Career Forum highlights: HR roles require can-do candidates, says HKIHRM’s Virginia Choi
Being proactive, having good communication skills and being ethical are prerequisites for graduates looking to enter the HR field, said Virginia Choi, executive council member of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM).
Choi said candidates need to demonstrate an ability to interact with people and handle computer work at the same time. "HR is almost like marketing - you are selling your company to others. There are also occasions when you need to handle incoming interviews and exit interviews at the same time," she said.
A can-do, proactive attitude is what employers are looking for. This can often be traced in aptitude tests. "There is no discrimination between different academic qualifications. You need to show an eagerness to learn. Attitude and personality are of foremost importance."
As HR professionals deal with personal data on a daily basis, it is also essential to be ethical. "[At interviews], if you don't know the answers, you had better be honest. The interviewers need to know whether you have integrity. They are very good at spotting people's traits in just 15 minutes," she said.
Other competencies can be learnt on the job. These include professional knowledge, being customer-focused and the ability to forge business partnerships.
Most entry-level HR professionals also need to get prepared for upgrading their knowledge on the job. "There are some HR roles which only require staff to call up people for interviews," she said. "However, nowadays, you most likely need to be involved in more aspects and it is important to enhance your knowledge."
One of the ways is through joining the HKIHRM, which started offering mentorship programmes about three years ago to groom the next generation of industry leaders.
It also organises joint projects with institutions in China, the UK and other European countries to exchange information on HR practices. Carrie Chan