Immigrant Story: Getting Into Banking Sector in Canada

Immigrant Story: Getting Into Banking Sector in Canada

[Music] [Music] hi everyone how are you doing i am still on my series of interviewing professionals who have immigrated to canada recently and how they have transitioned into working in their field and all of that today i have with me ajah he is a banker from nigeria he’s had the various diverse banking experience and he has successfully transitioned into banking in canada and today he will be sharing his journey with us so hang on this is going to be a very very interesting interview lots of tips and things to learn honestly have your pen and paper ready because you’re going to be walking away with a lot of tips if you know anyone that is recently relocated and needs to hear this share this video you don’t want to miss it [Music] hello thank you so much for joining me today i am so happy to have you here with me today to talk about what it’s like landing a biking job in canada so today we’re going to be talking about your transition coming to canada as a permanent resident and of course what your professional career has been like since you came and what other immigrants can learn from your experience and all of that so thank you so much for joining me thank you for having me it’s my pleasure you’ve been doing such a wonderful job and i wanted to say that i’m really honored to have you have me giving the opportunity to come to talk to immigrants like me i basically just start with my background i’ve had over 15 years banking experience from most of it was in nigeria i started my career in 2006 i would say i have done basically everything when it comes to banking in nigeria i started off as a bank teller i worked my way to marketing as it’s called in nigeria i moved over to operations and i also had distinctive product management i worked for most of the big banks in nigeria to mention a few zenith bank orchestra bank first bank was my last and banking appointment and when i had gone through all the stages of banking my last job was a product manager with first bank and i was in charge of almost 800 branches managing the western union western union moneygram for the bank so in 2016 i did leave the bank i set up my own consulting firm where we’re about helping small and medium scale businesses scale their business and get them ready for funding so i went into the sme space in 2018 i did decide to move my family over to canada and that’s how i journey to canada started that’s amazing that you guys we already have someone highly experienced here that’s amazing very very great experience that’s actually interesting to know i didn’t know all of that but that’s really good so i guess now my next question is you decided to move your family to canada how did you come to canada there are lots of programs which passed away did you take to come to canada we came in through the express entry i know when i do mention to a lot of people that i’m in saskatchewan they usually think we came into simp but yes we did come into the express entry and specifically to saskatchewan that’s very interesting because a lot of people who do come through express entry very very rarely is that is saskatchewan the choice so why if you don’t mind myself going into that why did you choose saskatchewan well i think a lot of times it’s a misconception from immigrants that are coming like when we were coming everybody said go to ontario because i have a friend a cousin a brother or sister and i looked at myself i’m somebody that wants to get information and knowledge for myself i don’t like to go with what everyone is doing so people say i have a friend of course and i thought about it i said even if you’ve had a friend in ontario it doesn’t make any difference because you’re not going to live with the person all your you probably come in after a couple of weeks and you have to go find your own and make your own space for yourself basically we looked at all the provinces i lived in nigeria lagos nigeria with lots of people hectic life and when we were moving over to canada i wanted something different i wanted a different life i like i wish some people in nigeria we had quantity in canada you have the quality so i wanted a place where i don’t want to seat all buildings i wanted when i’m home i’m home i don’t want cars but i wanted a province that was growing and i had a choice between alberta and saskatchewan said alberta is more of oil field and the economy was sort of taking a dip and i said what about that big province yeah and it was like oh it’s growing and i looked at the stats all their metrics and it’s a growing province i said i’d rather go there and start on my car since everyone is going the other way i said okay why not i look look this round is usually that mindset that misconception with people would say everything is happening in ontario and i choose the other way and i haven’t regretted one bit of it people say oh the weather is too cold and i said but if you are coming from somewhere like africa everywhere is going to be cold so that’s not us and you get used to it so yeah that was my thinking yeah i’m coming to saskatchewan that’s amazing no thank you so much for sharing that because i think a lot of people have to kind of hear that too more things will come out too as we go through our conversation here because sometimes it’s actually better to actually go where everybody’s not going because you tend to stand out there may be more need and demand there where you’re not strong because with a populated place like alberta i had a consultation with the client and i was like advertised the only province that charges the most for their provincial nomination because they know that there’s so many people who want to just be there when there are provinces that don’t charge a claim for their provincial programs right so you can see the difference in that demand there no that’s amazing thank you and you’re here in our cold and small province but it all works i’ve been here for 16 years and i usually tell people it really has been a blessing just the quality of life of what we’ve been able to accomplish