To recruit the right people, Talent Acquisition Leaders will make extensive use Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, AR, VR, Big Data, and other new cognitive technologies.

Christina possesses around 20 years of experience in Human Resources with half of the period in the Executive Recruitment sector. She is a well-versed professional servicing multinational companies and local conglomerates by proposing tailor-made solutions with regards to the identification and appraisal of high-calibre talents in the market. She was involved in placing middle, senior up to C-Level management roles in Indonesia and across South East Asia for companies in financial services, pharmaceuticals, and fast-moving consumer goods. She has placed individuals in a variety of functions including manufacturing facilities and corporate positions. Her experience includes working at multinational companies in various industries and held a regional role to support a leading international company in financial services reach the global strategic objectives in Talent Acquisition and Talent Management functions.

In her current role, Christina is working with RODAMAS Group of Companies (Holding Company) as Head of Talent where she is In-charge of supporting the Business Units within the Group for the Talent Management and Talent Acquisition functions and currently leading some Employer Branding activities that includes EVP (Employee Value Proposition) for the Group.

Christina Ambarwati -

Thank you, Christina, for giving your valuable time to this interview. We look forward to your candid responses.

Let’s start!!!

We would be pleased to learn about your professional journey from the beginning. So, please share with us about your first job interview. 

I started my first job around three weeks after I graduated from university. It was a simple recruitment process for a job that I applied online through a job portal. Got interviewed in English by the Lady Boss who was the CEO, she was a USA graduate who lived in several countries, I found the interview questions were probably a bit too much for a fresh graduate as they were mostly assessing my resilience while I did not have any job experience yet. Got hired as Marketing Staff for a Public Relations Agency. Turns out to be a great start since it opened my door in learning how to build my networks, create a database, develop my interpersonal skills, know to represent a brand through what we do and what we sell, as well as to be resilient. That marketing skills that I learned at the beginning of my career turn out to be something that I still love to do as part of my job twenty years later though I have been working at different roles in HR, and in different countries and companies.

As the first job holds a special memory, let’s discuss your first year at your first job. How was your experience? What were your expectations of your employer and your role? Were they all fulfilled? What did not coincide with your expectations? 

Doing marketing was probably the ‘easiest’ entrance for a fresh graduate, also could be the toughest job since the expectation for us to ‘sell’ successfully and bring in good business for the company was high. It came with the main responsibility of the job while we were still trying to build our networks and database as the company was also very new with many competitors. I had demanding colleagues and being the only fresh graduate in the team at that time frustrated me as I had to catch up with lots of things that I had to learn from the experience. My manager was being supportive and has continued to be one of my mentors to this day.

Do you think workplace mentors and coaches play an important role in settling fresh graduates in their first job? How was your experience? 

Workplace mentors and coaches play an important role in settling fresh graduates in their first job. My first boss was like an elder sister to me. She also invited us for dinner at her home sometimes so we could feel more comfortable knowing her personally too, aside from being professional at work. I know I could trust her, and she was being an anchor to me at work. A great leader.

Why did you choose HR as a profession? What was the motive and what was the motivation?

My first exposure to HR was when I got into headhunting business, an Executive Search with headquarter in the Philippines. I found that my job was in alignment with my biggest passion: relationship building in connecting with people. Moreover, then I got the pleasure of witnessing one’s joy and gratitude when landing on a new job, and I found that job satisfaction in making a successful hire addictive. I stayed in that wonderful job for a total of eight years until I started accepting job offers from the corporate side, and been working for the corporate side for the next twelve years since then to date, in the most fascinating HR world. Along with changes in the roles, my career aspirations swiftly expanded from focusing on making successful hires to developing people and making sure everyone is happy with what they do in their jobs. Again, it has always been the people that have been my biggest motivation.

COVID-19 has changed workplace dynamics in many ways. What has been your learnings during this phase? What permanent changes do you foresee at the workplace post-COVID-19?

I learn that we get to appreciate life more as everything that we have and get to enjoy now may suddenly be taken away from us. Offices are forced to be more flexible with ‘work from home’ scenario that has never been done before, and now that it has been well implemented, we can also see that it actually works too and most likely, this will be something that we can keep… I learn that nothing should be taken for granted. Things that we get to keep, for the time being, acts of kindness that we get to experience and witness, have made us, people, reflect on more humanity than the usual day to day professional side. What is happening has made us all more humans and it feels more like the real meaning of life.

Organizational Culture is a key differentiator between successful and not so successful organizations? What determines the organizational culture? What is the role of HR in creating organizational culture?

