Talent Acquisition: Master the Recruitment and Interview Process | Vicky Fung | Skillshare

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Talent Acquisition: Master the Recruitment and Interview Process

teacher avatar Vicky Fung, Senior Finance Executive, CPA

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

23 Lessons (1h 43m)
    • 1. Welcome to My Course

    • 2. Master the Hiring Process Like a Pro

    • 3. Resume Screening

    • 4. Phone interview

    • 5. Applicant Tracking Systems

    • 6. Video interview

    • 7. Interview Opening

    • 8. Listen and Respond with Empathy

    • 9. 3 Don't during interview

    • 10. Interview Closing

    • 11. Second interview

    • 12. Peer involvement

    • 13. Reference Check

    • 14. 6 - step for conducting effective reference check

    • 15. Key Takeaway - Master the Interview Process Like a Pro

    • 16. Interview Difficult Candidates

    • 17. The Over-Prepared

    • 18. The Quiet

    • 19. The Talkative

    • 20. The Over-Nervous

    • 21. Other Difficult Candidates

    • 22. Key Takeaway - Interview Difficult Candidates

    • 23. Conclusion

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About This Class

This class, “Master the Recruitment and Interview Process”, is the third class under the “Talent Acquisition” series.  It includes all 2 main sessions:

  • How to conduct each recruitment step effectively and professional
  • How to help the difficult candidates to present their best during interview

For the 1st part, it covers every session during the recruitment process, from resume screening, ATS, phone interview, face-to-face interview, second interview, peer involvement and reference check.  You will learn what you should consider during each stage.  You will also learn how to open and close your interview professionally and effectively.  Most importantly, I will teach you how to use empathy to create a good impression on your candidates to increase their future chance of accepting your job offer.

For every recruitment, we are hiring the best fit but not a perfect person.  Sometimes a less than perfect person can be the best fit.  The 2nd session teaches you how you can help these less-than-perfect candidates to present their best during the interview.  You will learn how to get the most from the over-qualified, the talkative, the quiet, the over-nervous and many other types of candidates during interviews.

In short, if you want to learn how to conduct the recruitment and interview process professionally, please watch this class now.  Thank you.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Vicky Fung

Senior Finance Executive, CPA


Hi!  I am Vicky Fung, a senior Finance Executive with 20 years of experience in finance and accounting.  I have worked in many large companies with operations over the world.  I got 10 years of experience in recruiting and onboarding new staff, as I have actively involved in recruitment for my team and other positions for my ex-employers.  I would like to share my knowledge and experience with you.  Please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance. 

