Job rejection is always hard to take but here we tell you how to cope with it and keep your head held high. Article by Antal International
A Facebook reject went on to sign a $19 billion deal with the company that once did not consider him worth employing… This story about WhatsApp founder Brian Acton is fast becoming the stuff of legend. However, equally interesting is what Acton posted online in the year 2009 once he was told he wasn’t getting the job – “Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.”
Hey, even Twitter didn’t think Acton had what it takes. “Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s ok. Would have been a long commute,” is what he had posted on his, ahem, Twitter account after getting to know of the rejection.
As a recruiter, it’s these two sentences by Acton that have really caught my attention in the entire ‘WhatsApp sold to FB” saga. If only our candidates reacted so positively when informed that they were not considered a suitable fit in the companies we had helped them contact for job change. While the more positive ones shrug and move on with a “It’s their loss if they are not hiring a talent… I was doing well in my current company and another new company has recognised my talent,” more often than not I’m faced with reactions like “How is that possible? I had an hour long interview with the CEO? Was I being led along for the last 6 months only to be rejected now?” Oh yes, I have had one of these too. Worse, he insisted on speaking directly to the MD about his rejection, only to earn himself a black mark.
To be fair, rejections are sad news, especially in these lean times, what with the Indian economy in doldrums. But it is especially in times as these when candidates need to be more positive about rejections. For, when the economy is in a bad shape, companies tend to be very conservative in hiring and one may not get selected for minor points that work against him. For instance, the candidate I was talking about earlier was rejected because, according to the hiring heads at the major pharma company that rejected him, he did not display “energy”. Their exact words to me were, “The role we were interviewing him for requires one to display energy and aggression, which during our interaction with him we felt was lacking.” Now, they did not understand that the candidate having cleared up to 7 rounds for a role he really aspired for, was understandably nervous and maybe just slightly subdued. Does that make him a bad candidate? Not at all. The hiring heads can also be excused for misconstruing his nervousness as lack of energy and aggression.
However, it is very important for candidates to not take a rejection as the end of the world. For that may force them to take wrong decisions. And this also comes from experience. In fact, even as we speak I’m dealing with a candidate, who is aggressively looking for a job as his current firm is downsizing. Now, having been rejected in an interview, this particular candidate seems to be losing hope. If we are not careful he may end up accepting positions in minor firms which will give his entire career graph a negative turn.
Therefore, my advice to jobseekers in today’s times: a rejection does not mean you are a hopeless candidate, it just indicates that you may not be the right fit for a particular role or company. Similarly, HR heads agree that judging a candidate in even an hour’s worth interview is tough. So, when faced with a rejection slip, sit back and review. Always go back to your recruitment consultant to discuss what went wrong because HR heads are able to explain freely to consultants the reason for rejecting a candidate. Even this can be illustrated with an example.
My recruitment consultants were dealing with a candidate who had applied for the senior manager position at the multinational company. Unfortunately he was rejected in the final round and was understandably upset about it. My recruitment consultant, after having a detailed talk with the hiring manager discovered that the candidate was seen as lacking on the commercial aspect. It took a little convincing but in the end, the candidate took the entire episode on the chin as learning experience and went on to have better interactions after some training in these aspects.
So, take time out to iron out the wrinkles and go to the next interview with your head held high and a confident smile.
Antal International Lucknow
The annual international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition features a range of exciting works from an ornate necklace and video art to contemporary calligraphy this year.
Shortlisting entries for the first time from Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and India, the prize was set up by the V&A and Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives in 2009 following the inauguration of the exceptional Jameel Islamic galleries at the V&A in 2006, the small but powerful exhibition features this year’s award winners of £25,000 – alongside the other eight shortlisted finalists – selected by this year’s judging panel which includes British designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick and 2011 Prize winner Rashid Koraïchi.
