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  • Writer's pictureOsmo

Sip & Succeed: Expert Advice for Landing your Dream Job

Passionate about creating vibrant, healthy and most importantly, efficient workplace cultures, Aashka Parekh, (Chief of Staff, Subko) shares invaluable insights and expert tips on how to secure that coveted dream job.

Osmo: Hiring for one of the most coveted and creative brands, what are the top qualities you look out for in candidates? 

Any company looking at a fast paced expansion and attention to detail to maintain quality in my opinion is looking for the following:

  • The candidate's intention and their enthusiasm. I feel their intention to learn is so important because I don't need somebody with just a great skill-set as most technical skills can be taught and trained through extensive L&D programmes making each company attract and achieve the output from their employees to the quality they hold a mark to.

  • A candidate who researches the company background & the role well and is able to communicate why the role in question matches his/her expectations. 

What are some of the red flags you note in candidates?

There are quite a few actually. Not being punctual is huge, or missing interviews and not communicating availability clearly. Giving interviews for the heck of it to see if there is something better in the market is a very big red flag because then we don't end up taking the candidate seriously. What’s worse is usually if a candidate is genuinely interested but does not show up for interviews on time without any good reason, then their candidature is definitely not taken seriously.

Another red flag is constant negotiation on the salary. Once you've reached a certain level in your interview process where the HR is discussing salary with you, clearly they are interested in hiring you because you qualify for the role, but not budging for even a small difference is a red flag. Obviously a drastic difference cannot be overlooked, that I understand. However, we're transparent about what we offer and there is so much more than the monetary aspect that a company brings to the table. At times, we are also trying to meet their salary expectations the best way that we can, and in return expect that candidates value the opportunity and meet us in the middle as well! There is always opportunity for growth in a company especially if it is a start-up and the idea is not to lowball anyone but to find candidates who are able to value everything that the company has to offer. 

Are cover letters important?

Although our company doesn't officially require cover letters, I believe they can significantly distinguish candidates, especially for 'massy roles.' Drawing from my HR experience, I've found cover letters to be particularly valuable for positions emphasizing soft skills over technical abilities. Roles in customer service or those involving direct interaction with a customer benefit greatly from a cover letter, showcasing the candidate's aptitude for the role and serving as a catalyst for their progression in the selection process. However, for roles that require a specific skill-set, such as a design background or copywriting experience, we focus more on their portfolio and not a cover letter. 

What is the first thing you notice in a candidate during an interview? 

Not to sound superficial, but the way they present themselves is very important. A candidate coming in late for an interview, being shabby or coming in with a crumpled resume, fumbling and not looking put together all make for a bad first impression. I do understand being nervous and fumbling because of that, but you can tell when there is a lack of effort on the part of the candidate, like they didn't plan their day properly around the interview. As an interviewer, I always notice how they sit, how they maintain eye contact, what kind of tone they use etc. Presentation is key. 

When you evaluate a design portfolio, what sort of projects do you look out for? 

In my experience across media, hospitality, and real estate industries, I develop an understanding of the company’s requirements before starting to source for appropriate candidates. I focus on finding individuals with relevant experience and exposure in the specific design direction that is needed. Additionally, I incorporate a layered approach to the shortlisting process by assigning short-term assignments. This ensures that candidates grasp the brand's aesthetic and direction, allowing us to assess their efforts before the final submission.

What is the best way to reach out to you for prospective candidates? 

Email! I think email is the most efficient way to communicate with our HR team. Any professional HR Manager has a turn around time that they usually have to respond to within, which is usually 24 to 48 hours. For me, I don't think it exceeds that time frame, unless it's a weekend. I personally make it a point to send out rejection emails and constructive feedback (whenever I have any). Even when a profile is put on hold while other candidates are under review, I try to communicate the delay as clearly and timely as I can, because as an HR it is important for me to build my network and not just attract quality candidates but also to retain them.

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