How to Get a Job


 THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN.THE NEW YORK TIMES. May 28, 2013

Underneath the huge drop in demand that drove unemployment up to 9 percent during the recession, there’s been an important shift in the education-to-work model in America.

Thomas L. Friedman .Josh Haner/The New York Times

Anyone who’s been looking for a job knows what I mean. It is best summed up by the mantra from the Harvard education expert Tony Wagner that the world doesn’t care anymore what you know; all it cares “is what you can do with what you know.” And since jobs are evolving so quickly, with so many new tools, a bachelor’s degree is no longer considered an adequate proxy by employers for your ability to do a particular job — and, therefore, be hired. So, more employers are designing their own tests to measure applicants’ skills. And they increasingly don’t care how those skills were acquired: home schooling, an online university, a massive open online course, or Yale. They just want to know one thing: Can you add value?

 

One of the best ways to understand the changing labor market is to talk to the co-founders of HireArt (www.hireart.com): Eleonora Sharef, 27, a veteran of McKinsey; and Nick Sedlet, 28, a math whiz who left Goldman Sachs. Their start-up was designed to bridge the divide between job-seekers and job-creators.

“The market is broken on both sides,” explained Sharef. “Many applicants don’t have the skills that employers are seeking, and don’t know how to get them. But employers also … have unrealistic expectations.” They’re all “looking for purple unicorns: the perfect match. They don’t want to train you, and they expect you to be overqualified.” In the new economy, “you have to prove yourself, and we’re an avenue for candidates to do that,” said Sharef. “A degree document is no longer a proxy for the competency employers need.” Too many of the “skills you need in the workplace today are not being taught by colleges.”

The way HireArt works, explained Sharef (who was my daughter’s college roommate), is that clients — from big companies, like Cisco, Safeway and Airbnb, to small family firms — come with a job description and then HireArt designs online written and video tests relevant for that job. Then HireArt culls through the results and offers up the most promising applicants to the company, which chooses among them.

With 50,000 registered job-seekers on HireArt’s platform, the company receives about 500 applicants per job opening, said Sharef, adding: “While it’s great that the Internet allows people to apply to lots of jobs, it has led to some very unhealthy behavior. Job-seekers tell me that they apply to as many as 500 jobs in four to five months without doing almost any research. One candidate told me he had written a computer program that allowed him to auto-apply to every single job on Craigslist in a certain city. Given that candidates don’t self-select, recruiters think of résumés as ‘mostly spam,’ and their approach is to ‘wade through the mess’ to find the treasures. Of these, only one person gets hired — one out of 500 — so the ‘success rate’ is very low for us and for our candidates.”

How are people tested? HireArt asks candidates to do tasks that mimic the work they would do on the job. If it is for a Web analytics job, HireArt might ask: “You are hired as the marketing manager at an e-commerce company and asked to set up a Web site analytics system. What are the key performance indicators you would measure? How would you measure them?”

Or, if you want to be a social media manager, said Sharef, “you will have to demonstrate familiarity with Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, HTML, On-Page SEO and Key Word Analysis.” Sample question: “Kanye West just released a new fashion collection. You can see it here. Imagine you had to write a tweet promoting this collection. What would your tweet be?” Someone applying for a sales job would have to record a sales pitch over video.

Added Sharef: “What surprises me most about people’s skills is how poor their writing and grammar are, even for college graduates. If we can’t get the basics right, there is a real problem.” Still, she adds, HireArt sees many talented people who are just “confused about what jobs they are qualified for, what jobs are out there and where they fit in.”

So what does she advise? Sharef pointed to one applicant, a Detroit woman who had worked as a cashier at Borders. She realized that that had no future, so she taught herself Excel. “We gave her a very rigorous test, and she outscored people who had gone to Stanford and Harvard. She ended up as a top applicant for a job that, on paper, she was completely unqualified for.”

