It was earlier in the year when I connected with Tim Barry,  founder of African Heart Celtic Soul Consultancy.  Often times, Americans get consumed with what is going on in our own state or city that we don’t take the time to learn about what is going on in the rest of the world.  With a burning desire to learn more about recruitment around the globe, I had a long conversation with Tim about Cape Town, Africa.  Bulls Eye Recruiting will be doing a series of posts over the next several months talking about Global Recruitment.  Other than Africa, Bulls Eye will highlight Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, the United Kingdom, and more.

When Tim and I talked and I asked him a number of questions.  I was astounded by his answers. I think it is time for Tim to tell his story and bring awareness to the rest of the world.  Hopefully with this series, Bulls Eye can bring the world together; one blog at a time.  Here is part 1 of a 2 part interview.

1) Tell me about your background and how you got involved in recruiting

When I was growing up as a teenager in the UK I dreamt of being an attorney at the Royal Court of Justice, so I studied law. When I graduated, I ended up in media sales rather than pursuing a legal career. I was seeking a more exciting and less detached vocation.

It was during my time working for The London Times and Sunday Times newspapers of the News Corporation empire that I first came into contact with recruiters who placed job advertisements in the vacancies sections of the newspaper and website. I recall being impressed by their copywriting skills and ingenuity when negotiating the price for advertising space.

Several years later, I was approached to work as a salesperson for an HR Technology start-up called Innovate CV. The target market was agency and corporate recruiters. I relished a challenge and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Through working for this dynamic, innovative company, I not only had the benefit of learning from a recruitment industry expert who was the Director of Sales & Marketing, but also a charismatic, passionate entrepreneur named Adam Lewis (now the CEO of Apploi). Adam was the driving force and visionary leader of the company.

Innovate CV was a cutting-edge, cloud-based online CV management platform that was perhaps a few years ahead of its time, but caught the eye of many forward-thinking recruiters, such as James Caan (Dragon’s Den entrepreneur and investor in numerous recruitment companies) and Lee McQueen (The Apprentice UK winner), whom I had the pleasure of negotiating with, on-boarding and training their staff.

I left Innovate CV when I emigrated from the UK to South Africa to raise my children in the country of my wife’s birth and where most of our family live, and set up my own consultancy to advise HR and recruiters of the best technology to hire, manage, retain and train staff.

2) Talk a little about the economy in South Africa and what the unemployment rate looks like

The South African economy, despite being one of the healthiest on the African continent, is in a far poorer state than most Western countries.  The poverty is in part due to the flawed Apartheid regime which exacerbated the inequalities between ethnic groups and led to damaging international trade sanctions.

The legacy of these dark days and the corruption and cronyism which pervades the ruling party has meant that the rate of unemployment, especially amongst the young, African population remains high, with only  35% of employment rate.   At least another 10% not disenchanted with the job–hunting process.


3) How do South African’s utilize the internet to help them find jobs?

Fixed line internet is a luxury. Most regular South Africans only connect to the internet via cafes or the workplace. Therefore jobseekers who utilize the internet either do so with the limited facilities and time constraints and risk their current employers finding out that they are looking to switch jobs. These jobseekers primarily put their CV on job boards and apply for jobs they see advertised there.

The majority of South Africans primary means of accessing the internet is through their cellphone, with the most popular activities being messaging (BBM, WeChat, WhatsApp) and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Very few jobseekers or recruiters use the former, and those recruiters who use social networks do so in the same way as advertising on a job board .  Engaging and interacting with passive jobseekers leads to a low conversion rate.

4) How is the transportation in South Africa?

Let me put it this way, if you do not have a car then you will find it incredibly hard to get anywhere. Public transport, such as buses and trains, is rare and unreliable, even in large urban areas such as Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Those who do not have access to or cannot afford these means have transport either have to rely on dangerous “Kombi” taxis (unlicensed mini-buses) or walk long distances. All of these factors hinder jobseekers attending interviews and open days to find work, or getting to their workplace on a punctual basis.

Check back next week for the second part of Tim’s Interview!


Tim Barry helps enable South African employers to hire, manage, retain and train the best talent to improve their business performance using the latest techniques and technology. I work with companies who are leaders in the fields of Applicant Tracking, Human Capital and Talent Management, Job Distribution, Referral and Social Recruiting and Sales Management technology I strongly believe that the development of jobseekers through identifying their innate skills is the key to economic prosperity.