A unique job interview – How would you stand out?

 Standard questions. Prepared answers. If job interviews are all the same, how to find the right talent among 1734 applicants?

Just for fun – Here’s how Heineken dealt with this hiring conundrum:

Heineken – The Candidate

Posted in Hiring, Job Hunting, Personal Development

3 Top Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

From: Lou Adler of The Adler Group 

In the search for the perfect candidate, many hiring managers make these top hiring mistakes:

  1. Starting a search with a bad job description: If it’s vague or unclear or incomplete, the search will be unfocused and the talent and skill of your candidates will be a mash-up of  misses or peripheral applicants. If you don’t know exactly what you want, how will you know what you get is what you want?
  2. Making the assessment too quickly: Impressions and presentations are all good, but it’s important to get to know what the real factors are in a “good/great hire” – and that is, whether the candidate can perform the tasks you require successfully. It’s been said that quick judgments based on affability, first impressions and communication skills can often lead to a wrong decision, either hiring someone who gave positive first impressions who can’t perform, or worst, passing over someone who can truly perform and succeed who didn’t give as good of a first impression.
  3. Basing the hiring decision on criteria that doesn’t predict on-the-job success: It’s important that your criteria for hiring is the right ones tied to how someone performs in the current or past jobs that will translate to successful performance in yours.

How to make the right hiring decision then?

  • Start with a clear performance-based job description and requirements to clarify expectations
  • Be aware of snap judgments and make sure you have all evidence of the candidate’s track record of performance and experience
  • Clarify criteria that is tied to successful performance, which can include not just technical skills, but also how they work with others and make decisions meet with actual job needs, the manager’s leadership style, and the company culture
Posted in Hiring, Human Resources

Good news: Pay rises for skilled workers this year

For those in skilled industries, the word is that pay rises are on the horizon – in particular, the IT, property and construction,  financial services and government sectors.  Keep in mind that pay rises will be towards the more experienced, higher end as the talent pool at that level tends to be smaller and easily affected by people moving up, across or abroad.

See full article here: Big pay rise forecast for skilled workers.


Posted in Business, Careers, News

“Silver Bullet” Employees

I have a new term to describe what a lot of companies want in a new hire. It’s prevalent across the world, across industries and organisations. It’s called the Silver Bullet Employee. 

What is a Silver Bullet Employee?

  • They’re self-motivated and hard working. They look for ways to solve problems that they aren’t asked to solve yet.
  • They’re learners and doers, they continue their own self-development while having a bias towards getting things done in their organizations.
  • They are super easy to manage as they’re getting things done for their bosses without supervision.
  • They outperform their colleagues and they become profiles for what the company wants in a hire.

Why are they popular?

  • The cover up mistakes and make the company money.
  • They don’t need managing to succeed and deliver.
  • The company doesn’t have to deal with their processes that don’t work because the Silver Bullet covers them with their effort and smarts.
  • Managers can blame problems that are in other areas on not having a Silver Bullet rather than using other problem solving techniques.
  • Hiring one doesn’t require a job description.
  • You can hire one with a very general idea of what you want them to achieve but no plan for how to help or measure that success.

Why they fail in new jobs?

  • They burn out.
  • They’re hired as a Silver Bullet and often the problems they’re hired to solve haven’t been framed correctly from the beginning making it impossible to evaluate their achievements.
  • They start to feel like they’re being taken advantage of by their peers and management.
  • Current employees work actively against them as they’re seen as a dropped in superstar to fix problems caused by current employees.
  • They can’t deal with internal people working against them.
  • They’re unfairly evaluated by managers who haven’t defined success in the role other than “getting it done”.

The Silver Bullet is attractive to managers because they don’t need managing and they make you look good. But another useful point about them is they hide bad management practices. How? Because when they fail it’s so easy to say, “well I guess they weren’t as good as we thought they were” rather than deal with the root cause of the failure.

Of course we can all deal with reality by creating an imaginary alternative, but I think if we’re going to self-evaluate honestly we’ll start to give the Silver Bullets in our midst a fairer chance. They will out-perform but you can’t hobble right from the beginning by trying to use them as superglue for all the breaks you have.



Posted in Business, Careers

Why Having No Ambition May Kill You

Bad news from scientific studies on baboons and health workers that shows chronic stress raises mortality rates for those who are at lower levels in a hierarchy much more than for those at the top. This despite the stress being tougher on those at the top. Jonah Lehrer details in the WSJ article “It’s Good To Be The Top Banana“.

I think there is a simple reason for this: if you’re at the top the rewards from chronic stress are much greater than if you are at the bottom. The rewards make the difference in counteracting the negative influence of chronic stress. Unfortunately that’ll be a tough premise to prove.

