Md. Nahid Tanveer, Senior Executive Officer, is a specialist in talent management, organizational development, and HR strategy, and has over five years of experience in working for one of the largest and fastest growing local banks in the country–The City Bank Limited. He excelled in his position in the Human Resources Division, and within his second year, was promoted to the position of an Assistant Manager.
Mr. Tanveer recently spoke at the eleventh OPD workshop as a guest speaker and shared some of his valuable insights in a candid conversation after his session.
1. As an HR Executive, you take a lot of interviews. What personal traits do you look for in a candidate?
We look for communication skills, which does not necessarily mean how good the candidate’s English is, we focus on how s/he can keep up a conversation and how well the candidate can negotiate on relevant issues. We also value analytical capability, which is based on strategic situations where they have to set their priorities efficiently. Organizational skills are also a basic requirement we look for.
2. What are some of the common mistakes that candidates make in an interview?
The candidate does not perform well once nervousness sets in. Some candidates also nurture the idea of dream jobs, and hence, do not perform well in any other job interviews. Another major mistake is not coming prepared for a job interview, which sets a bad impression. Candidates also have a tendency of not asking questions or asking for feedback. This is one thing I appreciate that OPD is doing—teaching their graduates the value of feedback.
3. What skills do you expect from a candidate interested in an entry level job in HR?
Even at the entry level we expect a lot of preparation. Communication skills are also very important. The candidate should be able to highlight the key points of the subject they majored in. Sometimes the candidates acquire skills throughout their education which they find irrelevant once they enter the job market. However, it is still important that are able to demonstrate versatility and a well rounded education.
4. Students have a perception that it’s quite difficult to get into an HR job, and, even when they do, they believe there is limited opportunity for growth. As an HR personnel, can you share your views about why such perceptions exist in the market, and is it really the case?
This perception in the market is derived from the fact that HR is seen as a support function in our country. The concept of HR being there just to manage people is creating wrong perceptions. Yes, not everyone has leadership qualities, but HR heads have even become Deputy Managing Directors in organizations. So it is wrong to think that there is limited opportunity for growth.
5. Students have a common practice to only apply for those jobs that are related to their field of study. Do you think it is necessary for graduates to only apply for the job that matches with their educational background?
While this perception is not entirely correct, admittedly sometimes industry specific skills are required for jobs. If the candidate is unsure about his education major then it usually makes them indecisive about their career path. In the past, due to fewer number of graduates with a BBA/MBA degree, graduates from other disciplines got jobs easily in the business sectors. However, now the market is more competitive with a large pool of BBA/MBA holders. As a result, the importance for specialized skills are rising. Candidates need to think long term and not only in terms of salary, but for other fringe factors as well. What ultimately matters is whether the candidate is happy working in the organization.
6. As you are aware of the work we do at BYLC Office of Professional Development, how important is professional skills training for entering and sustaining in the current job market?
Candidates often fail to translate their academic skills into their professional lives. Hence, learning professional skills prior to entering the job market is crucial. I think that the OPD is doing an excellent job because after hiring someone, we have to spend a considerable amount of time teaching them basic professional skills. I commend OPD for the wonderful work they are doing in training these individuals and making them prepared for workplace.
7. Within two years at work, you were promoted to the Assistant Manager position. It requires tremendous skill and effort to make such career progress in such a short time. What suggestions would you like to give to the graduates who want to be as successful as you are?
Graduates should be dedicated, hardworking, and work well under pressure. We want them to be familiar with various business models. They should also take the opportunity to rotate from one department to another, not only to diversify and master their skills in every department, but also to develop self-learning and professional skills. Candidates should really work hard on utilizing any opportunity the organization has to offer.
The 21st century workplace has evolved and fresh graduates must adapt to this rapidly changing work environment and equip themselves with the required skills. The importance of career planning is not stressed enough in Bangladesh and, as a result, students graduate without a clear picture of their career path. It is high time students started asking to themselves, “Have I done enough to excel?”