Yolanda Hickson Asumu is hoping to encourage fair recruitment processes across Africa.

By Firmain Eric Mbadinga

In professional circles, Yolanda Hickson Asumu is referred to as a "hunter" – someone who helps organisations to attract young talents that can give them a competitive edge.

Generally, it is a role associated with unearthing talent, nurturing it and passing it on to organisations and recruiters. It also involves aiding talented people make a respectable income from their skills.

Yolanda established her online platform Icubefarm.com in 2015 as a free-of-charge conduit between individuals with verified professional skills and companies.

"We have been working to make this platform a secure, solid and effective bridge between job seekers and companies recruiting on the continent," she tells TRT Afrika.

'Mother of job seekers'

Over time, she has earned the nickname "mother of job seekers" according to those who have engaged with her or utilized her platform.

''After graduating from university, I started looking for work and always found out about vacancies very late, but one day a friend sent me the icubefarm link. That's how I created my account and went to the page every day to see if there were any jobs related to my academic background.

"Then one morning, I saw an advert on the same platform saying that there were vacancies. After applying, I was called for interviews, which I passed, and here I am, providing my services as a trainee in a local company for a few months now," says Sandra Sibacha Bosepa, whose skills lie in digital marketing and graphic design.

Icubefarm.com seems to be holding its own against some recruitment giants, who are most based in Western capitals.

''It's true that the competition is tough, but our knowledge of the local economic fabric and entrepreneurs, as well as our natural proximity to job seekers, are an undeniable asset," says Yolanda.

Her online platform has effectively expanded its services encompass all functions involved in human resource management, she adds.

"With Icubefarm.com, job seekers are recruited based only on specific objective and verifiable criteria, such as their education level and professional experience, she says.

How it works

In practical terms, job seekers create a profile free of charge, providing all the information that might be relevant to their CV.

"They can then browse the list of jobs available in specific companies and apply for them,", she adds.

For their part, human resources managers that are recruiting talents are able to make a choice based solely on the information that appears in the profiles of job seekers.

However, as Yolanda notes; "the verification of this data is the company's responsibility, yet they still have the chance to hire qualified individuals who fulfill their needs."

Yolanda says her motivation behind setting up the platform was a series of complaints she heard about certain "injustices" in recruitment procedures.

Until recently, similar to many other African countries, job seekers in Equatorial Guinea had to go through job agencies that acted as an intermediary between them and the employer.

This indirect relationship was open to abuse and facilitated cronyism.

"By resorting to practices that are not always recommendable, companies sometimes recruit the least deserving candidates. Personal networks then outrageously take precedence over merit," says Yolanda.

If needed, Icubefarm.com assists internet users in showcasing their profiles to enhance their recruitment prospects.

"Through a directory organized by sector of activity, the site also implicitly provides companies with the chance to promote themselves to potential customers, suppliers, and vendors," she explains.

For the time being, access to icubefarm.com is free for both job seekers and businesses. "But in what I hope will be the near future, as traffic increases, space will be set aside for advertising and job vacancies", she confides.

Shine beyond Equatorial Guinea

Initially, Icubefarm was created for internet users in Equatorial Guinea. The Malabo-based site is already well-established, thanks in particular to partnerships with some of Equatorial Guinea's biggest companies.

But with a population of just under a million, Equatorial Guinea is not really a big market. Unemployment rate is thought to be high, although the labour ministry puts it at 10% of the population

''Since our launch, Icubefarm has registered more than 17,000 job seekers and facilitated more than 4,500 internships. We have assisted more than 1,600 companies in their search for job seekers," Yolanda tells TRT Afrika.

In addition to her own country, Yolanda is increasingly active in attracting recruiters from other countries in the hope of better meeting the needs of a greater proportion of Africa's youth who are looking for work.

Since 2017, it has opened an office in Cameroon, where its platform is performing at an encouraging rate. In Egypt, Ethiopia and Nigeria, for example, Yolanda is campaigning to expand the offerings on its platform.

In addition to digital interaction, Yolanda has come up with the idea of organising sporting events that bring together a large number of young Africans and the heads of African companies, a formula that also seems to be bearing fruit.

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TRT Afrika