Hiring For An Innovation Lab In Singapore

Ever wondered about what we look for when hiring for an innovation lab?

Get behind the scenes with one of our very own Manulife recruiters. Meet Sherry Teo, our fearless Talent Acquisition partner who has almost singlehandedly hired everyone in LOFT’s Singapore Lab.

Sherry’s dedication and effort have not gone unnoticed- her team has recently been awarded the Recruitment Team of the Year by HRO Today for their diverse hiring strategy application; recognizing their work as the best and brightest HR professionals who are trailblazers in making new best practices for the industry for others to adopt.

Sherry is considered an honorary member of the LOFT team, playfully coined #FriendoftheLOFT and continues to support individual LOFTers as a confidant. She has also made guest appearances in our LOFT corporate video shoots #spotSherry.

How would you describe yourself?
Candid, cheerful, workaholic (according to my daughter), sincere, I also really enjoy being around people.

What do you do at Manulife?
I’m a Talent Acquisition Manager for Manulife in Singapore.

What do you love most about your job?
Meeting new people and seeing them happy and successful in their new roles.

You’ve single handedly hired everyone in the Singapore lab. Tell us more about what traits you look out for that sets candidates apart?Besides shortlisting people with the right skill set, I’m also on the lookout for individuals who are passionate about what they do -because people who are passionate put in 101%.

Being a team player is also important. The LOFT team in Singapore is brand new and we’ve brought people from all walks of life together to form a family.

Candidates need to be resilient and unafraid of failure and rejection. The LOFT is all about incubating new ideas but not all ideas will be able to get buy-in from stakeholders. I remember a quote stating that “success is not built on success, but built on failure” and I believe this applies very much to the Lab.

Having an entrepreneurial spirit is also important, as the LOFT is set up like a start-up and candidates have to understand that working for the LOFT would basically be like running their own business.

Which is more important, attitude or aptitude?
It will be perfect to find candidates equipped with both! However, if I have to pick one, I will prioritize attitude above aptitude.

To be successful in life, one needs to have the right attitude. You can always train someone and equip them with the right tools to learn but you will not be able to give them the correct attitude if it isn’t already inherent.

Describe the ideal candidate for the LOFT in 5 words.
Passionate, Innovative, Entrepreneurial, Driven, Tenacious.

What are the challenges you face?
The main challenge is that I do not have experience hiring candidates in this area. My hiring experience was skewed towards infrastructure technology.

It took me a while to do more research on the requirements for some of these roles through the help of Ryan Fox. There are actually tons of candidates with the right skills but it was challenging to narrow down the list and identify people with the right attitude and entrepreneurial traits.

What are some of the FAQ raised by potential hires?
Potential candidates are usually concerned because the LOFT is structured like a start-up and they have questions about how long the Lab will be around. Others voice questions around job stability, resources at hand and future plans for the Lab.

What do potential candidates think about Manulife?
A lot of the candidates we spoke to are all excited about the new bancassurance deal that we struck with DBS in Singapore and feel that there will be a lot of potential growth for us.

What do candidates think about LOFT?
Candidates are always keen to find out more about what we do. Fintech is the next big thing and many are curious about LOFT and what they are working on.

Any advice for potential hires?
Show us passion and demonstrate what you can contribute to LOFT.

Any words of wisdom for fresh grads applying for co-op roles?
Be sure of what you want in life and work towards it. Differentiate yourself from the other graduates, and have an idea of how you will make a difference to the team.

Keen to explore opportunities in Manulife?

Innovate. Disrupt. Lead. That’s what we do here. Follow our story across social @innovateforward.

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