Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit | Vicky Fung | Skillshare

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Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit

teacher avatar Vicky Fung, Senior Finance Executive, CPA

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Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

18 Lessons (1h 59m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What to Ask during Interviews?

    • 3. How Many Questions to be Asked during Interview?

    • 4. How to Ask Effective Interview Questions?

    • 5. How to Structure the Interview Questions?

    • 6. The Big Trap in Interview

    • 7. The Top 5 Things to Bear in Mind for an Effective Interview

    • 8. What to Listen for during Interview?

    • 9. How to Get the Most from Difficult Candidates?

    • 10. How Can You Tell Someone is Perfectly Fit?

    • 11. How to Interview Students and Entry-level Job Seekers?

    • 12. The 2 Must Asked Questions in Every Interview

    • 13. How to Enhance Candidate Accepting your Job Offer?

    • 14. How to Sell your Company and the Job?

    • 15. How to Do Reference Check?

    • 16. How to Negotiate the Salary and the Offer?

    • 17. How to Avoid Hiring a Toxic Employee?

    • 18. Recap and Conclusion

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About This Class

Recruitment is a big decision. Getting a wrong hire is very expensive in terms of both financial and non-financial.  It is much worse than leaving the post vacant.  Along the whole hiring process, interview is certainly the most crucial part. You need to assess the candidates’ abilities during this short period of time.  An effective interview allows you to get the best fit; while a poor one makes you lose a great talent and brings adverse effects on Company’s reputation, morale and productivity.

So how to have an effective interview?  This class is made to address to this key question.  It covers the most commonly asked questions on interview and hiring.  You will learn how to ask great questions, what to listen for, how to get more useful information from your candidates, how to interview young graduates, how to increase the acceptance chance of your job offer and many others.  Most importantly, you will learn how to pick up the best fit and how to negotiate the salary.  In short, this class provides you all the essentials of getting your best hire.

I am Vicky Fung, the instructor of this class. I am a senior finance executive with 20 years of experience in large corporations. I made this class based on my practical work experience, aiming to help you getting your best fit.  If you are interested, start the class now!

