Saturday, 16 August 2014

Interview: How Much Does CGPA Matters?

An excellent university education is often cited as a obligatory precondition for getting a good job. Many a times with this thoughtful of the significance of university, a huge ratio of uni students get wrapped in their CGPA’s, as they believe it as the value statement of their own self-worth. Despite the fact that it is quite simple to presume that only super achievers with extremely high CGPA grades are more expected to get good jobs, the veracity is quite different. Whereas having a decent CGPA is significant, rest assured there are other ways to qualify too.

CGPA is a blend of numerous factors but isn’t actually the best indicator of how you will perform in the working world. We all know that person with high CGPA who struggles socially or that person who couldn’t care less about his or her university life but seems to have no trouble making great things happen in their life. Book smarts and street smarts are very different things.

Don't get me wrong, CGPA is super important but at the same time you must have other soft skills in order to secure a job during an interview. I myself graduated with HIGH CGPA but still managed to survive in the industry before i become a lecturer. Here i would like to share a story of my colleague who had interviewed candidates which to be hired in his company. Hope you guys can take this as a lesson. 

He had interviewed 4 candidates for 2 posts of Assistant Quantity Surveyor (QS) in his company. These were the candidates summary:
Candidate 1: CGPA 2.72 (Male)
Candidate 2: CGPA 3.55 (Female)
Candidate 3: CGPA 2.97 (Female)
Candidate 4: CGPA 3.41 (Female)

Candidate (2) and Candidate (4) came from among the best universities in Malaysia. Came with outstanding CGPA of 3.55 and 3.41. They brought in all the Dean List and Sijil Kecemerlangan along with them. The interviewer asked 10 questions to each candidate but they could only answer 3 out of 10 questions. They have no self confidence and the first impression was bad. They were not showing enthusiasm and interest on the job. They fail to elucidate how their skills match the job the applied for.

On the other hand, Candidate 1 and Candidate 3 came from medium ranked universities in Malaysia. They obtained average CGPA of 2.72 and 2.97. No dean list, no Sijil Kecemerlangan but they managed to answer 8 out of 10 questions. The spoken English was great. They have self-confidence. They understand about their scope of works as Assistant Quantity Surveyor. The first impression was great and the were presentable. And they have good leadership qualities in their CV's leading a few event during university life. And the interviewer lastly decided to hire Candidate 1 and Candidate 3 even though their academic qualification (CGPA) was not that great compared to Candidate 2 and Candidate 4.

Moral of the story, to secure a job upon graduation, CGPA alone not the criteria that will be evaluated. Most companies don't really bother whether you are high scorer as they only want to know what can you contribute to the company in order for them to make money. Employer also look for those street smart who got the ability to take charge, to volunteer for the tasks and to accepet accountability for achieving the required results of those task given.

Employer also look for someone who can work in a team not just sitting in front your table and do your own work. In addition, they are looking for someone with the ability to set priorities, to separate the relevant from the irrelevant tasks and then to concentrate single-mindedly until the job is complete. If they can have candidate with good CGPA, good attitude, presentable and got all the x-factor, then it is a bonus for my company to have them in.

To summarise, what employers need are people who can think, people who can create, people who have ideas and can express them. And that’s what writing is about. Even if you’re planning on a math or science career (where your calculus know-how might actually come in handy), you still need strong communication skills.

But, this is not an excuse for not doing well at university and taking for granted the aspect of CGPA. What i am trying to highlight here is; other than CGPA, there are a lot more important things you should "learn" to become an "excellent student". Maintaining a good CGPA will play a vital role for your academic success. Similarly, slacking it off could probably land you in academic probation or the university might not just grant you a great scholarship. If we look into the realities of the job market in Malaysia, majority of employers do not entail the same academic standards on their applicants. In general, almost 70% of hiring managers and employers do report the screening of applicants based on their average CGPA grades, but majority of the groups say that they use a CGPA of 3.00 as a standard for their cut-off.

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