One in two respondents said that they turned down a job offer due to a mismatch between the advertised job scope and the actual job requirements, according to a new survey.
According to the "Tech Talent Expectations Survey," commissioned by Randstad Malaysia and conducted by YouGov, the polll aimed at highligting Malaysia’s tech candidates’ perceptions of current recruitment practices and their views on the skills shortage in the technology sector.
In a statement, Randstad said the survey revealed that Malaysian talent working in information communications and technology (ICT) roles are more likely to accept job interview requests as compared to their regional peers.
Nearly three in 10 respondents said that they accept interviews between 50% and 74% of the time, compared to respondents in Hong Kong (20%) and Singapore (16%).
However, 55% of respondents say that they prefer to attend only one or two rounds of interviews, despite there being an industry average of three rounds of interviews, the report noted.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents aged between 45 and 54 years-old reported that they would not accept a job offer during the interview process if there were “too many rounds of interviews and / or assessment tests” or “the organisation takes too long to schedule the first interview.”
Jonathan Sia, senior manager of the information technology recruitment team at Randstad Malaysia, said there is a greater need for employers to revise their recruitment procedures so they do not deter candidates with prolonged interview processes.
“Companies can host all their interviews with the shortlisted candidates in the same week as a way to condense their interview process to better meet candidate expectations.
“By shortening the interview timeline, employers can help candidates feel reassured and secure talent faster,” he said.
Sia also said there is a need to educate IT job applicants about the average industry practices and manage their expectations on the number of interviews they are required to go through right from the beginning.
The survey noted that one in two respondents turned down a job during the interview process because of a mismatch between the advertised job and the actual job scope, while 35% of respondents say it is because they did not have a positive impression of the hiring manager.
“The interview process is a crucial time for candidates to understand if their personalities, interests and skills are a good fit for the company and whether the employer can support them in realising their career aspirations,” said Sia.
“Being able to better connect with candidates can also help employers stand out in an increasingly competitive hiring landscape. Hence, it is important for employers to address and close the disconnect between interviewers and candidates,” he added.
Sia said companies need to train hiring managers to be better at communicating the job scope and organisational culture during interviews and on job advertisements if they want to keep candidates interested in the role.
“Besides knowing how to ask the right interview questions to evaluate candidates’ skills and personality traits, sharing firsthand information about the business will help candidates feel valued and engaged,” he said.
Where gaps are
On skills gaps in the ICT sector, the survey indicates 47% of respondents ranked “cybersecurity” as the top specialisation lacking in tech talent - followed by “AI, automation & robotics” (41%) and “DevOps” (41%).
One in five ICT respondents (20%) picked “cybersecurity” as their top choice if they were given a choice to restart their career, whereas another 16% of respondents picked “AI, automation & robotics”.
“While cybersecurity is an evergreen, well-established vertical that offers a promising career outlook, AI, automation and robotics may appeal to candidates as emerging technologies are being used in more applications than ever before, creating more job growth opportunities that are not only exciting but increasingly future-proof,” Sia explained.
He added that in DevOps, where there is high demand but little desire amongst ICT talent to enter the field.
There is a need for employers to highlight project scopes and give ICT professionals a clear idea of their career progression timelines in order to attract and retain qualified candidates, he said.
Meanwhile, nearly one in two (45%) respondents picked Asian global enterprises as their top choice of company to work for, whereas only 33% picked local companies.
According to Sia, this is an opportunity for local companies to step up on developing more robust employer branding strategies to establish themselves in an increasingly competitive tech hiring landscape.
“Besides offering candidates salary increments and welfare benefits, employers should also actively promote comprehensive upskilling opportunities and the chance to try out innovative new tools and technologies in their job advertisements and employer branding efforts,” he said.
The Tech Talent Expectations Survey was conducted in September 2021 across three markets in Asia Pacific with 212 respondents working in IT roles in Malaysia.
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