here in saskatchewan as well so i’m glad to hear that from a newcomer too yeah okay so you talked a little bit about your professional experience there and you do have really extensive experience especially in the banking industry now what was it like getting into banking in canada it’s one thing i need to let people know like i’m a very very thorough person before i came to canada i did a lot of research i researched problems i wanted to come i researched the industry i wanted to come to i even researched the employer i wanted to work for so one thing i know is if you’re coming to canada it’s best to stick with what you know start from the loan before you go to the unknown before i came people were like oh i want to go into business analysis again the bandwagon affect most people oh business alliance is making money i know several bankers that were bankers i said no banking doesn’t pay i want to change a different unit but if you change an industry any employer employing you is employing you for your experience if you change your new career you are like starting afresh i researched the canadian banking climate and found out that it’s totally what we have in nigeria is totally different from what we have in canada i mean nigeria is more of selling more products while here is more of the service the customer service the customer experience that was the biggest difference that i didn’t find and researching it in canada here if you’re doing banking bankers here are almost professionals let me put it down you can’t talk to anyone about mutual funds without you having the license every stage has a license in places like canada what i discovered is that what you’re going for are your soft skills that is a huge difference the difference is so much between technical and soft skills so i realize in canada is more focused on the soft skills and i looked at my cv and i said what are those transferable soft skills that i have from nigeria that i can bring it to the canadian market so i did research i knew i wanted to be the bank i chose the biggest bank in canada which most people know is the royal bank and i said that is the kind of bank i want to work for so i did my research did my background check on them studied everything about the company found out when the company was formed their products their services and i looked for jobs online and i did apply for a position online now you have to remember this i just got in my my pr i haven’t even landed in canada so i started applying but because i already chosen the programs that i wanted i saw an opportunity and i applied for the job and i applied for a position that in eyesight now is like there’s no way in the world i’m going to get this job and which is one of the things most nigerians which you quit your job the titles to what the equivalent is in canada i went for a position in the bank and i applied and i got called for an interview asked me if i was in canada i said no i’m back in nigeria so what really helped me was that i because i’ve known so much about the province i even knew the street numbers i used to take these reviews all of that yeah i used to go to the local newspaper and read i knew where i wanted to live i knew the schools around the area so when it came to the interview and it was a video interview because i wasn’t around and the viewer actually thought i was maybe i landed and i’d gone back and i was going to come back so the interview started so happen when they explained to me the interview what the job was the enumeration how many years experience you need there and then i said ah there’s no way i’m going to get it i don’t even know the first signal so in a way that sort of helped me because at that point i was just myself i was like there’s no way i’m ever going to get this so i was just very free in the interview i talked candidly i mean we had some malfunction like computers yes i knew how to use the video conferencing so halfway into the interview i had to dial them on my phone and i didn’t know what to do when we got back on we go back to the call and if you know how canadians are they never start anything for money they always do the small talk before they get into the main gist then they just yeah so she started off with small talk i was like okay just more like my friend and i started talking at some point we switched into okay tell me what your career is about and i was like what’s happening here but yeah because i was already relaxed and i was like okay this is no big deal and she was amazed that i was telling her situations of things in canada even though i hadn’t been to canada question was like okay how are you going to build your network i said okay well like like could you nigeria you could do cold calling you could go to this mall and you’re like oh you know this small i’m like yeah i know and she was like oh you know she got a pretty much long story short we went through everything and and when we were done then then she did ask me you’ve learned any kind of when are you coming back i said i haven’t landed the camera away she was so short closer how did you know all that i said well i do need a bit of it she was really blown away that how come you have so much that so much information you haven’t even landed in the country we had that interview and we ended the interview then i reached out to a few people online about the position and they said no you must have had maybe 10 years experience working can i just rule out my mind and i did have a friend who was in canada when i told him my experience he said no no no don’t think you’ve messed it up that look this is kind of it’s more about your your soft skills when i finished the interview i sent the interviewer an email saying thank you for the opportunity and also let’s let her know how my skills were she was fine with it i think a week later i did get a call and when i saw it was i called coming to us like i’m never going to get this job so she quote so she said okay well your interview was okay we’ve gone with someone else i said yeah of course but she said you were one of the best if not the best person in that interview i was like what she was like