People get rejected for jobs for two main reasons, said Sharef. One, “you’re not showing the employer how you will help them add value,” and, two, “you don’t know what you want, and it comes through because you have not learned the skills that are needed.” The most successful job candidates, she added, are “inventors and solution-finders,” who are relentlessly “entrepreneurial” because they understand that many employers today don’t care about your résumé, degree or how you got your knowledge, but only what you can do and what you can continuously reinvent yourself to do.

Over 19,000 refugees flee conflict in eastern South Sudan – UN


Reuters | 29 May, 2013 20:25

A refugee woman performs a traditional bridal dance during her wedding at the Yida camp in South Sudan's Unity State

        According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and is considered to be one of the most challenging refugee camps in the world. A large number of the refugees are women and children. According to UNHCR data, 63.2% of the refugees are women and only 36.8% are men. Image by: STRINGER / REUTERS

More than 19,000 people have fled fighting raging in the east of South Sudan and sought refuge in neighbouring countries since the start of the year, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Almost 12,000 have entered Ethiopia from South Sudan’s Jonglei state, where the army is trying to put down a rebellion.

Some 5,000 South Sudanese have crossed the border to Kenya, and another 2,500 to Uganda.

“The increase in numbers in Ethiopia in the past weeks has been particularly sharp, with around 4,000 new arrivals since 7 May,” the UN said in a statement.

The violence has hampered government plans to search with the help of Western firms such as Total for oil in Jonglei, South Sudan’s biggest state.

South Sudan’s government has been struggling to assert itself across a vast and remote territory which won independence from Sudan almost two years ago.

This week the U.N. said it lacked sufficient troops and aircraft to protect the large numbers of civilians uprooted by the conflict during seasonal rains which turn much of the state into an impassable quagmire.

Earlier this month the army, an assortment of poorly-trained former guerillas from the 1983-2005 civil war, recaptured the rebel-held town of Boma near the Ethiopian border.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has renewed an offer of amnesty to help end the fighting, but also accused his own security forces of looting the town of Pibor, a remote settlement at the heart of the conflict.

Kano: JTF arrests foreigners, uncovers missiles, grenades


Fidelis Soriwei and  David Attah .THE PUNCH.May 30, 2013

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike IhejirikaChief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika | credits: http://www.naijanation.com

Four foreign nationals, suspected to have hailed from Middle East, were arrested in Kano by the Joint Task Force over a large cache  of arms and ammunition uncovered in their  mini-warehouse located in the Bompai area of Kano on Wednesday.

Following the shock discovery, owner of the complex, where the dangerous weapons were impounded, simply identified as a Lebanese national, was arrested by military personnel.

As of the time of filing this report, the building, located on Gaya road in Bompai area of the metropolis, was under surveillance by heavily armed, stern-looking soldiers.

Security sources disclosed that items recovered from the extensive operation included 40 air-to-surface missiles, 50 cluster bombs, 200 rocket-propel launchers, eight AK-47 rifles, 200 military hand grenades and some military hardware capable of destroying  Armoured Personnel Carriers.

The “weapons of war” were said to have been evacuated to the headquarters of the 3rd Motorised Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Kano, alongside the foreign nationals.

It was learnt that  preliminary investigation had begun while “three countries have been indicted and the military high command is working to ascertain the culpability.”

A  resident of the area, said he counted over “300 AK-47 riffles” during the evacuation.

Spokesman for the JTF Captain Ikedichi Iweha, promised to brief newsmen later on the issue, even as he declined comment on the incident, which occurred on Tuesday night.

“You would get the details tomorrow (Thursday) because of the Democracy Day celebration. We have resolved to talk to you after the break,” he said.

According to him, as a result of the Democracy Day celebration, security was fortified in the commercial city of Kano, with increased vehicular patrols by the military, JTF operatives and the police, as part of the measures to sustain relative peace in the city.

Meanwhile,  the JTF has arrested 50 terror suspects in Borno State with the  aid of special dogs, says the Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade.

Olukolade said in a statement on Wednesday that the terror suspects were arrested with the help of specially trained dogs while trying to infiltrate Maiduguri.

