Monthly Archives : April 2016

6 Ways to Attract the Most Talented Employees

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The competition to attract top-notch employees is tough – are you doing all you can to get them on your side? Here are 6 ways you can catch the attention of A-grade talent.

Big name companies hardly ever suffer a shortage of job applicants; however, start-ups and SMEs face several challenges drawing in premium stocks of talent. Can anything be done to get the crème de la crème to join your cause? Here’s a list of things you can do to bring them over to the dark side (or light side, whichever you are):


1. Build a kickass company website

It’s the first stop for any good would-be employee. So here’s your chance to shine and relay the right kind of information.

For companies that aren’t well-known to the public, a strong website shows first off, that you are indeed legitimate. But what exactly makes a website ‘kickass’? Aside from the basics of appearing well-organized with links that redirect accurately, a great website should give the impression that it was created professionally. This means sufficient content, proper grammar and regular updates.

From the perspective of future employees, your kickass website needs to be equipped with a dedicated HR page. Here, you can take the opportunity to impress prospective employees with what you can offer, as well as tell them what it is you are looking for. Not only are you potentially attracting top employees, but rather ones, that also meld with the culture of your company.

Sime Darby’s career page is an excellent example what an effective HR section should look like. It highlights their diverse staffer pool, previews the experience of working for them, and more importantly, lists out highly-sought training programs. With a page like this, future employees have access to valuable insight that you can design to deepen interests in the company.


2. Be seen and heard


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It’s not that you have to be on every billboard, in fact, many top companies do just fine working in the background, and most B2B companies tend to operate this way.  What’s important is that you develop a presence within your industry, no matter the size of your firm.

How do you do this? One way is to gain an online presence, which may be done inexpensively by utilising social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. You may also employ the use of a blog to brag about your CSR activities, announce news about your company, and publish other industry-specific stories that could highlight your place as a significant player.

For smaller companies, if it is applicable to your business format to advertise, then do negotiate a spread or editorial piece in relevant publications for a little more face time.


3. Perk up compensation and benefits programs

The cost of transportation has gone way up – petrol, toll, and the like, but your mileage cover is over 10 years old? That’s not going to fly with top employees, because they are used to getting the good stuff.

Most jobseekers have a pretty good idea of what generous, basic and mediocre benefits look like, so if yours isn’t up to par, don’t expect the shining stars to be too impressed. Of course you don’t have to offer the sun and the moon, just be fair and good employees will appreciate that.  

Review salary levels and benefits in comparison to other companies in your industry, and try to offer similar packages within that scale.  If indeed, you can afford to perk it up a little, then consider this list of the most appreciated and sought after benefits:

  • Comprehensive medical & insurance coverage
  • Maximum employer EPF contribution
  • Training and education reimbursement
  • Performance bonuses
  • Company loans for home or car purchase
  • Gym memberships

If your company is tightening its purse strings however, then you’ll need to get creative with compensation offers.  Consider applying non-money benefits such as flexi-hours, telecommuting and extended annual leave days.

Make your attractive benefits known to jobseekers by including these amazing perks on your job ads and HR page.


4. Showcase your top employees


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Shining stars tend to attract one another, so light a beacon and more A-grade employees will follow. Draw attention to your top performing people by acknowledging their triumphs on your website, company social media page or even by posting on LinkedIn.

With this, not only are you showing appreciation and validation for the successful labour of your employees, you’re also seamlessly highlighting the achievements of your organization.  

Similarly, make it a point to introduce your new hires with a welcome message that communicates their particular accomplishments and accolades. This will further enforce the image that a powerful team is working behind you and be a source of encouragement for other power players to join in.  


5. Be more than just money

Yes, offering higher starting salaries or promising increments is attractive and tempting – but this is not the only way to attract the cream of the crop. Besides, you don’t want people who are only in it for the money; you want commitment, a sense of responsibility and real leaders.

These people are hard to come by, in fact, they are usually drawn to something more than just financial gain – they want growth potential for the time they’ll be investing. It’s the same thing you would look for in an investment, a proper return.

Looking beyond money, executives and those moving on to managerial positions want the chance to develop professionally. Be ready to offer up opportunities for advancement, this could mean anything from implementing mentorship programs to fast-tracking the careers of top performers with managerial training schemes.


6. Brand Yourself as a Top Employer

This is easier said than done because it involves building a reputation which takes time and a real commitment to fulfill your promise as a good employer. In other words, you’ll have to walk the walk.

For example, Shell –  voted one of The World’s 100 Most InDemand Employers 2014 – regularly conducts employee surveys in an effort to listen to their peoples’ needs for improvement. So in this case, the key to branding as a top employer lies with your current employees and how they perceive the work environment.