your own best person and as a bank there is no way in the world they can afford to lose a talent like me in my permission is it please can they refer me to another unit in the bank but they don’t want to lose a talent like me i was like really i said yeah please just give me the opportunity i said okay sure and she said okay next i got an email saying i should let them know when i’m coming to canada i’m going to get interviewed by two people so fine i said okay fine so we did land in canada in january it was pretty cold what i landed i got an email from two vice presidents saying that this other lady sent her my details to them and they were so excited she said all sorts of things about me you’re so excited so i landed day one i think two days later i landed and they said we want to meet you on a monday so this is me new into canada i was squatting with a friend i even have a pair of suits and you come for coffee go for an interview so i should come for coffee right and i was like okay then i did do some research these guys were the regional vice presidents of both small business and commercial banking so i got there in the coffee shop and beside the interview and i kept on talking to them about my my experience i remember so before i got for the interview they did tell me i said okay fine we’re going to interview but i just want to make this clear we have no jobs for you there are no jobs went to the coffee shop they both sat down and said okay tell me about yourself by the time i was done with the interview they were like and we know there are no positions we have to find you something i a job in this organization now this is what really blew my mind they were like okay where do you live i was like oh i live in this area of town okay the lucrative said where’s the closest branch okay so go through that branch we’re gonna talk to that manager and our manager has to kiss at you or talk to you and i was like oh okay because what happens to most people is you get a job then you find an apartment to live in yeah and it’s i already had a place where i was living they said where’s the closest branch to you you can go interview they did refer me to the branch manager of that brand again she gave me a call and said the same thing oh i’ve heard so much about you could you come this day to get interviewed so again i was going there and i was like okay now this is really intact what am i going to do i rushed down to the shop the day of the interview was so cool most of the shops were selling winter winter yeah i bought a pair of pants wore my or timberland boots i was like this is not going anywhere i got to the interview i sat down dropped my jacket and she picked up my resume and she said okay just tell me about yourself and again i went on and on told him about my experiences and because i knew a lot about the bank i told him a lot about the bank history halfway through the interview i hadn’t seen my next thing i heard was she said oh you have the job and she said you have to drop i kept on talking oh well this and that he said i know you have the job i said i’m not sure she said look i don’t need to go further i have seven people that were already i already packed down i’d interviewed for the job i’m going to call the hr person that i found our person never done this before she printed out my job printed out what my pay would be i gave me an employment idea on the spot i said this is what so halfway into uw was more like this is what you’ll be doing you’re like she’s had enough you are the best person i’ve been interviewed and that’s how described all the other people that interviewed yeah before and that’s how i got a job i came out called my wife i said i think i got the job because i was blown away this is me i haven’t even opened a bank account this is just i think it was three or four days landed in canada i had to eat that i already landed a dream job that most people had spent a month so that’s amazing that’s amazing and thank you so much for sharing in such level of detail and just sharing exactly those steps that you took because i think that’s what a lot of people struggle with actually like what do we do and just recap a little bit of what you’ve said so ombud has said that one of the things that he did was research the company okay i think the first thing he said was going with what he knows it’s not you relocating to a new country is already such a huge move that that is not the time to change everything you’ve already known it might not be the best thing it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible but it might not be the best first step at the time going with what you know because like you said is whatever opportunity that you would get is going to be based on the experience that you have so going with what you know what is that experience where can you fit it and once you find where you fit in what you did was he started researching you know you cannot just apply to job you need to know this company as if you already working there and when you apply for those jobs you need to put yourself in those job descriptions is what i tell people read it as if it is your job what you will be doing because when you read it that way that you’re able to do so much better at the interview you’re able to represent yourself a lot better answer the questions the way the hiring manager will be looking to listen to so you could hear what he said he did now he didn’t wait until he arrived in canada to start applying for jobs he started before he came he also started researching the community not just the bank the community because in canada a lot of people miss the whole canadian experience thing with actually having a canadian job and that is not really what canadian experience is canadian experience is what mba talked about you know when he said he was able to you knew the environment where the school was where the communities were the more being able to engage in those initial small talks it really makes them feel like you’re already one of them so thank you so much for sharing that and you know being very confident as well in what your knowledge and your experience is really