Friday, August 8, 2008

AT YOUR FINGERTIPS (Article on Recruitment)


You don't need to carry loads of paper to interview a potential employee. Here's a quick way to suss out the soft skills of your interviewee.

The interviewing process can be such a daunting task for many hiring managers that they avoid or delegate part of the hiring decision to others.
Often the hiring managers only focus on the hardware skills-set that they require and give minimal attention on the equally important software skills of the candidates.

What do you look for in a "perfect" candidate?

While the one to two hour process cannot possibly unearth all the facets of a person, you can use two basic techniques to systematically "cover the ground" and thus ensure a better hiring decision.

The three most important traits are the following:

Integrity: This defines the character, positive attitude and honesty of the person.

I-can-do attitude: This includes creativity, courage, action, a healthy ego, determination, will power, passion, enthusiasm and adaptability.

Intelligence: Acumen, awareness, alertness and maybe academic achievement, are key in this category.
And at your finger tips, literally, there is a method for you to further assess your candidates.

The hand is a useful guide for hiring managers. Here's how:

Thumb: This represents the fulcrum.

The key ingredient here is the person's ability to leverage on resources & skills within and outside the organisation - to network, create teamworking, harness technology skills.

His ability to motivate people is also among the important traits under this grouping.

Remember that even if one doesn't have sterling academic credentials or the perfect technical background, one can still sucessfully "borrow" them , if one's ability in this category is strong.

Index finger: This represents direction and focus. Does the candidate have clear goals - in a project, his career or his personal life? What does the candidate do to attain those goals? How focused is he and what sort of timeline does he give himself? Is he realistic or passive?

Middle finger: This represents his ability to grasp the BIG picture. Here, you want to find out if your candidate has concepts and ideas, and has a macro view.

Ring finger: This represents commitment. How loyal is the candidate to his career and to his employers?

Little finger: This represents the ability to be humble. Does the candidate have the ability to balance and not forget about small details which can be important? Does he have the humility to reach out, and not treat staff in the lower rung shabbily?

These people are important to clear and maintain the system, and small doesn't mean unimportant.

This handy guide is a quick way for you to get an impression of your interviewee. It is by no means exhaustive, but should be sufficent to help you map out the candidate's key soft skills.

Obviously, you need to look into your internal, organisational and business requirements to determine the type of candidates you need.

(This article appeared in Straits Times Recruit on 27th November 2001 and was contributed by Ong Yong Hwee, the general manager of CEO Search & Services.)