Forum highlights sought-after attributes in job candidates

Hakim Hayat

Passion, tenacity, willingness to learn and the ability to adapt are some of the most sought-after attributes that employers look for in a candidate, particularly in a competitive job market where people are required to stand out to get noticed, said several leading industry professionals in Brunei during the ‘Meet the Bosses’ forum yesterday.

Fifty young Bruneians also had a chance to network and listen in on a fireside chat involving leaders of major corporations from different sectors in the country.

Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Tiffany McDonald, while imparting advice, stressed on networking as essential to opening up more avenues for opportunities.

The Australian envoy said, “Go in to do the job and learn the ropes. Look at how you can improve and find opportunities to make a difference, to make it better.”

During the first panel discussion moderated by Curious Mind founder Shaun Hoon revolving around the question of ‘What bosses want?’, one of the panellists, Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) Human Resources Director Hajah Zainab binti Haji MA Omar said a positive attitude is one of the key attributes she would look for in a candidate, adding that the way they carry themselves, punctuality and passion, as well as the drive to go beyond and authenticity are also vital.

Panellist, Standard Chartered Bank Chief Operating Officer Tan Lee Ngee said that integrity forms the very basis of what she is looking for in an employee and why they are interested to have a career with the bank.

“We are looking beyond candidates, such as in situations when life throws challenges, how you conduct yourself. I’m looking for a person who can make a change with us.”

Progresif Human Resources Director Mohammad Yazdi bin Haji Yahya, meanwhile, shared they are not just looking for people who can perform in an interview, but also people who are driven to demonstrate that they are prepared to change with the organisation in the long term and fit into the long-term goals, while also prepared to weather difficult times by offering solutions and ideas, rather than waiting for things to happen.

The second panel discussion themed ‘How to thrive in your career’ was moderated by Partner at Ridzlan Lim Advocates & Solicitors Kelvin Lim.

ABOVE & BELOW: General Counsel at Standard Insurance Sdn Bhd Haji Darryl A B Haji Maidin, Dynamik Technologies Head of Operations William Lai and General Manager of Brunei Press Sdn Bhd Hazizah Osman; and Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd Human Resources Director Hajah Zainab binti Haji MA Omar, Progresif Human Resources Director Mohammad Yazdi bin Haji Yahya and Standard Chartered Bank Chief Operating Officer Tan Lee Ngee. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Tiffany McDonald

General Counsel at Standard Insurance Sdn Bhd Haji Darryl A B Haji Maidin began by questioning the audience on their thoughts on the difference between being taught in school and in life, where he cited a famous quote: “In school you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” Haji Darryl said that passion and positive attitude are key attributes to help one thrive in a career, adding that character is vital in the decision-making process of hiring someone, while skills can be developed afterwards.

General Manager of Brunei Press Sdn Bhd, the publisher of Borneo Bulletin and Media Permata, Hazizah Osman was also invited to the second panel session, where she emphasised the importance of possessing a positive attitude of “never say never”, which she believes can help sustain one’s career.

Being at the helm of the country’s largest publisher, Hazizah said she has the opportunity to work with a lot of young and ambitious people that she likes to constantly challenge with tasks.

“They try their best and achieve success because of positive attitude,” she said, adding that Brunei’s friendly and open environment allows people of different levels to work together and achieve goals collectively. She also said that with tenacity and hard work, one can achieve anything.

Hazizah advised that to thrive in a career, one has to be focussed on goals, while at the same time taking initiatives of upskilling.

She added that amid a fast-changing environment, adaptability is key to face any possibilities that may come, which, in turn will also pave the way for improvement.

Meanwhile, Dynamik Technologies Head of Operations William Lai emphasised that new soft skills are the most important attributes that they look for in a candidate these days amid a competitive job market, adding that constant skill improvement is important, while also knowing when to ask for help.

According to BAAA President Yvonne Kuan, the organisation is committed in getting young Brunei-Australian alumni to develop their interest in the job market as well as the recently established association.

“The BAAA’s intention is to reactivate the association with young minds and ideas while further develop activities that will encourage networking, learning, charity and a strong support system within Brunei.”

The event, organised by the Brunei Australia Alumni Association (BAAA) at The Ozone, Fitness Zone in Kiulap, was also supported by the Australian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam and Standard Chartered Bank.