what you know gets you that job here so that’s amazing that’s an amazing journey and congratulations being able to secure something like that know that you know what there’s some level of certainty in my life in this place by the time i arrive it’s amazing it’s really good in breaking it down and really breaking it down there are some very key things you need to know like when i had the first interview with the vps what i was able to do on my cv was able to explain to them what like in nigeria we call them a marketer what a marketer was the canadian equivalent of what a marketer wants here it could be a relationship manager you could be a real account manager so when i was explaining to them i also explained to myself look when we say relationship manager market this is what it means in the as canadian as they got it were like fantastic and they asked me what does this mean a bank teller means a customer service officer in canada i was able to do that distinction they were they were able to understand okay so when he says this is what it means and they confined me i said no one has been able to explain it that way to them and that’s one very useful tip and another thing you have to understand which is what i did too i studied canadian etiquette what are those things when you’re in an interview with canadians maintain eye contact be confident know how to give a small talk make sure you are audible like i had to change and people don’t know this i had to even change my accent i had to learn how to pronounce what saskatchewan i had to know how to discuss the weather and say how is the weather they like to have their small talk and like she said when an employer says canadian experience people think it’s just about having a canadian job no it’s the experience you get the soft skills you learn because you’ve worked in a canadian company because the hiring manager is looking at you this person can fit into my team down to even his name is he a name that everyone in my team can even pronounce is this do i see this person fit into my organization and once you like you said once you see yourself in their shoes and they are comfortable with you and they see you like one of them having that they know you are experienced you have those natural three soft skills and for people especially in banking your strongest skill you can ever have is your customer experience skill your customer service everything you do here is irrelevant they do have targets but they are not like target driven go bring this amount of money they are more what is the customer experience they believe if you give a car and a good customer experience he will give you their business a manager in canada is someone that’s like a coach that coaches you to become the best version of yourself so i some people say i’m a bank manager oh i’m a bank my indian nigeria i need to become a manager here no managers here are totally different they are coaches amazing now that’s good thank you for highlighting those as well because it’s very important and i usually tell people most of the times in canada when you get to the point that you are invited for an interview it’s not so much about your technical skills because they’ve seen your resume they know that you can do it it’s actually more about those soft skills to see are you going to be a good fit with our team with our organization i’ve been on hiring i’ve hired and all of that and sometimes person might have actually done the interview very well but just because of the personality the soft skill you don’t feel the person might be a good fit with the overall culture of the company then that person doesn’t get the job so you could be the best technically but your soft skills literally fail you at an interview so it’s very very important that’s amazing so i guess now you’ve kind of gone through it you’ve actually had a really good experience i would say compared to most people who come and have to wait for months before finding that job not just any job but another job in your field as well with your experience is there anything that you would have changed looking back would you have done anything differently even though my experience was actually really good experience i was really shocked to have gotten like the only thing i would have changed was i would have researched more what i know right now because i know the key is more about the soft skill i would have spent more time developing my soft skill because truth be told when i got into the role i had to do a lot of catching up i would go to any meeting and i would meet a senior vice president that was still talking about me and said you are the one that the manager was all going crazy about everyone’s expecting you i was like wow they blow my trumpet dude am i going to meet overstreet but i found out i had to adapt to the canadian culture the way they did things and also do my role as an advisor in the bank attend to clients and if i could do anything i would have spent most of my time focusing more on the soft skills because i had some experience when i got into the bank i found out that there are some people that walked in the bank who they more like moved to different departments because they were very good technically where they come in the client wants this they do it and they go and the client will do a survey and say that’s the worst experience i’ve ever had i like did i sell the product rightly yes you did all of that a lot of that rightly but the person didn’t relate and i found out that what ranks highest it is the experience the first time i had an interaction with the client and i did everything the client wanted i did all that and the manager was standing on my back and said what did you do wrong i was like i think i got ft right he said he didn’t have a conversation with the person and i was thinking it was all about the client comes in you serve him decline walks away yeah and he told me no i’m like oh but there are other people with him said no you have to treat everyone special and i observed and i was like i’ve totally missed it so it was one thing i would advise anybody forget the technical skills most of your managers