The Defence spokesman said 15 of those arrested were caught with arms concealed either in their bodies or their properties.

He said various attempts by terror suspects, who were dislodged from their camps in the forest in Borno to enter the cities and towns of the North-East,  had been thwarted with the aid of the dogs

Olukolade said, “Trained Military Police dogs are participating in the cordon and search phase of special operations against terrorism in the country.

“The efforts of the specially trained dogs have so far led to the arrest of over 50 terrorists who were trying to infiltrate Maiduguri.”

SA crying out for skills


Nivashni Nair |THE TIMES LIVE |29 May, 2013

 File photo Image by: GALLO IMAGES/THINKSTOCK

Companies are battling to fill thousands of vacancies.

They are desperately looking for engineers, managers, legal staff, teachers, accountants and IT specialists.

A Manpower Group SA survey of talent shortages at 750 businesses found that engineers were the most difficult to find.

Then came managers, teachers, lawyers and legal secretaries.

Skilled tradesmen, accounting and financial staff, restaurant and hotel workers, technicians, customer-service representatives and IT staff rounded out the list of the 10 most elusive employees.

Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director of Manpower Group SA, said: “It’s unreal that, in a country with unemployment hovering around 25%, we have job shortages. Lack of technical competence is the big problem.”

The survey found that more than half of the people interviewed for a job did not get it because they lacked technical competence or other skills.

Loane Sharp, a labour market economist at Adcorp, said that a shortage of university capacity and the difficulty of importing personnel had created the “crisis of skills”.

Boko Haram leader Shekau’s associate found dead, says Defence Hqtrs


Gbade Ogunwale.THE NATION. May 29,2013

The Defence Headquarters yesterday said an unnamed associate of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has been found dead.

Boko Haram leader Shekau’s associate found dead, says Defence HqtrsAbubakar Shekau

Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade said the alleged terror agent was found dead by the Special Forces in the vicinity of Lake Chad.

There is however no independent confirmation of the claim as reporters have no access to the battle front.

Brig.-Gen. Olukolade added that two other suspected terrorists who were found at the scene were arrested. They are currently in the custody of the Multinational Joint Task Force.

He said the three suspects were confirmed to have operated in Baga, one of the Boko Haram operational bases in Borno State.

According to the military, the terrorists were in the process of crossing the border to Niger Republic when they met their ill fate.

Brig.-Gen. Olukolade stated that more troops of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force have joined the operations by the Special Forces, as more towns are being secured in the operations to rid the nation of terrorist activities.

“A terrorist believed to be a close associate of insurgents’ leader, Abubakar Shekau has been found dead as he ran errand for the leadership. The other two fellow terrorists, one of which is confirmed to be a Nigerien, are now in the custody of the Multinational Joint Task Force.

“The three were in the process of crossing the border to the neighbouring Niger Republic through the Lake Chad. The three have been confirmed to have operated in Baga and participated in perpetrating arson and other atrocities around the vicinity of the town.

“They have been relocating from place to place since they left Baga last month”, the statement added.

Boko Haram claims victory over Nigerian Army in new video


Premium Times.  May 29,2013

Nigerian Army .credit Yahoo news

The Boko Haram gave its first reaction to the emergency rule declaration.

Despite the declaration of a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States, the insurgent Boko Haram claim they are winning the war against government forces.

This was stated by Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader in a video which is the group’s first since the emergency declaration.

President Goodluck Jonathan made the emergency declaration about a fortnight ago which has led to increased troops presence in the three states in order to dislodge the insurgents and ensure peace in the area.

The Nigerian military has said several times that it is achieving success against the insurgents and has killed some, arrested scores of insurgents, dislodged several of their camps, and freed kidnapped victims.

However, in the video made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, said the group is actually winning the war against the soldiers.

Mr. Shekau displayed identity cards of soldiers he claimed his group had killed in their operations. He also displayed a destroyed armoured tank he claimed his men bombed.