Posted in Careers

Five Quick Tips on Social Media, Job Hunting and Recruitment

Social media is being promoted as the answer to a lot of problems in recruiting. Both from the perspective of employers and job hunters. I’m a pretty active user of social media, not a guru or expert as lot of people claim to be, but I think I have some quick insights that might help you.

  1. Don’t rely on it exclusively. It’s just not useful enough to be a primary method of recruiting or job-hunting.
  2. Try to get involved before you need it. Whether you’re a job-hunter or an employer, trying to dig the well when you’re thirsty isn’t going to be particularly useful.
  3. Forget about measuring ROI at first, if you do you’ll quit.
  4. Don’t expect your contacts to do much more for you at first or even ever. The relationships you build on social media sites like Twitter aren’t the kind where you can ask for immediate help.

Good luck with building your social media profile, first thing you can do is follow me.

Posted in Careers, Job Hunting, Uncategorized

Worst First Interview Question Ever

“Why do you want to work for us?”

It seems a lot of employers still ask this question, but I personally can’t work out why. It may be appropriate for graduates who are looking at a variety of companies and are basically choosing based on brand names at a job fair, but here is what goes through the mind of an experienced candidate with choices when they are asked this question:

1. You think I need this job and want me to beg you for it.

2. You think your company is so great I should want to work here before you tell me anything and you want me to explain to you why.

3. You think I’ll give you some new ideas as to why you should stay.

4. You’re not sure how to sell me on this job or company so you really hope I already want it so badly that you don’t have to tell me why to take it.

5. You’re on an ego trip because you get to choose who gets this job and asking this question makes you feel important.

 I guess a good candidate could have a serious answer to this, but what could you possibly learn from it? You might learn that the candidate has done some serious research on the company before arriving. But you could find that out from asking them, “what do you know about us?”.

I’ve had feedback from other recruiters that the question is used to make sure candidates are serious about their organisation. But at a first interview with candidates that have choices it’s too presumptious to ask this question. A lot of times in recruiting we use the analogy that recruiting is like getting married. Asking this question is the equivalent of asking someone, “why do you want to marry me?” on a first date. Anyone tried that with any success?

If the position is important enough for you to get the right person then getting them to join for the right reasons for them is just as important. That kind of symbiotic result is what produces success, a meeting of equals. But the question of “tell us why you want to join our company” isn’t the kind of question that demonstrates a meeting of equals, it’s a question that demonstrates the power of interviewer. Most candidates don’t want to feel dominated at work. They want a place that will be fair and allow them to achieve while helping the company achieve.

Employers can go on asking this question when times are tough and when they feel the upper hand, but it’ll backfire when you need intelligent candidates with choices to join your company.

Posted in Human Resources

Job Hunting with Twitter


In February, Twitter passed the 500 million users mark. How incredible is it that you can connect with that many people around issues and topics you’re passionate about?  Use it to your advantage as a resource for finding out information and opportunities – specifically, job opportunities.

Here’s an article from jobs.co.nz about using twitter as a recruiting tool : NZ#jobs Hashtags – Connecting Employers and Job Hunters through Twitter.

Posted in Careers, Job Hunting, News

How to build a better boss according to Google

How to Build a Better Boss according to Google

Link: New York Time’s: Google’s Quest to Build a Better Boss

What’s the new next thing in leadership? Leave it to Google to mine through tens of thousands of their own HR data – employee feedback, surveys, performance reviews, promotion nominations, etc. to come up with a succinct 8-Point Plan. Their findings (from Project Oxygen) in a nutshell: deeper technical expertise is not as important as it was thought. Being a good coach, empowering and stretching your employees and showing genuine interest in them as people makes a team that is happier and performs consistently better.

Why is a recruiter writing about this? Because when I work with clients, I need to be confident that they are, indeed, a good company people like working for: a company with happy employees that perform well. That’s my leverage in getting the best people for that company. Highly-sought-after people join companies most often because of the leadership, company culture and the opportunities there to grow. If the leadership isn’t there, then there’s problems.

People leave their jobs for three most common reasons: 1) they don’t feel a connection to their company or their own purpose and value 2) they don’t like their colleagues, and3) they have a bad manager. According to Google’s Project Oxygen, this third reason – how employees viewed their manager, had the most impact on employee happiness and performance.

Happy employees are the biggest recruiting tool a company could ever use. If you want to hire the best, make sure your current employees have a great manager or team leader. See Google’s Rules on Eight Good Behaviors for Managers.



Posted in Business


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