Meet Your Teacher

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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. Introduction: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit 2021 Lecture 1: Introduction Welcome to my class. I am Vicky Fung, a senior Finance executive with 20 years of experience. I have worked in many large companies with operations over the world. I got over 10 years of experience in hiring and recruitment. I am here to share my experience with you. Recruitment is a big decision. Getting a wrong hire is much worse than leaving the post vacant. Throughout the whole hiring procedure, interview certainly plays the most significant role. To avoid making a wrong decision, you need to ensure every interview is effective and productive, so that you can get the most from the candidates and assess their suitability within a short period of time. Interview is not a simple chit-chat to get to know a new friend. The cost of a poor interview can result in having a wrong hire, which can be very expensive in terms of both financial and non-financial terms. On the other hand, if you are not conducting it professionally, you may lose a great talent. For instance, you may have heard some people say, • “My candidate rejected my job offer! I need to re-start the long recruitment process again!” “I shouldn’t hire him! The new hire is a big trouble-maker! How come I didn’t notice all these toxic behaviors during the interview?” • “My new hire is a totally poor fit! He can’t do the job and fit into my team. . It is a wrong decision to hire him!” When we talk about interview, apart from preventing the above situations, you may have various questions in mind, say what kinds of questions to be asked, how many questions to be asked, how to ask great questions, how to ensure all areas are covered etc. You may also wonder what you need to listen for and how you can encourage your candidates to tell you more useful and relevant information. In terms of young graduates or entry-level job seekers, who don’t have much work experience, you may also wonder how to interview them. Among all the questions, you mostly want to know how to pick up the best fit and how to negotiate the salary. If you want to know about the answers of these questions, or if you want to prevent the chaotic situations of having a wrong hire, this course can help you. It addresses all the commonly asked questions for interviews and hiring. It will teach you the essentials of getting your best hire. All these are based on what I have learnt over my 10 years of work experience in hiring and conducting interviews. The tips and advice are practical and useful. If you are interested, Shall we start now? 2. What to Ask during Interviews?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 2 What to Ask during Interviews? Every interview question has a purpose and they are not asked randomly. Before thinking what to ask, you must understand very clearly what types of persons you are seeking for. There are 6 steps you should do before conducting the interview: 1. Take out the job description. Review the job duties, scope and responsibilities very carefully. See if you have any job tasks which may not have been listed in the job description but were essential to this job. You may also simply ask yourself, “What does the person actually need to do during the first year to be considered a great hire?”. This part indicates to you the required technical skills, abilities and working experience. Second. 2. Find out the key challenges and the most difficult parts for this position. While everyone can do the basic routine tasks, the most important thing is you want your new hires can tackle these challenging tasks well. 3. Identify the key competencies, skills, experience required and successful factors for this post. Please note that some people place strong emphasis on the years of job experience. Assume an applicant only doing the same routine tasks for over 10 years and another applicant with 5-year working experience with lots of different exposure, even perhaps the first one may be more skillful, the young one may provide more values to you. So when you are hiring, always focus on the quality and exposure of the job experience. 4. Talk to your teammates and the persons whom this position need to interact with. These people are the best way to obtain first-hand information on what is about the post and what may have been missing from your perspective. 5. Obtain the feedback from the previous employees and see what they think about the post. If you cannot talk directly to the predecessor, you may think how they handle the position, and what made them successful at their jobs and what made them perform not so well. You want your new employee to show better performance than the previous ones. 6. List down the key requirements and prioritize them based on importance. Remember to mark down which requirements are a must and which are nice to have. During your preparation, write down what kinds of persons you are seeking for as specific as possible. The more you understand your requirements, the better you will know what questions to be asked. All your questions should be focused on the targeted competencies and the job requirements, including skill set, work experience, attitude, personality and other important criteria. Each question should be able to get relevant answers from your candidates for your assessment. Make sure that you list them down on a piece of paper and clearly define what meant by each item. If you need to co-interview with a HR professional, share your list and explain to him / her. Be sure that all of you are of the same page. Sometimes the same word may mean different things for different persons; also do remember to explain the technical and industry terms to your HR colleague. After you have worked out your requirements. you will then know what to ask. “What to ask” depends on the job criteria you are looking for from your candidates. Make sure all your questions serve at least one purpose of identifying the job requirement of the post or in short, all questions should be relevant. For instance, your questions may focus on the candidates’ past experience, strengths, weaknesses, abilities, preferences, personalities and the assets that they can bring to your Company. Remember, the questions should be carefully selected according to the needs of the job opening. Also, be careful about asking questions that are too simple. Sometimes your candidates might think that you are trying to “get at something” hidden. But remember short questions are nearly always better than long. Meanwhile, be aware of the types of questions that you should not ask, such as religion, sex, age, marital status, disability and other sensitive areas that may lead you to potential lawsuits about discrimination. Also avoid topics that may lead to potential hot debates, such as political issues and views. Here are some questions that you should not ask: • How many sick leaves do you take in a year? • Do you have any children? • What is your nationality? • Have you ever had a long-term or worker’s compensation claim? Questions should be designed in advance, otherwise, if you just ask spontaneously, you may end up asking irrelevant questions or stupid questions, which may give your candidates a bad impression on you and your Company; or you will waste the interview time without getting adequate information for your decision making. You want to have a fruitful interview with your candidates and also give them a good long-lasting impression. So you should spend sufficient time to think carefully what to ask. So always remember, when you have prepared for your questions, check again and look for questions that puzzle your interviewees, lead to digressions or cause you any difficulties. If any, re-consider if you still to ask them. Now you know “what to ask”, we can then proceed to the next lecture on how many questions to be asked and how to ask. 3. How Many Questions to be Asked during Interview?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 3. How Many Questions to be Asked during Interview? In the last lecture, you have listed down the details of what kinds of person you would like to have. So these questions form the basis of “what questions to be asked”. Ideally, for each requirement, we should ask the candidates and find out their answers. Then check if their replies meet our requirement. However, in reality, even if you have the list of requirements on hand, you may still have these questions in mind. in mind, “How Many Questions should I ask during Interview?”, “Will I ask too many questions or too few questions?” , “How do I know if I have not missed any items?” Obviously, there is no absolute answer. It is a question of judgement. However, you can review if you got sufficient questions or if you have too many or too few questions. Generally speaking, you won’t be able to ask a very long list of questions without making your candidates overwhelmed. After you listed down what you want to ask, it is worth spending the time to review your question list. First, check if your questions have covered the most essential requirements and also the key competencies. You may have lots of requirements but certainly you do not have enough time to cover all of them during the interview. Thus be sure to prioritize your requirements and focus on those essential ones in advance. Based on your priorities, work out the best and most logical order for your questions. You want to avoid jumping from one topic to another during an interview. You want to avoid jumping from one topic to another during an interview. will help your interviewee to think through the topic or remember details of an incident. This step is highly important. It not only helps the interview, but also facilitates your selection job. Let me share my personal experience. Years ago, I applied for the position of Finance Manager. The hiring manager was a very cautious man. Guess what? He interviewed me for 8 hours on one single day!!! We started our interview in the morning, then he asked me to have a lunch first, and then continued in the afternoon. It was an extremely tired day for me. So what was the result? I got the offer and the Company was willing to pay my short notice compensation to my current company. and the Company was willing to pay my short notice compensation to my current company. offer. I could not imagine what would be the day-to-day work life turned out. This may be an extreme example but actually many interviews often turn out to be 3-4 hours. Similar to my own example, many candidates turn down the job offer because of the bad impression they got during the interview. Do always remember, in every interview, while you are assessing their abilities and suitability, they are also assessing you and your Company. It is a 2-way assessment. Make sure that your candidates have a nice interview experience. Always rank the importance of your job requirements first. Don’t be too greedy as you cannot cover all. For each important requirement or targeted competencies, don’t ask over 3 main questions. As for each question, you will usually ask follow up questions. Thus the interview will turn out to have more questions than you have planned. To recap this lecture, remember to do your job analysis well. Interview questions are all based on this job analysis. The detail your requirements, the better you will know what questions to be asked. However, don’t overwhelm your candidates. Always rank your questions based on the priorities and importance to the job role. 4. How to Ask Effective Interview Questions?