Culture plays a vital role in an organization's success. Therefore, HR leaders and other members of the HR team should foster a high-performance organizational culture. HR leaders are responsible for ensuring that culture management is a core focus of their organization's competitive efforts. During Manulife's time, I was fortunate to have been part of the global project to come up with the EVP (Employer Value Proposition) for the entire organization that sums up the team’s spirit, which is “This is You, Unlimited.” The impacts were profound, each of the employees felt more motivated to do their jobs and showed better work performance as they believed that the Company also cared for their career aspirations and growth within the organization from the moment they were hired until the day they retire.

Please share an experience when your values and beliefs impacted your relationships with your colleagues.

Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so. When such beliefs are being put together with the spirit of teamwork where the ‘I’ turns into ‘we’, the results are pretty amazing, they brought us Awards for the company we worked for. We had fun at work while maximizing our potentials and growing together as ‘family’.  

As the saying goes,” You have 8.8 seconds to impress with your CV”. You might have come across tens of thousands of resumes in your career. What, in your view, does a recruiter evaluate in a resume in those 8.8 seconds and decides to accept or reject it?

The resume should show how they meet the qualifications. The resume is well prepared and would have some details on job descriptions, a list of accomplishments, company names, work periods, written in good grammar with a minimum typo. All of those details would help for a start. Avoid using fonts that are too big or too colorful.

What are the primary challenges of sharing interview feedback to candidates?

Candidates who are not open-minded enough would tend to be defensive to the feedback we are giving as mostly they are so eager to get the job. Therefore, we need to convey the message in such a delicate manner.

How social media has changed the landscape of Talent Acquisition?

Social media definitely has a tremendous impact on the landscape of Talent Acquisition. It increases job visibility as putting up a job on social media can increase candidate applications by 30% to 50%, according to a white paper by iCIMS. Using social media shortens Hiring Time and Recruiters can find higher-quality candidates by checking on a candidate's online presence and professional networks to get a better understanding of the person. Social media also boosts up employer brand awareness and reduces the cost of hire.

What do you think about Talent Shortage? What are a few practical tips you want to give to CEO’s and Hiring Managers to manage the challenge of Talent Shortage?

Organizations must make talent strategy a key priority and take steps to educate, train, and upskill their existing workforces. We should look for talents in-house and get more out of existing employees to counteract the effects of talent shortages. Adjusting our hiring criteria and considering using the existing interim professionals could also be useful to bridge the gap in the talent shortage.

How do you motivate your team?

I treat them like family. They know that I care about them professionally and personally. Showing some genuine interest in their well-being also, matter because then they know that we do not only see them as ‘machines’ but mostly as humans and that all of us are going through some growth process. I would want to understand their career aspirations  and ask them questions to get to know them better so that I would know how to best approach and motivate each of them as each individual would be unique and would have their own preferences.

Please share an experience when a person's cultural background affected your approach to a work situation?

When I had the opportunity to lead some teams of different nationalities in different countries in my previous role, I realized that I had to take different approaches to make it work for each of the team members. Everyone would need some clear guidance to do their jobs well, but extra patience would be required for some of them. The sense of accountability in each of the countries could be interpreted differently too.

If you need to draw a landscape of the future workplace, how will it look like? What disruptions do you foresee in HR over the next FIVE years?

  • To recruit (and then retain) the right people, human resources leaders are using social networking, new cognitive technologies, and big data. The use of videos (with platforms such as Astronaut, online forms, social networks (not just LinkedIn) and Skype interviews has spread like wildfire, speeding up recruitment and reducing costs. The trend of the new hires is towards younger and more diverse leaders who are able to run businesses the digital way.
  • Employees are learning all the time, therefore Learning Management Systems (LMS) are being adapted to this revolution by incorporating videos, mobile content, micro-learning, gamification techniques, and game-based learning.
  • There will be new ways of appraising employee performance where the new appraisal models will be based on well-defined targets and continuous feedback that will lead to more coaching needs.
  • Big Data at the service of human resources will turn into “people analytics” as there will be intensive use of data to make decisions that affect people at work (who to hire, who to promote, etc.).
  • The future workplace will be a modern, dynamic, and network organization.

Lastly, what is your message for fresh HR Graduates? How should they prepare themselves for a career in HR?

Currently, in accordance with the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic, the latest trend of message for fresh graduates is to take care of themselves and each other by practicing good health guidelines. Human Resources at their dream companies are providing frequently asked questions that they might have with regard to how COVID-19 may affect their workplace and upcoming jobs. In the meantime, they should prepare themselves to be more digital-savvy and familiarize themselves with Data Analysis to become people analytics in the HR world.

Thank you, Christina, for sharing wonderful insight. We appreciate it.  

Previous PostBeing myself with authenticity
Next PostLayoffs has to deeply think of and well planned by the leadership team
Leave a Comment