Recruiting & Leadership

Hire & become a better manager through these insights

We’re hiring again! (Head of Sales)

Are you a highly motivated, entrepreneurial sales professional? Can you become an envangelist for digital recruitment in Kenya and Eastern Africa?

If you can demonstrate all of the above, then Duma Works would love to speak to you as we expand our team in Nairobi.

DUMA Works is a leading job placement and professional development company, specialising in short term, entry level, and middle management jobs in Kenya.

Since 2012, hundreds of employers all over Kenya have used DUMA Works to save time and money when identifying qualified job candidates. We currently have over 13,000 job seekers in our database and have matched over 3,000 of them to jobs.

Our vision is to create an empowered society where no job opportunities are lost. Our mission stands to be the developing world’s job reference system, and to enrich and empower a global workforce.

You must be a strong dealmaker with the ability to source and build a revenue pipeline and move prospects consistently through to closing.

The team at DUMA Works includes 8 full-time employees: CTO, 3 product developers, operations and strategy (company co-founders), customer care and office administration.

We work within a mutually supportive, casual environment that still supports hard work, challenges, and personal and professional growth.


  • Drive the revenue stream from SMEs and large corps
  • Maintain a high level of market engagement with SMEs and large corps
  • External evangelism of digital recruitment in Kenya and Eastern Africa
  • Identify opportunities for further partnerships with clients and organisations
  • New client generation: building and maintaining a portfolio of accounts and long term relationships.


  • Experience of systematic sales to preferably to SMEs and startups
  • Proven product & solution sales
  • Fluent written & spoken English
  • Strong organisational and admin skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.

If interested in this exciting opportunity, please send your CV to As the subject line of your email, write “Duma Works Head of Sales”and please make sure to include your name and phone number in the message body.


Hire for the Long Term

By Stu Minshew, of Bluesky Consulting

Stu Headshot

Many of the organizations we work with put a great deal of effort into their hiring process. They focus on finding the right person but do little to get the most out of that great hire and keep them on staff. As we assess companies, we find employee engagement and retention to be a big problem. In fact, Gallup’s 2013 State of the Global Workplace showed that only 10% of the Sub-Saharan African workforce are being engaged by the companies they work for. This means that statistically, only 10% of your workforce is proactively helping to grow your organization. The time and money spent on finding the right person is wasted when they leave for another opportunity, or worse, when they stay and underperform due to lack of engagement and motivation.

I want to provide 3 tips to help you get the most out of each and every person you bring into your organization.

  1. Picture Them in Your Head

Before you even look at your first CV, there are some questions you need to ask about how this person is going to fit into the organization. Should they be on a team and if so, which one? Believe it or not, not everyone should be or wants to be on a team. Keep in mind, I say this as a guy who loves working with teams.

You also need to ask, who will manage them and how will they be managed? What type of results will be expected from them? What skills do they need and can these skills be taught? What values or character do you want them to have?

Answering these questions will help you in the hiring process by creating a profile for the position. It will also get you into the right mindset to successfully bring them into the organization.

  1. Get Them Connected

Once you have hired them, you can just sit back and relax, right? Wrong. First, you have to get them connected to the organization. Get them familiar with the organization’s purpose, values, strategy, and anything else that is an integral part of how the organization runs. Be honest about the extent to which these statements and policies actually drive how work is done and goals are met.

Then, if your new hire is on a team or multiple teams, connect them to the members of their primary team first. Introduce them to the team members and set aside time for the other team members to communicate the team’s purpose, their current goals, and how they work to meet these goals. Allow them the opportunity to explain how your new hire will help the team accomplish their goals. Once the connection to the primary team is established, repeat this process with secondary teams. If a new hire can see from the start the impact they have on their team and the entire organization, it will be much easier to keep them engaged over the long haul.

Finally, connect them to the right people. If there is anyone else they need to know to be able to get their job done, introduce them to that person. It doesn’t matter if it is the person who brings tea or coffee or the person who signs the checks. The better you facilitate getting them connected to everyone they need to know to get their job done, the easier it will be for them to be successful in their role and feel connected to the organization.

  1. Create a Community

Finally, for your new person to be committed to the growth of your organization and perform at a high level, you are going to need to give them more than just a paycheck. If this is all you give them, then they will be quick to follow a better offer. Yet, if you create community within their team or the organization, you will meet their financial needs and meet their need to belong to something bigger than themselves. By doing this, you have a greater chance of keeping them for the long haul.

