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Sasha Knott is the techpreneur behind Job Crystal – the world’s first AI tool that is solving recruitment for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) using machine learning. And it’s doing it in record time…

The business has a strong purpose: to make a dent in unemployment. “We know that the SME market hires 60% of the workforce, so if we help the SMEs hire faster and better, then wouldn’t they be able to hire more? That’s our plan,” she says.

Can you tell she’s passionate about employment? “[It’s all about] employing the right team for your business, ensuring our clients can hire well, quickly and efficiently, and helping candidates find jobs quickly,” she says.

About Job Crystal. Or should we say… Crystal herself?

Crystal is Job Crystal’s AI recruitment machine, created to save local SMEs time when recruiting candidates. “Yes, she is a lady,” quips Sasha. “[She knows] how to work hard, fast and efficiently to find 10 candidates from all 34-million South Africans based on any job description.”

There are two sides to Job Crystal: the business (recruitment) and the IT side (where they created Crystal). So it’s a great mixing of two worlds to create a winning formula.

Interested in recruitment?

“Most recruiters ‘fall’ into this industry – but it’s an amazing industry to get into,” says Sasha. “If you’re super-organised, like having lots of balls in the air and can work smartly, then recruitment is for you.”

While most people study Human Resources (a degree or diploma) as a way in, Sasha also finds that those straight from school with a passion to help people, or those who are a little “OCD on the details”, do superbly well.

“[Alternatively], if you’re wanting to get involved on the IT side, you will need to study some form of IT course (it doesn’t always need to be a degree). Look for well-known institutions that are certified by Microsoft or leading software providers,” she adds.

READ MORE: Transform Your Career With This Easy 6-Step Guide (Psst: It’s A Mindset Shift)

Make sure your CV is always updated

Don’t just toss your CV out randomly… and sloppily. “First ensure your CV looks superb – it’s all about the detail – and add some colour. Then send it by email to the recruitment company, but ensure you follow up,” says Sasha. Recruiters get around 500 emails a day, she says, so you want to stand out. It’s imperative to make that follow-up call.

Always work professionally and be gracious

You’ll be amazed on how many opportunities there are in recruitment, says Sasha. For IT, apply at IT companies as soon as you’re finished with your studies. There are so many platforms for networking these days. “If you’re looking within South Africa, a ticket platform like Quicket can help show you what’s coming up and where. HeavyChef is amazing with networking events to meet like-minded businesspeople, and never say no to LinkedIn. Lastly, there’s a new networking platform called Xena you should definitely try out,” she adds.

And gather a bit of grit…

The recruitment side of the biz is mostly female, says Sasha, and it’s easy to grow in your career if you’ve got grit, work smart and keep up to date on regulations. “On the IT side, it’s the complete opposite (mostly male-led), but I’ve found that female developers are mostly more precise coders with fewer bugs and issues. It’s difficult to get to the top in IT as a woman, but it’s not impossible,” she says.

READ MORE: “8 Things I’ve Learnt About Leading A Successful Team” – A CEO Shares Her Tips

Know that recruitment can be competitive…

“Recruitment can be quite a cut-throat and competitive industry, so you need to have tough skin while dealing with other recruiters. You’d think women would be much more supportive of each other (competition is, after all, very healthy), but often this takes a sideline when it comes to making a placement,” says Sasha.

In the IT industry, back in the day women developers were still required to “take notes from meetings” and be the project manager – as well as code. But there’s a silver lining to all that admin. “In a way, it helped us build more skills, ensured we could juggle many balls in the air, and helped us learn to just get on with it… And in IT it’s always good to know more,” says Sasha.

“In recruitment, I learned not to take the competition personally,” says Sasha. “I ensured I kept it professional and reminded myself why I do this job – to help others find jobs! In IT, I took the minutes, acted as the project manager, and worked my way up to Senior Manager probably faster than others because I was always put in front of the clients. This [equipped] me with invaluable interpersonal communication skills, which are often lacking in the developer space.”

Money-saving tips and advice

“Start putting in 10% of your salary into a pension/RA/long-term investment every month. Two words: compound interest. Understand it and start early,” says Sasha.

Words of wisdom for women…

Don’t take it personally and don’t make it personal. “Business is about a company/service/product team, not about the individual.”

Work hard. “This doesn’t always mean long hours; it means working smart, automating and delegating what you can so you can grow and can give someone else opportunities.”

Study and learn all the time. “Do this by reading industry blogs/articles or biographies and get a formal education at some point – it will always be a benefit.”

8 Books you have to read in your lifetime

1. Getting Things Done by David Allen.

2. Becoming by Michele Obama.

3. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

4. Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

5. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey.

6. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

7 and 8. For business owners specifically, I highly recommend The Complete 1-Page Marketing Plan by Richard Harv and Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish, says Sasha.

Connect with Sasha

Find Sasha on LinkedIn

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