The Boko Haram leader said that this battle is not just against whom his group is battling in the bushes, but against all government officials. He said that any public servant, from a primary school teacher to the highest public servant, police officer, soldier, irrespective of religion is their enemy.

None of the claims of the insurgents, or indeed the army, can be independently verified as the battle by the Nigerian military against the insurgents intensifies.

Seeks support

The group in a rare solidarity cry also sought help from foreign Islamic militants.

Mr. Shekau sought help from  militants “who are fighting for Islam in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and those we can’t mention.”

“We are here fighting those who believe in the constitution and western education. You should all know that we are all in good health,” he said.

FG Approves $1.7bn Counterpart Fund For Power Sector


Juliet  Alohan. LEADERSHIP.   May 29, 2013

The federal government has approved $1.72 billion to cover counterpart funding for the construction of the 700MW Zungeru hydroelectric power dam in Niger State and other projects in the power sector.

The government has also disclosed the phase in of the 3,050MW Mambilla dam in Taraba and the Gurara dam in Suleja, also in Niger State.

Speaking yesterday at the official ground-breaking ceremony of the project site in Zungeru, Niger State, President Goodluck Jonathan noted that the problem of funding and other obstacles which had hindered the effective commencement of the project have now been adequately addressed.

He recalled that the need to exploit the resources of the dam was highlighted by the colonial masters in the ‘50s and should have been one of the dams that would have been constructed before independence.

“Somehow, from that time till date, funding challenges and policies prioritisation caused delays, even though the feasibility study was undertaken in 1982,” Jonathan said.

The Zungeru hydro project was initiated in 1982 when its feasibility studies were initially conducted and submitted to the government by a United States firm, Chas T. Main International, and later reviewed in 2008 by French firm, Coyne etBellier.

The project is now to be constructed by Chinese consortium CNEEC/Sinohydro with a five years completion period broken down to actual completion period of 48 months and a defect liability period of 12 months, according to the contract terms, at a cost of N162.9 billion.

The federal government is expected to provide 25 per cent funding of the contract sum while the Exim Bank of China will provide a counterpart funding of 75 per cent.

Jonathan explained that the project which is one of the many short- and medium-term targets in the road map have not only been achieved but exceeded on many fronts.

Similarly, he said, challenges to private sector participation in the sector have been removed with various incentives such as tax holiday and cost-reflective tariff for power sale put in place to encourage investment.

He said: “Part of the long-term plan is the development of large hydro including the Mambilla and Gurara projects. We believe that our children must not live in a country where they will begin to procure individual generators. Government is committed to start the revolution for change now.”

The president maintained that, in addition to the power from the project, large-scale agricultural activities and agro allied industries will follow “and by implication the Minna airport that has been dormant for many years will become active for export of perishable commodities”.

While commending the state for protecting all other government facilities in its domain over the years, he called for a secured environment for the construction of the Zungeru dam.

The president also used the occasion to announce that the Hydro Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) Bill is ready and awaiting assent.

“I have been reminded that the bill for the establishment of HYPPADEC is ready. I have not seen it but since I have been reminded by the governor of Niger State, I will send for it as soon as I get back,” Jonathan said.

In his address, minister of power Prof. Chinedu Nebo stated that the Mambilla and Gurara II dams will benefit from $1.72bn counterpart funding to the sector.

He said, “With the recent approval of $1.72 billion counterpart funding for the sector by the National Economic Council (NEC), not just the Zungeru  but Mambilla Dam in Taraba and Gurara II Dam in Suleja, Niger State, will all soon see the light of day.”

Nebo stated that, with these and many other efforts in place, the electricity roadmap and power sector reform programme will be fully on course.

He noted that the necessary regulatory and financial institutions for the operations of the emerging electricity market are already in place. These, he said, include the Bulk Trader supported by the World Bank risk guarantees, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO).

In his remarks, Niger State governor Babangida Aliyu, who appealed to the president to expedite the signing into law of the HYPPADEC Bill which has been passed by the National Assembly, assured of the support of the people of the state to the successful completion of the project.