What do I mean by community? I mean that you need to create an environment where people push past knowing each other on a professional level and delve into knowing a few personal details about the people they work with. It does not mean that everyone is best friends, but that you learn and ask about family members and connect people with similar hobbies and interests. People begin to open up by sharing disappointments and accomplishments and others celebrate successes and encourage them in the face of discouragement.

This type of community will have huge benefits on the productivity of employees. Plus, as people are more open, you will discover areas where more resources or skills are needed. It creates a mental and emotional bond between your staff and the organization. Of course, you are always going to lose a small percentage of hires to career advancement opportunities or higher pay elsewhere. Yet, putting in the effort to create community in your organization increases retention rates and ensures you will keep most of those great hires for years to come.

Stay updated about recruiting tips for Kenya by following the Duma Works blog.

About the author: Stu Minshew is Managing Director for BlueSky Consulting, a strategy, leadership, and team development firm in Kenya. He has partnered with executives and teams from organizations of all shapes and sizes including Nation Media, Barclays Bank, Rockefeller Foundation, and the US Embassy.  He has also helped start three successful businesses and you can read more insights from Stu at

How to Ruin an Interview Before it Even Begins

What is my interview strategy?

What is my interview strategy?

By Angela Wairimu

The most effective way to ruin your interviewing process is to have a bad interview strategy or no strategy at all. The most important question anyone looking to hire should be asking themselves is “What is my interview strategy?” and not “How fast can I hire this new person?”

This thing is that hiring  is one of the most difficult tasks an organization faces. Going into an interview without a complete strategy is like choosing the next beauty pageant queen without looking at them.

Here are some quick tips we’ve put together to help you think about your hiring strategy.

Identify Current Hiring Strategy

Look at your hiring process (if you have one) and ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I assessed what personality type I am looking for and what skills I think are most important in for this role?
  • What questions am I going to ask candidates during the interview and how am I grading their responses? This will impact both competencies and culture fit of candidates.
  • What type of background check am I going to conduct and how will I conduct it?

Review Past Hiring Methods

There’s no way of improving yourself if you don’t evaluate your past experiences. Specifically, think about:

  • What questions did you ask candidates before to test their skills? Were those methods effective? What could you have improved? What failed?
  • For candidates that you hired and love – What questions made them stand out in the interview? How were you convinced that they were the right “fit”?
  • For candidates you hired who do their work well but you don’t love their personality – what questions could you have asked to assess their personality more accurately?

Plan the Interview Questions

Many employers walk into an interview unprepared and ready to “wing it” through the interview, convinced they will be able to make a gut call about the candidate. However, unsurprisingly,  the more methodical and systematic the interview process, the more likely it is to get the best results and make the best decision. At a basic level, have a checklist of things you need to ask or observe, such as:

  • Candidate communication skills, alertness, personal grooming standards, self-confidence, and understanding of necessary technical concepts.
  • In-depth information about the applicant’s education and work experience.
  • Applicant’s knowledge, skills and other competencies based on past performance and achievements.
  • Preview the job to the applicant so the applicant can determine whether he or she is truly interested in the position.
  • Promote a good public image of the employer.

Expound on the Job Description

Because jobs are scarce and candidates (often) many, employers tend to have the mindset that every candidate would want to work for them. However, especially  in today’s fast moving job market, if a candidate takes a job without truly understanding if they will be fulfilled there, they will leave quickly. It’s important to preview the job to the applicant in depth so he/she can decide if the job is truly a position of interest.

  • Will it drive their career path forward?
  • Will it increase their desired skill sets?

Even if the candidate doesn’t have a sense of what they want, you can often tell in the interview which parts of the job description they love and which they hate. That can help you in your decision as well.

As always, if you are thinking of hiring and would like to chat with us to discuss how we can help or advise  you in your hiring process email us at and we’ll set up a time to talk.

Should You Hire a Candidate for Potential or Experience?


By Arielle Sandor

Are you hiring a candidate for their potential or their hiring experience?

This question is an important one to ask yourself before you even start the hiring process.

You have already decided that you need to hire someone. You are completely over your head in work and realize that you don’t have the skills to handle various tasks. Maybe it is someone to handle your PR with a background in communications, or maybe someone to analyze your raw data for reporting purposes.

Now you need to assess the situation to decide what type of candidate you want – someone who seems very promising, or someone who will bring experience.