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 4 How to Ask Effective Interview Questions In the last 2 lectures, I talked about “what to ask” and “how many questions to ask”. Now let me continue with another common frequently asked question, that is, “how to ask the interview questions. The key is to frame or structure the format of the questions. Like communication, you can express your question in different ways. The way you asked your questions will have a significant impact on the answers you will receive. They will be affected by the context, the words you use and your tone. So it is worth spending the time to think how to ask your questions to make them the most effective. Very often, the interview questions are not easily to be answered. Make your wording clear, so that it can't be misunderstood. You should be careful to ask questions that are sensitive to your interviewees. After you have listed down your questions, always review each question and rephrase them one by one. How to rephrase them? There are many different types of questions, including open and closed questions, leading questions and probing questions, behavioral and situational interview questions as well as follow-up questions. As the basic requirement, you need to understand each type of these questions, how to use them, As the basic requirement, you need to understand each type of these questions, how to use them, maximize the effectiveness of these questions. In general, you should ask more open questions, probing questions and behavioral interview questions. An open question begins with what, where, when, why and how, interview questions. An open question begins with what, where, when, why and how, rather it just elicits a more free-flowing respond and offers you in-depth answers. Probing questions are typically open questions, are intended to promote critical thinking as well as to get the candidates to explore their personal thought and feelings about a particular topic. Behavioral interview questions are those which look for past examples and usually start with “Tell me a time when…”, “Describe a situation in which” or something like that. These 3 types of questions allow you to understand your candidates’ actual past examples, so that you can drill on their soft skills, thinking process, personalities and other personal details. If you ask these questions properly and press for details in these real situations, you can get concrete and relevant information for predicting the future future performance of the candidates at your Company. Here is an example of behavioral question, “Please tell me about the time you had fewer resources on your team and you were required to finish project on time. How did you handle the situation?” While open, probing and behavioral questions are highly encouraged during interview, some people said situational interview questions and closed questions should not be used. Situational questions are those asking for the candidates to describe their actions under hypothetical situations. For example, “What would you do if your customer’s products were broken during delivery?” For example, “What would you do if your customer’s products were broken during delivery?” He may say one thing but act in another way. Therefore, situational questions are not truly reliable for predicting candidate’s future behavior. So many people say using behavioral questions to ask for past examples is a better way for assessing candidates’ performance. A closed question calls for simple, informational answers, sometimes just a “yes” or “no” or a pick from limited multiple-choice options. As such, opposite to open and probing questions, close questions cannot give you rich details about the candidates. So am I suggesting you that situational questions and closed questions should never be used during interviews? No, in fact, situational questions and closed questions can also give you insights which other types of questions cannot. What types of questions to be used all depends on how you use them. For instance, combining the use of open and closed questions can encourage your candidates to speak up. You may first use closed questions to ask some specific information and this will make your candidates feel more relaxed in answering you. Then based on these info, you can use open questions to drill down the details. For example, you may start with a closed question, say “How many projects did you do last year?”, then ask “Which one was the most challenging, and why?” Combining the use of behavioral and situational interview questions enable you to assess their abilities and their soft skills much more reliably. For example, you may ask your candidates a situational question question first and tell you what they would do and why. Then you can follow up asking them to give up a past example with similar situation. This allows you to compare their reply under hypothetical situation with an actual example. Another way is you may ask your candidates a past example of an event and tell you the specifics, as well as what they have learnt. After that, you may follow up asking a situational question on similar event to verify if they really acted in this way in the past, and whether they can apply what they have learnt in similar situations in future. Nowadays there are too many interview questions and answers available on Internet. Candidates can easily find perfect answers for the behavioral questions. Some people think it is better not to use them. However, from my experience, again this is a misconception. How effective your interview questions are, depends on how you use them and how you structure your questions. I will talk more about this in the next lecture. 5. How to Structure the Interview Questions?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 5 How to Structure the Interview Questions? In my previous lecture, I mentioned how effective the interview questions are, depends on how you use them and how you structure your questions. Now let me give you another example. If you want to ask the candidate’s personalities, work performance, strengths and weaknesses. Instead of directly asking them, you may use open and closed-questions as follows: Interviewer: What was your supervisor’s name? Candidate: Susan; Interviewer: Did Susan conduct the performance’s appraisal with you? Candidate: Yes ; Interviewer: What did Susan say? Which areas did she say you perform well and which areas you should improve? In this way, surprisingly, many candidates will be honest with you and tell you what Susan said. They were worried if you would really check with Susan. You will get much more info than directly asking them their job performance, strengths and weaknesses. Thus be sure that you are familiar with the basic types of questions, namely open questions, closed questions, probing questions, behavioral and situational questions. You should be able to structure and rephrase the questions. Meanwhile, do avoid asking leading questions or sometimes called suggestive questions. These questions “lead” the candidate to answer the way you want to hear but which may not be an honest answer. A leading question usually ends with question tags, such as don’t you, would you, right, correct and so on. It may also involve an assumption or giving people a choice between 2 or 3 options. Very often, your preferred answer is implied obviously in the wordings of the question. You direct your candidates to respond in a narrow or biased way, normally towards your expectation. Here are some examples, “You prefer a stable environment, aren’t you?”, “You worked for very long hours at your last job. Is this because of the poor management of your Company?”. Sometimes you may not be aware that you are asking a leading question. For example, you may ask, “Tell me how you successfully resolved a conflict with your supervisor.” So what you are suggesting your candidate is to tell you some successful stories. Maybe they don’t don’t have any. So instead, it would be better to re-phrase the question as “Tell me a time when you had a conflict with your supervisor.” This allows your interviewees to share a situation freely. Also, try to avoid assuming you know how your candidate feel and use emotional words like, “struggle”, “frustrated”, “motivated”, “challenged”, “angry” etc but instead simply structure your questions neutrally and directly. Just ask, “What do you think?”, “How do you feel?” and “What do you want?” In this way, you can then draw more from the candidate’s own experiences and thought. In addition, apart from the questioning techniques, there is a very useful model that you should use during the interview. It will help you to guide your candidates to structure their answers step-by-step. This model is what I called the enhanced version S.T.A.R. model 2.0, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result, Awareness and Learning. Situation and Task represent the background of the past example. Action is the core part of the past example and you can learn a great deal from what the candidates tell you or not tell you. Results can allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of their action. And also under the current fast changing economy, awareness and learning allow you to evaluate the potential of your candidates. This is a great model to be used. You can structure your questions based on this model. Here are the sample questions based on the resume: Situation – What is the situation you faced in your previous job? Task – What tasks were you responsible for? Action – What actions did you take? Result – What were the results of these actions? Awareness – If you look back today, what would you do differently? Learning – What did you learn from this experience? What are the implications for you? What are the implications for you? to ask for specific experiences. For example, you may ask, “Tell me an experience that you had a disagreement with your Manager.” Then you can use the model to guide the candidates to answer you step-by-step, going through the situation, task, action, result, awareness and learning. In this way, you can learn the candidates’ technical skills, soft skills, thinking process and their self-awareness in an organized way. You will learn about your candidates as a person. To recap this lecture, I cannot over-emphasize the importance of preparing your interview questions in advance. With preparation, you can review the wordings after you have listed them out. You can re-phrase and re-order your questions in a better way to make your candidates answer you better and and easier. Of course, you need to ensure that the questions suit your interview style. Otherwise, if you have not put them on a paper and you ask the questions just on top of your mind, very likely, it will be difficult for you to think about reframing your interview questions to enhance the effectiveness. Lastly, to ask great questions during the interview, remember, you need to do 2 things: (1) Master the questioning techniques and the concepts; (2) Prepare for your questions and reframe them in advance to maximize the effectiveness. 6. The Big Trap in Interview : Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 6 In the previous lectures, I talked about what to ask, how many questions to ask, how to ask effective questions and how to structure the interview questions. While you may have outstanding questioning technique, there is one big trap that you should be aware. If you fall into it, you will probably end up with a wrong hire. This is the top item that you should avoid. So what is this? Before answering this question, ask yourself, how long do you usually form an opinion about a candidate? From which moment? You may tell me you only make the decision after the interview. Be honest with yourself, is this really true? I won’t challenge your honest answers. Research shows that on average, interviewers only take 10 seconds to form a judgement. Let me repeat here, yes, just 10 seconds! Every day each of us are always overloaded by information and we have many decisions to make, we tend to use mental shortcuts to form quick decisions. So this forms the common trap – personal bias. Bias lead us not making the best decisions at all times. Let's discuss the 3 major types of bias. 1. The first one is confirmation bias. This refers to the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, recall information in a way that confirms our original beliefs of a person. In other words, within the first few minutes, we make up our minds about the candidate’s trustworthiness, reliability, integrity, intelligence, their personalities and other different things. During the rest of the interview, we spend time trying to confirm our original assumptions. Say, I interviewed a young lady for a customer service position. She was sitting in the interview room. When I came in the room, she did not stand up and greet me. Suppose I regarded this kind of persons show a lack of respect to others and lacked the basic essentials for being a good customer service officer. During the rest of the interview, I interpreted all her answers and body movements were insincere. My mind was trying to confirm my interpretation that I made early on in the interview and because of that, I considered her unsuitable. There might be a variety of reasons why she did not stand up but the point was that I might have lost lost a great candidate because of confirmation bias. 2. The 2nd type is called contrast bias. This bias can work in a few different way. You may often hear that the first candidate and the last candidate always got additional advantages. Why? Say, if your first candidate is very bright, you may use this candidate as the benchmark and then tend to rate everyone else more harshly. Also, if that candidate seems weak in some areas, and other candidates appear to be better in those areas, they might seem to be more qualified than they really are. For the last candidate you interviewed, you often score them higher because you may only remember best the last interview and this candidate is fresh on your mind. This is the recency effect. It is the tendency to remember the most recently presented information best. Another type of contrast bias is the halo effect. If a candidate creates a very favorable first impression on you, from that moment going forward, anything this candidate says or does, you may interpret positively. The good first impression may because of the candidate’s good-looking appearance, manner, accents, same high school and so on. Once this takes place, you may not be able to view the candidate’s job suitability objectively. Opposite to the halo effect, is the horn effect. This means where is something negative, like my previous example of the young lady without standing up. I got an immediate dislike and I might ask questions to uncover negative information about the candidate. 