Furthermore, effective branding requires an ongoing effort. If you look at the rankings for  Malaysia’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, you’ll see that Maybank has made the Top 5 from 2012 to 2015, and if you look closer you’ll also notice that the list is dominated by mostly the same players, year in, year out.  This is because continuity is also an important part of branding, and thus, an active and constant push to attract the best people needs to be in place for your brand to sustain.

Quick question – what’s the most valuable and underrated asset in your company?  You guessed it! It’s the creative, highly-capable folks who work tirelessly to support your operations, rain or shine. Isn’t it awesome that you now know how to attract more of them?



This article was written by Desiree Nair, who is a contributing writer for

8 Overused Excuses For Missing Work

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My dog ate my homework. I forgot to save my file. I was staying up all night to complete my work but I left it at home. 

These were the common excuses we used as children. Sometimes we could sneak away unharmed but other times, well not so lucky.

Times change, season change, but excuses never change. We may become wiser as we grow older but our excuses can still be downright elementary at times.

So in honor of those who can’t make it to work because your sister’s friend’s boyfriend’s mother’s nephew’s goldfish has become food for worms, here are 8 overused excuses for missing work: (Warning: these excuses may or may not work, so your boss may not buy it, you’ve been warned!)

P.S: Also, this list is for humor purposes only.


1. My alarm didn’t go off


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What better way then to kickoff the list with one of the classics – the good ol’ “my alarm didn’t go off” excuse. You set your alarm to at a wrong time which consequently resulted in you waking up in another dynasty, so you figure that you might as well just work from home since it’s pointless to get to work late only to face stares, a chuckle or two here and there and guilt (guilt like when there’s only two person in the room and you farted and you have no choice but to forcefully raise your hand that you’re guilty) as you walk through the door right? Your rational mind tells you.

Yep, totally believable and plausible.


2. Health reasons

Food poisoning, migraine, fever, the flu, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, stomach ache, back ache, tooth ache, brain ache, toe ache, your left nostril aches and the endless other aches that you could possibly imagine or conjure up, chances are they are already in the book of excuses.


But, but, but, the doctor said that I had a severe case of diarrhea. (GIF credit:


3. My car won’t start

Okay, you have no health problems – everything’s A-OK with you – and being the exemplary employee that you are, you set the alarm off at an earlier time so that you can wake up early for work.

True enough, you wake up early the following day while it’s still dawn, take your shower and calmly have your breakfast while reading the paper. Then you get to your car, ready to start your day….only to find out that your car won’t start – no matter how desperately you try.

So naturally, the rational step is for you to call in to inform your boss that you can’t come in for work right? Taking into consideration that you live in a remote farmhouse and there are no other modes of transportation to get to work, mobile applications like Uber and GrabCar doesn’t exist and car pooling is so totally out of the picture.


4. My kid has gotten into trouble at school

Whether if your child gets called into the principal’s office or if he or she wet their pants (again), you – being the awesome parent that you are – would want to be there for your child when duty calls no? Plus, it’s very unlikely that your employer will deny you the opportunity to attend to your child’s needs.


Booyah! Another free pass to skip work. (GIF credit:


5. The “I have cramps” card

If your boss is a guy and he is unsympathetic, he’s a d*****b**. If your boss is a lady and could resonate with your situation but yet is still unsympathetic, she’s a d*****b**. If your male colleagues are unsympathetic, they are d*****b***. If your female colleagues could resonate well with your situation but yet is still unsympathetic….. well you get the idea. Moving on.


When you give a “that time of the month” look to others.


6. Family emergencies

Sure, family emergencies are unpredictable and it’s always, ALWAYS more important to be by their side than anything else in the world, no matter the circumstances – even if it means missing the biggest business deal of your life (well kinda, I’m kidding. Don’t.).

Having said that however,  it’s also one of the most overused excuses. For that, below is a sample of a simple excuse template that you can use for your next excuse appointment. Good luck!


Dear boss, 

Like an arrow piercing my heart – it pains me to do this, but due to the horrific, unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances, my *insert family member here* was *insert imaginary event here* on *insert date of imaginary event here*.  As such, I was unable to be present for work. I will, however, complete *insert fake promises here* as soon as I am back as I already have one hand on it.

Yours sincerely,

*Insert name here*


7. My car’s in the workshop


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Yeah. (Image credit:


8. Absent without reason/notice

Nothing at all. Not a sound, a phone call, or a word. Just like fart gone with the wind.

It will be like a "where's Waldo" moment
It will be like a “where’s Waldo?” moment.