This is a tricky question, especially when hiring in Kenya.

Many studies and interviews with top corporations make it seem as if the Kenyan labor market is full of youth with promising potential, but who lack the practical skills your job will require.

That being said, I would argue that there is a huge pool of experienced labor at other jobs looking for a new challenge or a pay raise. Sometimes it is more difficult to find these candidates, but thankfully there are now recruiting services, such as Duma Works to help you with that.

Now you should think about if you hire someone with promise, how much time and capacity you have to train them. Someone with promise often needs direction and guidance to reach their full potential. Do you have the heart and time to do this? If you don’t, do you have a manager you does? Do you have knowledge about other resources you can provide? Often these are free and you can find them simply through Google. There are blogging courses, social media courses, coding academies and more.

The other thing to think about is how fast you need to get something done. Now, when you’re running a company or a department, you always need things yesterday (trust me, I know that from working in a recruiting company…). So don’t confuse this sense of urgency with actually needing something immediately. For example, you are running out of money and need someone to revamp your entire sales process. You probably want someone with experience to make you money extremely quickly.

The last thing to consider is always the person themselves. There are different levels of “promising” candidates. Some have a natural ability in operations and structuring processes. Others are super creative but need time to settle into a more regimented structure.

Think about your specific needs and what long-term strategy you have for this position.

Never walk into the recruiting process expecting to settle. Write out the day-to-day duties of this hire and the strengths they need to already come with. Then, you can write your job description and put it out into the world. 

If you are thinking of hiring and would like to chat with us to discuss this promise vs. experience challenge, email us at and we’ll set something up.

As always, happy hiring!

DUMA Works in The Media: Kenyan startup makes finding a job easier

This post is re-bloged from here. It is writen by Dinfin Mulipi for How We Made It in Africa Dot Com.

Finding a job can be a tedious and frustrating experience for many graduates in Africa. Employers, too, struggle to find the best candidate in the continent’s ballooning pool of job seekers. Kenyan startup Duma Works hopes to reform the labour sector in emerging economies by helping employers and employees effectively navigate the recruiting process.

Duma Works co-founder Arielle Sandor

The startup was established by US entrepreneurs Christine Blauvelt and Arielle Sandor after a short stay in Kenya where they encountered many young people who were struggling to find jobs. When they graduated from Princeton University in the US the duo chose to return to Kenya to build Duma Works.

“We are not the kind of people that were interested in the good jobs. After we graduated we decided to do the project together and there were a lot of funding opportunities at Princeton, [which], thankfully, is well endowed. We were able to get a lot of momentum around this idea and eventually raised a private round with investors,” says Sandor.

Duma Works enables job seekers to create profiles describing their skills, location and professional network via the web and mobile phones. The mobile phone platform is SMS-based, meaning anyone with a basic phone can sign up. Employers gain access to the most appropriate candidates and avoid being bombarded by a flurry of applications from unqualified or unsuitable candidates.

“It does job matching for people,” explains Sandor.

She says Duma Works is more than just a job dash and offers a wider reach than a traditional human resources (HR) agency.

“Most HR companies are manually done so in terms of scaling and having it reach populations that don’t have access to the internet to email their CVs to the HR firm is one big gap. HR firms also typically deal with executive level positions and that is not our market. We are going for the entry level and lower management positions.”

Duma Works has signed up more than 7,000 active job seekers and conducted hiring for over 100 employers in Kenya. Sandor notes that in the future the service will be replicated in emerging markets across Africa and later to Southeast Asia and South America.

Learning curve

Sandor says running the startup has been a great learning experience, although the business has not grown as fast as she thought it would.

“But I guess that is the experience with most startups. You always think it is going to take off. You think it is going to be the next Facebook or LinkedIn in two months.

“It has been a rollercoaster. It’s the best learning experience I could have ever had in my life. It has given me a lot more confidence and it’s changed the way I think about things. The best thing that I love about it is I get to interact with many people from different backgrounds.”

Sandor advices other entrepreneurs to take advantage of capacity building and funding opportunities offered by incubator programmes. Last year Duma Works won a US$100,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation Centennial Innovation Challenge targeted at organisations with the potential to transform the lives of people working in informal economies across the globe.

“Do your own research because you want to make sure that if you are going to cut a deal with anybody you want to get a fair deal,” says Sandor.