3. The 3rd one is in-group bias. This means we look for people like us in our in-group instead of people who are different from us in the out group. So people may tend to select a particular color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, race and whatever the reason may be. In relation to this, a common issue during interview is stereotyping. It means we make assumptions about someone because he or she is belong a certain group, say age, nationality, sex, political beliefs , religion, education, accent, disability, weight and countless reasons. You can see these may cause us a problem in terms of employment discrimination. Having such bias is risky and unethical. Because of this in-group bias, you may have formed prejudgment and got a dislike for a person with no logical reasons. To recap this lecture, there are 3 main types of personal bias. Always remind yourself not fall into one of these traps as they definitely affect your hiring process. 7. The Top 5 Things to Bear in Mind for an Effective Interview: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 7 The 5 Top Things to Bear in Mind for an Effective Interview To have an effective interview, I believe you understand how important it is to be a good listener. You should place full attention on your candidates and have your questions on hand. Try to minimize anything that may distract you or them. Say, if you are conducting the interview at your room, make sure that the important files and papers are not lying around and you have kept them in a proper place. Simply minimizing your distraction is not enough, there are 5 things you should remind yourself to avoid: 1. Avoid being distracted by your own thought – it means you are thinking of something else, overwhelmed with emotion or involved in another tasks (hopefully not your mobile phones, blackberry or other emails), thus your listening will be impaired. What you interpret is not the candidate’s actual thoughts, real abilities or actual situation but your own What you interpret is not the candidate’s actual thoughts, real abilities or actual situation but your own Say, when your candidates are answering you, you may be thinking about the next question and not having active listening, so you may not be able to catch part of what they are saying. 2. Avoid having personal bias - As discussed in the last lecture, there is confirmation bias, contrast bias (including halo and horn effect) as well as in-group bias. If you already had a very good or bad initial impression on the candidates, very likely your subconscious mind is working to find evidence to confirm your first impression. So it means you may do not much listening. If you are not familiar with these 3 major bias, you may re-watch my previous lecture. Always be more open-minded and give the benefit of the doubt with people we tend not to initially take. 3. Avoid closed-mindset. Many hiring managers believe that they are superior in the interview room or they may think they are much more intelligent than the candidates. If the candidates turn out to be very smart or they challenge the closely held beliefs of the hiring managers, some hiring managers may think they are not respectful or being naïve. For some interviewers, they may also worry that hiring these smart candidates will pose a threat to their position. they may also worry that hiring these smart candidates will pose a threat to their position. these candidates are poor fits. However, they forget that a hiring manager is smart, not only because he is smart himself, but also because he can use smart people to work for him! 4. Avoid forming an early judgement. When starting an interview, don’t make a yes or no hiring decision for at least the first 20 minutes. This minimizes our tendency to ask questions to falsely confirm our impression. Tell yourself to be as objective as possible to avoid personal bias. 5. Avoid unstructured interview – an unstructured interview adopts a conversational style that does not have a specific list of questions meant to be asked in a particular order. You may choose what to ask based on the candidate’s resume randomly. However, as different sets of questions are asked to different candidates, it leads to inconsistency and is difficult to form an objective comparison. and is difficult to form an objective comparison. You may just go with your gut feel with personal bias to make your hiring decision, which may end up having a wrong hire. having a wrong hire. and fair comparison. As the questions are prepared in advance, you are less likely to forget important questions. Without avoiding these 5 common problems, all the questioning and listening techniques will be meaningless. The reason is because you have already stuck to your own mind and proceed with your gut feel. 8. What to Listen for during Interview?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 8 (8) What to Listen for during Interview? In order to interpret your candidates’ answers correctly, you should be concentrated, attentive, focused with very open mindset but no personal bias during the interview. You should put aside any other things, if possible turn off mobile phones as well, until you finished your interview. Otherwise, you will just close your ears and your minds, you cannot listen much, let alone of doing the interpretation of candidates’ answers. You may ask, so what should you listen for during interviews? As I have mentioned before, every question has You may ask, so what should you listen for during interviews? As I have mentioned before, every question has All the questions are well-designed to evaluate whether the candidates have the required skills, experience or competencies. whether the candidates have the required skills, experience or competencies. or in other words, the key items. Pay attention to what the candidates answered you. Check if their reply actually answer the question you asked asked and look for the key items you want. Your candidates may want to shift the question a little. Do ask yourself, is this a diversion or a valid shift in perspective? Do know what these key items represented and what behavior or action can show them. Sometimes they may not use exactly the same wordings but other actions or verbs can also imply that they have the required key competency. For example, you may want to have a good problem-solver. So you need to know what constitutes good problem-solving, say doing research, analyzing, developing alternatives, evaluation, forming judgement, implementation and so on. Therefore, notice whether these actions are included in your candidates’ answers. Therefore, notice whether these actions are included in your candidates’ answers. write down some key words that you are looking for in the answers of candidates. The more the key words match, usually the better the fits. Also, make sure that some common key words, clarify their definition and what they actually refer to as the same word may mean different things for different people. For example, in accounting, nearly all candidates claim they have “full set of accounting” experience. For me, full set means someone is able to complete the whole books of a Company from book-keeping to closing. If you drill down the details, some candidates may tell you that actually they only have experience in doing payment or receipt or a certain part of accounting, instead of having the ability to complete everything. Also, be aware of the words used by the candidates. For example, when describing a past event, they should use past tense. If they used other tenses, perhaps they are telling you a fake story but not a real past example. If they used “we” to describe an event, make sure you ask follow-up questions to figure out their individual contribution in the team. Don’t let them confuse you. Listening is very different from heard. In theory, effective listening means you can understand the candidates’ messages clearly, including both what is said and what is not said as well as their physical energy. Or in other words, this is “active listening” level. Apart from the key words, there are lots of things that you should pay special attention when your candidates are answering you, such as their tone, voice, body language and gestures. These small hints can give you great insights, say how nervous or confident they are, whether they are poor performers, if they have exaggerated themselves or making up stories to you. Therefore, always ask follow up questions on these small hints, no matter verbal or non-verbal hints. Observe carefully what and how the candidates answered you, and you will get new insights. Before ending this lecture, you may have a question, how can you tell someone is lying during an interview? When someone is lying, he probably skip over details like when it happened and how he felt. Some people are just bad at telling stories but when someone is lying the amount of detail will vary a lot throughout the interview, whereas a bad storyteller or a shy person will be consistent or increase the level of detail as they get more comfortable. Most fake stories are gross exaggerations. Therefore, always ask for details, listen and observe carefully. In short, always make sure you are attentive with an open mindset during the interview. Look for the key required competencies or key words in their answers. Observe and listen actively to what is said, as well as what is not being said or implied. Be patient and always ask for the details to identify the liars. 9. How to Get the Most from Difficult Candidates?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. (9) How to Get the Most from Difficult Candidates? In an ideal interview situation, when you ask questions, the candidates should be very cooperative and tell you everything you need. However, the reality is always not perfect. Some candidates are very quiet, some are too nervous to speak up, some are emotional, some are too talkative and unintentionally control your interview! Or very often, you may not meet these problematic candidates but you face the common situations, such as the candidates do not tell you all the information that you need, or they cannot think of an answer for your question, or they are not talking to the point and so on. Sometimes maybe they might not sure if you want to hear their stories, too. In these situations, what should you do? How can you obtain relevant answers? Or should you just kick them out? Please bear in mind that these problematic candidates may have the ideal experience and qualities that you are looking for. They may be your best hires but just need a little bit of time to warm up. If you kick them out so early, you may screen out a potential great candidate. If you cannot manage these situations properly, the result will be the interview time is running out but you haven’t got your relevant information or your simply kick them out. Sometimes what even worse is that the candidates may have bad impression on you and your Company. They may bad mouth against your Company to their friends and relatives. In this way, you indirectly damage your Company’s brand name. So what should you do to prevent this to be happened? To solve this issue, you should master the skills in controlling the interview and how to manage different types of candidates. One way is to get prepared before interview. If your candidates have done a personality test, then you can use the results to adjust your own approach to suit them. The aim is to make them feel more relaxed and comfortable, so that they will be more willing to share information with you. Another thing you can do is to encourage them to speak up by building trust, rapport and empathy. After introducing yourself and everyone in the interview room, you may start by having a little, nice, safe talk. For example, you may say about the weather, such as “It’s pretty nice weather but it’s very hot today”; or you may say, “what’s a terrible day with the heavy rain!” The aim is to try to break the ice in the beginning of interview. Throughout the interview, you may also apply empathy to show your candidates that they were being listened and understood. Make them feel respected, competent and important, so that they will be more willing to share their stories with you. In addition, you can also use the STAR model 2.0 and behavioral questions to guide them on track or provide you specific information. The STAR 2.0 model stands for Situation, Task, Actions, Results, Awareness and Learning. The STAR 2.0 model stands for Situation, Task, Actions, Results, Awareness and Learning. • Situation – ask the candidates fully but concisely explain the circumstances or problems of the situation. Remind them to illustrate to you what the key issues are. • Task – ask them to explain the tasks under the example • Action – ask them to tell you the specific course of actions they taken and why • Results – ask them to tell you the results of the action • Awareness – encourage them to share what they were aware in this situation. You may ask their feelings and opinions about this event or project. • Learning – encourage them to share what they have learnt from this experience and what they would do differently. You can use this model to ask questions step-by-step, so as to guide your candidates to provide you a complete picture from beginning to end with specific details, as well as their self-awareness and learning. You will not only assess their abilities, soft skills and experience, but also their potentials for future development. During your interview, pay attention to your tone of voice, which will affect the answers that you will receive. Consider this question, “You wouldn’t argue with the boss, would you?”