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1. Welcome to My Course: Talent acquisition: Master the Recruitment and Interview Process Welcome to my class. Hi, I am Vicky Fung, a senior Finance professional with 20 years of experience. I have worked in many large companies with operations over the world. I have interviewed thousands of candidates since I started my first hiring 10 years ago. This class, “Master the Recruitment and Interview Process”, is the 3rd class under the talent acquisition series. This class consists of 2 sessions. In the first session, I will teach you how to conduct each recruitment part professionally, from phone interview, video interview, formal face-to-face interview, second interview to reference check. You will learn what you should consider during each stage of recruitment. You will also learn how to open and close your interview professionally and effectively. Most importantly, I will teach you how to use empathy to create a good impression on your candidates and increase their future acceptance chance of your job offer. Moreover, I will also give you examples how you can involve your peers during the recruitment process. This will not only help you to ensure getting a right hire, but will also encourage your peers to provide support to your potential new staff. Finally I will close this session by discussing how to conduct an effective reference check. In every interview, we always want smart and perfect candidates. However, in reality, we usually meet different kinds of candidates. When we face with less than perfect or difficult candidates, we tempt to kick them out. However, making such rush judgment mean that you may drop out a potentially good hire, but unremarkable candidate too quickly. Always remember, you are choosing the right fit for your vacancy but not a perfect person. Not every one of them is an extrovert or a good story teller. Also, some candidates may look good on resume but during the interview, they talk too little or too much, or may control the interview unintentionally, or may provide you vague answers but not concrete examples. As a hiring manager, instead of quickly kicking them out, you should try to get the most from them in the interview. Remember you are representing your Company, so how you behave will directly impact your Company’s reputation. Candidates may bad-mouth you and the Company if they have poor experiences while the opposite is also true. Therefore, even though the candidates may turn out not suitable, you should be professional at all times. Promoting or de-selling your Company is your choice. Therefore, the challenge lies in focusing on how you would handle these situations and people professionally, rather than focusing on the negative. So in the second half of this class, I will talk about how to handle different kinds of difficult candidates. You will learn how to optimize our approach and act professionally under different situations. You will learn how to help these difficult candidates to show their best during the interview. In the end of these 2 main sessions, I will recap the major points to facilitate your easy learning. Finally I will conclude my whole course. If you want to learn how to do screening, how to conduct effective interview, how to increase your candidates to accept your job offer, how to involve your peers during interview, how to handle difficult candidates, how to conduct effective reference check as well as learning other useful tips, please enroll this class now. See you soon! 2. Master the Hiring Process Like a Pro: "Master the Hiring Process Like a Pro" Hiring is time-consuming and expensive. Getting it right is crucial, and getting it wrong can be fatal. Ineffective process not only means you will waste all your time and effort, but also will bring tremendous costs for your Company and yourself as the hiring manager. What’s more is that it also leads to negative candidate experience, damage to your Company’s reputation, lower productivity, poor morale but higher turn down rate for your job offer. No matter what the economic situation is, the job market is always competitive when we looking for bright candidates. You need to realize that you should sell your Company and the position as much as the candidates are. While you choose them, they also make the decision to join you or not. It is a fair deal. Very often, the interview process is the candidate’s first experience with your Company. Your interview process reflects the value your company places on each candidate and, by extension, each employee. Try to treat these candidates well as VIP customers during the whole interview process, and give them a thoughtful and impressive hiring process. These will make your candidates have good impression on your Company, the job role and your work environment. This allows you not only making great hires, but also building goodwill for you and the Company, as well as enhancing your future recruitment efforts. Therefore, mastering how to conduct the hiring and interview process is a crucial step for recruiting the best candidates for your Company and your team. An effective job interview will give the candidates an opportunity to learn about your company and also you a good chance to learn about them. This session covers every step from resume screening, phone interview, video interview, formal interview and reference check. You will learn how to conduct all these important procedures with effective results to get your right hire. You will learn the key items for attention during the whole process. You will also learn how to get your peers to assist you in making your hiring decision and how to verify what you got from the interviews with the references. By finishing this session, even though you may not be a HR professional, you will be able to create a well-organized hiring and interview process. Now let’s start. Hope you enjoy this session and find it practical. Thank you. 3. Resume Screening: "Résumé Screening" Every interview starts with résumé screening. It seems that everyone can do this job. However, if you overlook this step, you may end up interviewing unqualified candidates or qualified candidates being screened out and then you waste your time and effort. The main purpose of screening resumes is not to screen people out, but to screen people in. Most Managers want to see the best candidates first. Reviewing resumes allows you to select those who are the most qualified for the position. In this lecture, I would like to highlight the major attention areas to facilitate you in this process. So you may have a question, "What should I look for and are there any tricky items?" Mmm...You should first familiarize yourself with the job requirements and understand what kinds of candidates you are looking for, say education, job experience, skills, salaries, competencies and so on. Based on the criteria, you may now rank and group the candidates into 2 groups: (1) Group one - highly qualified candidates who should be given consideration; (2) Group 2- potential qualified candidates who can be considered, as a backup for Group 1. Grouping allows the interviewer to focus on the best qualified candidates first. During this process, please bear in mind the following items: (1) Titles - titles may be misleading and inflated, for instance, in an insurance Company, a VP may be just a general staff and not a senior executive. Please review the level of the job tasks that the candidate is actually doing. (2) Years of experience - Some people may have work for the same job level for 10 years and they may not have more potentials than the others. Please focus on activities and behaviors instead of years of experience. (3) Frequent job changes without career advancement - If a résumé shows a jumpy career history, this may be a sign of problem behavior and please be aware of that. (4) Gaps in employment history - Don't assume that employment gaps are caused by a candidate's inability to hold a job. It is too early to screen him out because of this. However, please remember to explore the reasons for employment gap during the interview. (5) Education - Having an advanced degree may not guarantee the candidates are more capable especially in today's society where Master degrees are nearly everywhere. (6) Salary - If a candidate is asking for a little more than what you can offer, don't immediately screen him out. You may clarify salary potential in a phone interview. (7) Résumé writing - Today it is difficult to determine if the candidates prepared this resume all by himself or not, however, for poor résumé, say with lots of spelling mistakes, typos, grammatical errors and poor formatting, it highly indicates the candidate's organizing and writing skills and lack of attention for details. As the hiring manager, sometimes you may do the resume screening by yourself. If it is not you to do this step, please ensure you have clearly communicated to that person the criteria in reviewing the résumé and the expected current job duties of the targeted candidates. For me, I often need to hire staff for the Finance Department. Before screening, I will explain to the HR that a title or years of experience may not reflect the candidate's level. An accountant who is only responsible for issuing cheques, doing bank reconciliations, arranging payments and so on, may be actually in the clerk level. "Full-set of accounting" may mean different things for each candidate. It is important to look at the job specifics and their accomplishments, say system implementation, M&A, process improvement and so on. During résumé screening, please also evaluate the effectiveness of the job advertisement. Notice that even subtle word can have a strong impact on the application pool, for example, "competitive" may draw more men whereas "cooperative" maybe just the opposite. If the majority of applicants are not the target types, the hiring manager may need to consider revising the job description of the advertisement. This may save the subsequent time and effort in reviewing the resumes from the unqualified candidates. Lastly, while you are reviewing the resumes, do take note anything that is not clear or any knowledge or experience that you would like to know more. You can follow up these notes in the later stage of phone interview or face-to-face interview. Thank you. 4. Phone interview: "Phone Interview" - Phone interview is used as a preliminary screening method to save time and cost. It sounds easy but in fact this can be challenging. It is your first opportunity to speak to your candidates, so their first impression on your Company is critical. It is important you make them feel you are as excited about getting to know them as they are about being considered for the role. Meanwhile, phone interview usually last briefly for less than 30 minutes but you have a lot of info to be covered. To recap, you have to achieve 4 objectives within a short period of time: (1) Make a great first impression. (2) Give the candidates general information about the Company and the role. (3) Assess whether the information in the résumé is consistent with the candidate's presentation. (5) Gather all the relevant information for shortlisting. So it is important for you to ask effective questions and ensure that you have good time management. Traditionally, the questions usually focus on salary expectation, qualification, experience, education, career goals, work history and reasons of leaving. Please note that detail questions usually are not asked here. However, nowadays, many Companies may also ask deep and serious questions in order to learn more about the candidates, so that they have richer information to make better screening. Phone interview is the beginning of the candidates' journey with your Company, so make sure that the journey starts on the right foot. Depending on the situation of your Company, you may pick up some questions on motivational, personality, soft skills and cultural fit to ask here. The earliest you find that the candidates are not the right fits, the more time and cost you can save for both parties. In addition, treat your candidates as "your customers" with respect. Despite it is a short conversation, you should demonstrate interest, engagement and encouragement from the beginning to the end, so that you let your candidates feel respected, relaxed and excited. No matter they pass through this phone interview or not, their nice experience is a positive confirmation of your Company's brand name and reputation, which is important when your candidates subsequently talk about it with others. This is a way of promoting your Company. Now let me share some tips on conducting the phone interview: (1) Ask the same set of interview questions to each candidate for fair and