The four calligraphy entries all feature intriguing, unique and detailed concepts of adaptation and development of one of the most influential scripts of the world; Saudi Arabian artist Nasser Al Salem finds that focussing on certain aspects of Arabic calligraphy, he is able to magnify and create abstract shapes of certain words or letters. His repetition of the word ‘all’ has been precisely distilled into striking and elegant vortex.
The four calligraphy entries all feature intriguing, unique and detailed concepts of adaptation and development of one of the most influential scripts of the world;
Arabic script is certainly shown to be very adaptable in this exhibition – Typographer Pascal Zograbi successfully blends the contemporary pursuit of the ‘new’ by reshaping and paying homage to the rich heritage and multiple styles of Arabic calligraphy in creating new fonts for digital and design platforms.
Influenced by Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times, Moroccan artist Mounir Fatmi constructs digital calligraphy circles as cogs of a much larger machine gathering pace to represent the modernity of the Arab world in his video artwork Modern Times: A History of the Machine.
Lebanese furniture designer Nada Debs combines specially commissioned Arabic font with the minimalism of the country she was born in – Japan – to create a hybrid tatami/prayer mat of concrete which features a poem written in a blend of Japanese Kanji and Arabic Kufic scripts.
Another inherited and much vaunted practice aside from calligraphy are carpets, jewellery and embroidery which feature as the remaining entries; Azeri artist Faig Ahmed – who lives and works in Baku – has had his double artworks created according to Azerbaijan’s ancient weaving traditions but has subverted the centre of the carpet to include abstract designs which meld ancient and contemporary.
Inspired by the tribal jewellery of women in the Western Sahara and the work of refugee crafts charity Sandblast, French designer Florie Salnot seeks to raise awareness of their craft made from limited resources by taking up the task herself – rendering sand and plastic bottles into a marvellous necklace of Plastic Gold.
Istanbul’s incredible architecture serves as the direct inspiration for Turkish fashion designers Dice Kayek work Istanbul Contrast, which features a trio of intricately beaded dresses. Indian textile designer Rahul Jain also alludes to the past through his textiles in recreating sumptuous silks inspired by the era of the Mughal emperors, which depict snow leopards and birds of paradise.
Pakistani artist Waqas Khan’s meditative geometric drawings amplify and distil the traditional mark-makings of miniature painting into a large and abstract work of simple beauty. Finally, Laurent Mareschal, a French artist, has created a witty and literally fragrant work by stencilling Islamic geometric tile patterns onto the gallery floor by using different Middle Eastern spices – alluding to the ephemeral and the senses in his unique subversion of permanence.
The 3rd Jameel Prize has certainly excelled itself this year in that it continues to feature an exciting and internationally diverse range of contemporary practices enlivened and inspired by Islamic culture, craftsmanship and arts, as well as going beyond artifice in engaging with various communities and craftsmen in the artistic process.
UNTIL APRIL 2014
Dice Kayek has won the £25,000 Jameel Prize 3 forIstanbul Contrast, a collection of garments that evoke Istanbul’s architectural and artistic heritage. The judges felt that Dice Kayek’s work demonstrates how vibrant and creative Islamic traditions continue to be today. Their translation of architectural ideas into fashion shows how Islamic traditions can still transfer from one art form to another, as they did in the past. Ece and Ayşe Ege were presented with the prize by Martin Roth, Director of the V&A and Fady Jameel, President of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) at an awards ceremony at the V&A on Tuesday 10 December
by Ranbir Jhutty
As the year winds down, so do the amount of events happening around the city, with people getting prepared to take their holiday time. This may well be the last events posting we do here at AGI in 2013, in which case, we wish you a very happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the new year!
Celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema Nrityakala the Rhythm presents: Kaleidoscope, a show that offers popular old to new songs and dances from Indian cinema in different eras ranging from classical to modern/contemporary highlighting the influence of Indian cinema particularly on the different generations abroad. Location: the Nehru Centre. Time: Thursday, 12 December at 6:30pm.
