30 Jan Working for Jobberman – Ikenna Obianwu. Product Manager, Jobberman
28-year old Ikenna Obianwu is a Product Manager at Nigeria’s foremost startup for jobs and careers, Jobberman. Ikenna is also a graduate of Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Covenant University, Nigeria. In this interview, he gives exclusive details about how he joined Jobberman and his motivation to remain with the brand. Do read and share!
Working for Jobberman: An Insider’s story by Ikenna Obianwu
Since 2011, it has been a really amazing experience at Jobberman. I have learnt a lot, I have been trained in many relevant aspects, and I have met really amazing people. This place has a fast paced working environment, and you have to learn very quickly on the job and be able to take initiative and ownership of tasks & projects, where necessary. The work environment is very friendly and supportive, but there are also key performance index (KPIs) and targets that must be met, so there’s a good balance.
Jobberman was established in 2009 by Ayodeji Adewunmi, Opeyemi Awoyemi and Olalekan Olude as an online jobs and careers platform, with a core focus on connecting employers and candidates, helping companies develop their workforce, and helping candidates develop their careers. Here, our core audience is employers/HR professionals and candidates (jobseekers & professionals). We make it easy for employers to find suitable candidates to fill their roles, and avail candidates with access to the latest job vacancies. We also provide candidates with relevant courses & training to boost their careers.
There were two major things that attracted me to the brand. The first was my thorough understanding that the brand solves a key fundamental problem in the country, unemployment. I wanted to be part of the success story of such a noble cause. The second was an understanding the brand is definitely a company that is very conducive for career growth, learning, and development. I remember a time when the brand received a particular testimonial from a candidate who got a job via the site, and as he reported it, it changed his life completely. I was the one who reached out to the company and got that particular job on our platform. It felt really special.
I have faced a number of challenges but the major ones have been my “perfectionist” attitude and the issue of managing people. I am naturally a perfectionist, and being in a product management position means that one does a lot of project management with developers. Products & projects usually do not have all the stipulated requirements successfully implemented in the first few iterations. This caused some level of frustration earlier in my career, but I later realised that most projects everywhere are actually like that. My role as a Product Manager puts me at the centre of all things with regards the business, and the need to liaise with almost every staff in all the departments, to be successful. This comes with the need to manage people down, across, and above. I particularly struggled with managing people above, but have gotten really good at it over time.
I have often thought about giving up. But those thoughts have been few and far between, and occurred earlier in my career. Certain products & projects that didn’t perform well, which I was in charge of, made me feel despondent. But most importantly, I noted the key lessons on why they failed, and how not to do certain things, subsequently. It is also important to note that for many startups, there will be many failures (failed products, failed strategies, failed approaches, etc.), but that is all part of the learning curve for any new business, which eventually becomes some sort of competitive advantage in the future, when the industry starts receiving new entrants. You would already know how not to do certain things.
I hope to see Jobberman touching more lives by enabling people land their dream jobs and enabling companies hire their next best employee. I also hope the brand is able to significantly bridge the skills gap that exists between the competencies required at the work place, and the competencies possessed by most graduates.
To anyone working for a startup, you need to be committed and dedicated to the brand. Constantly keep yourself informed and build capacity. Most importantly, be resilient and learn from the inevitable early failures that will occur.
Product Manager, Jobberman