objective comparison; (2) Ask current and expected salary as the first question. Candidates are more likely to give a good answer. If they cannot give you an expected salary or range, please remember to come back to it before inviting them to an in-person interview. (3) Notice whether the candidates talk too much about money as people motivated only by money may not be good fit. Listen whether there are good reasons driven for their job hunting other than salary. (4) Check for the LinkedIn profile to ensure consistency and ask the candidates for explanation of discrepancies. If they cannot explain clearly, it may be a red flag for you, particularly on integrity. (5) If the candidates cannot tell the job duties of the post or describe the products or services of your Company, they may not be too interested in this role. It is the basic expectation that candidates should do their research on the Company and check for the job description before attending the interview. (6) Listen carefully for their tone, voice and tenses. Apply all the listening techniques that I mentioned in the previous lectures on listening to identify the low performers. If the candidate talks in low energy during the phone interview, maybe he is not a suitable fit. (7) Take notes on their answers for subsequent interviews. If candidates make up their answers which were not the actual reason, they may tell different answers for the same question in the next interview. Remember to check for consistency in their answers in the subsequent interviews, especially for important questions, such as the reasons of leaving the Company. (8) Lastly, evaluate their telephone manner. If you do not like to talk to them even during the phone interview, you may trust your instinct as phone interview skill is also very important in the day-to-day business operation. After all, no matter whether the candidates pass the phone interview or not, remember to thank them for their time and effort in making a pleasant discussion. Thank you. 5. Applicant Tracking Systems: "Application Tracking Systems" Today job application is easy and all you need is to submit your résumé and cover letter online. The ease of online job postings can attract hundreds of applications, many of which are from unqualified job seekers who consider "it was worth a try". On the other hand, this creates a challenge for hiring, particularly for narrowing down the candidates. Instead of sorting through the crowded email inbox, many Companies use Application Tracking System ("ATS") to keep themselves organized and efficient. This solution is especially critical for large Companies that are hiring for multiple positions simultaneously. So what is ATS? ATS is a software that streamlines the hiring process and provides an automated way to manage the entire process from receiving applications to hiring employees. It offers a wide variety of features, including managing applications, screening resumes, scheduling interviews, creating interview scorecards, contacting applicants and much more. It provides many advantages including: (1) It allows you to set some knockout questions for filtering out candidates based on cultural fit or characters without having phone interview. (2) It allows you to specify the desire to single out people with certain characteristics, such as being qualified accountant, having at least 5 years of work experience as a Manager and so on. Thus you can highlight the most relevant candidates automatically, saving your time and opening your schedule for other duties. (3) It enables you to do ATS search, filter, ranking and other functions that show the top candidates. (5) It keeps track of all applicant data, no matter qualified or not, so that you can assess it later as needed. (5) It reduces administration and increase efficiency. Time and money are saved with less paper work and hiring process is also speed up. (6) It also facilitates communication and connection with the candidates. For instance, upon their application, they receive a confirmation email and then subsequently also receive tailored emails informing the status of interview. Some ATS software even allows for video interview options, which may include a self-recorded video clip coming from the candidate to showcase their personality. All these in return, not only saves administrative cost and time, but also helps in building the brand name of the Company. There is no such thing as perfection with any technology. While ATS can lighten the workload and improve results at the same time, ATS also has 3 major drawbacks: (1) Missing out highly qualified candidates - While ATS saves your time from having to review all the resumes yourself, it may leave many extremely qualified candidates behind due to 2 reasons: (i) Difficulty in reading different fonts - ATS may have difficulty in reading certain fonts, which means possibly rejecting highly qualified candidates. Furthermore, some ATS limit response length and certain characters, which can also result in missing data. (ii) Keywords screening problem - While ATS use keywords to automate the screening process, those great candidates whose resumes do not contain the correct keywords or have formatting issues would be rejected. They may also be rejected because their previous job titles are not matched. Any deviation from the exact criteria you have requested result in elimination, leaving no room for human involvement. (2) Candidates try to beat ATS by optimizing their resumes with keywords - Now there are lots of online resources teaching candidates how to optimize their applications for ATS search and ranking by matching the resume keywords to the job description. Candidates who can predict the correct résumé keywords will have the greatest chance of being included in recruiter search results. (3) No creativity allowed - ATS does not allow for any creativity and candidates are not allowed to demonstrate innovation. Merely that one can only follow the formatting instructions. In conclusion, ATS brings many advantages for you, particularly in saving your time and effort in screening the resumes. However, still it is a machine and due to technological limitations, it may also eliminate some great candidates. Given that ATS price varies greatly and some can be very expensive, it is important for you to evaluate whether the cost of a system and integrations are truly worth the benefits. If you are using ATS, try to spend some time on quickly skimming through the resumes, at least trying not to avoid those great candidates being rejected. Thank you. 6. Video interview: "Video Interview" - Video interviews are often used in the early stages of the interview process to filter out large number of candidates. They can vary in style and length. Obviously, video interview allows you to get more info than phone screening, and also save time and money as compared to the face-to-face interview. You and other colleagues involved in hiring decision can re-watch the interview again, rather than just relying on your notes from phone screening. With the increasing quality and reliability of affordable video conferencing software (like Zoom and Google Meet) and hardware (such as microphones, headsets and webcams), video interview are becoming more popular. In 2020, because of the COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, most companies are unlikely to hold any face-to-face interviews. Video interviews have taken a dominating role and the trend will likely continue in future. More and more companies have also replaced the traditional face-to-face first interview with video interview. There are 2 formats of video interview, namely Live and Pre-record. Both formats provide very different experiences. While live interview has become more popular, pre-record video interview is relatively new but is growing in popularity. For Live, this is very similar to regular face-to-face interview. You can speak to the candidate in real time over a video connection using Zoom or Google Meet. Live videos allow you to enjoy the traditional interview format without requiring the candidates to travel to your office, meaning that you can interview any candidates from anywhere in the world. You can use all the techniques to interview the candidates as a normal face-to-face meeting. For Pre-recorded, this means the candidates record their answers to a series of interview questions that you prepared in advance, for your review at a later time. that suits you. Pre-recorded interviews can work in a variety of ways. A question will be delivered as audio, video and/or test. Candidates might then have to answer it straight away and within a certain time limit, say two minutes, or they might have half an hour to prepare for a response. Candidates usually have greater pressure under the Pre-recorded video interview than the normal phone interview or face-to-face interview as they have a time limit to answer a question. However, this method allows you to spend more time getting to know more applicants with limited effort. It is particularly suitable if you need to narrow down the application pool from a lot of candidates and invite the selected candidates for face-to-face interviews. It gives your flexibility to watch the interviews when you have time. It also allows you to interview more candidates than the phone interview. Though now everyone has a cell phone and can easily record video, not everyone is comfortable on camera, and this may put some candidates at a disadvantage. Sometimes the lack of eye contact of candidates may simply because the camera was not set at eye level, so they seem to be looking down or looking up when speaking. It is difficult for you to observe their body language and other non-verbal cues in video interviews. Together with the Internet connectivity problem, video interview may give you a wrong first impression of the candidates. You may screen out those talents who are great at job but just got technical issues or unexpected noise disturbance during the video interview. To minimize the potential problems, it is better for your IT team to provide necessary support to candidates before the video interview, such as sending guidelines and providing email contact or hotlines for solving technical problems. During Live interview, you can use the techniques which I discussed in the subsequent lectures, including building rapport, having an easy talk in the interview opening, complimenting them and comforting them to minimize the negative impact. The key is do your best and make them relax. In addition, during your Live video interview, make sure you show your candidates that you are following what they are saying. You may say, "right". "great", "OK", "fine", "understand" and so on. If the sound drops or the Internet suddenly becomes not stable, stay professional and say, "I'm sorry, I missed that. Would you mind repeating that?" At all times, both sides need to make sure they can hear each other very clearly. If something suddenly goes wrong, watch carefully how the candidates react and you can get some hints how they operate under pressure. Video interview will be more and more common and popular. Do consider to use this method after phone interview to narrow down your candidate pool. Thank you. 7. Interview Opening: "Interview Opening" - In the previous sessions, I talked about the questioning and listening techniques as well as the solutions for solving various interview worries. Now we can put them all into practice. The interview starts! As for any usual meeting, the interview opening is an introduction of the meeting purpose. It starts with greeting the candidate, introducing your name and position, and then explaining the interview's purpose. You may describe your interview plan and how you would structure the 3 main parts to the candidates, namely: (1) Walk through the candidate's education and career history; (2) Ask questions to get specific information about the candidates; (3) Provide information and answer for the candidate's questions for the Company and the job role. You may explain the interview plan as follows: "I'd like to spend the first 10 minutes or so getting some info on your education and work experience. Then I'll ask some questions to get specific examples of what you have done in your jobs. Finally, I will talk about the job position in details. How does it sound to you?" It sounds easy, right? Actually your major task in the opening session is to set the atmosphere and tone of the interview. It is normal that the candidates feel nervous. The more relaxed and focused they are, the more comfortable they are willing to share with you for their personal info. So please make sure that your make them feel at ease from the moment they enter the room, and you create an atmosphere that