Mystic Voices – The Bhakti Tradition: Spirituality in Words, Music & Poetry will be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre) on Saturday, 14 December 2013 at 7:30pm. Two of the finest exponents of the Bhakti tradition sing in khyal and dhrupad styles. Sama continues its Mystic Voices series, exploring spirituality in the musical, poetic and oral traditions of South Asia. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande is an outstanding vocalist of the famed ‘Jaipur-Atrauli’ Khyal vocal tradition and is one of the foremost representatives of a new generation of singers. Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha are among the most renowned performers of Dhrupad (traditional sung poetry of Northern India), the oldest vocal genre in the Hindustani classical tradition. Book your tickets here.
The Japan Foundation will close out its schedule of events for this year with a book launch on December 11 and a public seminar on the 13th. In a special launch of the new book Tales from a Mountain Cave by Hisashi Inoue, the translator Angus Turvill will discuss the author and the places that feature in the book. He will discuss connections between the work and the classic folklore collection Tono Monogatari by Kunio Yanagita. Turvill will also read from the book and discuss some of the translation issues that he faced. And, in the public seminar, members of a team involved in ‘Rethinking Battleship Island‘ (a famous abandoned island in Japan that used to be the most densely populated place on the planet) talk about their troubled attempts to map the island, and to come to terms with an uncanny sense of temporal disjunction caused by a future that seems, already, to have come to pass. The event will feature a thirty-minute film by visual artist Lee Hassall (University of Worcester), supported by short papers on the past, present and future of Hashima (Battleship Island) from Dr Mark Pendleton (University of Sheffield), Professor Carl Lavery (University of Glasgow), and Dr Peter Matanle (University of Sheffield), who has been conducting his own research on the island. Both events are free, but please book your place by RSVPing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have an event you would like to share, please contact us.
Information compiled by Tim Holm
As the increasing cold gathers around us, and people stay more indoors to keep warm, there are still a few reasons to go out and enjoy yourself aside from all the Christmas-themed events…
Kirazu features fresh, delicious and healthy Japanese dishes, with the aim of delivering healthy but delicious Japanese tapas straight to your table. The name apparently translates to ‘beans’ in English; beans are a staple ingredient in many Japanese dishes and condiments. Miso ramen and seaweed salad are just two of the items on their menu. Now open on Rupert Street in Soho, takeaway and catering services are also available. Check their spiffy website here.
Mandalay is a popular Burmese restaurant which hopes to present the best flavours of Myanmar to discerning London palates. So far, it seems to be working as a consistent stream of customers keep rolling in. Currently the only Burmese restaurant that we are aware of in this city, it’s a breath of fresh air in a sometimes stale line-up of international cuisines. Although similar in some respects to other foods from South and Southeast Asia – curry is prevalent – there are still a few interesting surprises on the menu and it is worth your time to travel a bit outside of central to get there. Don’t go in expecting fancy decor, but the prices are quite reasonable at least. Visit Mandalay at 444 Edgware Rd.
The Asia House Winter Fair, running from 6-8 December, is a lively pop-up Asian marketplace which will transform Asia House headquarters into a buzzing Asian bazaar for three days of festive shopping away from the Oxford Street crowds. This fifth fair brings together over 30 exhibitors, selected to represent the best in arts, design and hand-craftsmanship from across the Asian region. This festive edition will present you the opportunity to buy unique and unusual gifts, items not normally seen on the high street. Free admission & no booking is required. Details here.
If unique modern art is your cup of tea, be sure to head over to the October Gallery in Bloomsbury. Starting on December 5, South Korean artist Jukhee Kwon‘s works will be on display until next February. Kwon creates captivating works, quite literally, from the printed page; using abandoned and disused books she shreds the pages by hand to create magnificent ‘book sculptures’. This exhibition focuses primarily on Kwon’s latest creations. Not only is the book an object brought back to life, Kwon transforms it with colour to become a life derivative of its past and its narrative – the idea of a book retaining an essence of its previous owner, each emanating an individual past. See the gallery’s website for more info.
