For many retirees, going for a job interview can be a daunting task. After retiring from teaching, Alice Tan applied for a job as an editor in a publishing house.
“I wasn’t nervous until I was asked to go in for an interview and sit for a ‘test’. I panicked. I realised that I’ve never been for an interview.
“As a teacher, I was given a posting after college and I just went to the school. I didn’t know how to prepare for an interview,” said Tan, 68, who taught for 30 years in government schools, and is currently teaching at a tuition centre in Kuala Lumpur.
To help seniors get back into the workforce, post-retirement job specialists Hire.Seniors offer coaching for retirees who need help with writing their resumes or preparing for interviews.
“Many of them have held the same job for 30 years and so they have not had to update their resumes or attend interviews.
“Also, job interviews have changed over the years as many employers now opt for informal chats rather than a formal interview and so we prep them for this ‘chat’ where employers want to know if the candidate can fit into the organisation well and so on.
“Just before their interview, I would ask them if they need support. Some don’t but for those who do, I run through with them a little about the company they are interviewing with, what they will be required to do … things like that. I also just make sure they know where they have to go so that they don’t panic,” explains Sharmila Sinnathurai, co-founder of Hire.Seniors.
Sharmila and her business partner Jasmin Amirul Ghani also check in on their clients after they’ve started work, to make sure they are adjusting well.
“Some struggle after starting their jobs. Dealing with a demanding boss, for example, can be hard for some seniors and we want to make sure they are adjusting well or help them wherever we can.
“We don’t charge them or even take anything from their salaries once they have been employed. We charge their employers,” explains Jasmin.
This “human touch” doesn’t’ go unappreciated. Thiagarajah Govindasamy, who found a job in a logistics company in Setia Alam through Hire.Seniors, says that the extra support was heartening.
“A few days into my job, Sharmila called to find out how I was coping. I was impressed. I was also pleased that they managed to find me a job that was related to what I was doing before – logistics.
“At this Swiss-based company, I act as an advisor and I go in three days a week and the hours are flexible. I wouldn’t mind working more days but I can’t complain,” says Thiagarajah who ran his own logistics firm in Cambodia before returning to Malaysia to retire.
Like many of his peers, Thiagarajah intends to work “for as long as I can”.
“It keeps me going,” he says.