promotes the communication. You may question me, "Hub? Is that realistic?" I know, you cannot 100% erase all their tension but there are 2 things that you can do at every interview. They will help you: (1) Be approachable, kind, confident and friendly by having open body language and listening actively. Try to develop the initial trust, and show your interest, so that the candidates are more willing to share with you and tell you the truth subsequently. (2) Follow a 5-step opening approach and show your respect to the candidates. "So what is this 5-step approach?" "OK, now let me tell you." Step (1) - Be hospitable. When candidates arrive for interview, ask if they would like something to drink and show where to find the restroom. Make them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible, just like the VIP customers. Step (2) - Before you formally start the conversation, begin the interview with some small easy talk for ice-breaking purpose. For instance, you may ask them whether it is difficult for them to find your office, and whether they have been waiting for a while for the interview and so on. Then you may begin your introduction of today's interview structure. Encourage them to be more open and honest with you throughout the interview. Step (3) - Mention and explain that you may need to interrupt during the interview in the early beginning. This will make it easier for you to re-direct the candidates during the interview and make both of you to be more comfortable. For example, you may say, "From time to time, I might have to interrupt and suggest that we move on to something else. The reason I do this is just to be sure we can talk about all the things that you have done. OK? "; Step (4) - Start with questions on who they are first. For example, you may say, "Tell me a bit about your work background and then give me a description of how you think it relates to this job role." Following that, you can perform the key background review and go through the career history with the candidate. Step (5) - After that, move on to the planned behavioral questions. Tell the candidates that the discussion will be shifting and that you would like to have different responses in this part of the discussion and you would like to learn more specific past examples. For example, you may say, "OK, now I would like to shift to another area and ask you about specific situations in your job. When you describe these situations, I would like you to tell me exactly what your actions were and also what was the result." In this way, the candidate knows what to expect and how to respond. Of course, when you ask these questions, do apply the S.T.A.R. model 2.0 to assist the candidates to structure the answers. So this is the 5-step for opening. Besides what I have mentioned, there is one more point to note. Please do not provide your candidates with a full list of desired skills and personalities in this initial interview conversation. Wait until at the end of the interview. Otherwise, they will likely present themselves the way you told them what you are looking for, instead of reflecting the truth about themselves. Well begun is half done, follow the above steps and you will likely have an effective interview. Good luck. Thank you. 8. Listen and Respond with Empathy: "Listen and Respond with Empathy" In the last few sessions, you learnt that making the candidates feel relaxed and comfortable during interview, facilitates them to provide more useful, in-depth information about their past experiences, including negative and sensitive information. To maximize this impact, you must start one thing as early as possible and do this consistently throughout the whole interview. So what is this? This is "Listen and Respond with Empathy". It means you send the candidates the message that what they are saying are important and you truly understand their feelings and the situations. You try to fulfill their 3 personal needs, "be treated with respect", "feel important" and "be seen as competent". You reassure them that it is fine to talk about problems and mistakes. You looked engaged and show interest in their stories and answers. In other words, listen and response with empathy means that you build rapport with them and connect with them. To do this, you don't need to agree with or share their feelings, nor have experienced the situation. All you do is just to show empathy with their feelings, both positive and negative, and the situation causing them accurately. You may say the statements like, "You must have put a lot of effort", "This must be a hard time for you. " or something similar. You show empathy without saying that you have experienced the same situation. To be specific, listen and respond with empathy basically refers to 3 techniques: (1) Compliment the candidates; (2) Maintain self-esteem of candidate; and (3) Express curiosity and interest by follow up. I will now talk about each of them. (1) Compliment the candidate - When the candidates share impressive experiences and accomplishments, or when they respond well to your questions, compliment them sincerely. Here are 4 examples: (i) "Without an accounting degree, you studied part-time and went through all the professional exams while you were having a full time busy job. This must not be easy and you definitely have overcome many challenges." (ii) "Good example, very specific, concise and to the point. This is exactly what I need." (iii) "Thanks for explaining your project to me in such great details." (iv) "It sounds like you did an amazing job of re-uniting the whole team together." When you compliment the candidates, please pay attention to 4 tips: (i) Try to use different adjectives to create a stronger impact, instead just using "good". For example, say, "Thank you for sharing your product in just a concise and clear way." (ii) Keep your compliments short, specific and to the point. (3) Try to compliment the candidates in the opening and closing as well. Compliment in the opening sets the tone for the interview. Ending with a compliment helps to get the candidates through the emotional letdown after an intensive interview. While you can't tell your candidate how they did, you can give them a sense of a job well done in the interview. For example, you may say, "It's great talking with someone with lots of experience. I want to thank you for doing such a good job of sharing your experiences with me." (iv) Lastly, just a friendly reminder, don't overdo the compliments, otherwise, it will bring negative impact. (2) The second technique is "maintain the self esteem of candidate". This means you try to minimize the negative impact of answering the questions for negative and sensitive information. For example, you may say statements like, "Even though you didn't get a very positive result, it sounds like you have worked very hard to manage everything right." 2nd example, "Managing a team of 15 people is tough, especially for you as the first time Manager." This technique is especially useful when candidates express strong negative feelings, such as anger, resentment or frustration. By rationing these negative or sensitive information, you try to maintain the self-esteem of the candidates. You send them the message that no one is perfect and it is fine to share the negative info. In addition to responding to the candidates after their sharing with the technique, you can also use this skill before you seek for difficulties, setbacks, failures, mistakes or other kinds of negative information, to reassure your candidates feel comfortable and safe to share the honest picture. For example, you may say, "Everyone makes mistakes and is not successful at all times. Tell me about a failure that you had in your last job." "We often need to deal with problems that we have never handled before. Could you share with me a time you face a similar situation?" Whenever you devise your own questions that seek negative or sensitive information, it is better to phrase them similarly so as to minimize the adverse impact on the candidates of providing these negatives. (3) Express curiosity and interest by follow up - During the interview, you may use "yes", "right", "OK", "ah ha" and other such interjections as signals to show you are listening to your candidates without interrupting their thought and presentation. Do smile and slightly nod your head occasionally to show that you understand what they are talking about. Avoid expressions which might indicate judgment on your behalf, such as raised eyebrows or shaking of your head. Lean slightly towards your candidates with an open body posture, also indicate to them that you are interested in what they are saying. Besides, make sure to ask good follow up questions, at least one or likely 2 or 3 questions for every initial question you asked. You can follow up non-verbal responses, as previously mentioned in the lecture on listening. Follow up is an effective way to show your curiosity and interest in the answers of the candidates. You may use these phrases like, "Interesting, could you tell me more about that?" and "Sounds good, could you elaborate more?" With these follow-up questions, you immediately increase the amount of valuable information that you get. Lastly, to recap what this lecture, if you want to have an effective interview and obtain more in-depth information, apply these 3 techniques to build rapport with your candidates. Make them feel respected, competent and important. In addition, successful candidates are also more likely to accept your job offers, and unsuccessful candidates are more likely to still feel good about your Company, so these 3 things should be done throughout the whole interview. Thank you. 9. 3 Don't during interview: "The 3 Don't During Interview" - In an interview, there are many things that you need to avoid. As a common sense and as you watched my course, I believe you understand many of these. So I'm not going to repeat all these. I'm not going to give you a whole list of "Don't". Instead, let me remind you for the 3 most important "Don't". The first "Don't" during Interview - "Don't bias". As an interviewer, you must remain objective throughout the interview, and even if the candidate makes a statement you disagreed with, do not dispute or express your judgment. Keep an open mind during the interview with active listening as discussed in the previous lectures. People subconsciously are attracted by good-looking candidate. This may positively bias your evaluation of the candidate's unrelated skills. So be careful. Do not allow your bias to affect the opinion towards your candidates, or simply based on "having a good feeling" about or likely a candidate to make your hiring decision. Follow the techniques and tips that I mentioned during this course. The second "Don't" - Don't ask illegal questions or political questions. Do not ask questions about the candidate's religion, gender, sexual orientation, race or any other areas of potential discrimination, otherwise, you may open your Company up to a discrimination lawsuit. Always be aware of the below illegal topics: "sex", "gender identity" or "sexual orientation", "age" or "genetic information" "race", "color" or "national origin", "disability", "marital status" or "number of children", "religion", "pregnancy status", "citizenship". If you would like to ask the family status of the candidates, try to ask this instead, "Do you have any commitment that might prevent you from working the assigned shifts or going aboard for short business trip?" Also, remember, don't ask political questions. There is no right or wrong in this area, and it may lead to debate subsequently and make both parties upset if your political views are very different from the candidates. The third "Don't" - Don't oversell - Once you are confident in your candidate, you will certainly sell the role and your Company, hoping the candidates will accept your further offer. However, do remember not to oversell this position, the actual work environment, the opportunities and challenges. Be honest about all these and give candidates a realistic preview of the job role and the days ahead, including the difficulties of the job. Otherwise, there will be expectation gaps and the candidates would likely end up being unhappy and felt being cheated. Be transparent allows the candidates to make the decisions on their own, whether they are good fit or not. Those who were scared away don't fit the job, but those who are willing to take on challenges are likely to stay longer and become one of the future best people in your Company. So these are the 3 "Don't" that you should always remember in every interview. Thank you. 10. Interview Closing: "Interview Closing" After you have finished all your questions, now it will be the turn