For music fans, there will be a ‘Classical Raag’ concert performed by two of the best Indian classical musicians in the UK – Jonathan Mayer & Udit Pankhania on December 6, 6:30pm at the Nehru Centre. Mayer has performed with Sir Paul McCartney among many others. Both musicians take influence from many sources and this is reflected in their diverse performances over many genres.
If you have an event you would like to share, please contact us.
Information compiled by Tim Holm
Another somewhat slow week for Asian events, but there are still a few things worthy of your attention…
Perhaps this season’s most interesting restaurant opening, The Magazine has two main selling points: the location in the middle of Hyde Park, and the building design by award-winning British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. German chef Oliver Lange is on call to present his unique Japanese-inspired menu which includes dishes like seabass sashimi, Kashmir curry and mango, and red bean and coconut for dessert. Lunch and Saturday & Sunday brunch means that there will be multiple reasons to revisit this new dining destination which is already being called ‘an instant London landmark’.
Asia House is hosting a book launch for ‘Reimagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia’s Next Superpower‘ on the evening of November 26. Details and booking for this free event are available here. Two days later on the 28th, Asia House presents another Lunch and Literature event with author of ‘The Valley of Amazement’ Amy Tan. Tickets ranging from 10-15 pounds can be purchased here.
On November 27th at 6:30pm, the Japan Foundation will host a talk called ‘Rediscovering Hidden Treasures - Japanese Art Collections in the UK as our Shared Heritage’. Bringing together experts in the field and, this session will introduce this recent research project on Japanese collections in the UK and beyond, and will look into the current state of, and issues surrounding, these collections. Reflecting on the wealth of Japanese collections in the UK and re-evaluating their significance, a discussion will be made about how such further efforts can benefit those who are entrusted national heritage as well as the general public and how our shared heritage can be utilised and cherished for future generations to come. If you would like to join this free talk, please RSVP to email@example.com.
Closing on Nov 26, The World Press Photo Exhibition returns to the Southbank Centre, bringing together the most powerful, moving and sometimes disturbing images of the year, many of them from Asia. This year, award-winning photographs from around the world capture striking events in Afghanistan, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as China, Indonesia, Vietnam and more. This free exhibition is open on Monday and Tuesday from 10AM-11PM at the Royal Festival Hall.
If you have an event you would like to share, please contact us.
Information compiled by Tim Holm
AGI’s Asian London series continues with a look at Koreans in the capital….
While Koreans do not have as long of a history in the UK as other Asian communities – especially those from South Asia – they have made a sometimes overlooked contribution to British society in many ways. Of course, aside from kimchi and Gangnam Style, many British people are still unfamiliar with where Korea even is on a map. This is in spite of the UK’s participation in the Korean War 60 years ago when the country was divided into two, with the South becoming far weathier than the North, while the North is more well-known in the news these days for making aggressive threats. Some measure of recognition for the UK’s Korean War veterans was made earlier this month in the form of a small war memorial unveiled by Prince William and South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye who was making a state visit to the country (to celebrate 130 years of British-Korean relations).
Not all of the Koreans in the Great Britain come from South Korea, though. An increasing number of North Korean defectors and refugees have applied as asylum seekers in London. The majority of Korean immigrants and expats, however, started arriving in the 1980s as workers of Korean companies like Samsung and Hyundai or in banking and finance.
Although there is some consensus that the largest Koreatown in Europe is located in New Malden (southwest London in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames), it is not obvious to anyone who visits there that a large Korean population exists in the area. It looks much like any other London suburb. If we compare it with other major Koreatowns around the world (for example, in L.A. or Toronto), it does not have a distinct atmosphere with lots of Korean signage and so on. Yet estimates suggest that up to 20,000 people of Korean descent live in Kingston, with numerous Korean businesses operating in New Malden, including restaurants, supermarkets, travel agents, and hair salons. Korean Christians are served by several local churches. A Korean Food Festival is held at The Fountain Pub on Malden Road every July.
