It can be feast or famine when it comes to the total number of applicants applying for job vacancies in Malaysia – lower-level entry positions can attract hundreds of candidates, while critically important technical or senior-level executive job openings attract much less.
Focusing on the executive talent shortage in Malaysia, it has become even more critical for executive recruitment professionals from both corporate and recruitment company backgrounds to use a range of techniques to make the most-informed decisions when it comes to hiring staff.
Late last month, award-winning executive recruitment company Monroe Consulting Group Malaysia, in conjunction with the Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, held a workshop on effective interviewing techniques and hiring strategies designed to identify and employ the best candidates for specific jobs.
Executive recruitment consultant Raymond Ong challenged the hotel’s hiring managers from within the human resources (HR) department and respective hotel operational divisions to explain ‘what makes a good job candidate?’
Raymond said too much time was wasted by recruitment professionals interviewing unsuitable job candidates. “Before you invite candidates to meet you, work hard to qualify them against the job brief, which needs to be as detailed as possible including complete job details, complete person profile, complete salary and package information, company need and candidate opportunity, the status and urgency of the vacancy and the interview process,” he said.
Monroe Malaysia Managing Director Monica Viladot, who also spoke at the workshop, said not only was it important to define the profile the best you can, but also to get the right people involved. The hiring manager is the head of the employee selection team and is the most important person to be involved. He or she is the employee who works with Human Resources to fill the open position through every step of the organization's hiring process. Starting with the recruiting, planning, meeting and especially interviewing, the hiring manager should participate in every aspect of the employee recruitment.
“Way too often, we hear hiring managers complaining about not having time for interviewing candidates, they tend to delegate this task to Human Resources executives. Human resources teams should be involved, but the hiring manager is the key person who must own the process,” she said. “Investing your time in hiring the right talent equals investing your time in the success of your team.”
Monica said it was important to qualify candidates to save time. “Candidate qualification is an initial screening of the candidate to determine if they are a suitable match for the position, this should be the initial step before candidates are invited for an interview with the hiring manager, or the decision maker. Your time is precious so work with people you believe you can place successfully.”
Qualification is done by someone in the company (usually recruitment team or human resources team) previous to the actual Interview with the Hiring Manager, or decision maker, she said.
Candidate qualification is then followed by a second, long interview that really delved into the candidate’s mindset, behavioural features, critical incidents and other crucial aspects like analysing the motivation, flexibility and expectations of each candidate.
In this crucial phase, interview methods can vary, as hiring managers may choose a one-on-one interview, several applicants in a group Interview or several interviewers in a board interview. Apart from who is going to be in the interview we also need to determine the type of interviewing, she said.
“Generally, interviews can be structured, unstructured or semi-structure. The structured interview is a series of job-related questions that are consistently asked - each applicant for a particular job, while an unstructured interview is one in which the interviewer asks probing, open-ended questions. For semi-structured interviews, important issues are usually planned out prior to the interview and flexibility is encouraged.”
Monroe Consulting Group always encourages structured or semi-structure interview, which allows to compare candidates following the same scheme and evaluate a candidate suitability more accurately.
Raymond told the assembled delegates that candidate interviews were a complicated process, utilising a number of different techniques and aims. The most recognized and used techniques when interviewing are behaviour interview and situational interviews. With behaviour interviews, questions are about how candidates handled past situations as a predictor of future behaviour. It’s designed to probe the candidate’s past behaviour in specific situations. Promises that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour.
On the other side of the coin, situational interviews look at the future. Rather than “Tell me about a time…” you will be asked “What would you do if…” You are presented with a potential problem, and you supply what you would do in that situation.
During the workshop we did a few roleplays with all hiring managers involved which allowed as to put in practice all these techniques, initially hiring managers were a bit lost, however at the end of the process they were able to interview candidates as recruitment consultants would do, with an in-depth structured interview with relevant behavioural and situational questions. It was great to see their progress thanks to the workshop.
Monica said it was of vital importance for professional recruitment companies to cover all these bases before candidate resumes or CVs were placed before client companies and interviews were organised.
“Monroe employs a comprehensive, international award-winning 12-step recruitment process that almost guarantees that we are able to place the most desirable executives with leading national and multinational companies operating in a range of sectors and industries in Malaysia today,” Monica said. “Our internal system has been proven to identify and secure the best executive talent in the marketplace, and manage salary expectations for a win-win solution for both job candidates and our client companies.