. This question could be asked in very different tones of voice, for example: • In a threatening voice • In a voice of “wide-eyed” shock • In a matter-of-fact voice for research purpose I trust you understand the importance of the tone of voice. Always use a calm, professional and warm tone of voice. This will facilitate you to build rapport and trust with your candidates. Of course, this question that I just quoted should not be used during interview. The reason is this is a leading question. You lead your candidates in answering what you want to listen and it is meaningless for interview purpose. Moreover, you may use pause and silence intentionally during the interview. Candidates usually are not comfortable with the dead air. They will break those pauses and silent moments with more candid, unrehearsed information about themselves. There are many other techniques you can use during the interview, to control the interview speed, and to manage the talkative, the off-track, the emotional, the nervous, the over-prepared, the arrogant and many other types of difficult candidates. You can do research on your own how to manage each of them. No matter how, the key is you need to build relationship and rapport with your candidates. Once they like you and are comfortable, they will be more willing to share with you. In short, to conclude this lecture, spend the time to equip yourself with 3 things: 1. Understand how to manage different difficult situations during interview 2. Understand well how to conduct a professional and effective hiring and interview process 3. Learn how to build relationship and rapport with your candidates Once you master these skills, no matter how your candidates turn out to be or how difficult the interview situation is, it will be your show time. You can show your professionalism while you get all the most of these difficult candidates under difficult situations. You will not hurt the image of the Company but instead, may identify some hidden superstars for your Company! 10. How Can You Tell Someone is Perfectly Fit?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 10 - How can you tell someone is perfectly fit? Recruitment is a big decision and the cost of replacement is very expensive. So everyone wants to find the best fit for the vacancy. Even though you may do a detail job analysis, you may worry that you haven’t considered all aspects. You do not want to overlook any important areas during the interview. So the question is how can you tell someone is perfectly fit for the position? I got a model named as the “5-Fit Model”. This model covers all aspects for the Right Hire. In other words, if you follow this model, it means it will be unlikely that you will miss any important area. So what are these 5 Fits? These 5 fits cover 5 main areas, namely motivational, technical, personality, soft skills and cultural fit. They are all a must to be considered when you make your decision. Let me briefly go through one by one. (1) Motivational Fit means how the job offer aligns with the individual’s preference. This includes the background check and what the candidates want for the next job, such as the job nature, duties, environment, career aspiration and so on. Here is a sample question. “Please tell me in detail about the things you have enjoyed in your current and past positions. How about the things you do not like in those jobs?” Your job is to identify what motivates your candidates and then do the matching with the job you offered. The more the similarities, the higher the motivational fit, which in turn means the stronger the sense of belonging and engagement at this job, followed by higher performance and productivity. (2) Technical fit means whether the candidates have the adequate knowledge and hard skills to perform the required job duties. the required job duties. Therefore, unless the position you are hiring are very senior, in addition to interviews, I strongly recommend you to perform some technical tests, such as written test, work simulations, role-play, projects or assignments to verify their abilities. But of course, sometimes questioning can also help. For example, if you want to know your candidate’s people management skills, you may ask, “Please explain how you deal with a difficult member who does not do the minimum necessary for the position.” 3) The 3rd fit is soft skills fit. Based on the key required soft skills for the position, you need to think out appropriate reliable methods to assess each of these. Notice that what they said to you might be different from what they actually performed in the past or what they used to be. So your job is to assess how reliable and useful for the examples they told you. What should you do? You can apply all the effective questioning techniques and interview skills as well as my enhanced model, STAR 2.0 model. Do remember to ask questions on “awareness” and “learning” to assess their future potentials. This is because even if they did not perform well in the past, it does not mean that they kept doing the wrong things as people can learn and improve. Of course, do apply all the listening skills and observe very carefully for the candidates’ body languages, words, tone, movements and gestures. If they show you any sudden movements or change of voice or tone, this may indicate something you should pay attention to. Always clarify for any doubts you may have and press for specific details. Don’t settle with general and vague descriptions. For example, if your candidate said “I am the top performer of the Company last year.” Do ask them to give you several specific examples of what made them to be the top performer. (4) The 4th fit is Personality Fit. It ensures the team to perform well and the candidates are right fit to the job role. So this step is to understand clearly what kinds of persons you need for your team and then check the personalities of your candidates. You may use personality tests and apply the effective questioning techniques to understand more about your candidates. However, please note that even though personality is important, this should not be the only factor for concluding the candidates’ suitability for a job. (5) The last fit is cultural fit. It means the candidate shares the values, beliefs, attitudes and principles that drive work, behaviors and relations in the organization. Candidates with cultural fit tend to perform better, more productive, stay longer and have greater job satisfaction. Poor cultural fit is one of the main reasons why the new recruits resign early, so make sure that you cover this area during interview. To assess cultural fit, you should first try to describe the culture of your Company as detail as possible. To assess cultural fit, you should first try to describe the culture of your Company as detail as possible. During the interview, identify what the candidates likes and dislikes, and the environment they thrive in. Match these with what can be offered in this position and by the Company. You can then tell how well they fit the culture of your Company. If you find the candidates are just marginal fit for culture but are great on other aspects, then you may further assess their adaptability on adjusting themselves to suit a new environment. If the candidate have high adaptability, you may re-consider carefully. In short, Motivational Fit + Technical Fit + Soft Skills Fit + Personality Fit + Cultural Fit = Perfect Fit. So do cover all these aspects during your interview. For each of the fit, particularly for soft skills and personality fit, remember not to be too greedy but just identify the key requirements based on importance. Otherwise, you won’t have enough time to cover all questions. Lastly, one more important note, when you would like to confirm the candidate got a particular competency always do 2 things: 1) Seek repeated evidence that shows a pattern of behavior: This is far stronger than a single example and requires you to cover multiple jobs or time periods. 2) Drill down for specific details with every story you heard: Always ask for specifics and probe for further details, such as feelings. Listen carefully for consistency and red flags. Someone who made up the story can’t tell you the specific details and be consistent. With the 5-fit model and these 2 action points, you will be able to tell if someone is perfectly fit for the job. 11. How to Interview Students and Entry-level Job Seekers?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 11 - How to interview students and entry-level job seekers? Student and entry-level job seekers often lack a job history, which can make it difficult to assess their job skills. If you ask their job preferences, they may be unable to tell you. If you interview them, they may even don’t know how to respond to your questions. So how can you get the best from them in an interview? You may begin your interview by telling your candidates something like, “I will ask you some questions. Please give me specific examples from your school or prior jobs. Tell me what you did and the results you achieved in details. If you are not clear about my questions, you can feel free to clarify.” By sharing this, you encourage the job seekers to speak up. Then during your interview, apply the STAR 2.0 (which stands for situation, task, action, results, awareness and learning) to guide them to provide you information step-by-step. You will need to be more patient and probe for details with follow up questions, such as using the phrases like, “Could you tell me more?” and “Interesting… could you elaborate?”. In my last lecture, I talked about the 5-fit model. You may ask, can this model be applied to students and entry-level candidates? My answer, of course, is yes! Why not? Let’s go through one by one. 1) Motivational Fit - Motivational fit is about the candidate’s background check, their job preference and motivation. You can ask the fresh graduates about their school life, the majors, school projects, part-time and voluntary jobs, interests, strengths and weaknesses. You can also ask them what motivated them, their expectation about the future job and what drove them to apply for your job. Here are some sample questions: • What did you enjoy most and dislike most at school? • Tell me about your voluntary and part-time job experience. How have these prepared you for a career? • Why do you want to work for us? • Why do you want to work for us? Why would you apply for this job? • What motivates you to strive for the best? • Did you prefer working independently or in groups on school projects? 2) Technical Fit - You want to find someone who has the technical knowledge to do the required job. Most employers expect that for entry-level jobs, usually the technical requirement is not very high. Though these novices may not have much formal work experience, perhaps they have outstanding talents better than others, especially digital-related skills. Why don’t you ask them to do some technical tests? If they are applying for a graphic designer job, then ask them to make some designs using the specified software or tools. In this way, you can see their technical abilities and creativity. You know where to train them if they were hired. 3) Soft Skills Fit - Regardless of the levels of positions, even for junior positions, there are some common soft skills that you are looking for. These include communication skills, time management skills, problem-solving skills and teamwork. Young graduates are often being criticized being in the digital age that technology and automation have decreased their levels of interpersonal skills with others. If you have the same worry, you may put more focus on assessing their EQ, teamwork and communication skills. You can use behavioral interview questions to assess their soft skills. Here are some sample questions: • What were your biggest challenge as a student and how did you handle it? • Describe a time when you have multiple projects to be submitted to your Professors at the same time. Tell me how you handled it and what the results were. • Describe a time when things went wrong at your school life and how you dealt with it. • Tell me a time when you had conflicts with your school mates in handling a group project. 4) Personality Fit - Similar to the experienced candidates, you can use personality test, behavioral interview questions or even simple open questions to understand more about the personality of the entry- level applicants, say, “Tell me how your professor and friends describe you.” Among different kinds of personalities, perhaps one of the most important traits that every employer looks for, is initiative. Initiative is one of the key indicator to show the future potential of the applicants. To assess their initiative, you can simply ask them: • “Tell me about a time when you demonstrate your initiative. What was the situation? What have you done and what were the results?”