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Shen Dee Quah, HR Officer at Piktochart

The Challenge:

For a number of years Piktochart with their fabulous office in Penang have been attracting young talents from all over Malaysia. In 2016, the Piktochart team was actively looking for experienced full-time Front-end Java Warriors and Ruby Knights. However, they didn’t get any luck when these positions were posted on regular job portals. What they got instead were fresh graduates whom constantly approached the company asking for intern positions, even though internships were available only for current students.

The prime question:

Why were fresh graduates ready to settle for an internship instead of a steady full time job?

Piktochart’s HR team soon realised that this is happening due to an education gap, and most graduates did not know programming languages such as Javascript or Ruby on Rails. They simply could not qualify for full-time positions, but they were looking for a chance, just about any chance to join the company and get said experience.

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An Unconventional Idea:

Co-founder of Piktochart, Ai Ching Goh, and team HR officer, Shen Dee Quah discussed this challenge and came up with an idea to address this gap:

“If graduates were not taught the needed skills at Universities, Piktochart would teach them these skills.

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That is how ‘Pikto Academy’ was born. Piktochart opened up 6 vacancies there which were full time employment positions with a competitive compensation, and all the benefits that other employees enjoyed in a 6-month probation period. Anyone accepted for one of these positions would go through a 6-month training with Piktochart mentors. They would have to attend classes, complete tests and get their assignments reviewed by their mentors.

56 people competed for a chance to join the Academy. First of all, all applicants were offered a technical test in which only about half of them dared to try themselves in this test. It was tough and only 8 applicants successfully completed the assignment. They went through a round of interviews with future mentors,and at the end of the selection process, Piktochart made 3 offers to join the Academy.

 

Return On Investment:

“Educating your own developers takes time”, says Shen, Piktochart HR officer. “However, we consider this as a successful project.

The 3 students of the Academy were not just doing test assignments within these 6 months, they have also completed a project – creating an internal software that our team is now using.

During this period, we got to train a number of our employees to be mentors as well – they were preparing tests and classes for the Academy, giving feedback to the students, so it was a great opportunity for them to grow too. Finally, we achieved our goal: 2 out of the 3 Academy students passed their probation and stayed in the team”.

The Piktochart team was satisfied with the Academy results, like any other unconventional project, this initiative got quite a great attention – applications were rolling in long after the deadline.

Students of the academy also became ambassadors to the Pikto Academy by openly sharing with their friends about the great opportunities offered. 

A great way for Pikochart to garner brand recognition as well!


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Posted by Wobbster