‘If The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Gets Going’ Is Our Strategy To Handle Recession, Says Mr. Hussain Ahmad, Manager HR, Avanceon
Q.1. What makes your company an attractive employer for job seekers?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: There are many factors which make Avanceon an attractive place for employment. Avanceon is the market leader of Industrial Automation in Pakistan. We have offices in the three major cities of Pakistan, a regional office in Dubai as well as world headquarters in USA. Our organizational structure is best at providing international career opportunities and growth. Secondly, being a subsidiary of the famous Engro Chemical Pakistan Limited, employees are moved within the group and are given diverse and challenging developmental assignments. Another major factor is our competitive salary structure and a friendly open voice culture.
Q.2. 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. Hussain Ahmad: ‘If the going gets tough, the tough gets going’. This is the philosophy that we have opted to challenge the global recession. No doubt recession has hit badly almost every company from small medium enterprises to a giant corporate. Of course, we cannot overturn the global recession, but what we did was a courageous stance of leadership that showed strong commitment in employees. Last year there were record number of promotions in Avanceon’s history and average increment was around 40%. Our belief is that if we have a committed and focused work force, we can overcome any challenge.
Q.3. How would you rate the success and importance of online recruitment firms such as ROZEE.PK?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: Online recruitment firms such as ROZEE.PK are really helpful for resource as well as recruitment. It is convenient to access and manage large audience through ROZEE.PK’s services. However, the level of reliability could be low sometimes. Reason being, there is a class in our country who is not aware of online recruitment or do not have access to the Internet. They could be left behind to be a part of the place they deserve to. However, with time online recruitment would be more successful, when everyone would know about it and would equally be a part of it.
Q.4. 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. Hussain Ahmad: No doubt, Pakistani universities are producing enough graduates to fulfill local requirements. But the ratio of brilliant graduates is quite low. Our academic institutions are more focused on covering the curriculum rather than practical experience. However, what I have observed during my career is that there are some factors which are more important than technical skills and learning ability. Leadership traits, teamwork, integrity, honesty, operational excellence, innovation and effective communication are key behavioral traits which draw a line between a doer and a leader.
Hiring is a sensitive matter and plays a pivotal role in a company success. If you are able to hire the right candidate for the job and a best fit in the organization then you do not have to spend time one retention, motivation and performance issues. A well thought HR strategy aligned to the corporate goals is the key. But it can only start the engine if you have the right resources to complement your strategy. Avanceon places hiring at the top of all HR areas. We exercise almost every recruitment tool to attract the right candidates. We advertise in country’s top news papers, have headhunting facility, encourage referral hires and last but not least, we advertise almost every job on ROZEE.PK.
Remember, selection comes after recruitment. If you are unable to attract the best talent then no matter how smart your selection procedures are, they will not be able to create good talent pool.
Q.5. What is your policy on work-life balance and how do you achieve this balance yourself?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: Employees are our most important asset. Company’s work principles and policies are drafted in such a fashion that keeps employee work-life balance intact. We have proper 9 to 5 working hours with two days off in a week. Employees are given a good number of annual leaves per calendar year. We also have a policy of compensatory leaves for employees who work on holidays during critical assignments. Moreover, we frequently organize sports events, movie gala, musical nights and day outs for employees and their families.
Q.6. What are the principles of your success?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: The principal of my success is the concept of visionary leadership with a commitment to invest in people.
Q.7. Human Resources are the first causalities of an economic slowdown. What is your company’s strategy to deal with this challenge?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: I am proud to say that during the period of economic recession there was not a single layoff due to job cut in Avanceon. Our strategy is not to lose a single good resource due the economic slump. Company targets are tough so are the individual targets and we believe in achieving those tough targets rather to limit them.
Q.8. As far as industry linkages are concerned do you feel that industry will continue to support academia?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: I believe it would be very short sightedness if organizations to discontinue supporting or even cut down funds for the universities. It is just like that a nation is in war and the country itself cuts down their supply lines. If you want to compete in this tough market conditions then you are majorly dependent on quality resource. It is the right time to invest more in university to strengthen the supply line which will eventually help us in getting out talent shortages in the market.
Q.9. How has ROZEE.PK helped your firm regarding recruitment i.e. Have you tried any recruitment tools provided by ROZEE.PK e.g. Job Fairs/Job Postings/CV Search?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: Almost all of the top organizations are subscribed to ROZEE.PK because of the fact that it is user-friendly and helpful in having a right pool of candidates for the desired vacancies in short period of time.We have recently subscribed to ROZEE.PK and found it a useful and convenient platform for hiring. We have used a couple of recruitment tools provided by ROZEE.PK i.e. the CV Search Engine and job postings, and found them very helpful.
Q.10. Tell us about your educational life?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: After completing a 4-year bachelor’s degree, I went for higher studies to Australia. I completed my post graduation in the field of Human Resource from University of Western Sydney. During my stay in Australia, I worked as a Research Associate at Macquarie University Sydney in field of Diversity. I also worked as HRIS consultant at a security company in Penrith, Australia.
Q.11. What is your secret of success in life?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: I do what I want to do and I believe that creates a difference. If you do anything with full heart, it certainly reaches perfection. Nobody can compete with person, who loves his/her job. Once you are on the right track, performance consistency and continuous hard work leads to a sustainable career growth.
Q.12. What are the biggest turn-offs in an interview/a job applicant?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: When I am taking a candidate’s interview, the thing which turns me off is the lack of general etiquettes and self-confidence.
Q. 13. What do you look for in a candidate during a hiring interview session? Name 4 key things?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: Following are the things I look for in a candidate during interview session:
• Leadership qualities
• Business acumen
• Self confidence
Q. 14. Any good advice you want to give for our job seekers who want to join HR field and otherwise?
Mr. Hussain Ahmad: I will suggest to all the candidates to invest in themselves. Whenever you work for a company, you should be a dedicated worker but do not limit yourself to the boundaries set by company. Ideas do not have limitations, so think in general and customize your ideas for the company you are working for. It will add value to yourself and to the company.