. From listening to their stories, you can assess how they used initiative to get the job done and how independent they were. 5) Cultural Fit - Having a good cultural fit for a company facilitates the new staff to get on well with other colleagues, enjoy the work and proud of the Company’s values. Though the fresh graduates may not have no job experience, you can still ask them the common interview questions to assess the cultural fit, such as: • Can you describe the work environment in which you perform the best? • Tell me about a time in your last job when you were satisfied and energized, also a time when you were demotivated and unproductive. • What does a successful company culture look like to you? As you can see, the 5-Fit model also works well for young graduates. When you are hiring these graduates, make sure they understand the job duties and expectation well during the interview. This will help them to get prepared for the coming job. It is also better to assign a mentor and a buddy when they were on board, together with a comprehensive onboarding program to accelerate their transition from students to professionals in the workplace. 12. The 2 Must Asked Questions in Every Interview: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 12 The 2 Must Asked Questions in Every Interview While there are hundreds of interview questions, there are 2 questions that I must ask during every interview, regardless of the job level and job nature. These 2 questions are: • “Tell me your greatest achievement in your last job. “ or similar variations. • “Tell me the biggest challenges you faced at work.” or similar variations. These 2 questions provide lots of valuable insights to the 5-fit model that I introduced in the previous lectures. Let me briefly explain how these 2 questions are useful for you. For the 1st question, asking candidates about their greatest achievements, shows you several things: 1. This shows their strengths and preferences as well as how they are different from other applicants. Their choice of great achievements will show you what they consider important, and how they achieved it and how they get things done. You can check if these align with the job duties. Say, if their biggest achievement is to about conversion of accounting system, and you are finding someone to do this job and her or she will be is a good fit. 2. How they define “greatest achievement” or “success” can tell you how ambitious and how much drive they have to succeed. If their achievement is not something you consider as impressive or the candidates find it hard to tell you, then it is better not to expect too much that they will bring big values to your Company. If the candidates were over-proud of their not-so-impressive achievements, this is a red flag for their unpleasant personalities. 3. The question also shows their soft skills, such as organization, communication, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, time management and many others. teamwork, adaptability, problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, time management and many others. culture. When you ask this question, please make sure that your candidates are talking about something that is recent and relevant for the job, instead of something that happened a long time ago or unrelated to work, I always request candidates to tell me their achievements in their last job, last 2 jobs or in the recent 3 years. The more recent and relevant their stories, the better the predictability of their future job performance and alignment with the Company’s cultures and requirements. If you are interviewing a fresh graduate or entry-level candidates who can’t tell you about workplace accomplishment, then you can ask them about part-time job, school, volunteering or even their hobbies, so long as their stories allow you to identify their transferable skills required by your job opening. The second question that I definitely ask the candidates is about their biggest challenges at work. Again, this question serves multiple purposes. 1. It shows how your candidates view challenges. Do remember to understand why they considered such event or situation as the biggest challenge. 2. You can understand more about their personalities and their resilience when facing difficulties. Are they self-motivated person? Are they actively seeking for new challenges to develop their skills and knowledge? Are they passively avoiding difficult situations? Are they forced to cope with adversity? If someone told you that they did not have any difficulties at work or even in their life, be aware of this. They may not tell you the truth or if this is really true, you should be concerned how they will face adversity in future. 3. You can get a sense of how they face problems. From their stories, you can assess their problem -solving, analytical and stress management skills. You can then have an idea how they would face similar challenges in the post you are hiring. 4. You can assess their potential for future development. You can ask them what they have learnt from their experience and how they can apply it to their current or or future job tasks. If you are interviewing fresh graduates who does not have much work experience, you may ask them to give you examples from their schools. volunteer work or any activities that they were part of. Again, be sure that you can identify their transferrable skills which are related to the job that you are hiring. In short, these 2 are great questions that allow you to understand the candidates better and provide you answers for assessing nearly all the 5-fits, which stand for motivational, technical, personality, soft skills and cultural fit. When you are asking these 2 questions, do apply the STAR2.0 model, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results, Self-Awareness and Learning, to guide your candidates to tell you more details. You may follow up and ask them for more examples for further verification. You may also ask them situational questions about similar scenarios that may happen in the job you are hiring and assess if they can show you what they have learnt. Lastly, I highly recommend you considering these 2 simple but highly effective questions. Try them out! 13. How to Enhance Candidate Accepting your Job Offer?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 13 - How to Enhance Candidate Accepting your Job Offer? - No matter what kinds of economies and industries, talented, bright candidates are often in shortage. It is common that they may have received several job offers on hand. So what can you do to enhance their acceptance of your future job offer? The method is simple. Treat the candidates as VIP customers consistently throughout the whole recruitment process from the first contact, say making interview appointment, phone interview or video interview, to face-to-face interview, and finally to issuing job offer. Also, remember the cliché “Small Details make Big Differences.” Or in other words, you need to focus on every small detail during different stages of interview and make every interaction with your candidates professional, warm and impressive. Always be aware of your own emotion, facial expression and tone during the interview. Sometimes your candidates may not understand your questions clearly. You need to be patient and stay professional. If your candidates have asked you several times or still look confused, you should not say, “I have already told you a couple of times!” In this way, you will give your candidates a bad impression and associate you as a bad boss. While the job and the Company are important, boss is always the most important factor for their consideration if they have several job offers on hand. So be aware of your impression on them. Another small item is to be on time on interview appointment! While you dislike your candidates to be late for interviews, they also prefer the same. Today we are all busy and over-loaded. It is common that the meetings are often over-run, or you are suddenly occupied with an ad-hoc issue. If this happens to you, do contact HR or ask someone to tell your candidates frankly, particularly on how much time they will wait. Offer them some drinks or some Company’s newsletters or magazines to read while they are waiting for you. Never leave them sitting idle at the interview room waiting for you for over 15 minutes! It’s better to leave someone’s contact to your candidate, in case they have special request while waiting for you. When you finally arrived at the interview room, do apologize to the candidates for keeping them waiting. If you are not doing these, you may give a very bad impression to the candidates about your Company and yourself. They may regard that you do not show respect to them and not value their time. They are concerned that this is part of your Company’s culture that management do not value the employees. Again, they may bad-mouth about your Company to their friends and relatives; or even at social media. Remember what I said, treat your candidates as VIP customers. I think you won’t leave your customers waiting for you for a long while! Do the same for your candidates, who may bring customers for you and your company in the future. Never let this small issue make your potential new hire lose their interest at your Company. There are many other details you should be aware of during interview. You may recall from your own interview experience or ask your colleagues for their past experiences. Think what the hiring managers and the Companies did, to give you or your colleagues either a bad or good impression. Then learn from these experiences and improve your interview. For those potential recruits, do keep them warm after your interview until you issued the job offer. To recap this lecture, remember treat your customers well, they will likely make purchase from you. The same applies for your candidates. Give them a good impression and they will likely work for you. Also, bear in mind that one small mistake can cause you losing a potential great hire. So focus on every small detail and keep the whole process of interview warm, professional and impressive. Make your candidates feel they are the important VIPs! 14. How to Sell your Company and the Job? : Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit. Lecture 14 How to sell your Company and the job? To enhance the candidates’ acceptance chance of your job offer, one important thing you must do is to sell your Company and the job role over the recruitment process, but not only at the job offer stage. Make sure your candidates get excited and look forward to working at your Company at every hiring stage. It sounds reasonable but the question is, how do you sell your Company and the job role? As a hiring managers for 10 years, while salary is the major consideration for job seekers, it is often not a very negotiable item at the Company. For some companies, you need to stick to the pay scales of each position and do not have any flexibility to adjust the salary. While for small companies, salary. While for small companies, other words, it means you may not be able to use salary as a selling point. To sell your Company, there is no fixed formula but the first step is to think how you position your Company as an employer that people want to work for. There are a number of factors, such as Company size, history, financial performance, profitability, high quality services and products, location, learning and development opportunities, Company’s growth potential and organizational culture. These factors can make your Company look great. If your Company got any rewards such as “Best Employer to Work For”, “The Caring Company” or “Great Place to Work”, these public recognition can be a very good selling point. You may highlight all the strengths of your Company to your candidates during the interview. If your Company is just a small company with no public recognition award, how can you attract your candidates? The best strategy you should adopt, is to sell the candidates based on what they told you. During the interview, you understand a lot about your candidates, including their career aspirations, preferences, likes and dislikes, motivation and so on. You learn the specific details that your candidates are looking for, say job stability, good boss, job location, travelling requirement, good work culture, training opportunities, exposure etc. So what you should do, is to highlight and tell your candidates how your Company and the job can match with their preferences and likes. Tell them how you are going to help them to achieve their career aspirations and goals. In other words, there are a lot of things you can sell other than salary. Remember, this strategy requires your active listening skills. Active listening means you need to understand what the candidates said and what is not being said. Mastering the listening