https://delon.ng is a job search website owned by e-Peak Systems. It is a technology company in Nigeria with offices in Lagos, Abeokuta, Kaduna, Abuja and Port-Harcourt. It was founded in 2007 by Engr. Debo Onifade and has provided services to banks, telecom, healthcare, churches, oil & gas, government and media. I caught up with the founder recently to discuss – https://delon.ng – here are excerpts of my interview:
Q: How did e-Peak Systems come about this new service https://delon.ng
A: Thanks for having me. Like you know, we have provided many technology solutions across Nigeria over the past 12 years, and we also have another business in the US. So, we are constantly innovating solutions based on customer needs and trends in the country. But https://delon.ng was not borne out of a customer request or innovation. It was initiated as an idea to help and give back to the community. That is why we decided from the on-set that we will not charge any fee for employers to post jobs on our website and LinkedIn platform. I had frequently had to address the ‘finding a job in Nigeria’ question in several forums, and one of my favorite answers was always that ‘it’s unfortunate that my business wasn’t big enough to hire hundreds or thousands of Nigeria and I had no political influence to get people jobs’. One day, I had a chance to talk to a Lagos recruiter and learnt a lot about the recruitment industry in Nigeria. I then sat with my Nigeria team and asked if we could provide a quality and consistent service that can get people jobs in Nigeria. Within a few weeks after this discussion, we started Delon.ng. We have grown significantly in recent months and have leveraged on some partnerships to post jobs from several other countries in Africa and Middle East.
Q: Most young people always say that employers don’t give them a chance because they have no prior work experience, how would you advise young people to go about this?
A: The first thing I usually say is – every student should try to get ‘unpaid’ job during school to acquire some experience. In today’s competitive world, it is not just a good idea, but an absolutely necessary tool for getting jobs after school. Most employers never want to hire ‘first-timers’ because they are afraid to take risks. The solution is not trying to counsel employers to change, but to tell young people to humble themselves (no matter how rich their background is) to do some small jobs during school breaks. It will always enhance future search for graduate job vacancies in Nigeria. As long as you are able to afford transporting yourself to that work place and back home, please take the job for free. Even if you don’t have money to take lunch at the workplace, just manage to do it. It’s important for your future. Students that have mandatory internship program during their school education have a slight advantage, but you really don’t need a school to force you to look for small jobs during school. If you do not get such opportunity during school, your immediate target after graduation (before NYSC) is to seek such small jobs. The problem is that most graduates only want ‘paid’ jobs and they over-estimate their capacity. Take that small job, be diligent at it, but keep searching aggressively for new jobs as if you have no job. And when you go for interviews, you should try to ‘polish or exaggerate’ your small job roles. If you were serving drinks to customers, call it customer service and find nice ways to describe it. Find sales jobs, teaching jobs, driver jobs, cleaner jobs or whatever can give you some experience and opportunities to meet people. It will always add value while searching for graduate job vacancies in Nigeria. We at e-Peak Systems always offered many paid internship and Pre-NYSC jobs in the first 5 years of our business and we continue to hire at least 1 or 2 every year.
Q: When banks were downsizing a few years ago, many bankers found it very hard to find non-banking jobs. How do you think people should market themselves for jobs in industries they hadn’t recently worked at?
A: If you are working in an industry where there has been recent massive lay-offs and general decline, you should start preparing for life outside the industry before you get fired. Of course, you can search for jobs in the same industry if you get fired but limiting yourself to that industry is not a good idea. You have to start by researching other industries where you have relevant transferable skills. Once you find that out, you should check that it’s a developing industry and not one in decline like the one you are currently in. You then need to start learning about that industry and tweaking your resume to meet their expectations. Of course you should remain very diligent, positive and put in your best to enhance the chances of not losing your current job. But you must prepare ahead and not wait until you get fired or your company closes down before hitting the job market. You will also have to significantly adjust your resume and online profile to make them attractive to the new industries you’re considering. You will learn the new industry requirements and terminologies, tweak your experience accordingly, and in some cases seek professional education or certifications to really make yourself competitive for the new industry. This is part of the value that Delon.ng regularly offers to its viewers.
Talk to people that can generally advise you about recruitment in Nigeria and what it takes to switch to the new career. More importantly, you have to speak to a few people within the new industry that you are exploring. Even after you have learnt all the ‘theories’ about the new career or industry, you still need to find smart ways to acquire a lot of relevant practical knowledge in preparation for interviews.
Q: Some people say that online job search rarely works. What is your experience like?