“I have been seeing some trends in the Nairobi market of startups that are doing really well versus startups that are struggling and the difference is the access to capital. I think in the Kenyan market there is not enough access to funding. I see small peanuts being given to a few startups for too much equity. Honestly, the thing that startups really need to get to the next stage is that funding. So startups need to look outside for international opportunities. They need to have a business partner that is a really good writer to apply for [opportunities].”

One of the challenges Duma Works faces is getting people to understand the new service.

“It’s a new concept. When people are thinking about jobs they are thinking about the traditional word of mouth, recruiting agencies and job boards. So part of our marketing strategy is to do training and get people to understand the concept.”

Making a choice

Other hurdles revolve around internal management systems and the firm’s team but Sandor says she has no regrets about choosing this path.

“I turned down a job to come here. I could have been living in Tribeca (New York City) but I didn’t want to because I would be a cog in the wheel in a consulting firm making PowerPoint presentations and holding my breath until my two year contract ends so I can leave. I didn’t want to do that. This is more interesting. You get more personal and professional growth from it.”

That choice, she says, has come with some sacrifices.

“The money thing is a struggle. I definitely don’t have any savings and if I ever did it would go to the company, but it doesn’t matter [because] I am not in my late 20s, I am not thinking of having a family [and] I am not saving up for diapers,” she says. “The concept of being a life-long employee is no longer a thing. It’s more about doing what you are really passionate about and creating your own way, for instance, building a company.”

Sandor says being an entrepreneur is the new ‘it’ thing but warns that “entrepreneurship is not for everyone”.

“I think you need to know yourself. Some people are inclined towards employment. Entrepreneurs need to know that you need to be able to pave your own way through things. I think the worst part about entrepreneurship becoming sexy is that a lot of people who don’t have the entrepreneurial thing get into it and it doesn’t work out. Don’t get into it because of the flashy [stories] you hear.”


How to Be the Best Leader? Build a Great Team

The late Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The late Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

What would a sport team be without its coach? Or a theatre troupe without its director?

Great leaders do not need to do everything in a company. In fact, it is foolish to think one person would be capable of managing everything well. Leaders of industry, like Richard Branson, or Steve Jobs were so successful because they knew how to create amazing teams, who worked together towards one vision.

Barry Schuler, former Chairman/CEO of America Online (AOL) recently said at an interview with Inc. Magazine that the most important quality of a great leader is the ability to build a great team.

“Teams are…people are doing different jobs – marketing, sales, PR. And as you grow, each of those areas will become disciplines and you will need senior people running them…What makes a great CEO is building and developing the product and hiring the best people to do the stuff for them.”

Business can suffer if a leader hasn’t established the right corporate structure to manage and oversee the important aspects of company growth. For instance, a reseller company can’t succeed if there is no manager overseeing deliveries. Furthermore, leaders cannot micromanage their teams. Many times businesses haven’t hit the growth the leader wanted because the leader hadn’t given the team enough freedom to do what they know and do best.

It is important for leaders to realize that everyone is flawed – him/herself included! A good leader assesses what his/her strengths are, hire a person whose strengths are their weaknesses, and then delegate, delegate, delegate.

Follow the Duma Works blog to learn more about how to build a successful company.

Looking for the Best Quality Candidates? Look at your Networks!

Studies have shown that the best candidates for that new job opening come through your referral network (by 64%!). Why is this true and does this signify nepotism?

These are three main reasons why professional recommendations lead to the best candidates:

1-    Trust

If a colleague is recommended through the trusted people in your network, chances are that you can trust someone they recommend. After all, honesty, integrity, and moral character are some of the key determinants of a good worker.

2-    Culture

Your working style is often directly connected to your personality. The lasting connections you make in your professional life speak to who you are and how you run your company. Someone recommended to you by your network of colleagues will be more likely to fit into your unique company culture.

3-    Qualifications

Your colleagues know that when they refer a friend or another colleague through Duma Works, or any other social job networks, they are responsible for the actions of their recommendations. Therefore, you can trust that your colleagues will have your best interest at heart (and their own!) and only recommend people they know are qualified.

Nepotism is a problem in society but has no connection to a professional recommendation. Nepotism is solely a personal connection – not professions. In nepotism, a person is recommended because of their family or need for a source of income, not their abilities, experience, or skills.

Visit, and visit the Social Network page to leverage your professional network to connect with better jobseekers, or work opportunities.