for your candidates. Listen carefully to what they ask, particularly for the followings: (1) The priority of the questions; (2) Their level of interest; (3) Their analytical thinking. The candidates' responses can give you new insights and reinforce the information you have already gathered. Answer their questions frankly and provide a brief overview of your Company and also the job to the candidates. If you consider the candidates have potential, use this chance to promote the Company and also the role. You may highlight the best features of the job, elaborate the development opportunities and the Company's values and culture, how these positively match what the candidates' needs and wants. You may explain why your Company is a great place to work and what motivates people to work here. You may go further to explain the importance of this job role to the Company as a whole, so as candidates can have a meaning other than those they pursue. This may increase their level of engagement and the likelihood that your chosen candidate will accept your job offer. After your selling, now ask the candidates how they think about the job role, and whether they have any additional information to share. You may go further and ask them which aspects of the job motivate them or annoy them. You can also ask them whether there are any changes in the salary expectation as compared to the one previously written on the application form or mentioned in a phone interview and in the early beginning of the interview. Listen carefully for their reply and judge how interested they are in your job. You can also give candidates the chance to make closing statements. Lastly, tell your candidates how the recruitment will proceed and when a decision is likely to be made. Provide them your contact method, so that they can reach you for any questions during the waiting period. Walk them to the door and thank them for their time and a productive interview by saying, "Thank you for a very enjoyable interview and for doing such a good job of sharing your experience with me. Really appreciated." Thank you. 11. Second interview: "Second interview" - Before hiring your selected candidates, it is better to invite them for a second or even a third interview. It provides you a further chance to test your impression made in the first interview. It also allows you to discover more about their personality and evaluate how well they will fit into the job and the Company. During this interview, you may do the followings: (1) Check their understanding on the job role as discussed in their first interview; (2) Re-ask some important questions you asked in the first interview to check for consistency and missing information; (3) Ask specific questions how they will contribute to the Company if they were hired; (4) Confirm whether their salary expectations remain the same; (5) Sell the Company and also the role again. Here are my 5 favorite questions: (1) "Could you kindly summarize your understanding of the job? And what do you think about this role after your first interview?" This allows me to check their understanding and if there were any missing information or wrong assumption. (2) "Do you have any additional information you would like to share?" This gives the chance for the candidates to demonstrate their skills, experience and qualification. If they are very interested in the job and they will sell themselves to you on why they are good match and how they will contribute to your Company. (3) "Do you have any questions after your first interview?" This gives the candidates the chance to ask follow up questions after the first interview. It also allows you to evaluate how interested they are in the job and how thoughtful are they. (4) "If you were hired, what would be the first thing you would tackle in this position?" This gives you the chance to assess whether the candidates understand the position well and also let you know their priorities. You can check whether their priorities align with yours. (5) "Could you walk me through how you handle this job in your first 30, 60 and 90 days?" This gives you an idea on their goals, how they are planning to perform and how they are going to establish themselves in the Company. You can tell whether their plan aligns with yours and whether there is anything you need to pay attention to when they are on board. Again, after interview, you use the closing techniques and procedures mentioned in the last lecture. Thank the candidates for their time and also advise them when they expect to receive the results. Thank you. 12. Peer involvement: "Peer involvement" In the previous lecture to ensure cultural fit, I have suggested you may invite those high potential candidates to have an office tour and have an informal meeting with some of their future colleagues. Then obtain the feedback from both sides to get more information. Actually, apart from these, you may also ask other staff, such as receptionists, tea lady or even security guards, to give you feedback and observation of the candidates outside the interview room. For me, I used to ask the receptionists how the candidates interacted with them. "Did they smile?", "Did they talk to them proactively?", "Were they willing to follow our guest policies?", "Were they polite and humble?", "Did they take an interest in the Company material in the waiting room?". Every time the receptionist would give me valuable feedback. Those candidates who did not respect the receptionist or were not willing to cooperate would drop out as the way they show actually reflected their interpersonal skills and much more importantly, their attitude, mindset and values. Regardless of the job levels, I think everyone should be treated equally with respect. In addition, if possible, I also highly suggest you inviting a few teammates to interview the candidates and get involved in the hiring decision. Peer interview is important for 2 reasons: (1) It gives your teammates a say in deciding who to work with them in future. They will take more ownership of the hire and will be more willing to help that person to succeed. Meanwhile, this also motivates them and strengthens the team cohesion as their voices are counted and respected. (2) It gives a strong evidence to the candidates that your Company values every person, not only the Manager but also each team member. Through conversations in the interviews, candidates can also imagine their future interaction with their peers if they were hired. This allows them to make a better decision since how long they will stay at your Company will highly depend on whether they can go along well with their future colleagues. To summarize, you may involve your peers during the hiring process in 4 ways: (1) Office tour; (2) Informal meetings, such as coffee break or tea together; (3) Formal interview; (4) Feedback and observation outside the interview. Through all these activities, you will minimize personal bias and make a better hiring decision. In addition, you can also get the buy-in from your peers before issuing the job offer. All these will increase the future successful chance of the new hired. Thank you. 13. Reference Check: "Reference Check" After going through the long process of interviews, finally you come up with the ideal candidate. Before issuing the offer, it is important to perform a reference check. It is the critical process to verify facts and to obtain information not mentioned by the potential hire. It is much more than a formality. Hard data, including dates, salary, title and position, can be verified with the HR Department of the candidate's employers. Some Companies may send an evaluation form to the employer of the potential hire to ask for the ratings of the job performance. However, ratings are judgmental and unless it is very poorly rated, it may not give you much valuable insight. In addition, to avoid possible lawsuits, many Companies would refuse giving you any ratings or simply they may not return the evaluation form to you. Indeed, the best method of reference check is having the direct conversation with the candidate's ex-supervisors. Some people will outsource this to the recruitment firms or delegate to HR but I highly advise you as the hiring manager, it would be better for you to do it by yourself, particularly if the candidate will report to you after hiring. It is a great chance of getting valuable insights about the candidate's behavior, performance and personalities and also to clarify your concerns. This step is critical to ensure the right hire. Please remember to receive the results of the reference check before issuing the offer. For once, I got a new employee on board, but the HR informed me 6 weeks later that the candidate got very poor comments from her ex-company in her reference check. At that time, I asked the HR, "Are you suggesting me to kick her out because of this poor reference check?" I hope this incident will not happen to any of you, so I share my experience here. Now, let me share some important tips on reference check: (1) Try to contact the candidates's most recent supervisor as they will provide more valuable value for predicting the future behavior of the candidates. Don't rely on the H.R. Department as they usually only provide the hard data. Try to speak to the supervisors of the candidates directly, preferably at least from the last two employees. (2) You may use either "behavioral questions" or "situation questions" during your reference check to obtain your information. You may consider verifying an incident that the candidate mentioned during the interview and may seek for relevant examples from the candidate's past performance. (3) You can expect an overly positive review from reference. After all, these are people who the candidates trust to recommend to you in the application process. When you are faced with overselling, do press for details and ask for examples. (4) Reference may be reluctant to tell the weakness of the candidates frankly. So instead of asking the weaknesses directly, you may give the reference a list of soft skills and ask them to force rank the ones that best reflect the candidates. It also makes sense to ask the reference to give an example of how they have seen the candidates exercise the top skill. If any references rank any of your essential soft skills towards the bottom of the ranking or not at all, you should be concerned. (5) Be sensitive to what the reference implies and does not say or try to avoid answering, give them plenty of time to respond and be patient. (6) Ask the sensitive questions at the end of the interview, after you have developed rapport with the reference. Remember to explain why the issue concerns you to the reference, so that they are more willing to share with you and solve your concerns. (7) Consider arranging another interview with the candidate if the reference provides negative or conflicting information before you withdraw the offer based on the reference track. (8) Apart from formal check, try to perform the informal reference check in your network. If the candidate has worked in a company of a person whom you have already established personal relationships, that person may provide you more reliable and useful information. (9) Unlike a normal interview, you may only have limited time with the reference, so please ensure to prioritize in advance which targets or situations you would like to focus on. Now let's proceed to how to conduct an effective reference check in the next lecture. Thank you so much. 14. 