I visited a job search website in Rwanda today and what I found was nothing else than a confirmation that cultural intelligence training is not a nice thing to have but a must have skill to compete and succeed at the job market in Rwanda.
As I write this blog, on that website there are more than 80 job posts of which approximately 95% are in international organisations with multicultural staff and mostly led by internationals. This comes as a result of globalization which is a great thing.
Regrettably, most these organisations ignore or do not understand how cultural differences could be a big challenge in detecting and hiring talents across cultures. With this, the responsibility goes to the job seeker to adapt to the hiring manager's culture to succeed the job interview and secure a job. Unfortunately cultural agility skills are not developed overnight, it takes time.
To illustrates why I think students should have a cultural intelligence class , here is one example of conflicting cultural differences. In communication, most of the western cultures believe in effective communication people should be direct on point, use relatively loud voice and do eye contact. On the other side Rwandans use indirect communication, relatively low voice in speaking and barely do eye contact. Now you can imagine what happens to a Rwandan fresh graduate interviewing for a position in an international organisation using Rwanda cultural communication style. I am not judging here, I believe both of these communication styles are good but once they come together with no cultural preparedness they conflict and people will fail interviews not because they lack required skills but rather because the interviewee and the interviewer have two different ways of communication.
Looking at the rate Rwanda is growing and attracting global organisations, I think education institutions should start preparing students to think and act beyond Rwandan culture. This does not mean, Rwandans should reject their culture but develop intercultural skills that enable them to work and thrive in diverse cultural situations.
Impact Route is ready to partner with Schools and Universities in the journey of developing young Rwandans intercultural skills. Contact us for more details.