Beat the COVID crisis and get hired – Advice for new graduates
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an economic recession, with no sign of recovery in the near future. By the end of this year approximately 3-4 million people will be unemployed, according to the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).
More than 100,000 job seekers attended Job Expo Thailand 2020 at BITEC Bang Na, between September 26th and 28th, which was organized by the Ministry of Labour. There were 1.3 million job opportunities on offer from 570 organizations, including government agencies, state enterprises, the private sector and overseas. There were posts available for both experienced workers and fresh graduates. However, the job expo was especially designed for entry level job seekers.
“Our main objective is to help new graduates get hired, so they will gain work experience for at least a year”, said an officer of the Labour Ministry.
With the ‘Co-Payment Scheme’, the Government subsidizes half of their salary for a year, with a budget of about 23 million baht for 260,000 positions. During the three days of the event, 15,737 new graduates applied for jobs.
In 2020, however, about 520,000 students graduated. Almost all of them have been struggling to enter a shrinking job market. As a result, there are, of course, more job applicants than vacancies.
So, how they should prepare themselves to be the most suitable candidate for the job on offer?
“We only have 5 or 6 vacancies. The right candidates can be added to our job waiting list of 10 positions”, HR Department Manager of Sharp Thai Co., Ltd. said on the second day of the Job Expo 2020.
Since young people have no work experience, when it comes to recruitment, what main qualifications do recruiters look for? Veerawan Sookthed said candidates should have solid knowledge in the field they studied, plus the right attitude and a pleasant personality.
“Most importantly, our final decision is based on their portfolio. We pay more attention to those who have done voluntary work or joined university clubs. It shows us he or she knows how to be a team player”, she added.
As far as organizational culture is concerned, new hires should learn to adapt to new surroundings. HR departments can help support them through the change. Many new employees, however, never change.
“I think it is about the new generation’s lifestyle. They tend to be addicted to technology and use mobile phones all the time, even during working hours. Some of our employees sell goods online as a side business, and they concentrate on selling online more than working full-time in the office.”
Like many other companies, the turnover among recent graduates is relatively high. She admitted that she would be surprised if they work for one company for more than three years.
“So far we have had more than 400 job applications for 16 vacancies”, said Warittha Wilairat, HRM Supervisor of Better Way (Thailand) Co., Ltd. For those vacant posts, the company is looking for 80% experienced workers and 20% new graduates”.
Working in HR, she often meets new graduates who are not satisfied with their jobs and resign after few months. It is simply because they lack self-awareness.
Warittha offered some recommendations to new graduates who are looking for jobs.
“First of all, you must know yourself well. What are your strongest and weakest points, and how you can improve those weaknesses? Then, you should set your long-term goal, what you really want to achieve in life. Next, you can decide on the position in which you are interested. This will help prevent you from being a serial job quitter, conversely you will develop faster in your career.”
“Lady Taxi”, by a social enterprise Betta EV, is also recruiting many team members, including chauffeurs, back office staff and business partners and welcomes fresh graduates.
The company’s main objective is not to generate revenue, but to provide opportunities to female drivers, whose lives have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our ideal candidate is someone who has an entrepreneurial spirit”, said Saranpong Daengdej, CEO.
The problem is that entrepreneurial skills are not included in Thai education curriculum, so how they can acquire this skill?
“I believe that it can be inspired. Some people might already have it, though not yet developed. We can help them improve and strengthen the skill”, Saranpong said. Through the interview process, he will find out if the candidate has the potential to grow into an entrepreneur or business owner.
He believes fresh graduates, who are about to join the company, will be working with him for a long time and, together, they will have an impact on society.
By Jeerapa Suvanvitit