How to hire excellent executives in Nigeria

Although Foursales has been recruiting in all continents for a year now, just recently we started to have a higher demand in the Africa continent, more specifically from Asian clients who are operating start-ups or commercial turnarounds through offices and factories in Nigeria, South African and/or Egypt.

Despite the fact African countries have unique cultural aspects that should be analyzed in a recruitment process, we do not observed any major changes in our KPI’s in our projects from country to country. This fact allows us to affirm that the Foursales methodology can be successful in any region.

Therefore this article intent to present a very reliable way to find great sales and marketing executives in Africa as a whole. To facilitate your understanding and use of our recommendations, the methodology that we use in each project is divided into the following steps:


1. Project planning.

Planning is the most important step for a selection process in a country where you have no or low experience on. For a good planning, nothing is more important than understanding the availability of candidates and the attractiveness of the project, using Foursales famous matrix: FSG. The FGS matrix crosses the level of candidates availability (X) and the level of attractiveness of a project (Y). For a correct application of the matrix, it is important to take into account the following steps of an international project:

How to evaluate the availability of candidates.

·       Analyze the population size. Countries with a higher number of people tend to have a higher number of professionals.

·       Analyze the percentage of each segment in the country economy.  Sectors that represent a higher percentage of the country GDP tend to have more professionals of that area available.

·       Analyze the country education. The higher the level of college graduates in a country, more executives tend to be available.

·       Conclusion. As you cross the total population, the relevancy of a sector and the number of graduates, you will reach the estimated number of candidates for your project. Validate date If possible, by making a previous mapping process on LinkedIn. if possible. Make a previous mapping on LinkedIn answering the following question: How many companies from the same segment (competitors) and from analog segments that have offices and local teams. Who are their sales and marketing executives.

How to analyze the attractiveness of a project

·       Analyze the country unemployment rate. The lower the percentage of unemployment, the more likely you will need to offer a salary upgrade to attract a professional to your project.

·       Analyze the GDP historical increase. If a country has a recent GDP increase, the more likely you will need to offer a salary upgrade to attract a professional to your project.  

·       Do not take into account minimum legal wage. This indicator do not reflect the average salary of executives.

·       Do some ground work, if possible.  The best way to determine the best compensation proposition is conducting a research on Glassdoor or, if not enough data is available, ask the recruitment agency to map the earnings of at least 15 to 20 professionals who fit the project.

When we apply this guideline to understand the Nigeria market, we discovered the following facts: 

·      The most populous country in Africa, with a population of around 190 million people in 2019.

·      Nigeria is a country with a petroleum-based economy and the main industries are from this activity.

·      Nigeria reached its maximum growth in 2014, but, it has been struggling to keep elevated growth.

·      The estimated unemployment rate in the country is close to 6,08%.

·      There is no official data regarding the  percentage of graduated people, but the number is said to be close to 15% of the population.

2. Starting the project.

The main reason for our success as company acting in all continents (and our quickly expansion) is our Recruitment and Selection methodology which combines a high sample of candidates with a dense evaluation process. As byproduct, we accomplished a completed “X-ray” of the market.

The proof is that our accuracy indicators (high percentage of deals in the first short list – 79%), attendance (high percentage of deliveries before the deadline – 100%) and quality (low percentage of hires reposition – less than 8%) are all benchmarks in our segment. In this sense, our formal recommendation for you to minimize risks is that you should always follow these steps when hiring in a country you have low expertise in:

High sampling recruitment.

The first step to ensure a satisfactory level of control in the process is to have a high sample of candidates. Considering the fact that the best executives tends to be more satisfied and/or well rewarded, you should always mix inbound (application) with outbound (hunting) in this step.

Our recommendation is to start by mapping from 40 to 60 professionals who seems to fit the prerequisites, with at least 30-40% of them from hunting. This will also provide information since the start and help you reshape the requisites if necessary.

To guarantee a high-volume sampling strategy it´s necessary to use all the relevant tools presented in the country, that mainly are LinkedIn, Indeed and Local Data base websites. In countries like Nigeria, where you will find a small business environment, another very useful tool is the network you made during the screening process, by asking candidates to suggest someone from their network. In this step, you should beware that some countries have harsher data safety laws. A few examples are the USA and Canada, two countries where it is forbidden to save in your database informations such as:

– Race, color and nationality

– Religion

– Gender and sexual orientation

– Pregnancy

– Disabilities

– Age

– Citizenship

– Marital status and number of children.

High evaluation density

Fulfilling the steps above, the only information left to know is country’s cultural peculiarities. In order to do this, nothing better than adopting what we call Foursales high “density evaluation”, a method that we use to guarantee that our effectiveness indicator do not change from country to country.

To use this tool correctly, the project needs to take into account at least 3 competencies, 3 knowledges, 3 skills and 3 main attitudes needed for the candidate success in his/her future job position, guaranteeing the application of cases and interviews with at least 12 to 15 professionals who fit the prerequisites.

With this, you will not only find 3 high performance candidates for your project, but also guarantee a high understanding of candidate availability and local culture. In order to do this, follow these steps:

1     Map at least 50 to 75 candidates who apparently have the prerequisites.

2.     Phone trial with at least 25 to 37 of these candidates.

3.     Apply a custom case video for the project, with at least 18 professionals, evaluating 3 of the key competences for the project.

4.     Competence-base interviews with at least 12 professionals, in order to evaluate the candidates 3 knowledges, skills and attitudes needed to fit the project.

5     Apply and intelligence and logicts test for the best 6 or 8 cadidates. (As for the personality test, we recommend DISC and Motivators from suppliers that have these tests in the candidate’s language, in our case we use TTI Success Insights, which has tests in over 50 languages).

6.     Interview at least 2 ex-superiors of 3 to 5 candidates, in order to take references.

In case you need any more information about hiring in Africa, please feel free to contact our consultants by the following interest form

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