just probably just have a high school degree focus on your soft skill if you are from places like nigeria you already understand the language that’s a big plus yeah and people from other parts of the world so that’s a big plus focus on soft skills that’s what i would have said i would have spent three months probably at a mcdonald’s or just learning how to talk and interact with canadians understanding that how you see a calendar calendars are always smiling they always smiling meaning that they smile you open the door for people you say thank you you say you’re welcome very polite very very polite if i could go back and say that’s what i would have spent my time rather than getting certifications or i wanted to focus on that like you said everyone is qualified your competition is qualified you have competition from india you have contributed all over the world you have europeans coming we are all qualified what we miss out is that soft skill and that’s the one thing i would have changed thank you very much for sharing that because people underestimate that and i know that on our social media page i do get that message out just to remind people what are those soft skills like don’t go into an interview and be all technical and not relate to your interviewer and things like that some people feel like oh it’s serious let me just be serious but you know those relaxed conversations and all of that are actually things that really bring out more of who you are because they want to feel like they’re hiring a real person and things like that so it’s really really really important so in our conversations you do help new immigrants as well people who are coming in especially in your field as well who are looking to get into that field can you talk a little bit about what you do in terms of coaching and guiding people to help them secure jobs in those fields when i did come into got into the field i think it wasn’t something i actually set out to do so when i was in the bank i did meet a fellow nigerian who said oh i have a friend that is coming in when she heard my story and she said wow i have a friend he’s also a banker he’s coming in he’s coming to saskatchewan and he needs help he needs to know how he can get into the backpack okay fine so i told him exactly most of what i’ve told you now which team i said look the first mistake most immigrants do especially the bankers do is they try to match up with what they are doing back in nigeria like son is a branch manager in nigeria and he comes in here he wants to apply to be a branch man it can’t work because the skills you have in being a branch manager are totally different from the skills you need to be a branch manager in canada so the biggest thing i found out is applying for the wrong jobs and my approach is usually getting to the door first first the first thing you have to do you get into door first you do your because you can’t hold the position if you’ve not passed your certification now you know a lot of people say oh if i pass the exam i also know a lot of people too that are directed to me that i passed all the certification but they couldn’t get a job because again they focused on the technical skills i left out the soft skills so i did tell the person i said first of all look for an entry-level position when it comes to the bank and he was like no i’ve done this i said tried he told me all the jobs he had me applying for and i said you can’t get this job you can’t get this job and i explain to you why you can’t get answered when you get in you understand and anyone that has been in banking in canada will tell you the day you get into your job you suddenly realize that you were never qualified to get it get it for those other ones for those other ones you know that because it is day and night there’s nothing similar to it there’s nothing similar about the banking the way the operation is done is totally different the way products have been instituted the responsibilities are threatened so what i did was i coached the guy he so i applied for the right job instantly he got called then he got called for an interview and he was like okay i said no this is the mistake i said go and read up about the company go and get about the products and services when you’re talking to a canadian this is a test i usually do when you’re talking to a canadian and you you’re not saying what did you say or repeat yourself then you know you are communicating that’s why you keep saying repeat yourself it means that you haven’t got i said change your accent a bit it’s not for me i like say change your accent a bit just fluent and be clear well nothing i told him i said even your cv make your name in such a way and this is look small i said change your name in such a way that they can even pronounce it so if your name is coyote you can just say something easy so the guy went for and this is a true story the guy came in just like i came in i coached i said go apply for this job this lawyer he did apply he was called for an interview he called me i said no go and study i’m not going to help in any way he studied ask him questions do you know when the interview process was going on i started getting calls and because i told a few people i have somebody going in for yeah the guy was the best person in the whole interview amazing he was the best person in the interview the guy got hired and he has been promoted to another step so he got the same results that i got by just listening to the same things that i said i did also meet a branch a manager from nigeria much better experience than i have had he’s been here for a couple of years no job same problem he was applying for the big approach i said no you’re not going to qualify no one’s going to give you that responsibility to start managing people in canada when you don’t even know what the job is you don’t have those skills yeah you don’t have it so i said let’s start again go back to the basics your role your first one year is to just get into the industry once you get into the industry and they see and those people see what you can do they will promote you and again guy did the same thing apply for lord job