- Azhar Kasman
Loads of people want to work for Google, but few make it through the company’s cutthroat interview process.
So to boost their chances, some millennials are turning to a Singapore-based careers startup promising personal advice on how to ace the application process – and it seems to be paying off.
Named BestTop, the service – founded in 2015 by former investment bankers Daniel Kang, 29, and Tony Jin, 33 – has successfully landed five fresh grads jobs at Google, and helped others get gigs at top companies including JP Morgan, P&G, PWC and KPMG.
The service works by pairing fresh graduates with mentors from the industry or company they are hoping to enter.
The mentors provide career advice, resume tips and interview training, and may even use internal referrals to land clients an interview. They also assess if their personality suits a particular company’s culture.
If the job seeker’s resume is not up to scratch, mentors may also recommend contract roles and internships to boost their chances of getting hired.
The founders said they were inspired to start the business after receiving an “overwhelming” number of requests for career advice from junior staff and interns during their time in the banking industry.
They saw the requests as a gap in the market to provide younger millennials with mentors who could help them navigate the tricky business of securing good jobs.
Jin told Business Insider that most fresh graduates were rejected from job applications for “not having enough experience, the wrong skill sets, or failing to impress.”
He added that mentors could help them identify which skills to develop in order to secure a job that “clearly reflected their passion in life”.
To start the business, the founders pooled a five-figure sum from their personal savings, the bulk of which they spent on developing a (now copyrighted) online system, which lets users identify which skills they lack and helps mentors monitor their progress.
It seems the idea hit the mark, as the business broke even within its first two months.
Today, about half of BestTop’s 300 clients are Singaporeans, while the rest hail from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan – where the company plans to expand. It also boasts a stable of over 400 mentors, some of whom work for Fortune 500 companies.
The cherry on top? Kang and Jin claim to have gotten every single client into their dream company.
But the extra leg up does not come cheap. Mentorship sessions cost around S$5,000 and mentors are allowed to accept or reject clients based on how packed their schedules are.
In the case of the five successful Google applications, each job seeker was mentored for between six and 24 months by current or former employees of Google Singapore, Jin said.
The mentors gave the applicants advice on what Google sought in an ideal candidate, and sessions took place on weekends and after office hours on weekdays.
One applicant, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tang, said the structured interview practices and mentors’ feedback on the gaps in his technical skillset were “critical” in helping him land the job.
The five applicants – all of whom were graduates from local universities with fewer than two years’ working experience – went on to secure roles in data analytics and marketing.
A mentor from Google, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lam, added that helping young job seekers be more “career-ready and mature” gave him a sense of achievement.
“I constantly meet young applicants who want to work in Google, and have gained a lot of insights about how millennials these days think about their career,” he added.
BestTop is now looking to hire overseas mentors as well, and is upgrading its online system to allow remote mentoring sessions over video.
It’s also working with Chinese universities like Hong Kong University and Shanghai Jiaotong University to find Chinese students work opportunities here, and provide local applicants with job openings overseas.