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Interviews: "Showing Face"

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

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ecureilx
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Postby ecureilx » Tue, 28 Feb 2012 3:18 pm

My 2 cents (maybe 10 cents if it is too long .. ) with a lot of apologies to SMS, in case I am smack in the midst of his cross-hair again.

If you are in an SME environment, as most companies here are, the staff turnover doesn't warrant a full time HR and accounts / admin staff double as hr.

For my first job, which was not in early 80's like SMS, and to reitierate that I am not ANCIENT like SMS, but very, very late 90's, I applied for the job, through a contact, and I got a fax asking me to call - I called, and the person who answered the phone was the Finance manager who was doubling up as the HR manager and admin manager - for the company with a staff strength of 20 plus. The boss' secretary was doing much

All she did was "our boss is keen, I will pass the phone to a guy who 'speaks your language' (who happened to be dutch and I inferred that she meant something like somebody who can understand me .. )

Another few minutes of conversation, and few week or so later, I got a DHL package asking me to fill the EP form and address it back to another person in the same company, who happened to be an Indian guy.

Done, and once EP was approved, I flew here, and then went to their office, and then I found out the EP submission was done by the Indian guy, who was the sales manager of the company, primarily because he has 'experience' handling EP submissions - those days, it was all paper and manual submission. The Indian Colleague's additional role became mine, when he left and the Finance Manager decided that I am the next best, as I have some experience, and no, I wasn't paid anything extra, for submissin and assisting new staff etc, but I got a lot of time off, though then MOM was in Lavender and our office was at Kallang Industrial Park - not too far away, you see.

Well, until recently, all the companies, being SMEs, were some variation of the above.

Finance manager or admin manager doubling as HR !

Until I stepped into Large companies, where there are full time HR people who do nothing but HR. Which was a bit of a revelation for me about this mysterious people called HR, who everybody talks about, but me never got to see ..

As for why many companies want the candidate to appear in person - If you are in IT, I can only say that since many interviews are done by the actual team lead or person who requested the resource, it is pretty unfair to curse the HR people, HR would like to get the primary interview with candidate, basically covering the documents required, certificate copies, company in-house application form etc, quickly followed by the person who requested the resource, and then based on the latter's recommendation, the HRs call for the final interview / confirmation / pay negotiation.

Now, to cut the long story short, when I did a quick insertion into any company, it was due to my experience and exposure meeting the requirements, or the pay matched what they were offering - Pay is a key decider unless you are super-in-demand, like zzm9980 :) (yah, I am a bit jealous of him .. :D )

If you are a Western FT, well, you want 10K, a Singapore will ask for 7K and others from nearby ASEAN countries will work for 4K or less ! That's just some hint on how salary works, but don't burn me at the stake for saying so. It is not always an employee's market. And companies keep a wide band for salary scale. So as much as the chosen one is an ASEAN guy, the Western FT too could stand a chance, if his asking pay is within the band and he has something more than the others. If the Western FT asks for 20K and nothing less, it is a no go, and not even will HR call for salary negotiation.

And sometimes, the westerner maybe preferred, in SME's, if the boss likes to show off his 'FT' like an employer of mine used to do .. when he has potential investors and partners he will go "x is from Ireland, y is from Japan, z is from Africa .. " and he felt it works with the multi-racial thing !

When I had to sit and wait and wait, it was due to the pay being wrong, sometimes, I managed to fix it when I got a bit of a hint, or simply I was asking too much though nobody ever told me that I am asking too little, and I assume the jobs I got without much of a pay negotiation was where I undervalued myself.

Mostly I never got a hint and a month of waiting implied I am not in the final list.

So essentially, if you do your homework, or get a bit of help, you can breakthrough ! And you don't need to go mental wondering why nobody wants you.

For me-well, I would love to earn twice the pay. Most of my employers have a pay band, and sometimes, I figured out what is the 'asking' pay.

Hence, when I was stuck, and my employers were winding down, I had to lower my demands, and had to choose a little lesser pay than being jobless. When I was firmly seated, I could afford to insist on higher pay and have a take it or leave it attitude.

And again, my exposure is only related to IT-System Integration, Product support, a bit of Systems and support, and semi-IT Security exposure. While I have exposure and experience in Networking, I am not CCIE, and while I have exposure and experience in Oracle, I am not a OCM, and likewise not an RHCE, and not an MCSE ... or did I take up BS7799 or CISA. Now, If only I had the certs ..

And above all don't apply to Oil and Gas (that's my repeated disclaimer for SMS :D )

PS: I asked a former colleague who is now sitting in a recruitment firm, as to their general aversion to Skype / phone interviews: the answer was even simpler - No proof or record of what transpired, unlike in a face to face, where a third party can witness - and, well, in email correspondence, there is more records and documents.

