Q.1. What makes your company an attractive employer for job seekers?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: Strategic Systems International (SSI) is an attractive employer because our employees get the best available exposure in terms of their career growth. We provide world class software development services to software companies, technology consultants, online businesses, and enterprises. With offices and partners in the USA, Europe, Middle East and Asia, we serve a growing list of clients from the Fortune 500 to entrepreneurial startups.
Moreover, working under SSI’s management and technical teams that consist of professionals with international educational and work experiences across broad industry and functional domains is an enriching opportunity to grow professionally. Our experiences span financial, manufacturing, healthcare, and services sectors – in a variety of domains. Our technical prowess comprises design and development as complex as large scale highly analytical software applications.
SSI provides competitive salary and benefits for its employees and comprehensive health benefits. We encourage each employee to pursue professional development opportunities, and maintain proactive programs to promote the development of management and technical skills through an aggressive training program. This includes employee certification programs. Several other initiatives such as our Mentor Program encourages employees to select their own mentor within the organization to provide ongoing support and advice. Tech Talk provides a participatory forum to exchange views and ideas on business and technical issues, and keep employees in touch with current initiatives within the company.
Q.2. What is your policy on work-life balance and how do you achieve this balance yourself?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: At SSI, we make sure people are not pushed hard on their job so as to affect their personal lives negatively. Our HR offers advisory/counseling in helping our colleagues manage this balance. SSI enjoys a good repute among the industry resources for its comfortable stance on this issue.
As far myself, I spend substantial time planning my work and also personal life. Otherwise work-life balance can not be achieved. But most important is to be able to attach due importance to any responsibility, be that job related or personal.
Q.3. Do you believe that Pakistani Universities are creating an effective talent pool and what is your Company strategy to attract the best talent in Pakistan?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: Yes, many universities operating in Pakistan are offering quality education and we can safely term their output as meeting industrial standards. We focus on picking up the best from the market, be that fresh graduates from the top of the line universities or experienced hand working with good organizations. Depending on the requirement we carry out on campus hiring, using university alumni portals through references of our on job employees to selecting best CV from the job portals.
I firmly believe in Industry-Academia linkage which can create many synergies and Pakistan’s IT industry must explore such opportunities.
Q.4. Due to rough economic situation and soaring price rise how does your company deal with keeping itself cost effective and attractive for job seekers?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: SSI believes in sharing the benefits from business with its employees; in the form of salary and benefits and other incentives. We believe our employees are our true assets. So we take good care of them and also ensure that their value increases day by day through our employee development programs, trainings, other forms of learning and practical exposure.
Q.5. What are the principles of your success?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: SSI as a member of IT industry believes in the following principles which form essential part of its mission:-
• Enabling holistic and sustainable solutions to challenging problems through integrated, best in class people, process, and technology.
• Meeting or exceeding our customers’ needs through timely delivery of high quality software and services; and to help increase their productivity and profitability.
• Truly collaborating with our clients and seamlessly delivering best-in-class products and services to their marketplaces as one with their own internal teams
• Providing a world class environment for our people where they can learn and prosper; we believe that satisfied and motivated people are the key to our customers’ and our success.
• Striving for continuous improvement in our processes and methodologies; and to foster continuous learning in technology and functional domains.
Q.6. Human Resources are the first causalities of an economic slowdown. What is your company strategy to deal with this challenge?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: I believe this approach does not work in knowledge companies. Our employees are our knowledge resource and they are the last option to be dispensed with under a situation like economic downturn.
Q.7. As far as Industry linkages are concerned do you feel that Industry will continue to support academia?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: As I said earlier, I firmly believe in Industry-Academia linkage which can create synergies and Pakistan’s IT industry must continue to explore many other opportunities. If we follow from the examples of the developed countries there are many lessons to learn and practice for the industry in Pakistan. We can also learn from the examples of some developed countries who managed well during the global slow down of the recent years.
Q.8. How would you rate success and importance of online recruitment firms such as ROZEE.PK?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: I believe Rozee has grown by strides and benefited the industry a lot by bringing together the resource and the demand. I believe these firms have accelerated the recruitment/ selection process considerably and should focus more on improving their role in selection process for the companies using their services.
Q.9. How has ROZEE helped your firm regarding recruitment i.e. Have you tried any recruitment tools provided by ROZEE e.g. Job Fairs/Job Postings/CV Search?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: Yes, we regularly try tools offered by Rozee and find these tools to be user friendly and also productive.
Q.10. Tell us about your educational life?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: After graduating in 1989 from UET, Lahore I started my career as an Electrical Engineer with the industry and spent seven years with both public and private sector. I decided to do my MBA from IBA, Punjab University and completed in 1988. While serving SMEDA (Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority) went on a scholarship for Masters in International Development Studies from Japanese Policy School in Tokyo and completed it in 2004.
Afterwards, I also did my Professional Diploma in Human Resource Management from Pakistan Institute of Management and currently I am writing my Final Year report for my Masters in Human resource Management from University of the Punjab, Institute of Administrative Sciences.
Q.11. What is your secret of success in life?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: I believe in myself after believing in Allah. I adopt focused approach in any thing I do. I put in dedication and passion towards my job, practice smart work, am always eager to learn, enjoy my assignments, like to work hands on (and I am never shy of doing it ), if I find time.
Q.12. What are the biggest turn-offs in an interview/a job applicant?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed:
• Mis-statement or you may call it lying.
• Exceeding limits of confidence and entering what we call self praise/boasting and arrogance
• Ignoring the mood/questions of the interviewer and beating about the bush.
• Careless attitude.
• Similar behaviors
Q.13. What do you look for in a candidate during a hiring interview session? Name 4 key things?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed:
• Turnout and confidence level.
• A well drafted/elaborate and easy to understand CV (No mis-statement)
• Straight forward attitude/simplicity, which helps find an interviewer what he/she is looking for in a candidate.
• Concentration towards discussion.
Q.14. Any good advice you want to give for our job seekers who want to join HR field and otherwise?
Mr. Aamir Iftikhar Ahmed: HR like many other professions is a field that requires passion and dedication. Challenging if one wants to relate real life situations to policy work and is able to analyze linkages between work environment / culture and motivation. People who can not stand pressures and can give in for an unfair treatment to employees should spare this profession.
In my opinion it is more of a service than a conventional meaning of profession.