Adaptability is of great importance

November 22, 2013 3 mins read
Adaptability is of great importance

It was recently reported that the student who ranked first in liberal arts in the college entrance examination in mainland China was admitted to the University of Hong Kong, along with a generous scholarship.

Yet, a little while after the student had started university, she dropped out and left the University of Hong Kong, returning to senior high school to prepare for the college entrance examination again, in the hope of entering a top mainland Chinese university the following year. After being widely reported by the media, this issue has attracted wide-spread attention and triggered much controversy. It is said that the student, finding it difficult to adapt to Hong Kong culture and the teaching environment of the University of Hong Kong, was expecting to pursue more culturally pure Chinese studies out of personal interest, and thus, chose to drop out. We don’t want to make any comment on her choice. We respect her choice, and sincerely wish her all the best in pursuing her dream. However, this has led me to think about is the issue of adaptability. Adaptability, reflecting one’s overall EQ, is particularly important in the job market.

As recruiting consultants, we are often faced with candidates who are eager to find other job opportunities soon after being recruited by a company. The candidates always explain that “I don’t think I am able to adapt to the culture of this company” or “I feel the internal management of this company is a mess, and therefore not suitable for long term development”, etc. However, in most cases, these kinds of “excuses” are not acceptable to recruiting consultants or recruiting companies. First of all, before taking an offer, the candidate should carry out a basic “SWOT” analysis (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) about the new job, and get mentally prepared for the potential challenges and risks, and be able to handle contingencies. After starting a new job, an employee should keep a positive attitude, instead of flinching when faced with problems or questioning their own choice. In fact, many people have adaptation problems to a work environment, either mentally or technically. It is important to address these problems and find appropriate solutions. In the period of adapting to a new position, we believe that effective communication is a key point in helping the new employee to resolve issues. If the issues are of a technical nature, the employee can develop by learning or asking their superiors or senior staff for help. In the process of communication, the employee should pay attention to what others have said, grasp the gist of it, and clearly express their own understanding.

It takes some time for graduates to adapt to the work place. Usually companies will provide training or counseling. At the same time, job-hoppers will also encounter adaptation issues. It is only by adjusting one’s own attitude and gradually adapting to an environment that an employee can develop and progress.

Marlon Mai's picture
Managing Director, Greater China
mmai@morganmckinley.com