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Personal Development Tool to Enhance Development for Students

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1. Introduction

 Over the years, it is known that the workforce has evolved to become a very demanding environment especially in todays’ state of economy. The fact that Malaysia’s population has surpassed the 3 million mark makes securing a job a very competitive task. Malaysia’s current unemployment rate is 3.4 percent as of February 2016 and nearly half of it consists of our youth, which most of them are fresh graduates. Talent is cited as one of the top business challenges and a recent survey conducted by global consultancy Grant Thornton finds 62 percent of Malaysian firms have difficulty finding skilled workers, and 48 percent identify lack of talent as a constraint for future growth.

 Listed below are the most common traits employers are looking for when recruiting new employees.

·       The ability to work in a team

·       The ability to make decisions and solve problems

·       The ability to plan, organize and prioritize work

·       The ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside anorganization

·       The ability to obtain and process information.  

It seems that most undesirable candidates lack these traits that are also crucial in securing a job. Due to the fact that most people spend most of their time on their smartphones and laptops/desktops, this project plans to utilize that fact by cultivating good and professional work attitude for its’ users. This web app will determine users’ strengths and weaknesses and they will be shown on their respective profile. Users can brush up and improve their abilities by undergoing test and problems that can be solved individually or as a team. Users progress throughout the duration of use will be recorded a means for them to gauge their level of improvement. 

The goal of this app is to help users understand clearly the importance of proper work ethics and how it helps them move forward. Besides that, users will the able to monitor their personal development in aspects that are deemed important on a job such as information processing, team building as well as decision making.

2. Problem Statement 

People think that it’s solely good results and language skills that can help you get hired but there’s more to that. Securing a job can be a very tough and scary process for those who lack experience and the understanding of what it means to be part of a workforce. Sadly, most fresh graduates are not prepared and end up doing badly in interviews. It has been stated that most unsuccessful job applicants lack the skills in the required aspects of critical thinking, general knowledge, leadership and ethics. 

This app intends to help users brush up on the essential skills that could potentially help them excel in a demanding work environment, as well as getting through the very competitive recruiting phase. The exercises available in this app will also help users improve their critical thinking and team building by interacting with other users to solve problems. The app will also provide the users with an insight on professional work ethics and standards practiced by corporate entities. 

3. Objectives& Scope 

·       To design a web application that can help users pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses in soft skills

·       To help users connect with other users to exchange ideas and tips on improving their soft skills

·       To prepare and equip users with knowledge & skills on how to ace a job interview particularly for fresh graduates with zero experience.

 This app is intended for Malaysian university students and fresh graduates, specifically for UPM final year students. Developed on the Windows platform, this app will be in English. It will focus on helping users realize their abilities that are considered essential for every employee. 

4. Literature Review 

This part of the document will be divided into several parts starting with evidence from several sources indicating as to why fresh graduates perform badly at an interview. Next part is to assess the current assessment tool on the web and finally is to compare the tools found with the intended assessment tool.

 In this challenging world, competition is everywhere. Individual works hard to equip themselves with knowledge and skills to avoid being left far behind and survive. Obtaining a degree from institute of higher education in local or overseas has become necessary in order to get a good job with nice salary. However, a quite alarming issue is a high unemployment rate among graduate in this country. Among the factors that cause unemployment among graduates are lacks of soft skills, high employers’ expectation, mismatching and the fluctuation of economy in the country. 

According to a recent JobStreet.com survey, fresh graduates have some catching up to do as employers are not too happy about their quality levels. A significant 70% of respondents said that the standards of fresh graduates were just average, while 24% believed that they were bad and only 6% said they were good. The poor ratings were not generally linked to their academic qualifications, but rather their poor attitudes and communication skills shown during interviews or at work. 

The employers were asked why it was hard for fresh graduates to get hired, the top cited reason by 68% of respondents was, fresh graduates ask for unrealistic salaries and benefits. A previous JobStreet.com survey disclosed that 60% of fresh graduates expect a salary of RM3, 500 for their first job while 30% want to be paid as high as RM6, 500 in order to live comfortably. However, the average salary offered to fresh graduates is only between RM2,100 to RM2,500. 

Reflecting on the English proficiency levels in Malaysia that continues to be of concern, 64% of the respondents said that a poor command of English was the second reason behind fresh graduate unemployment. Being the main language for business communications, more and more employers are taking into account the importance of hiring candidates who have a good grasp of English. 

The third contributing factor to fresh graduate unemployment was being too choosy about the job or company at 60%, followed by poor communication skills and demonstrating poor character during the interview. “Fresh graduates should do some research on sites such as JobStreet.com to better understand the expectations, requirements and salary levels offered by employers to prepare themselves for their interviews”, said Ms. Chook YuhYng, Country Manager of Jobstreet.com. 

On the other hand, despite years of studying in the English medium, some participants of the 1Malaysia Training Scheme (SL1M) find it inadequate in preparing them for the real world.MsZatiAqmarZahari, 28, said she struggled to introduce herself in English at job interviews.The UniversitiTeknologi Malaysia (UTM) graduate told The Malaysian Insider that at one point, she attended about 10 job interviews, yet none of the companies got back to her.“Most interviews are carried out in English, and when they asked me to introduce myself, I found it very difficult to do so because I think in Bahasa, so I take time to translate my thoughts into English,” she said at a recent gathering of SL1M participants with the prime minister.Ms. Zati, who majored in Computer Sciences, said while her studies were conducted in English, students were not taught how to prepare for job interviews.“My self-confidence and communications were really low, because at the time of the interview I had just graduated and had no idea what employers were looking for”.

Zati enrolled in SL1M, a programme organized by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) under the Prime Minister’s Department that teaches soft skills.The programme places graduates in participating government-linked companies (GLC) and private firms where they develop language and communication skills.SL1M general secretariat MsNorashikin Datuk Ismail told The Malaysian Insider that the programme, launched in June 2011, was targeted at unemployed graduates, particularly those from low income families or rural areas, with at least a bachelor’s degree.

Ms Norashikin said since its launch, 70,000 graduates have succeeded in securing jobs after going through the programme. She declined, however, to comment on the failure rate when asked, saying such cases were few.

Why online assessment? Online assessment sometimes known as e-assessment, computer based assessment are specific types of assessmentsincluding multiple choice, online/electronic submission, computerized adaptive testing and computerized classification testing.  Different types of online assessments contain elements of one or more of the following components, depending on the assessment's purpose: formative, diagnostic, or summative. Instant and detailed feedback may (or may not) be enabled. There are several benefits of using an online assessment tool to evaluate the users work or progress. Firstly, online assessments are highly interactive, customizable, trustworthy, and secured. Besides that, it is a great solution for users with busy schedules. Users can take the assessment anywhere anytime they want instead of attending to a venue with specific date and time to take the assessment. Secondly, online assessments are typically flexible assessment models, with multiple choice questions based on various parameters providing instant feedback to the users. This is important because users would want to track and monitor their progress as they complete the assessment so that they’ll know how well they did in that particular assessment. Finally, the comfort of remote access to learning resources and doing it in one’s own space will boost their confidence and morale in taking the assessment without having to worry about the surrounding factors such as venue, time, people nearby, etc.    

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