment.

The thing is, recruitment is full of extremely high highs and really low lows. Some people have nailed the consistency, but a lot of consultants will make it rain for months, then simply won’t bill for two consecutive quarters. And then there are consultants who do what they can, but work on much smaller margins and are subject to less generous commission schemes. Yes, you can make a lot of money in recruitment, but everyone doing it isn’t high-rolling all of the time.

It is not only about the money

First of all, let’s wind this one back a little bit. I agree that this is a HUGE reason why people are in recruitment. What I don’t understand is why it’s so wrong. I’m pretty sure cleaners don’t clean for fun – it’s for the money. A lot of bankers would probably prefer to babysit puppies all day, but instead they choose to slave over reports and other strenuous tasks. Work, at some point, has to be about money. People need to eat and get their hair done. Yes, work should be about enjoying what you do, making a positive impact on the world and all of that other lovely, wonderful stuff. But work is called work for a reason. You work. You get paid. It has to be about money. So why is it so wrong for recruiters to be in it for the money?

Secondly, a lot of recruiters love the work they do more than you could ever know. They live and breathe it. They love the networking, the human interaction, the satisfaction of helping people, the challenge that comes with filling a client brief, the consultative role they play, the numbers, the sales, the chase. They love what they do and they are passionate, loyal and lively people. This is why it’s terribly inaccurate to slap a ‘money hungry and that’s all’ stamp over recruiters’ foreheads. That is such an insult to all of the genuinely dedicated and determined recruitment experts out there!

 

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6 Simple Rules to Keep Your Resume Effective

Have you ever wondered why you didn’t get a call back after submitting your resume for your perfect job?  Sending out more job applications to more companies doesn’t always equate to more call backs and interviews.  The chances are your resume was a fast track into the trashcan because you weren’t following these simple rules for effective resumes.

Keep it short and easy to read:

For most individuals a 2 page resume has enough space. Senior professionals may run to a third page but a recruiter is looking for easy to read information. A nice simple typeface, clear use of bullets, paragraphs, punctuation and only bold and italics where necessary.

If you have space a few horizontal lines to break up areas of content can be helpful. Don’t waste space including references or even state reference available on request – a recruiter will ask for reference at the appropriate time and that could be several lines of unnecessary content.

Experience and successes are the foundation content:

All good resumes should have details of work experience listed – start with the latest or current job and work backward.

State when you worked there, the job title and no more than one line of job description followed by three to five bulleted key achievements. For example:

April 2006 – May 2012, Area Sales Manager, ACME Products Inc. – leading a team of 24 sales representatives across 7 states in the North West.

  • Increased area sales from $240,000 in 2006 to $2.1million in 2012
  • Improved customer satisfaction levels from 85% in 2006 to 97% in 2012
  • Developed 8 new recruits to meet all sales targets with 6 months of hire
  • Managed pilot of new household product lines in 2010, providing customer feedback and product knowledge to HQ development team

 Make qualifications and education count:

  • Include academic achievement in the form of degrees.  Also a professional credential such as Project Management Professional (PMP) should be included.
  • Other relevant college courses and job specific courses but nothing that has no purpose for this job application.
  • As a rule of thumb, state academic achievement, followed by professional credentials and then additional relevant certifications and courses.
  • For each state when, where and what it is and any relevant grades or levels of pass.
  • Additionally, it is best to only add completed education programs to your resume and avoid simply adding the name of the school attended followed by “some college/courses complete.”
  • Even if it is only a two year degree, as long as you finished what you started it shows you have merit and determination to see things through.
  • Another aspect to consider is continued interest learning. There are a lot of free MOOC college courses online that offer letters of completion. If the course is relevant to your job it may be beneficial to list that as an accomplishment as well.

Include professional volunteer achievements:

If you have given your time for free to a cause or professional organization DO include it. Your time leading volunteers or providing a free consulting service can shine out on your resume as well as showing a bit of humanity and humility for a potential employer to know they are hiring a person not a robot.

