“Dig Deep Into Your Con­nec­tions”

International talents at MegaMatchmaing

The Mega­Match­ma­king, a pre­mier rec­ruit­ment fair whe­re rec­rui­ters and job­see­kers have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to inte­ract, was held on the 14th of Sep­tem­ber at Tul­li­sal­li in Oulu.

One of the major high­lights of the event was the panel discus­sion hos­ted by Kamal Singh from ELY Cent­re. The panel discus­sed how to inter­na­tio­na­lize the job mar­ket in North Ostro­both­nia and the impor­tance of Fin­nish lan­gua­ge skills.

Read Kamal’s sto­ry: “What I love about the people here is that they are great lis­te­ners”

The discus­sion fea­tu­red four pane­lists: Pek­ka Pau­ro­la an ent­repre­neur and owner of 1Bar, Sari Päi­vä­rin­ta from OP Financial Group, She­fat Islam, Busi­ness Advi­sor from Business­Oulu and Arek Cwiek from Osuus­kaup­pa Ari­na. Pek­ka and Sari are locals but have migra­ted to Oulu at some point in their lives, left for other count­ries, and then hap­pi­ly found their way back to the city.

She­fat found her­self in Oulu after hea­ring of the great Fin­nish educa­tion sto­ry from a col­lea­gue. Coming as a master’s stu­dent in autumn 2021, she came, she saw, and she stayed. Arek, on the other hand, gave in to his wife’s pres­su­re to move to Fin­land, final­ly sett­ling in Oulu in Sep­tem­ber 2020, as he could not find 101 rea­sons why they should not move to Fin­land from Poland.

Talks in the cor­ri­dors point to a very tough job mar­ket for the inter­na­tio­nal talents in Oulu, but She­fat had a rela­ti­ve­ly fair expe­rience. Having sent out about twen­ty applica­tions nationwi­de, she sett­led for a posi­tion at Business­Oulu – thanks to the networks she made during her interns­hip in the same orga­niza­tion the pre­vious year.

Arek, who appa­rent­ly hates sen­ding out CVs, moved to Fin­land and main­tai­ned his Polish job posi­tion only to call it quits later deter­mi­ned to immer­se him­self in the Fin­nish lan­gua­ge and cul­tu­re via the job mar­ket. Alt­hough explicit­ly wil­ling to take up a volun­teer posi­tion in the com­pa­ny whe­re his wife wor­ked, he was surpri­sed to get a paid job, an oppor­tu­ni­ty that powe­red his desi­re to learn the Fin­nish lan­gua­ge.

Pek­ka Pau­ro­la.

For Pek­ka run­ning a hos­pi­ta­li­ty busi­ness, inter­na­tio­nal talent is a no brai­ner, and he took up the oppor­tu­ni­ty pre­sen­ted to him in 2022 when the city recei­ved a high num­ber of immi­grants from Ukrai­ne. And from this, he now values the expe­riences that inter­na­tio­nal talents may bring into an orga­niza­tion. Asked on how his com­pa­ny has mana­ged to inte­gra­te inter­na­tio­nal talent in the wake of the tra­di­tio­nal­ly hard to learn Fin­nish lan­gua­ge, he was quick to point out that; he had a hard time at school, having spent time in Norway and how he thinks, as the legend goes that Finns love beer, he’s pret­ty sure that the per­son who con­struc­ted Fin­nish gram­ma­tical rules was under the influence!

In all this, he emp­ha­sized how mind­set shift from the emplo­yer to try inter­na­tio­nal talent, and the emplo­yee to lear­ning the Fin­nish lan­gua­ge is the way to go.

With her expe­rience at OP Financial Group in Cul­tu­re and Chan­ge Mana­ge­ment, Sari, who apprecia­tes inter­na­tio­na­liza­tion, had a few tips to sha­re for inter­na­tio­nal talents, such as the need to search for com­pa­nies that have both English and Fin­nish web­si­tes. Pekka’s tip is to mingle with the right people in your field of inte­rest, which leads to a social set­ting and buil­ding the social capi­tal that can pro­pel you to your next posi­tion. To the stu­dents, he encou­ra­ged interns­hips in stra­te­gic orga­niza­tions and com­pa­nies that may ser­ve as the next emplo­yer or will be a good recom­men­da­tion for a job after gra­dua­tion.

“Dig deep into your con­nec­tions. Do what you can do, not what you want to do.”

Asked on the best tips for fin­ding jobs, Arek and She­fat sha­red simi­lar tips stres­sing the impor­tance of buil­ding a network. “Dig deep into your con­nec­tions. Do what you can do, not what you want to do.” Arek stres­sed, poin­ting out how impor­tant one needs to always ask, as kee­ping qui­et will also lea­ve you with nega­ti­ve answers. She­fat was emp­ha­tic that one should not dis­re­gard their pre­vious expe­riences as they are “part of you…and to be your­self” and for stu­dents to use the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu’s Career Cent­re for jobs, interns­hips and sum­mer posi­tions.

When it came to Fin­nish lan­gua­ge, which is arguably one of the main bar­riers for inter­na­tio­nal talent to get their appropria­te job posi­tions, Arek was quick to point out that “If you want to get into a person’s head, use the lan­gua­ge they unders­tand, if you want to get into their heart, use their nati­ve lan­gua­ge.”

She­fat poin­ted out that as much as her col­lea­gues are very accom­mo­da­ti­ve, she is eager to learn the lan­gua­ge. Kamal undersco­red the impor­tance of taking the lan­gua­ge as a skill that can open doors. Pek­ka and Sari were in har­mo­ny with cemen­ting that the­re are orga­niza­tio­nal chal­len­ges associa­ted with chan­ging the lan­gua­ge cul­tu­re in com­pa­nies over­night. Howe­ver, they were opti­mis­tic that times are chan­ging, and Fin­land is ope­ning up to using English as a wor­king lan­gua­ge whe­re­ver neces­sa­ry.

Tal­king about his expe­rience in the res­tau­rant industry, Pek­ka poin­ted out how wor­king with Fin­nish clients is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn the lan­gua­ge for inter­na­tio­nal talent whi­le orga­niza­tions should view inter­na­tio­nal talents as assets that bring diver­si­ty in deci­sion making and problem sol­ving. “Learn to inte­gra­te inter­na­tio­na­li­ty in your busi­ness or watch your com­pa­ny die” Pek­ka conclu­ded. For Sari, embracing inter­na­tio­nal talent can­not be ove­remp­ha­sized as she cal­led for rec­rui­ters to “wake up as you are mis­sing oppor­tu­ni­ties…” She furt­her stres­sed that the­re is a need for educa­tion and moti­va­tion, a litt­le pus­hing to encou­ra­ge inter­na­tio­na­li­ty.

The con­sen­sus among the pane­lists was that the­re is a need for con­ver­gence between the inter­na­tio­nal job see­kers and emplo­yers to mee­ting halfway. For inter­na­tio­nal talent, acqui­ring Fin­nish lan­gua­ge skills should be seen as a pro­fes­sio­nal skill or lin­guis­tic capi­tal, whi­le emplo­yers were cal­led upon to view inter­na­tio­nal talent as assets that can spur the busi­ness growth.

Text: Jobert Ngwe­nya

Sari Päivärinta, Arek Cwiek, Kamal Singh, Pekka Paurola and Shefat Islam.

Sari Päi­vä­rin­ta, Arek Cwiek, Kamal Singh, Pek­ka Pau­ro­la and She­fat Islam.