Recruitment landscape

We all want the best of the best, but it’s all relative. Reall

Was invited to a recruitment event last night thanks to a friend working in HR.

I’ve helped out in 5 recruitment events over the last 3 years. Probably attended close to 60 when I was a student and definitely went down to 8 to 10 career fairs. One general trend I notice is that both parties are always stating they are the best or they hire the best. (Students and recruiters alike)

Reality of the situation, they are the best and the worst depending on the scale of measurement.


Students will approach recruiters and 80% of the time (Singaporean context) the first statement would be:

  • Introduction about themselves
  • What they’ve studied
  • Any jobs for them?

This is a huge turn off for me. Honestly, I don’t care if you are able to perform ridiculously difficult calculus. The skillset required to do well in university examinations are hardly practical in the workplace. (Unless you are pursuing research as a career)

So yes, this year, I decided to dole out advice as to how to endear themselves to recruiters (personal perspective):

  • What are the roles they are looking to fill?
  • What are the skill sets needed to fulfil the job responsibilities
  • Figure out quickly what are the skills you have that can fit the skills required

It’s similar to tailoring CVs to individual jobs. The generic CV just does not work anymore. I think the advice was decent as some of the students were grateful they learned something. (I’m crossing my fingers the advice works if not I might end up sneezing profusely from all the curses I get 4 months down the road haha


From the employer’s perspective, everyone is always looking to hire “the best”. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Personally I would prefer the generalist who is smart and adaptable, however Google may be seeking an individual with crazy coding skills. These are very different types of individuals.

(If you are a job seeker and you’re unemployed, sometimes it’s not you, it’s the company. But on the safe side, keep your skills relevant and LinkedIn up to date)

Most talks and presentations focus on the achievements of the company. This can be found on Wikipedia, if the students don’t know, they should not be hired (no research done on the company?!). Students are looking for the first “best” job (this can be measured in terms of pay or opportunity or both). So it is really up to recruiters to paint a realistic picture of work. As well as the challenges of work (politics, idiots bureaucracy etc). At the same time, show them that there are still amazing opportunities (intelligent people, exotic places and industry domain knowledge).

I think for the present generation of students they want to see impact. Generally I mention my job involved looking after the IT systems of 7 hospitals. (Of course I leave out the gory details of working 48 hour shifts for migration activities). But that is something they can truly appreciate


The triple bottom line of a company is a good way to show students the company is in it for more than profit. And generally if the values align with the individual, you have found the “best” candidate who will be an amazing ambassador for future generation of “bests”.