azQ1. What makes your company an attractive employer for job seekers?

Mr. Asif Zahoor: Cash and Carry being a new phenomenon in Pakistan is in itself an opportunity offering growth prospects not only for those talented candidates planning to diversify their experience base but also for investors seeking to fetch sustainable rate of returns on investments. Being a Pioneer in this industry, Makro enjoys first movers’ advantage and is preferred by all across its value chain. A humane working environment and knowledge base that we have developed overtime, coupled with the most experienced top tier, sets us apart to become a professional’s first preferred employer in the industry. Makro provides a unique opportunity to learn and improve one’s decision making skills on a rapid pace. People and especially our younger force are challenged to demonstrate skills and abilities to meet the dynamic job requirement.

Q2. What is your policy on work-life balance and how do you achieve this balance yourself?

Mr. Asif Zahoor: Makro’s work environment philosophy is based on honesty, integrity and sheer empowerment when it comes to decision making. This certainly provides every individual with an opportunity to work in an entrepreneurial work setting. We strongly encourage and develop different retreat programs to take best care of our employees. Besides being responsible and considerate towards creating the right fit between work-life balance, we ensure a regular feedback from our employees to improvise on current standards.

Q3. Do you believe that Pakistani Universities are creating an effective talent pool and what is your company’s strategy to attract the best talent in Pakistan?

Mr. Asif Zahoor: No wonder, the educational standards have phenomenally done beyond expectations, but I personally believe that on a professional level of education, universities need to strike the right balance between theory and practice and also on demand and supply for certain fields. This would not only help improve its own standards but would also add value to our human capital. I anticipate more than a few business schools to deliver well above the expected standards in the years to come. Secondly, this industry is shaping up and it is quite difficult to get the right talent if not the best.

Q4. Due to rough economic situation and soaring price rises how does your company deal with keeping itself cost effective and attractive for job seekers?

Mr. Asif Zahoor: Being cost effective and ensure productivity at the same time is the biggest challenge we face these days. I personally think that customers are getting more and more informed and the key players in the market will face head on competition in the years to come. Considering the infancy of this business and the splendid diversity of our menu card (which is more than 15000 SKUs), we stand distinctively in the job market. However, for becoming cost effective one needs to finely tune the systems and operate in a leaner’s fashion. That’s an anticipatory and evolutionary process, so we don’t set the sails as the sea gets rough.

Q5. What are the principles of your success?

Mr. Asif Zahoor: Nothing can be achieved through individual performances. Believe in Almighty Allah, Sheer determination and Teamwork can do wonders at workplace. Think proactively and think on lines that you being the Manager have to make a decision on the information provided.

Q6. Human Resources are among the first causalities of an economic slowdown. What is your company’s strategy to deal with this challenge?

Mr. Asif Zahoor: The point is to distinguish the best and the rest. A cherry picked guy could cost you more, but his productivity could outweigh that of many of mediocre guys. A lot many things go into it, so, one has to make a smart choice anyways.

Q7. As far as industry linkages are concerned do you feel that Industry will continue to support academia?

Absolutely, or else the industry could try out on ignorance instead of polished human resource. Why not, without supporting each other there won’t be any development.

Q8. How would you rate success and importance of online recruitment firms such as ROZEE.PK?

Mr. Asif Zahoor: Only thing which substantiates in coming years would be technology and Information Technology in particular. I must commend the way ROZEE has used it for its success. All the best!

Q9. What is your secret of success in life?

Mr. Asif Zahoor: Success is a two way sword, as soon as you think you have reached the top of the ladder it turns upside down. There is nothing personal about my secret to success and there is no shortcut also. My philosophy is “Always give your best and believe in Almighty Allah”. Gravity comes from within and your biggest competitor is none other than yourself. Try to reach out for opportunities rather than waiting for them. Try to accommodate people in any way you can.

Q10. What are some of the major turn-offs in an interview/a job applicant?

Mr. Asif Zahoor: Every interview is unique and provides a new aspect. Candidates appearing for interview lack the basic knowledge about the company / organization. This always puts a question mark on enthusiasm and commitment of the candidate applying for certain job.

Q11. What do you look for in a candidate during a hiring interview session? Name 4 key things?

  1. Bold but grounded.
  2. Determined and Passionate.
  3. Has done some homework regarding organizational philosophy and business model.
  4. Has commercial acumen and of-course on top of everything honesty and integrity is the key.

Q12. Any good advice you want to give to our job seekers who want to join the HR field and otherwise?

Since HR is in transformation stage and recognition of this department has not been widely accepted. Therefore, do not expect much at this time. Always get a firm grip on numbers, as most of things come with quantification. Before appearing for an interview please make sure that you have done enough homework in context to the organizational philosophy and business model. Always answer professionally and be specific to the question. Organization may not be very much interested in knowing about what is happening on your personal end; rather they are interested in knowing how beneficial the intended relationship with you is.

On top of everything, just give your best and believe in Almighty Allah. Since He the Almighty has His plans so, don’t give undue importance to the results and give your best shot. Consistency, along with strong commitment and temperament, is the key for becoming part of HR community.

Mr. Asif Zahoor is currently working as a Recruitment Manager at Makro Cash and Carry. He is a certified Human Resource Professional from NUST – PIQC along with Masters Degree in Business Administration.

Known as a high volume, low cost – low price, no frills wholesaler, Makro-Habib Pakistan Limited is the first business of its kind to enter Pakistani market. Experienced in the continent of Asia and South America, Makro came to Pakistan in 2005 and joined hands with the House of Habib.  Makro-Habib demonstrated a commitment to grow in Pakistan by opening the first 4 stores in quick succession. Its stores opened in Karachi in November 2006. Today Makro’s 5th store is getting ready to be launched in Lahore in March 2009.

Each Makro Wholesale Centre provides direct employment to around 200 workers, bringing countless business transactions into the documented part of the economy which is a significant step in complimenting the government efforts. Makro-Habib is for the benefit of the people. Its controlled prices, guaranteed quality and an extensive product range brings a novel shopping experience to the professional customers in Pakistan. By carrying a vast assortment in food and non-food products, Makro caters equally to all socio-economic segments of the society. Small and medium sized retailers, hotels, restaurants, catering services in particular and many other business establishments in general will find all their needs present at Makro Wholesale Centre.

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