6 - step for conducting effective reference check: "6-Step for an Effective Reference Check" To conduct reference check, firstly, make sure when you talk to the references, you should emphasize to them that all of the answers, no matter good or bad, will be kept in absolute confidential. This is highly important, so that they can get comfortable to share their honest comments with you on the candidates. Now you can follow the 6-step approach for reference check : Step (1) - Ask how they worked together and for how long - Find out how the reference and your candidate worked together, for how long, how close and how regularly. Verify the candidate's titles and responsibilities. (2) Step 2 - Ask the achievements of the candidates while working for them - This step allows you to validate what the candidate claimed during the interview. It is a chance to understand the candidate better, particularly whether he or she is humble or has exaggerated. Step (3) - Ask the strengths, weaknesses, soft skills, technical skills and personalities of the candidate - This step helps to check the candidate's self-awareness and also verify your impression from the interview from someone who has already worked with the candidate. You will get new insights, such as whether he or she is really a good fit for your team, how long he or she will take up at your current post, what should he or she improve and so on. (4) Step 4 - Identify the actual performance of your candidate - You may ask the following 2 questions to check the actual work performance of the candidate: (i) First question - "Over his or her service period at your Company, did he or she receive any promotion, why and why not?" If the candidate has not been promoted for a long service period, make sure you understand the reasons. (ii) Second question - "On a scale of 1 to 10, compared with your other subordinates, how would you rate him or her?" If the reference gives any marks less than 8, then this may be a red flag. If the grade is 8 or 9, then you can follow up and ask, "What would it have taken for your candidate to be a 10?" This is another way to ask the weakness or improvement areas of the candidate. (5) Step 5 - Ask the references for predicting the future performance at your post - You can share with the references what kinds of person you are seeking for and the job responsibilities. Then you can ask the reference to rate the candidate on a scale of 1 to 10 on the necessary skill sets, and how well he or she fits the post with the reasons. You may also consider asking the reference to rank the candidate's skills required for your opening from the strongest to the weakest, and give examples to support. This method allows you to understand more clearly about the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. After that, you can ask the reference to provide you suggestions and attention areas when working with the candidate at the new position. You will then get more insights on his or her suitability. (6) Step 6 - Ask the magic question - Finally, do always remember to ask the magic question as the last step, "Will you consider re-employ the candidate, why and why not?". Listen carefully and pay attention to what and how the references answer you. Wait for the answer of "absolute" and "definite". A sudden silence or hesitate may indicate that there is something hidden and it poses a red flag. So it is important to ensure that you have already asked "why and why not" but not a simple closed question. After this 6-step, if the reference check is pretty fine and validate that the candidate fulfills the "5 Fits" (that is, motivational, technical, soft skills, personalities and cultural fit), then Congratulations! You can proceed to negotiate the salary and proceed the job offer! Thank you. 15. Key Takeaway - Master the Interview Process Like a Pro: "Key takeaway - Master the Hiring Process Like a Pro" - Thank you for watching this session. This session covers the important steps, including résumé screening, ATS, phone, video and formal interview, as well as reference check. It also includes the tips, what you should pay attention to in each procedure. This session is quite long and thus here in the key takeaway session, I will not repeat the whole procedures again but just take out some key points that you should always bear in mind. Now here are the points. (1) Adopt a structured interview with the same set of questions for every candidate, so that you can compare each of them fairly and objectively with less personal bias. (2) Throughout the whole hiring process, you should demonstrate interest, engagement, encouragement from beginning to end, so that you help candidates feel respected, relaxed and excited. (3) Be approachable, confident and friendly by having open body language and listen actively. Try to build rapport and trust with your candidates, so that they are more willing to share with you and tell you the truth. (4) Do cover all the 5-Fit assessment during your interview. These 5 fits are motivational, technical, soft skills, personalities and cultural fit. For details, you may refer to my previous session on "5-Fit for the Right Hire". (5) Try to listen and respond with empathy during the interviews by using 3 techniques: (a) compliment the candidates; (b) maintain their self-esteem; and (c) express curiosity and interest by follow up. (6) Remember the 3 "Don't" during interviews: (a) Don't bias; (b) Don't ask your illegal or political questions and (c) Don't oversell your company and the job role. (7) Whenever possible, try to involve your peers and teammates in the hiring process, say participating in a formal interview together. You may also involve them outside the interview room by means of office tour, informal meetings or social gatherings such as coffee break or tea together. Do remember to obtain their feedback. (8) Reference check is critical to ensure the right hire. If possible, as the Hiring Manager, try to conduct this by yourself and talk to their most recent supervisors directly to verify the facts mentioned by the candidates and obtain those information not mentioned during the interview. Be sensitive to what the reference implies, does not say or tries to avoid answering during the reference check. (9) Always ask the magic question in the reference check. "Will you consider re-employ the candidates, why and why not?" This question will give you plenty of insights. Lastly, hiring is a long process but do remember, every interaction with your candidate is important. Pay attention to every small step and you will increase your successful chance of getting your right hire. This is the end of this session. If you have any comments, please feel free to share with me. If you like my course, please give me good rating and recommend it to your friends. Thank you very much. 16. Interview Difficult Candidates: "Interview Difficult Candidates" - Throughout the course, I have been emphasizing the importance of avoiding personal bias. While this sounds like a common sense, sometimes we're just not aware that we are doing this. In reality, many hiring managers end up with a wrong hire simply because they favor a good-looking, presentable candidate over a qualified one. When they face with less than perfect candidates or difficult candidates, they tempt to kick them out. However, making such rush judgment means that you may drop out a potentially good hire, but unremarkable candidate too quickly. Remember, not every perfect candidate is an extrovert or a good story-teller in the interview. Or sometimes maybe you meet a candidate who looks good on resume or test results but during the interview, it turns out that he or she talks too little or just the opposite, talks too much and controls the whole interview unintentionally. You may also find some candidates who only provide you vague, just opinions or theoretical answers but not the concrete past examples. Instead of kicking these difficult candidates out quickly, as the hiring manager, you should always try to get the most of them from the interview. The challenge lies in focusing on how you would handle these situations and people, rather than focusing on the negative. When you meet these difficult candidates, it would be better for you to try different approaches. Remember, you can change yourself but not the others. So what you need to do is to identify what kind of person they are and then act accordingly. Meanwhile, even if the candidates turn out not to be suitable for the job role, very likely, they will share their feelings or interview experience at your Company with their friends or relatives. If they had poor experience, they may bad mouth against your Company while the opposite is also true. As the hiring manager, you are representing your Company and thus how you behave directly impact your Company’s reputation. Promoting or de-selling your Company is your choice. Therefore, if you meet the difficult candidates, instead of kicking them out quickly, do change your approach and stay professional. In this session, I will cover the common types of difficult candidates and go through how we can optimize our approach to handle these situations professionally. By the end of this session, you will learn how to manage these difficult candidates effectively and help them to show their best during the interview. Now, let's start. Enjoy the session. 17. The Over-Prepared: "The Over-Prepared" Let me share a story. Once I interviewed a candidate called Sam for the post of Internal Auditor. Sam was very well- prepared. From the self introduction, he started to give me a very fluent speech and for the common-asked questions, without any thought, he could answer all my questions very well with perfect examples. I was so impressed with his experience and performance. I could tell Sam was very interested in this job. He was thoughtful, organized and willing to learn, a very good candidate indeed. However, my gut feel started to wonder was Sam really so bright? Was this the real him? How reliable were these answers and how much uncover Sam's true personalities? I suddenly interrupt and asked him for a question came over from my mind in a second. Surprisingly, Sam was speechless and became very nervous. Obviously, he had not prepared for this question. Within a few minutes, he changed into a different person and was not confident anymore. His answers afterwards were inconsistent with his previous stories. Finally, I have dropped him out. Certainly, Sam was over-prepared and he really did his preparation job very well. However, the aim of the interview is to find out the true essence of the candidates and whether they fit to the post. For Sam's case, maybe his well-prepared answers were not insincere and untruthful, but the problem is I really could not tell whether this is the real him. Of course, I was lucky that time I managed to bring Sam back to the real him with my surprise question. Right now, I forgot what question I asked at that time, but I remember the story very clearly. I know I may not be so fortunate next time to think out another surprising question. In fact, nowadays with the tremendous interview Q&A available on the Internet, many candidates are very familiar with how to answer different types of interview questions to fulfill what the interviewers want. For really over-prepared candidates, perhaps there were no questions surprising them. It seems impossible to get them a straight answer for you. To be frank, it is hard or nearly impossible to think out a question that no one has ever asked! I suggest you stop wasting time on thinking such a question if you have ever done so. What's more important is that, if they over-rehearsed and trained like professional actor, you simply cannot tell they are not presenting the truth underneath. Today no one is so stupid to recite the answers word by word like robots or insist to go through all the points he prepared, or answer your questions wrongly with another prepared answer, or keep talking about the original points rather than elaborating their answers, or just reply with the common cliches, like when you ask them for their weakness, they would reply you, "I'm a perfectionist or I work too hard.". If you meet any of these candidates, for sure, they are not tactful enough and probably have some problems in their interpersonal skills and listening skills. They are sure not be your Mr. Right or Ms Right. So what do you need to do? Should you avoid all these commonly-asked interview questions? Should you ask some irrelevant questions or so-called "surprise questions" to identify candidates like Sam? My answers to all these questions are NO. If you think any commonly-asked questions are important to ask, go ahead and ask. There is no need to think out the so-called "surprise questions" which are irrelevant for the post. These questions cannot help you but instead, may give the candidates the impression that you are making your hiring decisions based on factors not related to their potential for success in the job. You are de-selling your Company's brand. In fact, based on my experience, you don't need to spend too much time on identifying whether your candidates are too well-prepared or not. There are 2 techniques to help you avoiding the over-rehearsed untrue replies: (1) Use the list technique and then ask your candidates to elaborate on your selected examples - First, start with closed questions, ask your candidates to list down or name the past relevant experiences or examples without details. Then wait for the answers and choose one example that you consider is the most relevant to the job role. Use the behavioral interview technique with S.T.A.R. 2.0 model to drill down for the details. In this way, you can learn the actual stories and avoid hearing over rehearsed stories. Say, I want Sam to tell me a project in which he has made recommendations for improvement. Here is the conversation: I ask,"Sam, how many internal audit engagements have you involved in your last job?" Sam: "Five." I follow up, "Could you tell me what were these five topics, Sam?" Sam: "These projects are reviewing "HR policy", "inventory management", "storage of dangerous goods", "payment flows" and "credit management". I will ask, "Interesting, since our Company also keep stock, Sam, could you please share with me your audit project on inventory management?" Second method - pressed for details, As mentioned throughout the course, do follow-up and ask for details. No matter the questions are commonly-asked or not, at least follow up by 1 or 2 questions. There are 3 ways to do: (1) Ask directly by saying, “Could you tell me more about that?” “Could you elaborate more?” (2) Use the 5-Why techniques to understand the situation in depth. As the name suggested, the method is simple. When the candidates answer you with an action, then you can ask “why?”