Ask the Expert – Round 4 Questions and Answers

Ask the Expert questions



Mr CP Tham 
Regional Head of Learning & Development, Asia, Group Talent Management & Organisation Development



*Answers provided are personal views of Mr CP Tham and does not represent views of Willis. 


Is there market for Masters Graduates? Would it be possible for Masters Graduates to get much higher pay as degree holders? – Joshua, Marketing

When looking for candidates, most hiring managers place experience above academic qualifications, especially for non-entry level positions.  However, certain companies such as consultancy firms do have a preference for candidates with post graduate qualifications for analyst or consultant positions.  As for higher pay, this is usually determined by the role that the candidate is hired for and not on the degree that the candidate has.  It is not a strong factor in determining if you can negotiate a higher pay.


How do we tell during the initial interview if the hiring manager is a team leader who can be a motivator as well as a leader who leads by example? – Rizal, Sales

I will suggest you to pose a question to your hiring manager at the end of the interview, if you have the opportunity.  Check how he/she would motivate the team especially when external factors are not in favour of the company’s sales revenue target.   Listen to the reply and decide for yourself if you are getting a convincing answer.


I have been in the same job for about four years. I wish to apply for jobs at the managerial level but am afraid that employers will question my ability to lead as I was not promoted in my present job.
How do I project a positive image in my resume and interview for managerial posts? – Agnes, Executive

Recount instances when you have to stand-in for your manager, or occasions when you motivate and lead your peers in certain part of a bigger project or assignment.  If you are unable to recall such instances, you should find opportunities to do so.  Every Manager would need a team member who can play such a role. Talk to your Manager for such opportunities. 


Currently, I am a stay-at-home mum. I would like to go back to the working society, how should I go about doing it? How should I convince the hiring company? – Alice, Unemployed

Do you have previous work experience?  Use that as a reference point.  Depending on the number of years that you have been out of the labour market, you will have to adjust your pay expectations.  Be confident that you still have the skills and knowledge to do the job.   Most hiring managers are very understanding about mothers sacrificing their careers for their children. As long as you are able to manage your expectations of the salary, it should not be too big a challenge getting fruitful interview sessions.


I have been working freelance as an executive coach and leadership trainer for several years now. I was previously a CEO and corporate controller. What’s the best way to get back to employment in either an L&D position or HR business partner role? – YP Lam, Executive Coach 

Have you had the chance to share this with those you have coached or trained before?  It is always easier to get a foot into any company if you have an internal referral to a job opening.  I do know of professional trainers who have gotten corporate roles and are now very successful in those roles, so do give it a try.


Check out the answers and questions by:

Mr Sriram Iyer - Round 1

Ms Rebecca Port - Round 2 

Ms Ruth Lim - Round 3


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