god called for an interview same process got into the bank and before long i started getting calls from different people i’m at this i’m at this stage i’m at that stage and i’m like interview this is what you focus on and it’s not something i set out to do but i just found that just giving those little little tips i’ve gotten so many people from who have been one year no job they’ve gotten into the industry i know people that even switch jobs some that were at the stage of getting doing an interview then i now realize i said wow so these little tips as small as they are are really really important and the financing i would do close with always i know from the part of the world where we come from we don’t really value advice when it comes to that it’s not really valuable we keep thinking oh i know what to do when you see people that have experience i said experience is not the best teacher with this experience is the best teacher so i say when you see people that have had experience florence has over has been here 13 years i’ve probably been here this is my second going to my third year she has a lot of experience when it comes to saskatchewan the industry the market work on those expenses look for people in those areas and what you want to let them give you independent advice do not do what everyone is doing because everyone can be wrong when i came people said you must have a canadian nation before you can get a job you cannot get a job in the banking field if you don’t pass your certification must be landed in canada before you go i broke all those stereotypes i joined the bank the bank paid for my professional exam i literally got jobs before coming into canada i didn’t get any canadian education or anything and i got a job now because i got a job when i talk to people they all of a sudden say you don’t need that so it’s all all here if people say it can be done you just automatically feel it can be done and i know people that came in a year before i came in went back to school got a full canadian education only to come back to the same spot where we both are right now so i’m not saying it’s wrong to get a canadian i’m saying sometimes don’t listen to what people are saying try it out for yourself believe in yourself believe in your skills and follow your own part absolutely no thank you so much it’s really really important i haven’t found that even like in the accounting field like i’ve had people who would just reach out to me oh this is what i’m doing and the same strategy again is the same thing like there are certain jobs that you cannot just be applying to and say i’ve not gotten a job knowing the right job to apply for is as key as you getting that job is so important and i’m so happy that you really did speak about that it’s so important and also speaking to people who have done it because it’s so easy sometimes if you can’t see it you can’t achieve it right but once you’ve seen it done you’ve seen it someone achieve it then it becomes very possible because okay someone has done it so i can actually do this as well and sometimes your circle might not actually have someone who has achieved it look out of your circle look far and wide don’t be limited to the circle that you’re in look far and wide and see what people are accomplishing and then that is going to also help you find yourself breaking things just like bad did and all of that so that’s absolutely amazing and it’s really been such a great session here just speaking with you and hearing about the experience and also i think a lot of people would benefit from the differences in the industry i’ve had different professionals that i’ve had these sessions with and i’m always actually amazed at how different every one of you speak about being working in your field in your home country and then coming to canada and seeing that even though it might be the same job title it is very different and all of that so thank you so much for everyone listening if you would like to have a session with that i would like him to help you and coach you on how to actually get into your field here what you need to do to get into that banking job and all of that he would be so happy to do that with you there’ll be a link down in our description box here where you can actually schedule a session with him and he’ll be more than happy to walk you through i’m looking at your scenarios and really advising you on what would work best for you so but thank you so much for hanging out with me today any fun words do your research don’t follow what everyone is saying immigrants tend to follow the herd they say one person is doing this know that everyone’s path is different so follow your own part know what you’re here for don’t compare yourself with other people and it’s a new land there’s a new place i tell people when you come over to canada i plan canada the first thing you need to do is everything you’ve learned in nigeria all those experiences you have keep it aside when you practice a new opportunity the land is different the land is there for the taking that’s right that’s right so don’t carry all those old mentality and say this is what is done this is the way we do it in nigeria and we are coming coming here canadians trust you first until you prove them otherwise in places like africa we distrust you first till you end our trust you can write all the wrongs of the last 10 15 years in canada is a new land and we are enjoying the fruits of it and i can’t wait to go hook up with most of you that want to learn how to settle in canada please just reach out on one hour absolutely thank you so much thank you so much everyone for listening share this share this with your friends your family if you know anyone who is looking to come or who has already even settled in canada is really struggling to get themselves figured out settled in your career absolutely share this video with them you might be helping someone thank you once again thank you and have a wonderful day [Applause] bye [Music] you
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Immigrant Story: Getting Into Banking Sector in Canada

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