. Upon their reply, you can ask another “why” based on their reply. This goes on until you drill down the details. Here is one more tip. If possible, try to use the phrase “what are the reasons…” or “could you explain the reasons” instead of keeping using “why”, so that you will not give a defensive image to the candidates that you are challenging them. (3) Use silence deliberately When the candidates completed their answers, perhaps a well-prepared response, then look at them expectantly. Wait for the candidates to fill the silence. During pauses, candidates are typically reflecting on something they previously said or experienced, which allow you to pick up their emotions, feeling and mood. However, if you are conducting a video conference, the candidates may interpret silence as internet connectivity problem. So you better be aware of that. Actually, no matter the candidates are over-prepared or not, you can use these 2 techniques to uncover more from the candidates. So for Sam’s case, even if I didn’t ask the so-called "Surprise Question", with re-designing my questions using the listing method and pressing for details, I could still reflect his true personalities and skill sets. Thank you. 18. The Quiet: "The Quiet" After resume screening, you found a candidate called Mary, with impressive resume and portfolio, applying for the post of Research Analyst. Her written test was well- answered with detailed analysis. It seems that her work quality was far better than the other candidates. So you invited Mary for a face-to-face meeting and was very eager to see how well she would fit into this job role and your Company. However, within the first 10 minutes of the interview, you found that Mary only provided you short responses, only one word answer or a few words at most. She was very quiet and withheld. Given her outstanding results of the written test, Mary might be excel at doing this job role, particularly maybe when she had settled down and felt comfortable with the new environment. You did not want to give her up. So what should you do to help Mary? For candidates like Mary who speaks too little, you can take several actions to help them during the interview. (1) Make them feel comfortable - When they arrive at your office, greet them warmly and make them feel ease by offering them coffee or water. Start with an easy talk that can excite them as a warm up or maybe about their interests and hobbies, before going through the complicated questions. Maintaining harmony and empathy throughout the interview. (2) Invite them to be honest and open - At the start of the interview, let them know you appreciate for their time of the interview. You appreciate for their honest comments and reassure them that there is nothing to worry to show their personality. Let them know you welcome their question and remind them interview is a mutual process like marriage, that both parties should know each other well before signing the engagement. (3) Slow down the interview pace - Much patience is required for this type of candidates. They may need a few minutes to warm up and formulate their answer. So don't force them to give you an immediate answer, particularly if they reply you "don't know" or "no idea". Tell them that they can have more time for thinking and you will revisit the question later. They don't reply you as quickly as others, doesn't mean they are less passionate about the job, but it is just their personality. (4) Ask for specifics by using probing and follow-up questions - Remember, make sure you are using open questions and probing questions as much as possible, such as "Could you tell me more about...", "Would you mind elaborating more on ...?" and "What else, if anything, you could share with me?". If their answers are vague, ask for specific by saying something like, "What precisely do you mean by that?", "What exactly was that?" (5) Give them some hints - Sometimes the candidates may not want to give you a hard job but they are just not sure how much information to provide to you. If their answers are too short, you may simply say, "Would you mind spending 5 minutes sharing your example?" Or you may be direct saying, "You have an impressive résumé and great writing skill. I really want to fully understand about your past experience." If they cannot think of any relevant examples for your behavioral interview questions, suggest something from their background that may yield an example. For example, "You said that you made several difficult decisions at ABC Company. Was there a decision you wish you could do over again?" (6) Build rapport by responding and listening with empathy - compliment them when they provided you good response and try to maintain or boost their esteem when you seek for negative or sensitive information. Show them that you are interested in what they are saying and reassure them that there's nothing wrong to share failure and negative information. If they really cannot provide you the information, let them know that coming up with specific examples and recalling the past can be difficult, so as to maintain their self-esteem. For the last point on building rapport and empathy, I will further elaborate in another lecture. For the time being, remember, master this skill will help you not only dealing with a candidate like Mary who speaks too little, but also facilitating you to have a smooth interview for every candidate. Thank you. 19. The Talkative: "The Talkative"- Definitely, you want candidates to provide you clear answers and tell you the details. Now you have another bright candidate called John. Opposite to Mary who talked too little in the last lecture, John simply talked too much. He kept talking and talking and seemed non-stop, and he was going off the topic. As the interviewer, you know your job is to let the candidate speak, if you interrupt, it may be impolite and you worry to discourage John. But the problem was, instead of you, John was actually controlling the interview, maybe this is not his intention but that's the fact. What worse is that, you may run out of the interview time but you haven't got enough information for your decision making! Certainly, you don't want John's problem happened in your interview. To prevent this, you should be the controller of the interview, or to be exact, your hidden job is to control the pace of the interview from beginning to end. You should also keep the candidates on topic and to provide you the exact type and amount of information you are looking for, not like John kept talking on irrelevant items. To handle John or similar candidates who talk too much or even off the topic, all you need to do is simply applying 2 process skills: (1) Make procedural suggestions; and (2) Confirm understanding. (1) Procedural Suggestions - This means you specify how you would like to conduct the interview, how you would like candidates to reply or what areas you would like to cover. These suggestions are made in response to the candidates' answers. For example, if the candidate was off the topic, you may say, "Sorry for my interruption. You mention XXX and I am interested to know more. Would you mind spending some more time explaining it, is that OK?" Or you can be more direct, saying "This is very interesting but it doesn't really answer my question. What I need to know is...". Or if the candidates provide too much details, you may give them some hints for shorter answers. Here are a few examples. "Can you tell me briefly ...?", "Can you sum up in a few words?", "We are running out of time, would you mind making your answers more concise?", "What are the key points?", "We only have a few minutes left, so can you just tell me...?", "We don't have much time left, can we move on to the next topic?" Sometimes the interruption may not make the candidates comfortable, so it would be better to state it in interview opening that you may interrupt from time to time to ensure all important areas are covered. Candidates will understand you need to manage the interview and try to give them the opportunity to discuss their most important and relevant examples. In addition, show empathy to the candidate can also help the candidates feel better, say, "Sounds like you have done the best for the team in view of such critical situation. How about if we move on to the next topic?" Lastly, remember, though our aim is to control the interview, candidates will be more willing to cooperate with you if you use the tone of "suggestions" instead of mandatory commands, otherwise, in the worst scenario, command may make them emotionally and you cannot benefit from it. (2) The second technique is called "Confirm Understanding" - This is simply to confirm or clarify your understanding of what the candidates said in the interview. If you are not sure you understand what is being said and you want to double confirm, then you can simply check with the candidates. This may be happened because you did not hear very clearly, something has suddenly disturbed you or you find the answers very confusing. Some people may choose to let it go but in this case, some important information may have been missed. Instead, it would be better to restate or summarize the key part and clarify with the candidates by saying, "Let me confirm what I have heard you say...", "You are saying that you... is that right?" "Let me see if I'm following you. So..., correct?", "Just to ensure I've understood this correctly." Remember, when you confirm and clarify your understanding, make sure that you only restate what the candidates said but not adding assumptions or interpretation. That means you do not re-phrase in your own words. Otherwise, you may create a leading question and direct your candidates to answer according to your preference. For example, if your candidates only said, "The case was..." without any adjective behind, don't fill in the blank and say, "You mentioned the case was complicated and how did you solve it?". Instead, you just need to repeat and say, "You mentioned the case was...". In fact, these 2 techniques "Procedural Suggestion" and "Confirm Understanding" can be used together. If your candidates talk too much or too detailed or off the topic, you can first interrupt and summarize their response, and then re-direct them or move on to a new topic or bring them back to the point. Here are 2 examples. (1) "Let me confirm you're responsible for reviewing all the monthly reports of the subsidiaries in Asia, correct? Now I would like to get an overview of your challenges." (2) "Finally all teammates agreed with your proposal, right? That's good. Now could we go back to something you mentioned earlier?" Now let me do a recap. The above 2 techniques, "Procedural Suggestion" and "Confirm Understanding" can be used either separately or together, and they facilitate you to: (1) Direct the discussion into and through areas you want to cover. (2) Prevent confusion, misunderstandings and allow clarification. (3) Well managed the pace of interview That means, you can cover for all the required information in depth, and your candidates can also share their skills and experience fully within the limited time of interview, achieving a win-win situation. In other words, if you have mastered these 2 techniques well, you can surely guide John to tell you his relevant experience concisely and to the point. Thank you very much. 20. The Over-Nervous: "The Over-nervous" - After John and Mary, you met the third candidate, Tom. Similar to Mary, Tom also got a bright resume with relevant skills to the job opening. While Mary is too quiet and she only replied a few words for every question, Tom kept apologizing and sometimes chattering. Both his voice as his hands kept shaking. He was also sweating and kept adjusting his sitting posture. It is obvious that he was over nervous and lack of confidence. Again, you do not want to give him up and kick him out the interview room so early. So what should you do? When you meet over