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Job-hunt contestants hone skills

Published on Friday, 13 Apr 2012
Alan Ching leads a brainstorming session with finalists in the ACCA Job Hunting Competition during their intensive one-day workshop.
Photo: Dickson Lee

The saying "Practice makes perfect" resonates with finalists of the ACCA Job Hunting Competition, with many significantly improving their communication skills and presentation techniques in a one-day workshop.

Under the eagle eye of experienced leadership development consultant Alan Ching, 12 finalists took turns at role-play in a business setting during the morning session while the afternoon saw them conduct presentations about their dream jobs, five-year career plans, and how they expected their supervisors and peers to perceive them.

No detail was too small for advice from Ching, who is also a partner of the Behavioural Consulting Group. From time to time, he interrupted individual finalists to provide practical guidance on aspects such as voice projection, pace of delivery, gesturing and posture.

Team spirit was also fostered during the workshop, organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Hong Kong (ACCA) to prepare finalists for the Hong Kong final of the annual job-hunting contest. Despite being due to compete against one another in a month's time, they were willing to offer frank critiques about each other's performances and generously shared their ideas about how others could improve.

Describing the intensive training as a "mindset workshop", Ching said it took the finalists a while to warm up. "They became more engaged and enthusiastic as the workshop progressed, especially when specific points resonated with them," he added.

Ching kicked off the morning session with general ideas before focusing on key areas including self-introductions outlining career aspirations and how to match personal values with future jobs. "This helps them delve into their goals and deepen their self-understanding," he says.

The morning session focused on the "Power of Attraction", with finalists learning to master elementary techniques in establishing initial connections with others in a business setting, such as appropriate manners, ways to hand out business cards, and proper greetings. "These are useful in job interviews or networking events where they may encounter prospective employers. The mastery of such techniques helps create a positive initial impression," Ching noted.

By adopting his advice, finalists made major improvements as they progressed to the afternoon presentation exercise, Ching said. "I am pleased to see that it is not only me teaching them, finalists also rely on each other for support and constructive advice."

They will need to demonstrate their analytical skills, teamwork, communication and presentation skills during the Hong Kong final while presenting their proposals for a given simulated business case in groups. The top three winners will represent Hong Kong and compete with the winners of other mainland cities at the China grand final competition to be held in Hong Kong on July 7, 2012.


Date: April 14, 2012
Venue: Chatham Room, 7/F Conrad Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong
The public are welcome to attend and will have a chance to win an iPad. For more details, visit


  • Exaggerated gesturing should be avoided
  • Do a 360-degree check on your outfit, get a friend to see if there is a loose button or lint on your jacket
  • Check that all equipment is working prior to the presentation
  • If you have to walk, be deliberate – avoid walking too fast or pacing the room
  • A powerful voice needs to be balanced with softer tones
  • To engage the audience, a presenter needs to have eye contact with the whole audience instead of just focusing on one or two individuals all the time
  • To appear confident, a presenter can roll back his shoulders and push his shoulder blades together
  • Be at ease, do not imagine what the audience thinks and instead focus on engaging them with your presentation

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