The hiring manager and the right mindset

Impress a hiring manager through insights of Pick Network’s CEO New Soon Tee.

Amos Tay talks with Pick Network’s CEO New Soon Tee, who shared his insights about hiring talents and transitioning from the private to the public sector. He dived into his perspectives as a person making hiring decisions and a candidate who is a veteran in the Information and Communications Technology, Manufacturing, and Logistics industries.

Pick Network is an Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) subsidiary. It uses a nationwide parcel locker network for more efficient logistics services. Prior to becoming Pick’s CEO, Soon Tee was the Cluster Director for Trade and Connectivity, which oversees digitalization and transformation initiatives.

Hiring preference

Pick Network management directly engages in its personnel infrastructure matters. When hiring, he deems that a person’s nimbleness, versatility, and boundaryless are crucial.

“Sometimes it’s about leveraging on what you have. Sometime it’s about, you know, panelling with panels and make things happen.”

He noted that a small entity with limited resources should hire someone that can be cross-functional and valuable to the team.

His understanding of the industry, challenges, and limitations made him a valuable asset and well-suited for IMDA. However, Soon Tee found that there’s also a big difference between the “thinking considerations” of a private and public entity.

Private companies focus more on revenue. Their priority is to increase profit, which is much more straightforward than the public sector’s driving force. On the contrary, the public sector’s approach considers more factors and stakeholders affected by any decision.

‘There will always be a mismatch’ in recruitment

With the digitalization boom, there’s bound to be a knowledge and skills gap. Such is true, especially when introducing new tech or competencies. Soon Tee found it challenging to search or recruit ready and qualified professionals to implement projects.

“It’s not just whether it’s in Singapore or not. Rather, the opportunity is made available, but the individual may not be ready, or a particular individual is looking for something else.”

Soon Tee also pointed out the gap they faced when looking for electrical engineers. He emphasized the lack of people with specific skill sets in newer areas of tech like blockchain and artificial intelligence as opposed to more established sectors like database technology.

However, he believes that a candidate’s willingness to learn and explore is a key attribute. Soon Tee deems that it should be prioritized over the skill match. For him, bridging the skills and knowledge gap can be solved by learning and trying things out.

Dealing with transitioning into a new industry

When switching careers from one industry to another, Soon Tee stated that there’s a certain level of sacrifice that candidates need to make to learn the ropes. There is a need to adjust expectations and be ready to take a step back before being able to launch out to where an applicant wants to be.

“There’s a certain degree of alignment needed across organizations as well.”

He pointed out that from an enterprise perspective, compensation depending on the scope of work should be vetted. And benefits must be properly designed to welcome career shifters and newbies in the industry.

For individuals shifting to a different sector, Soon Tee hopes there wouldn’t be a big gap for them to fill. But despite that, he advises them always to see the potential to go further in the long run.


Soon Tee realized that the knowledge he acquired while in the private sector had become valuable for his new role in the public sector. He learned that becoming the right candidate during recruitment means having the versatility, boundaryless, as well as nimbleness to do and be anything.

When hiring the right talent, Soon Tee prioritizes personality and attitude over the perfect skill match. He believes that a person can learn almost anything with the willingness to explore and try.

This belief also influences his opinion on switching careers. Soon Tee emphasizes that there may be unavoidable sacrifice, but what matters is being mentally prepared.

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