Pakistan is a country brimming with talent. According to P@SHA, there are over 2500+ IT companies registered in the country and 20,000 graduates enter the market every year. Pakistan has world class talent; however, there seems to be a gap between industry and academia. There are many reasons behind this ranging from lack of appropriate exposure, scarcity of tech groups/ knowledge base, incorrect early career choices/moves influenced by social pressures, and challenges around individual’s soft skills. In an effort to address the gap between the industry and available skillset, TechJuice brings to you an informative new series “Rapid Hire.”
Realizing the need to probe deeper into the hiring processes and what leading companies currently seek in potential tech hires, we will reach out to experienced HR experts from the prominent tech companies in Pakistan. We will be asking them to address questions like: What are the most common mistakes that candidates make on their resumes that may overshadow their technical strengths? Why do majority of applicants fail to grab the attention that they deserve? Is it because of GPA or lack of internships? How important are projects and soft skills in shaping up one’s career? What is the best way for people to keep abreast with latest technology trends?
To answer all these questions, we started our discussion with Ms. Syeda Sana Hussain, Senior HR Manager at 10Pearls in Karachi. Sana was employee number 33 when she joined in 2008, and has helped grow 10Pearls to a 320+ strong global organization. Reflecting back on the years, she pointed out that hiring the right talent and helping them grow is what has laid the foundation of 10Pearls phenomenal journey of success.
Introducing the company, she elaborated that 10Pearls is a digital development organization with 6 oﬃces around the globe including the UAE, Karachi, Canada and the USA. 10Pearls specializes in mobile & web apps, enterprise software solutions, cyber security, big data, and cloud.
“Customer satisfaction is our number one goal which is directly linked with the talent we harness at 10Pearls. We strongly believe that our employees are our assets. If they are empowered and excited about what they do, they will perform at their best.”
From here on we started a detailed discussion on hiring procedures and understanding the reasons why most applicants are unable to grab the attention of hiring managers. Sana mentioned that the first impression the candidate makes on any hiring manager is with their cover letter and resume. The most common mistake that applicants make in their cover letters is redundancy. Often, they do not even tailor their resume as per the job needs.
Submitting the same resume to every other company is highly discouraged.
It must be tailored according to the job description. Sana stated, “highlighting one’s key strength in a two liner on a resume gives invaluable insight about the candidate’s strengths. This helps recruiters tremendously and shows that the candidate really cares, versus just trying to land any job”. On matters of GPA, I was surprised to hear Sana tell me that, “CGPA might come into play at a later stage but it does not have a lot of value. Theoretical concepts are great but one must show the ability to apply that knowledge.” For fresh graduates, the right internships and Final Year Project’s (FYP), as well as any part-time or independent work make them stand out. More importantly, an exhibition of self-learned technologies shows an inquisitive mind and growth mindset.
Speaking about the hiring process at 10Pearls, Sana mentioned, “The most important aspect is fit. We want to ensure that the talent we bring in will thrive at 10Pearls, and create value for both the employee and the organization. We spend considerable time in finding the right fit.” Initially, online resumes are screened, followed by a recruitment test comprising of IQ, analytical and technical questions. After this, they undergo two to three in-person interviews. “The interviews allow us to learn a little deeper about the candidate’s technical expertise, past experiences & most importantly, ability to work in a team”. However that’s not the only thing. She mentioned that 10Pearls focuses on the candidate’s attitude, thought process, problem-solving capability as well as an approach to adversity and challenges.
“Every year, the company receives around 6000 applications. However, the acceptance ratio is only 1:60.”
Taking ownership and a passion for continuous learning is one of the compulsory model factors for recommending applicants for positions. She mentioned that 10Pearls prefers candidates that have an entrepreneurial mindset, as they are empowered to innovate and implement decisions as they would if they owned the company.
“Technical skills are very important but skills can be developed, it’s the right attitude that actually enables growth”, she further explained.
Discussing gender diversity, Sana told us that 10Pearls only had 7 female employees in 2008. The number has drastically improved over the years and today about 30% of the employees at 10Pearls are women. The organization provides daycare facilities within its premises to enable and support working mothers.
The reason that 10Pearls pays special attention to gender diversity is embedded in its vision and values of contributing positively and responsibly towards society. They focus on hiring excellent technical resources, and women have been consistently proving their mettle in all functional areas and positions, including quality assurance, development, business analysis, marketing, human resources, design and project management.
Having over 9 years of experience in Human Resource and being a senior talent management professional, Sana strongly feels that excelling in any one aspect does not guarantee one a job. Companies look at the candidate holistically during the hiring process. Does the candidate over-exaggerate their skill set? Are they punctual and responsive, dressed professionally? Have they taken out the time to research the organization and the position they are applying for? What efforts has the candidate made to stay updated to technology in their chosen field? Are they the kind of resources that thrives on tackling and resolving challenges? Are they an upbeat individual with a positive mindset?
One of the significant problems faced today by industry is a scarcity of resources with work experience on cutting edge tools & technologies. “Mostly, people are taught or have worked on the classic frameworks and have little or no awareness to the latest cross-platform development frameworks,” said Sana. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that graduates and experienced resources adapt at a fast pace to what the market is expecting from them. For example, most organizations are still working on antiquated frameworks when developing cross-platform mobile apps, whereas organizations like us have moved ahead to development tools like Xamarin, a Microsoft company. 10Pearls offers numerous courses on Xamarin at 10Pearls University.
Top tier IT companies in Pakistan, including 10Pearls, are rapidly hiring. The government of Pakistan is pushing for IT exports to reach $6 billion at the end of 2020. The fight for good talent is on, but continuous learning, agility and adaptability is the force that shall propel resources to stand out among their peers.
A unique series to identify what technology organizations look for in a candidate? Why there is a misalignment of expectations and how can we bridge the gap between academia and industry.
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