nervous candidates like Tom, similar to those candidates who speak too little, the key thing is to make them relax. You can take the following 4 actions: (1) Start with a small talk - same as the quiet people, in the interview opening, offer the candidates a drink to help them settle down the situation. Start with some easy questions to help them to relax and build their confidence. This also help them to perform better as you progress to the more difficult questions. (2) Watch out your body language - try to build rapport and trust during the interview by positive and open body language. Offer warm smiles, maintain eye contact and nod your head when they answer. Be friendly but remain business like and professional. Remember, your body language also affects the candidates' confidence and how open they are during the interview. (3) Apply empathy when questioning - use open and probing questions to encourage them to speak up. If they appear rushed, remind them to take their time. Rephrase the question if they look confused. Offer to come back to the question later if they seem to have difficulties answering. Thank them for each question as a positive reinforcement and compliment them if they give you a good answer. (4) Be direct - Despite all your best efforts, if you cannot get their responses due to their nerves, you might be direct and say, "You've seen a bit nervous but that's totally understandable. Let's just take a big, deep breathe. I'm keen to see the best side of you to make sure you are a good fit for this job. Are you OK and happy to continue?" Upon hearing your concern and thoughtfulness, candidates tend to calm down. But if it's still not going well, you can recommend a 10-minute break. Your candidates could just be experiencing a case of jitters - please give them one more chance. If these tactics all don't work, unfortunately, it may be necessary for you to consider their fit for the job, as I'm sure you may not want to hire someone who presents poorly under high-pressure situations. Thank you. 21. Other Difficult Candidates: "Other Difficult Candidates" when you shortlist your candidates based on their resume and career history, you cannot really tell what kinds of candidates you will meet. Someone maybe not over-prepared, talked too much or too little, off-track or nervous but maybe distressed, defensive, arrogant or whatever. It is important to remember that you are representing your Company during the interview, and any ill- feeling between you and the candidates will cause an adverse impact on your Company's reputation and the business. Thus do be professional at all times. (1) If your candidates are distressed -Years ago, when I interviewed a young lady called Susan, I asked Susan to tell me the major difficulties during her career life. She became silent and then took a few minutes to think. Before she spoke, She broke into tears suddenly! She was crying. I could imagine that, that difficulty must have a long lasting impact on her. I passed Susan tissues and a glass of water to her. I stayed calm and silent to allow her some minutes to compose herself. Then I showed my empathy to her and said, "Susan, I believe this must be a very difficult situation in your career. Let's put down this first and revisit it later. Do you like a break or we move on?" Susan stopped crying and apologized. She preferred to continue, so I changed to talk about some more easy topics, like hobbies and interests, to try to dissociate her from the upset situation and boost her self-esteem. For candidates like Susan, if you notice them become uncomfortable or emotional, it would be better to stop asking questions and change the subject. Don't force them to share with you any negatives and try to make them relax. Ask them easy and more relaxed questions, such as hobbies, interests, their career goals and so on, so that they can disassociate from recalling the situation that made them emotional. Build rapport and show empathy to them. Similarly, sometimes you will sense that the time isn't right to ask a particularly planned behavioral question. For example, you may hold asking a question seeking for negative information if the candidate just provided you a lot of negative information. In such a situation, ask a different planned question, preferably one that gives the candidates a chance to describe the success. This delay gives you a chance to rebuild the candidate's self-esteem before asking the negative question again. (2) Second case, if they are defensive... During the interview, remember to avoid heated debate, argument or conflict. You should be as neutral and professional as possible. If your candidates raise out political, sensitive or debatable issues during the interview or even become defensive stating their views, it would be better for you not to comment further. You may politely refuse to answer the inappropriate questions by saying, "That isn't relevant to today's interview discussion and I believe we should focus on...". Please maintain your authority and control. Stay firm and calm. Do consider to have a break or have an early interview exit. (3) If they are arrogant - You want to see confident candidates who believe in themselves, their abilities and can show you concrete evidence to back up their experience and skills. However, sometimes you also meet the candidates who show similar qualities but they cannot provide you any examples to support their claims. Instead, they may inflate their importance on the past projects, seems to be over-selling themselves, blaming others for the past failures and having negativity towards their past colleagues and supervisors. They are also trying to convince you they're awesome. If you meet these candidates, assess their soft skills and technical skills, as well as the cultural and motivational fit, to evaluate whether the benefits of hiring them will out-weight this not-so-good personality, and consider whether they can fit into your team. As personality is hard to be changed for an adult, if you find both answers are no, then consider cutting the interview short and thank them for their time. Remember, be polite and professional at all times. Also, bear in mind that it is not your responsibility to advise or correct them on how well they are doing. Your job is to decide whether they fit into the role. So there is no need to get yourself frustrated with arrogant candidates. (4) If they are talking information that you don't want ... When candidates provide information you don't want, you may make similar approaches as towards those candidates who speak too much or off the topic. You may interrupt and redirect them as quickly as possible. For example, you may say, "Thank you for that information, but I'd like to get back on the topic. We were talking about your experience at..." Re-direct the discussion when the candidate begins providing legally sensitive information, such as handicapped status, religion, marital status or age - anything not related to the person's ability to do the job. You don't need to mention that the information is sensitive, just interrupt the candidate and suggest that you would like to focus on a topic that's more related to the current job opening. Thank you. 22. Key Takeaway - Interview Difficult Candidates: "Key takeaway - Interview Difficult Candidates" - Thank you for watching this session. In this session, I talked about how to handle difficult candidates, including those who may be over-prepared, too quiet, too talkative, always off the track, distressed, arrogant or defensive. No matter what kinds of candidates you will meet in the interview, remember, always be professional and stay calm. Try the flex your approach to bring the best of them from your interview instead of kicking them out quickly. Let me recap the key takeaway for this session: (1) When you ask for behavioral interview questions for past example, try to use the list technique and then ask your candidates to elaborate on your selected examples. After that, press with details by asking follow up questions, using 5-Why techniques or using silence deliberately. This method is not only useful for interviewing those over-prepared candidates but also for all candidates. (2) Always make your candidates feel comfortable and relax. Invite them to be honest and open. If they are too quiet or shy, slow down your interview pace. You can give them some hints or ask them for specifics by asking probing and follow-up questions. Besides, do build rapport with your candidates by responding and listening with empathy, so that they are more willing to share their stories with you. (3) For over nervous candidates, you may take a similar approach I just mentioned. In addition, it would be better to start with small and easy talk in the interview before asking detailed examples. Do watch out your body language as you will affect the candidates' confidence and how open they are. Also, apply empathy to encourage them to speak up. Finally, if all don't work, consider to be direct and wait for their response. (4) For those who talk too much or off the topic, you can apply procedural suggestions to guide them to focus on areas that you like, instead of just letting them continue talking. Besides, confirming understanding is another technique. You can summarize their response and then redirect them to a new topic or bring them back to the point. In this way, you can well manage the pace of interview and get your required information within your planned time. (5) For candidates with emotional problems, including the distressed, defensive and so on, try to change the subject or have a break. Make them relax and redirect to a new topic when necessary. (5) In reality, interview is a tough process. Even if you may not meet these difficult candidates, you may face different responses without providing the evidence that you want. The techniques that I just mentioned can also be useful in these situations. For instance, let me quote you some examples. (i) You may ask for past example when candidates only provided you opinion-based or theoretical answers. (ii) You may use follow up questions and give them hints when you got a vague response or incomplete response. (3) You may apply "procedural suggestion" and "confirming understanding" to handle those extremely long or off-the-topic answers. (iv) You may change the topic and have a break for those sensitive, emotional and defensive answers. Now, this is the end of this session, you now understand how to handle difficult candidates and how to deal with their various responses. You are ready to start your hiring process and identify your right fit. See you in the next session. Again, if you like my course, please leave me comments and good ratings to me. Please do feel free to share with me for your feedback and improvement areas, too. Once again, thank you very much. Please keep watching. Bye! 23. Conclusion: Conclusion - Thank you very much for watching my whole class, “Talent Acquisition: Master the Recruitment and Interview Process”. In this class, there are 2 sessions. The first session covered the whole recruitment process from resume screening, phone interview, video interview, face-to-face interview, peer involvement, second interview and reference check. I explained what you should pay attention during each stage. I have also explained the importance of applying empathy throughout the interview. Please be familiarize with these essential skills before you conduct an interview. In the second session, I explained how to handle difficult candidates under different scenarios. Please always remember, no one is perfect in the world. We are choosing the right fit for the vacancies whereas the right fit does not mean to be perfect. Some candidates who are not good at presentation during interview may be a good fit for the vacancy. Therefore, please don’t commit the mistake of kicking them out too quickly and make such a rush decision. Please be patient and apply my suggested approach to help them to present their best during the interview. This is the last class under my talent acquisition series. I sincerely hope that you enjoyed it and got new insights. Hiring is not a difficult task but you should master all the essential basic skills and then you can tailor-made your own approach. If you are not familiarize with the questioning and listening techniques, or you are not certain how to ensure all the key factors have been considered before you made your hiring decision, do visit my first class on “Effective Questioning and Listening Skills” and my second class on “Match the Job and Choose Your Right Hire”. Lastly, thank you again for watching my class. I wish you all the very best in the days ahead. Good luck. Hope you find your best hire, too. See you in my other classes!