5 Reasons Why Referrals Are the Best Way to Hire

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We probably don’t have to tell you how hard it is to hire the right person for the job, but just in case you didn’t know – it’s really, really hard! Yes, HR professionals spend time, money and effort trying to fit the perfect candidate (or near-perfect) to the position at hand. The keyword here is ‘trying’.

They don’t always get the ones they need, so what if there was a better way to source for candidates than simply posting an ad on an online job board, in a newspaper or through a standard job portal? Well, there actually is a better way and we call them job referrals.

What’s a job referral, you ask? Well, it’s simply the act of asking referrers to dig through their network to recommend a candidate that they believe is a strong fit for a position being offered. The referrer gets a reward, the employer finds an ideal candidate and the would-be employee gets closer to his or her dream job. Win-win-win! Sounds like something that could work?  Well, guess what, it actually does!

Here are five reasons why referrals really are the best way to hire:


1. You’re getting someone else to do the initial legwork

It’s no easy feat – from placing a job ad, to screening, interviewing and so forth – the entire selection and hiring process can be a gruelling one for both employer and employee. With referrals however, you are essentially shortening the route to discovering the best guy or gal for the job.

Just think about this, not only do these endorsed leads come with strong references, the referrers are essentially finding you an applicant, performing an initial screening and, giving you the information you need to see why this candidate deserves your attention.

Adding to that, referral candidates are also quicker hires, in that they tend to accept job offers more often than those who apply via job boards. Time is money and nobody wants to waste it on candidates that turn down offers after all the effort.


2. You’ll be tapping into a pool of suitable candidates

Having a lot of applications does not mean much if slightly less than half the applicants are unqualified and unsuitable for the positions being offered.
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In fact, a large quantity of submissions may work against an employer due to the time consuming nature of weeding through hundreds, sometimes even thousands of applications. Furthermore, the HR department could miss out on a good candidate that simply gets lost in a sea of incompatible applicants.

Referrals make more sense and trump job boards especially when there are fewer positions to fill.  It is essentially easier to meet the right person when you have a collection of candidates that are proficient and suited to perform the job being offered.


3. You’re getting employees that work harder to impress

It’s a good feeling when someone vouches for your abilities; it shows that they have confidence in you. This is primarily why employees who have been referred perform with a sense of responsibility, determination and to some extent, even gratitude for the endorsements received.

In addition, referred candidates go on to pay this kindness forward to their employers by being more loyal and working a lot harder (estimated to perform 15% better than hires from other channels)!

But since employee and friendly networks only go so far, the responsibility to increase the stream of worthy leads will fall to sites like ReferJobs. This referral portal takes reference-based hiring a step further by opening up a whole new range of connections for employers to engage quality candidates.


4. You can maximise company selection and hiring resources

It almost takes a village to find a quality candidate to fill even an entry-level position, so expectedly; HR professionals are going to need all the help they can get. However, help costs money and while simply placing a job ad online may be cheaper – it isn’t guaranteed to bring you the candidates you need.

The saying, ‘do it right the first time’ applies here because it means that you will need to repeat the hiring process over and over again for the same position, incurring more costs, if it isn’t done properly from the get-go. For example, ask yourself what would happen if you simply aren’t able to fill a position?  You will likely seek out other sources (or repost) which costs more money and then more time to screen through applicants again!

A referral system however, works like a spotlight on better candidates – the rewards offered to the referrer increases the likelihood of more solid and capable candidate recommendations. All may be accomplished in less time with less money spent and less effort!


5. You’re getting employees that stay longer


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People leave companies for all sorts of reasons; poor compensation, minimal chance of promotion and perhaps even a dingy office environment.  But why do people stay? Is it that they are happy or content with their jobs? Yes, quite likely. In fact, more than half interviewed in the 2012 American Psychological Association workforce retention survey say that they actually enjoy the work that they do – what a novel idea! But it’s true and this is what companies strive for, productive employees that really do like their jobs.

Need more proof? In a survey conducted by Jobvite, 47% of those hired through referrals were retained for over 3 years while only 14% of those hired through job boards could last the same period. Of course employee retention and loyalty is not a black and white issue, but the correlation cannot be denied and the success of referral programs is certainly making a compelling case.


Hiring is a Lot like Dating

Sans romance of course, but the concept is the same. You are on a mission to find Mr or Ms Right, but there are always obstacles and limitations to what can be achieved. So you look for other ways…

In the exact same way that you would get your buddy to set you up on a date with someone they know you’d like, the process of hiring a candidate through a referral is comparable. It’s not often that you would start a relationship with a complete stranger, so why should hiring be any different?

In fact, for any relationship to be long and mutually fruitful, in employment or otherwise – there needs to be synergy between the needs and wants of both parties.  And if referral programs can help achieve such harmony, more power to it!



This article was written by Desiree Nair, who is a contributing writer for