Industry leaders look for passion when hiring
By Shaiful Rizal
Feb. 28 2010
Fresh graduates seeking employment should put passion over pay.
This was the advice given to students at a NUS forum by members of the Industry Advisory Council (IAC). The council consists of top communications and new media executives who offer recommendations on how the Communications and New Media (CNM) curriculum can remain relevant to the industry.
Myrna Thomas, corporate affairs managing director of Temasek Holdings, is one of the executives who make up the council.
“If you are passionate about something, you will do whatever it takes to learn about the industry,” said Thomas.
Thomas explained that employers look for people who are eager to work hard and those who embrace every opportunity, even it means going for an unpaid internship.
The day-long forum in January presented numerous opportunities for media students to interact with the council members. A key highlight of the networking session was a mock interview.
“During interviews, we are interested to see how you think and how you are able to articulate your thoughts. We want to see how passionate you are about the job,” said Thomas.
Maryanne Joseph, a third-year CNM student, was one of two students who volunteered to face the panel for the interview. She later said she was overwhelmed by the series of difficult questions they asked.
“It was really scary, because the questions were not easy,” said the 21-year-old.
“I guess it was a good learning experience for me and everyone else, so that we do not make the same mistakes again.”
Besides offering advice to students on how they could tool up for their own careers within the communications industry, the panel also warned them about the tendency for fresh graduates to expect high salaries. The council members stressed that this should not be the priority when applying for jobs.
Victor R. Ocampo, business development manager of Yahoo Mobile (Southeast Asia), said employers identify passionate candidates as those who take the time to learn about a prospective employer and those who come forward with specific ideas on how they can make a difference inside the organisation.
“We want to know your ‘big idea’ and how you fit into the organisation,” he said.
Thomas agreed that employers want to hire employees who are proactive and innovative.
“We are looking for a person who is multidimensional. We want to see the breadth of a person and your sense of curiosity,” Thomas said.
The forum was designed to help prepare students who will graduate soon, such as CNM junior Nadya Huang.
“The mock interview session was very useful,” she said. “It gave me insights into what employers were looking for when they hire. Now I know what to prepare before the interview so that I can stand out.”