I posted this on my Friendster account 3 years ago, and as the situation doesn't seem to have improved much at all, I decided to repost it here (slightly edited) on my new blog, partly because it's still relevant, and mainly because it pads up the empty space =)
I’ve just finished three torrid days of recruitment at the Career and Training Fair at Mid Valley over the weekend - incredibly tiring, partly due to our company stand being rather understaffed (with only two of us it’s hard to even go to the toilet when the other one is out for lunch), but also partly due to having to face so many people, many whom, sad to say, I’d rather not face given the choice. These three days have confirmed to me beyond doubt why it is that there are so many unemployed graduates out there seeking (some desperately) for a job, while at the same time employers out there are having a hell of a time trying to find new staff. There’s a huge mismatch in expectation between the two, and the problem almost exclusively lies with the job-seekers.
It was absolutely shocking how many job-seekers just do not bother reading, or just do not use their commonsense. Granted, our company is an Information Communications Technology (ICT) company, and hence we’re really only going to attract ICT graduates while the well-dressed, professional looking young men and women walk right past our booth and visit AmBank beside us. My expectations were lowered, and I really did not expect them to be tested so severely. Example one - poor young chap wanders in looking for a job, and asks what we do. Doesn’t matter that I’ve got “Internet Security Testing” plastered all over the booth, oh no, “Apa you buat ah?” I put on my best sales and diplomatic smile, and gently (trying so hard not to be patronising, although I suspect the effect would have been lost on poor job-seeker there) say “ICT Security Testing”. I get this shocking reply “Apa tu ICT?” ("What's ICT?"). Deep breath. Smile. “ICT - Information Communications Technology.” I think it can’t get worse than this. It does… “I…C…T… um… I cari kerja IT.. ada IT tak?” ("I'm looking for an IT job, any IT?"). I felt like doing his parents a favour and giving him one slap across the face, but I was hardly feeling charitable at that time. After all the literature I put up telling prospective employees what we do, what prospects they have, what requirements they need for the job, with my powerpoint presentation flashing on the back wall using a projector, with four huge banners towering in the four corners of the booth, and my kind spoonfed information that our company was in the ICT security industry, he asks me if we were in IT. Just throw in a C and he gets completely lost.
The second example which greatly annoyed me was when these three youngsters come up to me. A very pleasant young Indian lady looks around at the booth, and asks me what kind of things our company does, and I explain very nicely to her. She asks what kind of qualification people need to join, and what sort of jobscope they can expect, all of which I nicely reply to her. After a few pleasant exchanges, she points to one of her two male friends standing beside her, neither of which so much as whispered all this while. She indicates a shifty, emaciated, Gollum-esque, pitiful, wretched creature looking up at me through yellow-shot eyes with his head hunched between his shoulders, and says that “My friend here would like to try for your company.” She looks at him, he glances at her, nods his head, looks at me pathetically and shrugs and nods half-heartedly. It’s almost as if she had dragged him here to the fair to find a job, and that he himself couldn’t care less. The lady was somebody I would have been proud to hire, but sadly she wasn’t looking for a job. Frankly, I don’t care how shy you are in real life, but if you’re going to get somebody else to speak for you and ask questions for you at the booth, then you’re not likely to get into my “want to hire” books. This happened several times, and strangely, in almost all cases, it was a lady who had to ask on behalf of her brother/boyfriend/relative/friend. Has the male gender degenerated to such a stage when it cannot stand up for itself?
There were many other incidents which made me shake my head in despair (after the offending seekers had turned their backs, of course), and in general it scares me that this is the level of people looking for jobs out there. In a way you feel sad that so many youths out there don’t seem to have any prospect at a fair shot at life, but no company is a charity, and ours definitely cannot afford to hire society rejects, especially when there are more deserving youths out there who need that same shot at a career. I lost count of the number of people who walked into my booth, glanced around, and lazily asked “So what your company do ah?”.. “R… E…A…D….” I think, but of course, I end up describing what’s on my literature, pointing to what I’m reading so that they realise that I’m reading what they should have been able to read. Some have stupid questions “Do you have any vacancies?” No, my cute little nincompoop, I just paid RM4,500 to sit in a booth for three days over a weekend for fun. Come on!!
It has been a wonderful exercise in restraint, as the evil sinful side of me struggled to release itself from the mask of control in which my professional self trapped my emotions. The career fair has also made me treasure my colleagues in my office even more, as each and every one of them is, by any standard, a decent and good person to have around.
Was it a complete waste of time, then? By no means. Among the chaff we managed to unearth some gems of value, and we will waste no time in interviews next week lest they be snapped up by the hungry pool of employers all hunting after that same small exclusive portion of Malaysia’s graduates. In these few individuals I see not only good employees and colleagues, I see hope for the future of our country. Without them, I don’t think we can go on at all.