Significant Korean communities also exist in Golders Green, Swiss Cottage, and Wimbledon, with a mini-Korea town existing near Tottenham Court Road station behind the Centre Point building. This is a good place to go for reasonably priced Korean food (Seoul Bakery is the cheapest) and groceries (at the Centre Point Food Store). Close by at New Oxford Street you can also find a branch of the famous ‘Kimchee To Go‘, which serves hot pre-packaged food to busy workers on their lunch breaks.
One of the most important Korean institutions in London is the Korean Cultural Centre UK, located just a stone’s throw away from Trafalgar Square in the heart of Westminster. Since opening nearly six years ago, the centre has established itself as perhaps the most lively venue for any nation’s arts and culture in the capital. Hosting a wide range of activities and events such as art exhibitions, book launches, a ‘K-Pop Academy’, Korean language classes, and Korean Film Nights, the centre also houses an extensive library of books and films about Korea. Earlier this month, the KCCUK put on another successful London Korean Film Festival which is now a major annual event looked forward to by every fan of Asian cinema. If you would like to know more about it, please see AGI’s interview with Hye-Jung Jeon, the KCCUK’s Project Director.
Curious what Londoners think about Korea? Watch this video by popular YouTube vlogger Josh (aka the ‘Korean Englishman’) – mostly in English with Korean subtitles, with some strong language in a humorous context.
By Tim Holm
by RITU MAHENDRU, 15.11.2013 | Kabul
With just under a week before the final list of candidates for the spring elections is expected to be announced, no one is asking how the political power relations in the country would be managed – a timely and relevant question in the context of current efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
It is forecasted that Afghanistan will face major security and development challenges once the full responsibility for security is handed over to the Afghan National Security forces by the end of 2014. There are a number of challenges that threaten peace and stability in the country. Most important factors that have caused insecurity and instability are primarily growing presence of Taliban, dependence on illicit poppy cultivation, weak institutions that also relates to lack of economic opportunities as well as ‘poor governance’.
The governance structures in Afghanistan are complex. Thomas Barefield in his book argues that to examine the changing notions of power and political legitimacy in Afghanistan, it is important to decipher how the political structures are historically relevant and established, how power and elites function at the village and district levels, and how this links with higher level political and geographical structures.
Just to illustrate an example of Ghor Province, located in Central Afghanistan in the North West, is considered one of the most insecure places in the country. The province has more than three governments reports Obaid Ali of Afghan Analyst Network. The local people often face austerity at the hands of informal structures. Existing social order influence the ways in which public services are accessed and delivered; and the political and social conflict allows itself to preserve legitimacy and authority over Ghor.
Indeed, in the absence of an alternative formal recognised political structure at grassroots level, such growing desire for power tends to threaten and disrupt society as a whole through which a certain degree of legitimacy is gained. With such complex informal governance environment, protection of certain tribal groups do not comes easy. Negotiation with local power-holders in exchange of social and economic obligations and services is currency to stable governance – a passive stability.
So how do we deal with such complexities, which are relationship based and decentralised partially reflecting country’s complex history of state-society relations on the basis of which regional power holders have legitimatised their position as warlords, drug dealers etc
A common thread between different arguments is addressing the behaviour of local power holders (formal and informal) at different levels that pave its way to a more absolutist state with its support from militias and little administrative penetration. The presence of multiple power holders that operate in districts and villages across the country has caused a major challenge in promoting governance and development.
More recently, the two Afghan government ministries responsible for governance and rural development in the country came together and drafted the “Policy for Improving Governance and Development in Districts and Villages” in order to promote equity, fairness and justice. With this policy, yet to be approved by the Office of Administrative Affairs, local District Coordination Councils (DCCs) will be formed across the country as councils at the district level and will be recognised as formal government bodies.
However, equitable participation and representation of women, fair election process, appropriate funding as well as implementation of Afghan led priorities and agenda will remain some of the key challenges in terms of implementation of this policy.
AGI: How did you reach Philippines and what was your first thought?
