Career fair draws plenty, but many are unprepared

More than 1,000 Filipinos trooped to a careers fair in Dubai at the weekend to ensure they were on hand to snap up opportunities.
Delmer Cruz, a Filipino labour attache, welcomes any initiative to help his compatriots find work in the UAE. Satish Kumar / The National
Delmer Cruz, a Filipino labour attache, welcomes any initiative to help his compatriots find work in the UAE. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Filipino officials have reiterated their warnings to Filipinos to apply for overseas jobs only by going through the proper channels.

Delmer Cruz, a Filipino labour attache in Dubai, said he welcomed any initiative to help his compatriots already in the UAE to find work.

But those who eventually find employment should read their contracts carefully to ensure that their rights were protected by the labour laws, he said.

“About 70 per cent [of Filipinos] who seek our assistance arrived in the UAE on tourist visas,” said Mr Cruz. “This is an indication that they are vulnerable to employment-related problems.”

Filipinos are typically advised to apply for overseas jobs through a recruitment agency accredited with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

This month, more than 1,000 Filipinos attended a career fair in Dubai. Most of them were in Dubai on tourist visas, while others were employed.

Sixteen employers at the event offered more than 350 jobs in the construction, hospitality, retail, service and education sectors.

Two Dubai-based Filipino schools – United International Private School and The Philippine School – sought to fill more than 80 teaching vacancies.

Some employers also had vacancies for nurses, engineers and drivers. “There were about 85 technical positions and a few positions for nurses,” said Jessie Quintilla, the president of the Filipino Human Resources Practitioners’ Association, known as Fil-HR.

“We received a lot of candidates for nursing positions, but most of them did not have a nursing licence issued by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi or the Dubai Health Authority.”

Albert Alba, the chairman of the career fair, had prepared a queuing system for as many as 2,000 candidates. But about 200 of them failed to show up by the cut-off time of 2pm.

The applicants were assessed by Fil-HR members who are human-resource managers. The candidates had interviews with at least two recruiters or potential employers.

Ms Quintilla said most of the applicants were seeking general administration jobs. “But many of them did not know how to conduct themselves during an interview. They had unkempt hair and wore casual clothing,” she said.

In the past, Fil-HR had conducted a series of workshops on writing resumes, interviewing skills and labour-law provisions ahead of career fairs.

Galo Damon Calizo, the president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association UAE, a joint organiser of the career fair, said about 80 per cent of the candidates were not dressed appropriately and were ill-prepared for the job interviews at the fair.

“The men came in shorts, sleeveless tops, T-shirts and unkempt hair, while the women didn’t have a neat or simple hairstyle and failed to wear any make-up to make a terrific first impression at a job interview,” said Mr Calizo.

Many lacked the necessary qualifications for the jobs they were applying for, he said.

“There was one teacher and bookkeeper who applied for a teaching job, then decided to apply for the post of a cashier,” said Mr Calizo. “It sounded desperate.”

Ms Quintilla said others had lied about their work experience.

“A few of the applicants wrote that they had experience at a well-known fast-food chain in the Philippines, but later were forced to admit after being confronted that they needed to lie so they would easily get hired,” she said.

Fil-HR plans to organise another jobs fair by the end of the year.

Published: June 26, 2014 04:00 AM


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