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Re: Interviews: "Showing Face"

Postby thismyvoice » Tue, 28 Feb 2012 7:11 pm

YankStuckinSuiss wrote:
olivia242 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:
YankStuckinSuiss wrote:
Another anecdote, my interview was two phone calls and one in person at their office in the US, with the actual business unit and team I would work for. HR needed 4-5 other phone calls of no value or substance that took an extra month of time. :)



I agree with the above. I once had 7 interviews for a company. 6 of these interviews were just people asking me the same questions over and over again. I was even interviewed twice by the same person, again, asking the same questions.

I have also had interviews cancelled at the last minute and promises of second interviews that come to nothing.

As the poster says, welcome to Singapore.

It's hard enough finding work when you are here and I think next to impossible to if you're not.

Phone interviews are always harder because you lack the face to face contact so I think if you lived in Singapore, you would likely complain about having to have them. Nothing beats being in front of the person so you can establish a rapport.

I wish you luck because I personally think it is extremely hard to find work here.


The problem is that Singapore is very expensive to live in to just job hunt, basically they want to be an international hub, but make it very difficult for people to find work without taking a huge leap of faith and moving their for at least 3 months to look. That is inefficient.


Well, if you have paid attention to Singapore news, you will notice that there is now a minor backlash about too many foreigners in the country. property prices, rental prices has skyrocketed and public transport is packed. The general direction by the government is probably to go slow on foreigner intake until infrastructure is ready in a few years time.

Let me share with you my experience in IT recruitment for my company.

The first thing we look at is your qualifications, experience and asking pay. Most of the time, you are not the only candidate. There will be other candidates and some of them can be highly qualified. Therefore make sure you don't price yourself out of the market.

For recruitment of programmers or something similar, we always ask the candidate to come to the office for an online test. The test is conducted in our office to make sure that it is the correct person taking the test. Obviously if you are not in Singapore, you can't take the test.

Finally, what kind and level of job are you looking for? If you have specialized skills that are in high demand, interviews will be arranged at your convenience.

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 28 Feb 2012 9:26 pm

ecureilx wrote: Pay is a key decider unless you are super-in-demand, like zzm9980 :) (yah, I am a bit jealous of him .. :D )


No need to be jealous. You want jealous, go over to that angry expat board and read about the "1 percenters" crying about not being able to survive in Singapore on $20k/month. *They* are apparently super-in-demand :P (Actually I suspect they're mostly Kiasu expats who lie on the Internet)

Information Security, my area, is highly in demand. The big problem here is a lot of the guys who ran off to get MCSEs 10-12 years ago are now trying to jump on this wagon too. A lot of people try to talk the talk, but can't walk the walk. If you're reasonably bright with an IT background it's not too hard to pick it up. Breaking in can be rough, but this is where knowing people or (gag) certs might help land interviews. In the US right now, you can pretty much name your price (within obvious reason) in a lot of areas. Singapore is a good market, as is a lot of Europe and Asia.

movingtospore
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Postby movingtospore » Tue, 06 Mar 2012 2:20 pm

The previous post was right, there is an anti-foreigner backlash in Sing at the moment. I have no proof at all - but have heard through the grapevine - that as a foreigner applying cold for a job via the HR departments, you will often get blocked there because you are a foreigner. Your application will not get past the gatekeeper because the gatekeeper doesn't like foreigners, not because you're not qualified etc. And, sometimes, they also have quotas etc to worry about, I think.

So I would say, use LinkedIn, and other networking tools, to reach out to managers in companies you want to work with. Much better chance of getting in the door that way.

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YankStuckinSuiss
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Postby YankStuckinSuiss » Tue, 06 Mar 2012 9:59 pm

movingtospore wrote:The previous post was right, there is an anti-foreigner backlash in Sing at the moment. I have no proof at all - but have heard through the grapevine - that as a foreigner applying cold for a job via the HR departments, you will often get blocked there because you are a foreigner. Your application will not get past the gatekeeper because the gatekeeper doesn't like foreigners, not because you're not qualified etc. And, sometimes, they also have quotas etc to worry about, I think.

So I would say, use LinkedIn, and other networking tools, to reach out to managers in companies you want to work with. Much better chance of getting in the door that way.


didn't think about the "gatekeeper issue" but makes sense...happens in Switzerland too, but less so.
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

-George Bernard Shaw

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YankStuckinSuiss
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Postby YankStuckinSuiss » Tue, 06 Mar 2012 10:08 pm

ecureilx wrote:My 2 cents (maybe 10 cents if it is too long .. ) with a lot of apologies to SMS, in case I am smack in the midst of his cross-hair again.