A: It’s correct that online job search doesn’t work for everybody. But to give you specific positive examples, there are a few people at e-Peak Systemsm that got hired through applications from online job search. So, it certainly works for some people. However, it will be very unwise for an applicant to focus only on online job search. You must deploy multiple strategies to get your dream job. If you are seeking job vacancies, have you tried walking down streets in your area or major streets not far from you to seek a small job just in order to gain experience? Have you offered to work free for that supermarket near you? If you’re an experienced person seeking to change job or just seeking information about the latest jobs in Nigeria, don’t be shy about asking your friends in other companies about vacancies. I know people who had their lives transformed via simple referrals and have a nice story to tell about recruitment in Nigeria. If you are shy or keep quiet, you will not get referrals easily. You must keep telling people that you really need a Job, show some desperation and keep asking people about how to find jobs in Nigeria. If you just recently lost your job after many years of work experience, the first thing you need to do is to check if your search strategies are adequately ‘modern’. Does your CV fit the modern requirements? Are you actually searching for the right jobs? Are you talking to the right people? Do you always have a hard copy CV in your bag anytime you go out? What about an updated soft copy always on your phone in addition to those selfies? Do you have an elevator pitch about yourself? I mean if you’re in a party and you mention to someone that you’re looking for a job, can you sell yourself in 30 seconds to that man or woman that can possibly refer you? If you need several minutes to sell yourself, then you’re not prepared. Yes, we are trying to use Delon.ng to help people get jobs by also ensuring we post current jobs in Nigeria regularly but we also recognize that you must use several other strategies to find jobs.
Q: Which industry do you think currently has the highest prospects for job seekers in Nigeria?
A: Many people don’t like it when I say it’s Agriculture. Agric is the only industry that has consistently grown within the last 20 years. Other industries like telecom, banking, networking, manufacturing, oil & gas, etc have had good episodes of growth, but none has grown consistently like Agriculture. It is always important for job seekers to learn about opportunities and prospects in the industries and locations of interest. There will always be jobs in many industries, but you should consider the ones that will grow in coming years much more than the ones that will likely decline soon. For the technology people, I can confidently say that ‘software’ is an industry that is growing right now and will continue to grow for several years. Therefore, if you’re studying engineering in school, try to develop interest in coding. This will be far more lucrative than networking and telecoms in coming years. Going back to agriculture, there are not many high-level jobs in this industry yet, but people need to start preparing themselves for the upcoming jobs and business opportunities. As Nigeria begins to gradually move up the value chain in food production, more sophisticated and high-paying jobs will emerge in this industry. Nigeria desperately needs this industry to grow more rapidly for our economy to blossom. This is the greatest way to create employment for our people. We have shared this a few times on our platforms and provided specific answers to people who had follow-up questions.
Q: Finally, tell us a little more about Delon.ng and its parent company e-Peak Systems?
A: Delon.ng posts latest jobs in Nigeria every day, and other countries in Africa and the Middle East. We want people to get jobs through our website but we also want people to learn other ways to find jobs and excel in their current careers. That’s why we are very active on linkedin, offering free advice on how people can excel in their career and find new jobs. We have got many good feedbacks from people that got jobs through our website and this motivates us a lot. In addition to discovering Latest Job vacancies on Delon.ng, the platform also offers an opportunity to buy and sell items in various categories ranging from household appliances, clothing and accessories to even purchasing Nigerian Books
We’re currently working hard to publicize the website more so that more people can derive benefit from it. https://www.e-peaksystems.com/ continues to provide other technology services – Inverter and Solar Systems for Bank ATMs and branches, Cloud Computing, Search Engine Optimization and Web Designs, as well as Web App and Mobile App Development.
Q: Can we talk a little bit about the Nigeria economy before you go? How do you think the country can solve its unemployment crisis?
A: Fundamentally, it’s the small businesses that will create the quantity of jobs we require to grow our economy (something Delon.ng is trying to do by giving opportunities to have access to the Latest Job vacancies in Lagos and other parts of the country). The biggest companies in Nigeria and governments cannot hire up to 10% of Nigerians. They probably cannot even hire up to 5%. But if small businesses hiring 2 to 10 people continue to grow across the country, they can potentially hire millions of unemployed youths. Government has to triple its efforts on agricultural development. That industry alone can employ more than 20% of Nigerians to adequately feed our 200million population. State governments also need to invest time, energy and money into providing FREE business training to small businesses. Many small businesses fail very quickly because they are not properly trained about running and growing their businesses. You see a lot of barbers, carpenters, furganizers and mechanics today that are driving okada because their small business failed within 1 or 2 years. Some of them were lazy or not adequately skilled but there are many who were hardworking and skilled but just didn’t understand business. State governments need to find ways to provide quality business trainings to these people. I am sure they will find volunteer trainers that will do it free – and all the government has to do is to provide location and publicize event. If I were living in Lagos, I would gladly offer such service free of charge if I got invited by a government agency. We need to train our small business owners to help our country grow. Imagine if we have 2million small businesses hiring average of 3 to 5 staff. That’s potential 6 to 10million jobs. Is there any big company in Nigeria hiring up to 1m direct staff? None! Many state governments say that building roads is generating employment – that’s true, but I wish they will also invest in training small companies and they will be pleasantly surprised about the positive development they will create through this.
Q: Thank you very much for your time today.
A: It was indeed my pleasure