Bulling: We arrived by boat at the port in Ormoc City. As soon as we stepped onto the port, we were in the middle of a disaster zone. Everything was destroyed. Tin roofing sheets were hanging off trees like wet blankets.
AGI: What was the situation like there?
Bulling: All the houses along the coast are completely flattened. Everything was destroyed. Further inland, about 80 percent of the houses were roofless. About five percent of the houses were completely collapsed – these were mainly wooden houses. It seems like everyone we saw had a hammer or tools in their hands, trying to repair their houses and their roofs. People were picking up poles and pieces of wood from the street. There were long queues at hardware stores, pharmacies. We waited in line for two hours to get fuel. So far the roads are okay, but it’s taking a long time to get anywhere.
AGI: People of Philippines are known to be resilient. How are they coping up with this devastation?
Bulling: I talked to a shop owner whose shop was destroyed; he lost everything. He’s wondering how he’s going to feed his five children. I also met a little girl, who was trying to dry out her books. Her house was totally destroyed, but there she was, worried about her school books, because she wants to go to school. And it’s the only thing she has left.
AGI: As an aid worker, what challenges are you facing?
Bulling: We arrived in Jaro, a small town on the way to Tacloban. It was dark when we arrived, so we couldn’t go any further. We stayed in the police station that night but we were not sure where we’ll sleep, maybe in the car, or outside. There was an electricity pole that was leaning dangerously over the police station, so everyone was trying to steer clear of that. Our plan was to go to Dulag, just south of Tacloban. Our driver just came from there, and says it’s very bad, and they need help.
AGI: Devastation like this can create a huge sense of desperation. What’s the situation in Philippines?
Bulling: People are becoming quite desperate. Some officials just came and told us that there has been looting in the area, people trying to get rice for their families. People haven’t had food for three days, and they’re trying to feed their families. That’s why it’s so important to get food and emergency supplies in to these areas as soon as possible. In Ormoc, there was food; we could buy chicken and rice. But there were big queues at the food stalls and shops. We’re in an urban area now, and I don’t even want to think what it’s like the rural areas. We’ll start moving again at first light. I don’t think anyone is going to get any sleep tonight.
In today’s globalised world, companies that want to succeed need employees who are able to adapt to foreign environments and work well with the local workforce. In simple terms, what today’s firms need is a pipeline of culturally-savvy employees. However, relatively few employers concern themselves with cultural differences when they send staff for international assignments. On the other hand, re-locating the staff to different branches is good for employees to adapt to a globalised workplace.
Building cultural agility often includes making structural changes as an organisation moves from active operations in a few countries to multiple continents.This brings about diversity of experience and thinking, and this usually results in better business decisions.
A company without culturally adaptable leaders is a company that is destined to fail, the challenge for HR is to start by staffing the company with individuals who are not just strong technically, but also exhibit the competencies that allow someone to be culturally adaptable. No company will ever reach its full potential without cultural adaptability.
Younger professionals that have studied abroad, or work abroad are top priority for dynamic companies. These candidates are often fast tracked onto management programs. MNCs are able to offer these candidates ways of expanding their career, and therefore hold on to talent better (Standard 3 year job cycle). They do this by offering global positions. I started in Antal in Germany, and moved to China based on my experiences in Germany and then the UK.
As a recruiter, I would like to say culturally experienced professionals are highly valued in the workplace. These talents bring a perception of flexibility and sensitivity based on a global perspective. Cultural understanding helps push teams forward; a foreigner who understands local cultural and business practices is highly valued as a connection between people.
This article is written by Max Price, Partner of Antal International China. Edited by Dhanya Nair
Normally, we don’t like to blow our own trumpet but we will make an exception this time because we won. Yes, after almost of two years of re-defining Asia and bridging the gap between UK and Asia we’ve won the first ever Asian Media Awards. It is quite an honour to be the Magazine of the year and it will motivate us to do better. Thank you to all the readers, our writers and our followers for helping us reach here.