What are Malaysian and Singaporean employers looking for in talent?

Snagging the right talent to fill a role in an organization is one of the top challenges Malaysian and Singaporean employers face today.

The big question is: What makes a person ‘right’ for a role?

The answer to this question has been an ever-changing one. Once upon a time, employers may have chosen to look at the university that the candidate graduated from, or their CGPA score. Today however, employers are shifting their focus from hard skills to “softer” attributes such as personality, values, interests and abilities.

While the type of traits that employers look for in their people vary from organization to organization, there have been some recurring themes across these companies.

According to data pulled from Pulsifi, here are some traits that Malaysian and Singaporean employers looked for in the past year:

Moderate to high “Openness to Experience”

Openness to Experience is of the component traits of the Big 5 personality inventory, a tool commonly used by organizational psychologists today. The trait is characterized by having a broad interest range, a sense of adventure and a knack for abstract thinking.

According to employers using Pulsifi, this is one of the more important traits they look for in their people, and for good reason at that. People who are high in Openness are more adaptable to change, able to work with new ideas better, and respond well to diversity in the workplace.

Employers want people who are receptive to diverse ideas and perspectives as they are helpful in the workplace when participating in work activities and dealing with colleagues of different characteristics. This, in turn, will then promote a healthy organizational culture.


A cultural fit with the organization

Most organizations have their defined set of values (eg. integrity, respect, etc.) as well as ways of working which make up their culture. Being able to fit into a company’s culture and social system is important for employees to feel comfortable, and be the best version of themselves, as this reflects greatly in the quality of work produced.

Therefore, employers may use tools to guide their selection of candidates to ensure a good cultural fit.


Ability to reason verbally, logically, and numerically

As industries evolve at such a rapid pace, cognitive ability – the ability to reason verbally, logically, and numerically – is also a trait that is looked at by employers, as it points to outcomes such as critical thinking ability and learning agility.

However, assessing these abilities aren’t as straightforward as the other traits, as they cannot be accurately determined using psychometric tests and interviews.

This is where cognitive ability tests serve as a helpful gauge of these abilities, which can be further supplemented using extensive tools such as assessment centres and case interviews.


Communication effectiveness

When people of different skills and experiences come together, there is oftentimes when teams have to deal with miscommunication and information overload.

Thus comes the importance of being able to comprehend, interpret, and convey the necessary information succinctly to achieve efficiency at the workplace.



No great work is ever achieved alone. In a knowledge economy such as the one we are in today, organizations need to inculcate an increasingly social environment to enable the sharing of valuable information and skills.

Organizations therefore look for individuals who are able to collaborate effectively with others, and perform well in a team setting.


Leadership traits

As you would have guessed, leadership is constantly on the list of traits that are desirable by organizations.

What is interesting here however, is how the definition of leadership by employers has also evolved to include behavioral aspects instead of just looking at past experience.

While traditionally, leaders were formally appointed by the organization based on hard skills and experience, now employers recognize effective leadership as one that is more informally conferred by peers and colleagues in the organization, as a result of common respect and admiration. This then leads employers to seek out other behavioral traits that point to leadership capabilities, such as empathy and teamwork.


Measuring soft traits

More importantly, organizations are paying more and more attention to how people’s personality manifests in the workplace in terms of work attitudes and behaviors. But how exactly does one accurately measure the above traits?

Tools like Pulsifi’s predictive AI model combines the use of organizational psychology frameworks, data science, and IT to help employers identify great people and understand their psyche deeply.

Using data retrieved from CVs, psychometric tests and big data, Pulsifi can extract insights into a person’s character and predict their outcomes, which then helps employers to make informed and impactful people-decisions such as how to hire talent, manage teams, and devise training plans. Want to know more?

Drop us a line, or connect with us on LinkedIn to find out how Pulsifi can partner with your organization to help you find better-matched talent, and manage them effectively.


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Recruiting is the lifeblood of your company, but in today’s talent war, finding the right fit feels like searching for a unicorn on a unicycle.