skills, not only facilitates your assessment on your candidates, but also allows you to sell your Company and the position better to them, increasing the acceptance chance of your job offer. So always be a good listener during the interview. Do listen more than you talk. However, don’t hard sell your Company or the job, otherwise, your candidates may feel strange and hesitated to join your Company. Meanwhile, don’t oversell, too. Many hiring managers present their Companies in the best possible light in order to land a candidate. This is particularly true for senior hires or smart talents. For instance, they may oversell the Company’s culture, highlight potential for growth, possibility of promotion and advancement after a certain period, bonus potential, but underplay the challenges of the job, hide the actual problems facing by the team and so on. When the promises could not happen or the new hires found out the expectation gaps, they would be unhappy and eventually quit the Company early. Be realistic and honest while you are selling. If you are interested in a candidate, there is no reason for you to hide your interest. Do find out If you are interested in a candidate, there is no reason for you to hide your interest. Do find out any interviews? What kinds of vacancies, companies and industries they are currently interviewing at? Could they share some details for these positions, say job title, responsibilities and location? Remember, getting to know your competitors, can also give you hints on how to sell your post and your Company better. As I mentioned in the early beginning, selling should be a part of whole recruitment process, including the waiting period of the candidates, when you are doing the shortlisting to every round of interviews as well as the issuance of job offer. Never let your candidates wait too long for your update, otherwise, they may lose their interest and passion at your Company. Make sure you let them know what is going on each stage. Tell them when they will hear from you and what the next steps are. Stay in touch with them while they are waiting for your updates. Remember, there are very likely that other Companies also want your bright candidates at the same time. If you keep silence at any hiring stage, your potential best hire may move forward to another opportunity offered by your competitors. Lastly, before I end this lecture, I would like to remind you that at every interview, you are the sales representative of your Company. Candidates based on you to judge the Company. Thus do always remember to be professional, calm, patient and easily approachable during the interview. Avoid confrontation and arguments with your candidates. Remember what VIP customer wants, that is, transparent, respect, feel important, feel valuable and trustworthy. Make sure you have demonstrated all these values to your candidates throughout the whole interview process. Let them want to work for you at this position at your Company! 15. How to Do Reference Check?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit Lecture 15 - How to do reference check? Many people believe as the references were recommended by the candidates, it is obvious that you will receive a positive outcome with no negative comments. So you will get no useful information from the reference check. Are they correct? So is reference check just a waste of time? In fact, reference check is highly important. It is much more than a formality. Some candidates might pretend too well that you could not discover the truth of themselves during the interview. thus may make you ending up with a wrong decision. Reference check is the important tool to help you to verify facts and to obtain info not mentioned by the candidates. How effective it is, actually depends on 2 factors: (1) whether you do it by yourself; and (2) whether you master the skills of doing an effective check well. Many people outsource this step to the HR or the recruitment agents. I highly suggest you not doing this! HR may not know your true concerns and may not tell you much insights. For recruitment agents, they earn commission if their candidates were successfully hired. So there is clearly a conflict of interests. They have a strong incentive to convince you to issue the job offer. Even if the references really shared some negative comments on the candidates, they would unlikely tell you. What I am suggesting, is always to do the reference check by yourself and have a direct conversation with the candidates’ at least 2 most recent supervisors. This will provide better value for predicting their future performance. You can re-evaluate whether they are a good fit, and predict how long they will take to be excel at this job. Don’t just talk to the HR Department as they usually only provide the hard data but not the performance. Reference check is not a purely chatting process for you to get to know their ex-supervisors. Compared with interviews, reference check is actually much more difficult, because of several reasons: 1. The references are recommended by your interviewees. Yes, they probably provide positive comments, or may exaggerate the abilities or performance of your candidates. 2. The reference checks are usually conducted by phone. So you cannot see their facial expression and body language to get other hints. 3. The references are usually very busy and only have very limited time to talk to you. and only have very limited time to talk to you. 4. You only have one chance to talk to the references of the candidates. If you miss any important questions, it would be very odd if you contact them for the 2nd time. Same as interview, every question has a purpose and you need to apply the questioning and listening techniques in reference check. Before conversation, list down the items that you want to verify and clarify, and prioritize your questions based on the importance of the info you are looking for. You may consider verifying an event mentioned by the candidate or may seek for more relevant examples from the candidate’s past performance. Again, you may apply behavioral questions with the STAR model, that is, Situation, Task, Action and Result. Remember, re-phrasing the questions is highly important. The references may be reluctant to tell the weaknesses of the candidate very frankly. Instead of asking a direct question, you may share the required necessary skills for your opening. Then ask the reference to rank the candidate’s skills from the strongest to the weakest, and give examples to support. If he ranks any of your essential soft skills towards the bottom of the ranking, you should be concerned. Or you may ask “For this position, we need someone who can handle complicated accounting consolidation. How would you rate him on this skill?”. The complicated accounting consolidation can be replaced by any important thing. This question allows you to match the individual’s potential skill with the position you are hiring. Or you may ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate him or her?”. Then you can follow up and ask, “What would it have taken for your candidate to be a 10?”. This is another way to check the improvement areas of your candidate. During the reference check, firstly, you should reassure the references that all of their answers are kept in absolute confidential, so that they can get comfortable to share their honest comments. Then you may start asking them how long, how close and how regularly they work together with your candidate. You may go on to ask your candidate’s achievements, strengths, weaknesses, soft skills, technical skills and personalities. You can validate your impression and also what the candidates claimed during the interview, and check whether he or she humble or has exaggerated. In addition, you may ask the references how the candidate interacted with peers, does he or she work better in groups or alone? You can also ask how well does the individual communicate? When the references are overselling your candidate, press for specifics and notice their use of words, tenses and tone. Be sensitive to what the references imply, do not say or try to avoid answering. Give them plenty of time to respond and be patient. You may ask them to provide you suggestions when working with working with the candidate at this new position; or ask them if there is any area he or she would need additional support in the first 90 days. All these will give you more insights on how the individual matches with your requirements, and what will make this potential new hire successful at the new position. Finally, do always remember to ask the sensitive question near the end of the interview, say, “Why did he leave your Company?”, “Do you regret hiring this individual? Will you consider re-employ him, 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 silent or hesitate may indicate something hidden and a red flag. So ensure you also ask “why and why not” but not just a simple closed question. If the reference check is pretty fine, then congratulations, you can proceed to negotiate the salary and the offer! 16. How to Negotiate the Salary and the Offer?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit Lecture 16 How to negotiate the salary and the offer? - In today’s highly competitive job market, talented professionals often receive multiple job offers and they feel empowered to negotiate their starting salary. For many employers, salary negotiation is a headache as it may make you lose your potential great hire and restart the whole lengthy recruitment process again. Please bear in mind that salary negotiation is not about winning. No one likes the feeling that they got ripped off. It is about reaching agreement on a salary that makes both you and your candidate feel valued and fairly compensated. This is the aim that you should achieve. It is about reaching agreement on a salary that makes both you and your candidate feel valued and fairly this position. Salary depends on a number of factors, including level of the job within your Company, availability of the skills and experience needed for the job in the job market, work experience of the individual, market range of the job, market situation and current industry situation. Some companies may have a pay scale set within the Company. No matter how, find out the maximum salary you can offer. Meanwhile, ask what the candidate is looking for in terms of compensation. In some countries, employers can ask candidates about their previous salary history and their current compensation; whereas in some countries, it is illegal to do this. In either case, I would highly suggest directly asking candidates their salary expectations, and make sure those expectations align with the salary range of the position. This will also avoid a lot of uncertainty and facilitate the process. Based on your best knowledge, you come up with a salary offer. It is better to call your candidate and Based on your best knowledge, you come up with a salary offer. It is better to call your candidate and you would like them to start. Before you talk about salary, do take the opportunity to sell your Company and the job again. Talk through the role and core responsibilities again, and recap the selling points of the Company and the post. Tell them how you will help them to achieve their career goals. After that, you can tell them the salary offer. Allow them to have sufficient time to think about the job offer and don’t push them for decision, as resignation of the current post and accepting a new role is a stressful, big decision. Continue to treat them as VIP customers and be patient to wait for their decision. You may say something like, “I know this is a lot of information. I am here for you during this process. Take your time to think on it and we can connect in a few days.” At this stage, depending on your candidate’s response, you will face one of the 3 scenarios: 1) Your candidate accepts your offer. You can proceed to issue the official offer letter. This is the perfect case. 2) Your candidate rejects your offer. You have several options depending on various factors. You may move on to the next candidate, or you may ask your candidate to provide you more information, or you may ask to match a competitor’s offer. 3) Your candidate respond with a counter-offer and is eager to negotiate. For scenario (2) and (3), it is important to uncover the real reason behind the decision to reject reject or the counter-offer. You may ask: • Would you mind sharing why our initial offer was not attractive? • What form of compensation is the most important to you? • Would you be open to other forms of compensation, like benefits, work arrangement or rewards? Based on the response, here are some actions that you can do: 1) Ask yourself how badly you need this particular person. If your candidate asks for a higher salary than you can offer, consider how difficult and time-consuming it would be to begin your search again. You have three options: agree, make a counteroffer or stand firm. In deciding what to do, consider both the value they would bring to the business and if there are other available candidates with similar skill set. 2) Offer non-cash compensation. If the candidate is clearly your best option, you should make an effort to come to an agreement with them. Be honest and tell them their desired salary is outside your budget but invite them to revisit other parts of the compensation package. This may include health insurance, pension, education subsidy, vacation days, subsidized meals, flexible working hours and remote work arrangement. 