Living and working in Qatar: An expat's perspective

Published October 31st, 2016 - 08:05 GMT
Giselle Mae Felarca-Binobo is the HR & Administration Manager at Khalifa Bin Nasser Construction & Development LLC. (Bayt)
Giselle Mae Felarca-Binobo is the HR & Administration Manager at Khalifa Bin Nasser Construction & Development LLC. (Bayt)

Giselle Mae Felarca-Binobo is the HR & Administration Manager at Khalifa Bin Nasser Construction & Development LLC: an established Trading and Contracting Company based in Qatar. In her role, Giselle manages and leads a team of HR officers. Giselle provides Human Resource Management including recruitment, training, performance management, career development, employee relations, benefits and compensation, payroll, safety, and compliance.

Giselle received her Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, she earned the Global Professional in Human Resources certificate, and she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Management. Giselle has accumulated over 10 years of experience in the Construction and Engineering industry.

1. What is your favorite part about working and living in Qatar?

I consider Qatar to be my second home after 10 years of employment. I have already adopted to Qatar’s local norms, I understand its culture and appreciate its lifestyle. Qatar is a generous country, it recognizes every person’s freedom to shape their career and destiny. Diversity is all around. In the workplace, there is a diverse collection of skills and experiences, which allows us to service our customers on a global basis. The diverse workforce makes us comfortable communicating our views and providing a larger pool of ideas resulting in a more effective approach in business strategy and communication.

Qatar is determined to promote its culture and distinguish itself as a prominent nation in the world. Not only in terms of literature, music, art and religion but also in the spectacular designs and engineering projects you see around, and the enormous investment opportunities that ensure a steady stream of professionals from around the world, which contributes to the country’s economic advancement.

Also, Qatar ranked world’s second safest country in the world. Qatar promotes and develops extensive social welfare programs in health and education and continuously advances its security system and network to protect the country and its people.

2. What are the top 3 skills you look for when hiring in the construction and civil engineering fields?

Teamwork skills – In today’s workplaces, the focus is on how employees get things done in teams. Several groups generally make up a construction team, such as the architect and engineering team, the owners and investors and the contractors. All team members share the common goal of wanting to complete the project, but they may also have complicating priorities (time, money, safety, etc.) Aligning these interests and completing a project on time and on budget requires teamwork from all participants. I strongly recommend that every candidate’s interview and assessment include several questions that allow the candidate to demonstrate his or her ability to work in an environment that emphasizes teamwork.

Communication skills – the ability to listen, write and speak effectively. Good communication means that everyone can voice their opinions and comfortably share their suggestions and concerns. Anyone who has bright ideas and concepts in mind but cannot communicate well is in a state of deadlock condition. The ability to communicate and interact with coworkers is critical for accomplishing the work. I require employees to be more participative and negotiate their way through project completion.

Analytical/ Critical skills – the ability to assess a situation, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information if necessary, and identify key issues that need to be addressed. I am very keen to observe candidates’ skills in conceptualizing ideas and devising conclusions with supporting arguments.

3. What is the biggest challenge you face when searching for top talent in Qatar?

The biggest challenge is the difficulty in identifying and recruiting the right talent when there is shortage against market demand. One of the most effective solutions is to not only rely on traditional ways of direct and indirect recruitment scheme. Rather, recruits should engage with global talent through online social platforms. offers massive pools of talents and data where I could find fresh information and easily streamline my recruitment process and attract the best talents.

4. What do you like most about using What is your favorite feature? Why? offers recruitment solutions to capture candidates’ fresh information and resumes. With the search filters I can eliminate time reviewing massive paper resumes and it helps me evaluate candidates efficiently by adding tags and notes to their CVs. also provides options to export and mark the reviewed candidate information in folders and easily extract information. I can share notes and tasks across my teams and other departments. Actually, the platform is user friendly and easy to manage. But even If I am not experiencing any problems managing my company account, customer service and support at always provides great advice and follow up to ensure that they are giving the best services and that I am not missing on any important information and updates.

5. What is your advice for anyone considering employment in Qatar?

Qatar is a wonderful place and Qatari people are very nice and friendly. There are a lot of activities you can enjoy, Qatar promotes education, healthcare and most especially sports. People come from all over the world to work in Qatar. If you are considering employment in Qatar, the first thing to know is the background of the company; every company has different ways of operation and management. However, the number one factor to consider is your compensation and benefits. You should also consider the area and location of your workplace and your accommodation. If you have a family, most importantly look into schooling, medical and childcare options. You must keep in touch with your employers HR personnel to get information on all of these factors in advance.

Qatar plans to create more job positions and expects more vacancies to open up over the coming months. As Qatar’s recruitment pool continues to expand and the demand for construction professionals continue to grow, the industry is also becoming more demanding on individual’s skills and specialty areas. You must keep yourself in the competition by seeking educational and training certificates to add to your profile and advance your career path.

Employers in Qatar really value new ideas and concepts. So if you are person who innovates, is extremely creative, passionate and determined, then this is your place.

6. Any advice for Qatar employers who want to retain their top talent?

Retention is not always easy; Qatar has one of the lowest retention rates for employees primarily because of the high cost of living and restrictions on a candidate’s ability to switch jobs. Talent management and employee retention is critical to the success of the organization. Employers must provide a full induction system to newly hired employee by a trained and qualified HR team. Employers need to reward good performance with monetary or non-monetary benefits, and simply make sure employees are recognized when they achieve their goals and perform above and beyond. It is important to understand what motivates employees and create a culture of trust and transparency. Boost the integrity of employees by engaging them to do what is right. Employees are the most important asset of a company so employers need to hire and build the right and competent HR team to build their pathways to success.

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