‘It’s a long-term game’

Brian Lum

IF you are looking to join a company, being influenced by the people around you is dangerous.

This, warned job search platform provider Hiredly marketing team lead Brian Lum, can result in “buyer’s remorse”.

“A company that is good for others may not be good for you,” he said.

Speaking at the myStar Job Fair 2022 – which was held concurrently with the Star Education Fair at the Tropicana Gardens Mall Convention Centre on Nov 12 and 13 – Lum advised jobseekers to first and foremost discover their work personas.

This, he said during his talk entitled “How to Avoid Joining the Wrong Company for You”, can be done through personality tests such as the one devised by Hiredly, which matches jobseekers to company culture attributes that are in line with their values.

Citing the seven attributes that the job portal has identified, namely, entrepreneurism, altruism, progressive culture, career growth, social connection, wealth and prestige, Lum said jobseekers value some of these more than the others.

Ng Khai HannNg Khai Hann

For example, some people need to join a company where they really believe in its products or services, or an altruistic purpose, while others may be looking to join a company that has prestige or respectable leaders, and is a well-known brand, he explained.

“You really have to figure out the long-term value of joining a company, instead of looking at things such as the company having pool tables or sleeping pods,” he stressed. Lum also asserted the importance of doing “a lot of research” on the company one is keen on joining, through its website and social media pages.

“Find out about the company’s major and recent achievements, how it started, who its leaders are, the company culture, the kind of employees it values, its unique selling point, and its competitors.

“Look at the company’s recent posts on social media, what it champions and what other people are saying,” he offered.

He also recommended looking up and learning more about the company’s competitors.

“As a jobseeker, you may be interested in what the competitors have to offer. Join the company that is better for you.

“Spend time doing all this research, rather than finding out the hard way. If what it is doing is not in line with what you are looking for, then look somewhere else,” he said.

Do’s and don’ts

Another speaker at the event, consulting agency Find Talent managing director Ng Khai Hann zoomed in on the do’s and don’ts for first-time employees.

“Always set goals in whatever you do. Have in mind to achieve three types of goals: professional goal, company goal and personal development,” he offered, emphasising that it’s about continuous growth and improvement.

“Talk to your boss about your goals. If you show initiative to learn, there will be others who will be willing to teach you,” he said.

Among the other tips Ng shared during his talk entitled “How to Thrive in Your First Job” are as follows:

> Be mindful of first impressions

“Always scout out the location of the workplace and give yourself buffer time to avoid being late on your first day. Dress appropriately by asking the human resources personnel about the dress code. You don’t want to underdress or overdress.”

> Be proactive

“You should know what your current progress is, and what and how you should improve. For example, one month after starting your job, ask your boss how you are doing, instead of waiting until your annual appraisal to realise what you should have done instead.”

> Build relationships through networking

“Networking in a company is important. If you are a newbie, it will help you when you need help. Take advantage of lunch time to mingle with others at least once or twice a week. If you join a big organisation, you should network with people from other departments so they can help you with your job. For example, if you are in sales, network with those from the marketing, finance and purchasing departments. They can make your job easier.”

> Stay attentive

“For the first three months, you want to be a sponge and absorb as much as possible. No matter how powerful your memory is, write things down. You don’t want to get into trouble for forgetting anything. Everyone wants someone independent on the team, not someone you have to micromanage or who constantly asks for help. It’s important to be observant. Observe how people get the job done and how they interact with each other, and replicate them. But remember that no matter how friendly or playful you can be, there must be a sense of professionalism.”

> Manage your expectations

“Prepare yourself mentally for a steep learning curve. You can’t expect to come in and be a hero straightaway. It takes time to improve your performance, and it’s a continuous mental battle that you have to face. Continuous improvement should always be the game plan. Understand that autonomy or leadership comes at a price. You cannot expect to be given big responsibilities immediately. You have to prove yourself first through smaller responsibilities. Trust is earned, not given.”

> Don’t get involved in office politics

“Ultimately as a newbie, don’t be involved in it. Don’t badmouth others. This is a big no-no. If the person hears about it, your life can be difficult in the organisation. Always escape such conversation as much as possible.”

> Build your reputation

“This is a goal that you should set. You come in as a nobody but you want to leave as a somebody. It’s about how you represent yourself and how you want to sell yourself in the future. It’s a long-term game. You must show yourself to be reliable, dependable, trustworthy and can add value to the organisation. Master your current tasks and achieve the targets set in the key performance indicators. And if you want to stand out, you must be able to solve problems, rather than just pointing them out.”

Those in Penang can head over to Setia SPICE Convention Centre today to visit both the Star Education Fair 2022 and the myStar Job Fair 2022 – the final edition of five such events this year. For details, go to facebook.com/stareducationfair.

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