HeadHunt - A view from the top - 26 Aug
Mr Philip Lee
Head of People, Performance &
What are three adjectives you would
use to describe your company culture?
KPMG is vibrant, dynamic and
We have a friendly and informal
culture where everyone goes on a first name basis. The source for our success
is a strong team spirit where everyone takes a hands-on approach and strives
toward making KPMG an even better place to work at.
We are one big vibrant family.
Professionally, KPMG is a place where our people can shape their own place and
future in the organisation. Everyone takes a hands-on approach and contributes
positively in their own way.
What is the one biggest candidate
misconceptions about your industry?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that we
are only an accountancy firm which recruits people for primarily compliance
work and who deal with numbers everyday. We are a multi-disciplinary
professional services firm providing audit, tax and advisory services. Our
advisory arm comprises services such as Transactions & Restructuring to
Performance & Technology and Risk & Compliance.
What this means is that our people
need to be knowledgeable professionals who are prepared to meet our clients on
a regular basis, help them solve problems, seize business opportunities while
providing them fresh insights into their business, their market and their
What is the one blunder you see whe
candidates apply for a job in your company?
We have seen applications which are directed
to the HR department at KPMG, but carry the name of a competitor firm. This
shows a lack of attention to detail. As professionals, attention to details is
What’s more, this suggests that the
candidate is sending the same standard letter to every firm, rather than showing
genuine interest in the organisation.
Is relevant experience really
necessary when applying for a job at KPMG?
We hire at all levels and for a wide range of
disciplines. Relevant experience is a definite advantage for experienced hires
and for specialist positions. For fresh graduates, particularly those starting
out in audit and tax, we have a very strong Learning and Development (L&D)
programme. Our L&D training is comprehensive as we not only train graduates
in the technical skills but also groom and equip them with the skills needed
for leadership positions.
What are some traits that make an employee
stand out from the rest?
Employees who stand out generally
have good listening skills, have the ability to integrate different viewpoints
and are able to present their case convincingly. These individuals generally
stand out from their peers as they are better able to communicate with clients.
In the long run, these traits also enable them to be better leaders.
Beyond skill sets, an employee’s value
system counts too. KPMG’s core values guide our staff to become better
professionals. Above all else, the key value which we cherish the most is
What one skill employees need to
develop for the future?
As we operate in an increasingly
globalised environment, the ability to adapt and operate across time zones and
culture is becoming more important. I believe employees will need to embrace a
more international mindset, develop the art of cultural sensitivity and build
on good language skills.
As an international network of
professional services firms, we have to be nimble professionals who can operate
effectively while providing value to the clients we serve anywhere in the
What is the best career advice
you've ever received?
The best career advice I have
personally received is to always persevere, and reach for my dreams no matter
how difficult they may appear to be.