It is an unnerving phase for an individual to decide on a career path. Thankfully, there is a man committed to translating this dream into a reality. He is Derek Toh, the founder of WOBB Sdn Bhd. Toh learnt programming in order to make computer games at the tender age of nine. However, choosing to pursue an accounting course, he first excelled as an auditor in Ernst and Young before a career shift to Robert Walters, a headhunting company where he became a top recruiter. In a recent interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, Toh speaks about his diverse experiences, work ethics and the dedication that led to the formation of WOBB.
WOBB Sdn Bhd, a rather catchy name for a job search company, stands for “Working on Bean Bags”. Starting off as a blog for the Gen Y crowd, Derek Toh observed that members of the current generation are often affixed to their smartphones. “An average Gen Y spends 4 hours a day on their phones,” says Toh. It is from this observation that the winning formula was concocted, combining the convenience of a mobile phone application with job hunting. “Spending some time in Silicon Valley definitely helped me to know what to achieve with WOBB.” So what exactly does Toh want to achieve?
Toh understands the needs of his clients and their different career paths, and uses WOBB to connect Gen Y individuals with companies using smartphones as the platform. Additionally, he highlights several differences between jobseekers in their twenties and those who have been working for more than 10 years. “Experience is one of the key differences between Gen Y and more seasoned jobseekers.” Lacking experience is not a handicap, as young jobseekers are more likely to learn fast and experiment with job options. Hence, WOBB’s online magazine, The Daily WOBB, definitely interests jobseekers as it provides relevant articles that include great tips on job searching.
Generally, Toh categorises jobseekers into two types; active and passive. Active jobseekers vigorously job search while passive ones wait and watch for updates but don’t send out their resumés. Rather, passive candidates are keen to discuss opportunities that come to them. Companies agree that passive jobseekers often make the best candidates as they possess skills and passion and Toh echoes that sentiment. “They are not necessarily looking for a job, but will hop on to a new opportunity when they see one they like,” he says.
“Nowadays, it is important for companies to have a great working culture,” elaborates Toh. This is the X factor driving young jobseekers out of hibernation, especially the passive ones. Also, the working culture Toh cultivates at WOBB underscores the importance of the phrase, “honesty leads to personality.” This allows his employees great independence and flexibility as Toh believes this exemplary working culture is the key to his success.
Success is what the entrepreneurial Toh has been enjoying and when asked for some of his secrets, he says that personalization is the key. WOBB takes into consideration its clients’ working culture and sets up company profiles that best reflect them. Interviewing junior and senior employees who work in those companies and getting their testimonials are some of the features that intrigue jobseekers into considering the positions that those companies present.
WOBB also organises events such as “The Awesome Tour” where participants visit three companies such as Google, Maxis, and PayPal in one day. Moreover, LinkedIn is currently collaborating with WOBB to better cover the market and if that is not impressive enough, WOBB recently received a half a million ringgit grant from Cradle Fund which only offers such a sum to companies with huge potential.
That being said, no company is without obstacles, but the optimistic Toh thinks of them as mere challenges. He states that understanding the needs of jobseekers is one of the ‘daily challenges’ he faces but for the versatile Toh, this is something that he manages well. WOBB is the “bridge” and perfect link for jobseekers and companies alike. Another challenge is getting everyone aligned and to be proactive but given Toh’s charisma and leadership, it is not something too difficult to handle.
Toh is brilliant in building bridges that connect two very diverse needs – the needs of jobseekers and that of the companies. He would also advise that young jobseekers pursue a career for the right reasons rather than thinking solely of the salary. Well, one can anticipate that the enterprising Derek Toh will take WOBB to even greater heights, given the current synergy and momentum that it has got.