3) Point out the availability of performance bonus, loyalty bonus, commission or even shares and stock options. Invite them to consider the total compensation package again. 4) Offer the possibility of a raise after a probation period. Even if you cannot provide them a higher salary right now, you could promise to offer it to them in the future, say after the probation period or after a certain length of a time. If you promise them, make sure you must follow through with that promise, otherwise, you will lose the trust and loyalty of your new staff. If your candidate finally agrees with your new offer, send them an official offer letter within 24 hours and ask them to sign on it to confirm they agree to the terms. If you make a job offer contingent upon reference checks or background checks, make sure the offer letter says so. There will likely be a gap between the offer acceptance and the onboard date. A lot can happen during this period, say their current company may make a convincing counter offer. So make sure that you stay contact with them and keep them excited until they are onboard. If your candidate finally cannot compromise with your new salary offer, then let he or she goes and move on. Notice that if he or she becomes evasive or difficult to reach, they may be waiting for another offer to come in or using your offer as leverage for a different position. If you feel like the individual is playing games, thank for his or her time and then move on. Lastly, before I end this lecture, always remember that no matter how the situation turn out, do not get emotional but stay professional and calm. If you give away any signs of anger, upset or frustration, your candidate will run away and may probably bad-mouth you and your Company. 17. How to Avoid Hiring a Toxic Employee?: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit Lecture 17 How to avoid hiring a toxic employee? While we are aiming to hire an ideal individual, we should also avoid hiring a potentially toxic employee. Toxic behavior poisons the atmosphere, affecting everyone on the team. Sometimes even just one toxic employee, can create big headache to you. By the time you identify toxic behavior in an employee, it’s too late. The damage to your team and your business may already be done. So certainly everyone wants to avoid hiring such staff. Obviously, “toxicity” is not listed on a candidate’s resume. An interesting thing is some of the bright candidates may carry some negative personality traits, and these traits are often well hidden or seem so subtle that they are easily overlooked. So how can we avoid hiring a toxic individual? The key way is to note for red flag issues during the interview process. Watch for the following critical behaviors from candidates. These are strong indicators of toxic personality traits. These include: • Over-confidence and cockiness • Exaggerating skills and accomplishments • Rude or disrespectful behavior towards those not involved in the interview. • Arriving late for the interview • Badmouthing past employers and co-workers; and • Blaming others for poor results and difficult work situations rather than taking responsibility So what can you do to identify these toxic behaviors? There are several things that you can do to avoid hiring a toxic employee. Let me go through each one: 1) Ask negative questions You may ask them some negative questions and test their emotional intelligence. Listen carefully how they interact with their supervisors, teams and colleagues. No matter how great they are, if they cannot get along well with others, it will be a problem. Look for signs of negativity and placing blame on others. This indicates that they may not take responsibility for their actions or can’t recognize their faults. It may also be a sign of selfishness or immaturity that they haven’t learned from the past experience. As employers, we are concerned that what might they say about you, when they leave your Company one day? To test these toxic behavior, you may ask, “Tell me 3 things you enjoyed most and 3 things you didn’t like about your past job.” This question is a good indicator for motivation and cultural fit. Meanwhile, for the negative part, if they blame supervisors, put down colleagues, or simply complain, these may be indicators of poor working attitudes. Here are some more examples. Remember to apply the STAR 2.0 model to obtain the details. • Tell me your 3 biggest mistakes you have made in your career. • Describe a time when you had to deal with stress or conflict at work. What did you do? Could you please share with me for another example? • What kind of people do you find it most difficult to work with? Tell me about three different experiences in which you had to handle difficult people at your job. • Tell me your best supervisor and the worst supervisor that you have ever had. Although you are asking candidates to speak about negatives, look for those who speak honestly but professionally about the changes they would make and focus on the positive outcomes of those changes but not complaining or negative issues. Also, look for candidates who understand themselves well and take responsibility for their mistakes. If they recognize their faults and learn, or they can share how they would handle it differently from now, this shows their potential for growth and future development. 2) Have role plays or other scenarios simulations - Sometimes EQ is difficult be tested by interview questions. A better way is to have role-play or scenario simulations. For example, For example, the reaction of the candidates. 3) Observe how they treat others Courtesy, politeness and good manners are the key things to look for during the interviews. Any people lack these, may be a potential toxic employee. While candidates may treat an interviewer with the utmost respect, they may be less inclined to behave the same to others. Therefore, try to invite those who do not involve in the interview to share their observation and comments with you, such as receptionist, security guards and janitor. They will be able to provide insights into an individual’s natural behavior. 4) Invite them to informal gathering You may invite the potential hires to have a tea or a lunch with your team, or invite them to join an informal social gathering. By doing this, you can observe how they interact and fit into your team, and you will also get a better sense of who they really are. Don’t forget to ask for observations and comments from those colleagues who interacted with your candidates. It is better to assess the potential impact of the candidates on your team earlier than to hire them but regret the decision later. 5) Use reference check Always follow up with past employers to understand the candidates’ work style and interpersonal skills. How they behaved in the past provides a solid indicator of their future performance. Apply all the techniques that I mentioned in the previous lecture on reference check. Pay attention to how you structure your questions and listen carefully to what is not being directly said or implied. 6) Don’t rush for the hiring decision Whenever you are hiring, I understand you want to find someone to fill up the vacancy as soon as possible. It is very frustrating that you can’t find a suitable candidate. However, remember there is nothing worse than being desperate when you are bringing someone toxic on board, who puts down your team’s morale and productivity. Rushing a decision will more than likely guaranteeing you a wrong fit. Take your time to make your hiring decision. If you really cannot find a suitable one, consider hiring temporary or part-time staff to share the workload for a short period of time until the vacancy is filled up. In short, always remember the cost of a wrong hire is very expensive. Having a toxic one may double or even triple your cost. Take your time and pay attention to the details to avoid wrong hiring. 18. Recap and Conclusion: Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Hiring the Best Fit Lecture 18 - Recap and conclusoin Thank you for watching my class. I hope by now you realize that hiring and interview is not really difficult. The key is to equip yourself with key concepts and master the necessary skills, and then have adequate preparation before the interview. Don’t wait until you have a real candidate coming to interview tomorrow. Remember, preparation and learning take time. Questioning and listening are skilled practice. You can only really learn and master them as you get started and practise. Some of the tasks to ensure an effective interview needs to be done before you hire any person, say understanding your Company, your team and the job role well. Effective interview starts with “Ask Great Questions”, make sure your questions are clear to your candidates. Sometimes what is obvious to you is less clear to others. To make your questions effective, you should familiarize with different types of questions, when and how to use them and what to pay attention to during the interview. Otherwise, “Garbage in, Garbage Out” and you cannot get any relevant and reliable information for your hiring decision. Along with the questioning techniques, you can use the model S.T.A.R. model 2.0, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result, Awareness and Learning, to guide your candidates to provide you relevant examples step-by-step. Do always prepare your questions in advance, re-phrase and prioritize them based on the importance of the key items you are looking for the post. Questioning and listening often come together. To practice active listening, you need to avoid having personal bias and being distracted by your own thought. To identify top superstars, you should understand what to listen for during the interview and how to spot the red flags. Sometimes the candidates may not tell you everything you asked. Try to make them relax and feel comfortable, and use the facilitation techniques to encourage them to speak up. In this course, I introduced the 5-fit model, which covers the motivational, technical, soft skills, personality and cultural fit. Do always assess all these aspects for getting the right fit. Of course, don’t leave out the important control tool, the reference check. This is highly useful and can give you new insights about your potential great hire. Hiring is a 2-way process like marriage. Both parties must ensure that they like each other and believe they can get along well together before signing the contracts. During interview, your candidate do also assess you and your Company. No matter the candidates are suitable not, always be professional, calm, warm and approachable, so that they got a good impression after walking out the interview room. If you meet a potential hire, remember to sell your Company and your job appropriately. Highlight to them how you can meet their likes and preferences, and help them achieve their career aspirations. The last step of hiring is salary negotiation. Unlike other negotiation, it is not about winning but it is about agreement. No matter how your candidates reply to you, stay professional and calm. If they reject your offers or counteroffer you, see if they can re-consider the total compensation package including the benefits. Try out the methods that I mentioned in this course to come up with an agreement. In every recruitment, we aim at getting the ideal candidates. Meanwhile, we should pay equal effort to avoid hiring toxic employees. Otherwise, when we discover it, it may be too late and they may already have a detrimental impact on the morale and productivity of the team, or may even hurt the Company’s profitability and reputation. Therefore, please pay attention to all the red flags in the interview and do your due diligence carefully. Before I end this course, I would like to pinpoint one more thing you should bear in mind. No matter who you are going to hire, whether they are your first choice or not, trust them are the best hire for your Company and your team. Tell yourself that you have made a rational, well-informed decision with careful consideration. It is a decision that you feel ease and confident with no regrets. Otherwise, if you have doubts on your decision making or keep thinking the new hires are not the best fits, then sooner or later, you will likely end up with an upset result. There is a very high chance that your new hires will turn out to be under-performed or you would seem them as poor fit. Why? Because your subconscious mind will keep finding evidence to support that you have made a wrong decision to prove that your concern is correct. This is how our subconscious mind works. Lastly, good luck in your hiring and all the best. Once again, thank you very much for watching my course. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. See you in my future courses!