Keep it honest

It’s easy to fall into the trap of embellishing resume content. It won’t work. A good recruiter will spot an untruth very easily – no matter how well you think it’s concealed. Saying you are an excellent customer service agent is great, but don’t say you were the best in your company for 5 years straight – unless there’s evidence to prove it. In the age of the internet so many things are easy to verify.

Keep it flexible:

  • Make sure your resume can be updated easily. Each job you apply for should have its own unique resume – it may be 99% the standard content but have a unique objective or personal statement that talks directly to the company or role.
  • Often a personal statement or objective isn’t needed when a good cover letter will meet this needThis component is critical to getting your resume in the door.  Technology makes it very easy to send your resume out to dozens of companies all with the click of the button, but you still need to address your audience directly and grab their attention.

Hiring managers and recruiters spend 10 seconds or less scanning your resume for the relevant information they are searching for.

To win their further attention a good resume should easy to read and relevant to the job description.  Much of what is covered here to some may be simple common sense but to career seekers overlooking a few of these key points it can be detrimental to finding your next job.  It may be helpful to have a family member, colleague, or the recruiter you may be working with to read your resume and offer some feedback. Now review your current standard resume and check how much of these techniques you are using and if not make the changes before you apply for your next job – successfully of course!

Author: Bob Bozorgi is the COO of Executive Trackers, LLC, a sales, marketing, and executive search firm based out of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Newsletter

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BAA’s New Office

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support over the years.

Please note that we have moved office from the Stables Office Block on Karen road, to the main house at Marula Manor on Marula Lane.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new office!

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Closing of Office for Festive Season

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support throughout 2014.

Please note that the office will remained closed as from Friday 19th December 2014 and will open on Monday 5th January 2015. 

Happy holidays!

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Somalia invites energy companies to explore for oil

The price of oil may have fallen off a cliff recently, but that has not deterred energy giants like Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Chevron from reactivating plans to drill in Somalia.

The Horn of Africa country could be the next focus for the energy industry, as the government claims the nation will be producing oil within six years.

London-based Soma Oil and Gas, which is backed by Russian billionaire Alexander Djaparidze, has completed an onshore and offshore seismic survey and it is encouraged by the results. Details are expected to be published by the end of the year.

Security remains a concern for foreign investors, but Somalia says with the help of troops from the African Union, it is making progress against the Islamist insurgents al-Shabab.

Nevertheless attacks continue in the region, with ones in the capital, Mogadishu, the south-central town of Baidoa and north-eastern Kenya, near the Somali border, in the last week alone.

Soma Oil and Gas chief executive Bob Sheppard, told the BBC the company’s seismic survey covered thousands of kilometres without any security worries.

“We’re able to do that with zero security incidents. What we’ve been able to demonstrate is that you can conduct offshore operations safely and securely,” he said.

A seismic survey involves firing an audio signal underground and analysing the sound waves that bounce back, which can indicate if there are deposits of oil or gas.

Territorial dispute

The government in Mogadishu will reward Soma for carrying out the seismic survey with licences to explore for oil.

“The government have recognised they need to stimulate exploration. They need to stimulate the creation of a hydrocarbon regime because they are in a prospective area,” says Mr Sheppard.

He notes that the region’s geology looks positive. “The analogous area would be the north-west coast of Madagascar, which has oil, because back in Triassic time (205 to 248 million years ago) they were joined. So we think the same hydrocarbon environment may exist,” he said.

“We’re hopeful about oil.”

Another thing that could disrupt development of Somalia’s oil and gas is a territorial dispute with Kenya over the offshore border between the two nations.

Talks between Nairobi and Mogadishu have failed to resolve the dispute and tensions increased after Kenya issued exploration licences to drill in the region.

Somalia has filed a case with the UN’s International Court of Arbitration.

Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Daud Mohamed Omar is confident Somalia will win its case.

“We do not believe that it is a disputed area. We believe it’s the property of the Somali nation,” he said.

