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Here's what you need to do to get ahead in your career!

Posted on 2017-09-11 00:00:00

Do you have what it takes to do well in your role? We get insider tips from our HR pro.

By Theresa Manavalan


Many might be missing a huge opportunity, says Callister Koh, Head of Human Resources at HSBC Malaysia, who wants fresh grads to know that the seemingly long commitment is the foundation to a leadership position.

“Three years in a role is a good time to master it. After three years, try a new role. If you build a foundation this way, you become a very attractive candidate to the next boss,” says Koh. “And there’s nothing wrong with staying 30 years with one employer but that (should be) 30 years in different roles and locations.

“If you look at the top CEOs in the world, they have done at least 10 to 12 roles. If you look at successful baby boomers, they have performed many roles and have mastered each one to perfection.”

For example, as a large organisation with an international footprint, HSBC offers more than 900 roles. Many senior executives began their careers in the bank.


Going online is already a way of life. More and more graduates have online profiles and sometimes wonder if they should even bother with a traditional resume.

“I would go with a combination,” advises Koh. “Traditional resumes outline experience but don’t always reveal character or personality.”

An online profile can show a candidate’s real-life experience, for example, in projects or social work.

It can be lively with photos and have information that reveals depth and personality that help position an employee for the right job.

Never forget that recruiters want people who have a sense of humanity, a quality that’s hard to show on a resume.

“We use digital platforms to recruit and to understand potential employees. This generation is comfortable being online. A digitised profile is easily shared when the recruiting team is in several places. Still, a traditional resume remains a part of the recruiting process.”

And, thanks to the outspokenness of digital natives, recruiters like Koh get feedback quickly – even on the recruitment process.


“We have zero tolerance for dishonesty,” says Koh.

“It’s our duty as employers to induct new joiners into the right culture. We equip new joiners with the onboarding, especially in the first three months. Now it’s more robust than ever. What we want is for integrity to be second nature to them.”

The onboarding via seminars, training, induction and on-the-job learning is crucial.

“Eventually, they must be able to sell our products as well as manage controls in terms of compliance. Someday, they may become gatekeepers and compliance leaders, so we need to ensure they are prepared for this.”

HOW HSBC RECRUITS: Build, Buy and Borrow Build means consistently developing and promoting existing staff Buy means recruiting from outside Borrow involves seconding people from any part of the bank’s global network to a different location.

“This combination of strategies in roughly equal parts creates a balanced work culture,” says Koh. “When this is done well, new employees are likely to stay because they can see career development.”

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