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  • Jobseeker-turned-recruiter: Eagerness to learn is pivotal, and so is working on a ‘50-50’ deal.
  • From intern to manager: The rise of Emirati job recruiter Murad Ahmed.

Dubai: Eighteen years ago, UAE national Murad Ahmed, was an intern. His first job was as a reservations agent, part of a hotel front office team.

Today, he is a cluster manager of a major Dubai resort. He looks after several professionals working under him.


How did his career advance? Ahmed today is Cluster Executive Assistant Manager at JA The Resort in Dubai. For one, he said it’s his eagerness to learn that helped him advance his career.

Now, he’s on other side of the job placement equation — as a recruiter meeting fresh candidates. Besides a willingness to learn, what other key qualities is he looking for in job aspirants?

Overcoming challenges

On the sidelines of the Open Careers Day, an initiative led by the Emirati Human Resources Development Council in Dubai, Ahmed has joined as a recruiter. He’s looking for fresh national talent.

He recalled to Gulf News his first steps, having started his working life in the government sector. He pointed out that around that time, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was urging Emiratis to secure positions in the private sector.

It was the year 2004 and I attended a career fair. I saw an opening for a job as a reservations agent at a hotel. And I applied. It was a good opportunity and reason for Emiratis to get into the hospitality sector.

- Murad Ahmed

“It was the year 2004 and I attended a career fair. I saw an opening for a job as a reservations agent at a hotel. And I applied. It was a good opportunity and reason for Emiratis to get into the hospitality sector,” Ahmed said.

He got a call from JA Resorts and Hotels asking him to show up for an interview. Ahmed started working for JA Resorts and Hotels in 2005.

“My English was not strong. I could understand what people were saying but I could not reply and have a conversation going. The interviewer said that was fine — and that he was taking me on as an intern for three months in the front office as a reservations agent.”

“In the lobby there was a poster that read no other language was to be spoken besides English. And it was the right thing to do as there were people of different nationalities working there. So the one common language was English. And I had to learn conversational English as quickly as possible.”

Keys to success

“I was to undertake a training for one month and then move to the front office after that.” Within three weeks of joining, his boss said he wanted to keep me in the job.

“He saw my passion, dedication and eagerness to learn. That is key for anyone who is employed with an organisation.”

Ahmed worked in the reservations department for two years before he became the front office duty manager.

Tips for job seekers

“There has been no looking back. I was 23 and hungry for work. I had just finished my studies and wanted to start working immediately. As someone who is hiring people today, this is what I am looking for. I want to see the fire in their belly, the passion, the hunger in people to work and be ambitious,” he said.

Long days

Ahmed works a minimum 12 hours a day. “My day starts early at 8am. Sometimes I have to dine with guests which goes on well beyond 8pm. And the day just flies by. I never see the time. My work is important and that is what keeps me engaged.”

What makes a successful employee

50-50 deal: Effort from both sides

Ahmed said for an employee to succeed, one has to work on “50-50” deal.

“There has to be effort from both the employer and employee’s side. Hard work and dedication from the employee has to come. The employer on the other hand must help develop their employees. If the company sees you’re eager to reach somewhere and that you have goals, they will appreciate it,” he added.

Long way to go

“My company gave me a clear development plan and I achieved it. I still have a long way to go. But I am happy where I am today. I have a great responsibility and enjoy every bit of my work.”

Ahmed said: “As an employer today, I am looking for someone with hunger, an ambition, a goal. I want to hire someone with a great personality, who is willing to learn and work hard. Rest of the training and skill development will all automatically fall in place.”