“As we have hired maritime lawyers, we have hopes that the outcome would be a mutual understanding between the two countries or we will have to wait for the ruling of the court,” he said.

Another complication for the government in Mogadishu lies in the fact that the autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland have also issued exploration licences.

‘Hottest opportunity’

East Africa is the new frontier for the world’s energy industry, as reserves of gas are being developed off the coast of Mozambique, Tanzania is exploring offshore and oil has been discovered in Kenya and Uganda.

“East Africa is regarded within the oil and gas industry as having huge untapped potential,” says Steve Robertson, a director with the energy analysis group Douglas Westwood.

“It has been regarded in recent years as one of the hottest opportunities available to both independent and larger international oil companies,” he told the BBC.

Abdulkadir Abiikar Hussein, the director of oil and gas exploration at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in Mogadishu, is confident Somalia can attract the world’s big oil companies to start drilling.

“Comparing to what we have seen in the region. From Mozambique through Tanzania, Kenya, that has proved there are gas resources.” And the bulk of the Indian Ocean is with Somalia so that’s why there is a rush to Somalia these days,” he said.

Mr Hussein also insisted stability is returning to the once war-torn country.

“The Indian Ocean is safe enough these days. There was the problem of piracy and piracy has dwindled. In terms of al-Shabab and other problems, that is a continental problem, but not in the Indian Ocean, so as a priority the Indian Ocean has to be explored first,” he said.

“There is a tremendous improvement in security in Somalia at the moment,” he added.

New port

Companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil are being encouraged to reactivate dormant contracts to explore for oil and gas. They withdrew from Somalia two decades ago after civil war broke out in 1991.

They may be encouraged by Somalia’s plans to develop the country’s infrastructure.

According to Mr Hussein, “there is an expansion going on to Mogadishu port and initially that will be adequate enough to receive the movements of rigs and things like that into Somalia.

“But there will be another project that will include building a new port to handle the massive equipment imported in by international oil companies,” he added.

Somalia is confident it will be producing oil within a few years, but given the planned development of oil and gas resources elsewhere in the region, notably Uganda and Kenya, the government in Mogadishu would do well to remember an old Somali proverb: “One cannot count on riches.”

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Online search portal connects youths to web-based jobs

Local online jobs search firm, Niko Job has cut a niche by connecting youths to web-based consultancy contracts.

The site links its users, mainly freelancers, to consultancy jobs such as web design, video or audio transcription, translation and writing or editing articles.

It claims to have registered more than 40,000 Kenyans seeking consultancy work mainly from the US.

The average earnings one can make in a month range between Sh10,800 ($120) to Sh270,000 ($3,000) depending on the nature of work undertaken.

Rockefeller Foundation has partnered with an entertainment firm, Homeboyz Foundation to launch the online portal.

The project is part of Rockefeller Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative targeting one million people in six African countries.

Under the partnership, Homeboyz Foundation has started digital campaigns targeting hundreds of thousands of young people in Kenya.

The campaigns, among other things, showcase testimonials of entrepreneurs who are earning an income from online work and are aimed at inspiring others to also take up such jobs.

Mamadou Biteye, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office, said in an interview Tuesday that the initiative is different from what online job listings firms such as BrighterMonday offer in that the kind of jobs are mainly consultancy-based and mostly technical in nature.

“This project is aimed at ensuring that young people on the continent are aware of the opportunity presented by online work and develop the skills to successfully access online jobs for income generation, skills development and increased digital work experience,” Mr Biteye said.

The initiative has been made possible through a collaboration between Rockefeller Foundation and Elance-oDesk, an online firm that links freelancers with companies that have short-term consultancy jobs.

“This work can include any type of skill that can be done via a computer, such as web research, social marketing, programming, writing, translation and design,” Mr Biteye said.

The online work sector has experienced phenomenal growth over the past several years and by one estimate could reach $16 billion by 2020 and by another estimate expand to $46 billion.