If you are in an SME environment, as most companies here are, the staff turnover doesn't warrant a full time HR and accounts / admin staff double as hr.

For my first job, which was not in early 80's like SMS, and to reitierate that I am not ANCIENT like SMS, but very, very late 90's, I applied for the job, through a contact, and I got a fax asking me to call - I called, and the person who answered the phone was the Finance manager who was doubling up as the HR manager and admin manager - for the company with a staff strength of 20 plus. The boss' secretary was doing much

All she did was "our boss is keen, I will pass the phone to a guy who 'speaks your language' (who happened to be dutch and I inferred that she meant something like somebody who can understand me .. )

Another few minutes of conversation, and few week or so later, I got a DHL package asking me to fill the EP form and address it back to another person in the same company, who happened to be an Indian guy.

Done, and once EP was approved, I flew here, and then went to their office, and then I found out the EP submission was done by the Indian guy, who was the sales manager of the company, primarily because he has 'experience' handling EP submissions - those days, it was all paper and manual submission. The Indian Colleague's additional role became mine, when he left and the Finance Manager decided that I am the next best, as I have some experience, and no, I wasn't paid anything extra, for submissin and assisting new staff etc, but I got a lot of time off, though then MOM was in Lavender and our office was at Kallang Industrial Park - not too far away, you see.

Well, until recently, all the companies, being SMEs, were some variation of the above.

Finance manager or admin manager doubling as HR !

Until I stepped into Large companies, where there are full time HR people who do nothing but HR. Which was a bit of a revelation for me about this mysterious people called HR, who everybody talks about, but me never got to see ..

As for why many companies want the candidate to appear in person - If you are in IT, I can only say that since many interviews are done by the actual team lead or person who requested the resource, it is pretty unfair to curse the HR people, HR would like to get the primary interview with candidate, basically covering the documents required, certificate copies, company in-house application form etc, quickly followed by the person who requested the resource, and then based on the latter's recommendation, the HRs call for the final interview / confirmation / pay negotiation.

Now, to cut the long story short, when I did a quick insertion into any company, it was due to my experience and exposure meeting the requirements, or the pay matched what they were offering - Pay is a key decider unless you are super-in-demand, like zzm9980 :) (yah, I am a bit jealous of him .. :D )

If you are a Western FT, well, you want 10K, a Singapore will ask for 7K and others from nearby ASEAN countries will work for 4K or less ! That's just some hint on how salary works, but don't burn me at the stake for saying so. It is not always an employee's market. And companies keep a wide band for salary scale. So as much as the chosen one is an ASEAN guy, the Western FT too could stand a chance, if his asking pay is within the band and he has something more than the others. If the Western FT asks for 20K and nothing less, it is a no go, and not even will HR call for salary negotiation.

And sometimes, the westerner maybe preferred, in SME's, if the boss likes to show off his 'FT' like an employer of mine used to do .. when he has potential investors and partners he will go "x is from Ireland, y is from Japan, z is from Africa .. " and he felt it works with the multi-racial thing !

When I had to sit and wait and wait, it was due to the pay being wrong, sometimes, I managed to fix it when I got a bit of a hint, or simply I was asking too much though nobody ever told me that I am asking too little, and I assume the jobs I got without much of a pay negotiation was where I undervalued myself.

Mostly I never got a hint and a month of waiting implied I am not in the final list.

So essentially, if you do your homework, or get a bit of help, you can breakthrough ! And you don't need to go mental wondering why nobody wants you.

For me-well, I would love to earn twice the pay. Most of my employers have a pay band, and sometimes, I figured out what is the 'asking' pay.

Hence, when I was stuck, and my employers were winding down, I had to lower my demands, and had to choose a little lesser pay than being jobless. When I was firmly seated, I could afford to insist on higher pay and have a take it or leave it attitude.

And again, my exposure is only related to IT-System Integration, Product support, a bit of Systems and support, and semi-IT Security exposure. While I have exposure and experience in Networking, I am not CCIE, and while I have exposure and experience in Oracle, I am not a OCM, and likewise not an RHCE, and not an MCSE ... or did I take up BS7799 or CISA. Now, If only I had the certs ..

And above all don't apply to Oil and Gas (that's my repeated disclaimer for SMS :D )

PS: I asked a former colleague who is now sitting in a recruitment firm, as to their general aversion to Skype / phone interviews: the answer was even simpler - No proof or record of what transpired, unlike in a face to face, where a third party can witness - and, well, in email correspondence, there is more records and documents.



Thanks, that was enlightening...

In any case something promising happened today because the potential hiring manager was an Aussie, waiting to hear back... we will see. I'm also getting some feedback from a recruiter who works closely with a bank...never know.
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."



-George Bernard Shaw


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