ALC Career Fair: Creating Opportunities For Talent and Businesses

In January 2017, Andela and Google launched the Andela Learning Community Supported by Google program, to identify and certify Android developers as globally competitive by way of a Udacity course. Six months later, we knew we were onto something when we had produced over 1,000 Android confident graduates with more than 70 Google Certified Associate Android Developers in Nigeria.

Consequently, this paved the way for an even bigger feat to accomplish as we saw the need to prove why investing in people pays off by launching our graduates into the tech ecosystem with new careers. However, figuring out how to make it happen was a different conversation entirely.

The first formal discussion we had on having an event where businesses in need of talent could come around to interact and in turn hire them, dates almost 7 months ago. Eventually, the first #alcCareerFair happened on the 2nd of December, 2017 and more than one month after, we’re still basking in the euphoria of what it was and what it meant to us as a team.

We had a hall filled with 20+ businesses and 92 graduates enthusiastic about the opportunities that lay ahead for them and for the tech community as a whole. This strengthened our commitment to invest in talent and is fueling our approach to ensuring that we create more opportunities to connect businesses to the talent produced from the Andela Learning Community.

Highlights from our first ALC Career Fair

We are genuinely excited about everything that happened at this event, however, if we broke it down and chose the first 5 reasons we’re still giddy to this moment, they’ll be:

1. Investing in people means everything to us

The Andela Learning Community is centered around the belief that the best investment we can make is in people. Our key task with the Career Fair was to provide an opportunity for the ALC graduates to get employed with their newly acquired skill set, but more than that, we wanted them to leave the event better than they came.

We made this happen with our line-up which covered two masterclasses on Job Readiness and Career Planning, as well as panel discussions and keynote presentations from Andela and Google representatives. Every time slot had an objective to guide their thoughts, build their career perspective and teach them what it meant to position themselves for opportunities. Seeing tweets and feedback from our post-event survey acknowledging that they believed they left the event more knowledgeable than they came meant everything to us.

Jessica Akano, Talent Acquisition Manager at Andela, taking the participants through the Job Readiness Masterclass

2. We’re committed to supporting ALC graduates, regardless of Geographic Distribution

At Andela, we are committed to advancing human potential by powering today’s teams and investing in tomorrow’s leaders. With this constantly on our minds, we understand that brilliance is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not and this knowledge guides every project we embark on.

It was important to us that we provided this opportunity to ALC graduates regardless of their geographic distribution, as such from the get-go we analyzed all the possible reasons why a person presented with this opportunity might turn it down and provided ready solutions for them.

In the end, we had 92 ALC graduates who commuted from 19 states (>50% coverage of the entire country) present at the Career fair.

Link to map here

3. Having the businesses come together for the Speed Recruitment Session

If there was an area where we had the most anxious anticipation, it was with the businesses. We had basically called for applications on the two main digital channels — Facebook and Twitter — and followed that up by collecting our contacts into a pool and reaching out directly via emails to see if they needed Android developers.

With this, we had received 56 business applications with more than 110 roles they collectively needed to hire to fill. Totally exciting! However, two days to the event and a request for these businesses to RSVP to confirm attendance and the numbers went down more than a notch.

When the first business walked in to set-up their stand, our faces collectively lit up because it was happening! We had a beautiful mix of big-name brands, media companies and tech start-ups interacting with one another and networking.

Having 20+ businesses including Guaranty Trust Bank, Interswitch Limited, Junior Achievement Nigeria, Wakanow, Gidimo and Imaginarium Creative Global amongst others walk into the hall to provide the 92 ALC graduates with employment opportunities isn’t something to easily get over.

A cross-section of businesses interviewing the participants during the recruitment session

4. The validation of the need for a long-term provision of Android developers to meet business needs

In the weeks that preceded the event, a couple of members of the team had discussed how awesome it would be to have a process where ALC graduates could readily be connected to businesses in need of their expertise. After the event, we knew we had to make it happen.

It was the enthusiasm the businesses showed, the request from both businesses and participants for more career fairs, the emails from businesses who couldn’t come through downright pleading for an opportunity to meet with the developers… it was all exciting and we are currently working it out!

5. The Cherry on the Cake!

We rounded off the entire event with a burst excitement when we realized that there was one immediate hire!

How we defined success

The key metric we decided would determine the success of the event was the number of landed jobs post-event. That said, we agreed upon three other components that would still signify success to us:

  1. Equipping 100 graduates of the ALC program with job-ready skills to access employment opportunities during and after the event.
  2. Connecting up to 100 developers with job opportunities.
  3. Having more than 150 one-on-one interviews held with prospective employers during the program.

Our initial post event analysis justified these for us already. A couple of our favorite comments from the participants were:

“I’d like to thank you guys for holding an event like this, what would have taken me probably months to figure out or learn, I did in a single day. Thanks guys!”
“It offered me first hand experience on handling interviewers, expressing myself to interviewers and landing the job. Though I haven’t got any feedback from any of the interviewers, I’m more confident now towards interviews”

Next Steps

We have sent out a one month post-event survey to both participants and businesses to discover how many of the 173 follow-up interviews scheduled turned out to be full-time employments. Stay tuned for updates to come!

For businesses looking to hire Android developers, kindly fill this form to be connected with our pool of Android graduates.

Lastly, we’re excited to continue to learn from what we’re doing and apply that knowledge to make the next career fair (ALCwithGoogle 2.0!) even much more powerful!

Special shoutouts to members of the team who made this happen Chimdi Aneke, Solomon Awosupin, Kate Igori, Charles Odili, Babajide Duroshola, Evan Green-Lowe, Jessica Akano, Chioma Ijere, Mayowa Olunuga, Tobi Smith, Folayemi Agusto, Mohini Ufeli and Rotimi Okungbaye, Google and entire Andela team!

Team Awesome!