Bringing Back The Human Side Of Recruiting by Allan Leung

1084473584Bringing Back The Human Side Of Recruiting by Allan Leung

As a follower of Liz Ryan, I’ve read multiple articles on how to make the workplace more human. Thankfully I have a supportive manager who empowers me to try out new ideas. Here’s a story of what happened when I tried a more human-centric recruiting approach.

I received an application from an individual for one of our open positions. To protect his identity, let’s call him “Bob”. After going through the initial screening methods and deciding to give him a chance, I extended an invitation for him to meet with one of the hiring managers on-site.

30 minutes later and while the hiring managers were interviewing other candidates, Bob still hasn’t shown up. My manager suggested that I call to check up and while I contemplated about just letting it pass and reject Bob in our system, I made the decision to follow up.

When Bob picked up the phone, what I heard was the voice of panic. “I’m so so sorry I’m late, Allan. I input the wrong address number in the GPS and arrived at the wrong building. I’m lost!” After reassuring that things would be okay, I asked him where he was and guided him to our location.

It took a little bit of effort to help Bob feel relaxed since he was so flustered when he arrived. After calming him down and offering snacks and beverages, I went off to see if I could still connect him with a hiring manager. Because Bob was late, it threw off the interview schedules a bit, but I managed to find an open time slot for him to be interviewed.

After all the interviews were conducted that day, the feedback that I received was to move forward with the stronger candidates and unfortunately Bob wasn’t one of them.

Now what surprised me about Bob is that he showed determination. He managed to schedule another open interview time slot for the next day using our appointment scheduler. In the message, he talked about one of our company core values (experimenting without fear of failure) and how he wanted to take the risk of seeing if he could have another shot in interviewing again.

I admired his tenacity, but after following up with the hiring manager again and getting another hiring manager’s opinion, the decision was to still move forward with the other candidates.

It can be difficult to tell someone about not progressing to the next steps. Sending auto-rejection letters is a robotic pain-free way to do it, but after what Bob went through, he deserved a more personal response. I gave him a call instead and empathetically shared with him the decision.

A few days later, I received a mailed letter from Bob. I’ve debated whether or not to share it, but decided it would be more powerful to do so.371f6eb

In the end, it takes more effort to bring a human approach in this relationship-driven business, but the positive impact you can have on others is worth it. What happened to Bob? We still keep in touch as he searches for the next step in his career. What’s great is that Bob is now indirectly part of our team – he’s become an advocate for the company.

Art of the Interview – What are recruiters looking for? by Angela Tavarez

I read an article yesterday regarding candidates showing how you fit the role you are interviewing for, and another today on how/why you should lie during an interview… I was interested in the first and flabbergasted at the second.

I’m hoping that those who read my first article post on LinkedIn will come away understanding a little bit more about what a recruiter or hiring manager is looking for in an interview, and how to be a bit more prepared for their next one.

I’ve been on both sides of this fence… I think it is important as a candidate to understand that there is the job that is posted and then the target group that is being looked for based on current needs within the company. Depending on the current needs of the company, the target background a company is recruiting for can change – meaning number of years experience, a specific skill set, type of leadership in their history, and best fit with a specific team, can all make a difference. The posting likely highlights the minimum requirements – if you don’t meet them, than your chances of popping to get an interview are slim to none – especially with companies with AAP programs. Understand that as an applicant and potential candidate interviewing for the role.

As a candidate (someone in interview process) it is important to note a few things in the application and interview process…

Research the job you applied for:

  • Understand as much as possible through your research what areas your skill sets would lend success to the role and company.
  • Also understand your potential weak areas and be able to articulate goals to overcome them.
  • Nothing turns off an interviewer more than someone that can’t remember the job they applied for. When you get a phone interview or personal interview scheduled from an application or referral go back and review the company and the job you applied for.

Be authentic – never lie!

  • Most hiring managers, recruiters, HR professionals can see through it, and if they are completing a good behavioral interview they will likely catch you in it at some point and you will most likely be dismissed on that alone from the process.
  • If your background and reference checks don’t match your resume and stated experience, you won’t get hired, and in some cases if you make it to hire, and are found out you can lose your job….

Show how you can benefit the organization, but when asked a direct question also please be honest, and specific:

  • If asked about a specific example, be specific. A better show for your skill set is how you accomplished a goal, an award, etc., not just that you did it.
  • Be able to articulate and tell a good success story from each of your roles, and don’t have them be all the same example.
  • These behavior examples are indicators of what you might be able to accomplish in similar circumstances in your potential new role.
  • If you don’t have experience that fits a certain question, be open about it, but show how you could grow in that area.

Complete the application:

  • Don’t skimp on the application and expect that people won’t look at it because you submitted your resume.
  • Make sure to review each and make sure there aren’t typos and missing information.
  • Be accurate in dates/titles and your resume should be consistent with your application.

Prepare for your interview:

  • Research the company, but in addition, think about possible questions you might be asked and how you would answer them.
  • Have a copy of your resume in front of you during an interview for reference.
  • Have some questions prepared, and if the subject comes up during other conversations don’t be afraid to interject one into a related discussion topic.
  • Show your enthusiasm and your passion for the role you want to play. This relates to being authentic. Why are you interested in the company, the role, the culture? How will you potentially fit?

Understand the interview process:

  • Most companies are simply unable to get back to all applicants. (I always do my best to get back to at least those that I have talked to by phone.)
  • If there is no response after your interview within 7 days don’t be afraid to reach out by email or phone regarding the interview/decision making process. If a decision hasn’t been made yet, don’t be afraid to ask how long it will likely take and set a standard of how often it is OK to check in and follow-up.

Once a decision is made:

  • If you don’t get asked to move forward in an interview process, understand the dynamic of the process/competition. In many companies there are hundreds of applications and many use a phone interview as way to make sure that someone they see as a possible fit on paper meets at least the minimum requirements and is able to show case a specific set of traits to benefit the team. Getting an interview in of itself is a good achievement.
  • Ask for feedback on what specifically you didn’t meet as a requirement. If you receive the feedback, do yourself a favor and don’t shoot the messenger – you don’t know when you might cross paths with this person again. Never argue or become sarcastic. If you really want to work for that company in the future, you can slam the door shut on yourself/opportunity, by becoming unprofessional with a representative of the company.
  • If you receive specific advice on what you can do to gain experience needed to work for a company you want to grow your career with, then go out and get it.
  • If you don’t receive the feedback it is OK. Simply the shear volume of people a company is dealing with in interview process can prevent the ability of a person in a recruiting or management role to possibly have the time to get back to each candidate to provide feedback every time. Either way move on knowing you gave it your best shot and look for the next opportunity.
  • It’s OK to be disappointed but don’t let it paralyze you. Just because this specific company wasn’t a fit, at that specific time, doesn’t mean you don’t have great experience and great value! Don’t demoralize yourself. Stay positive. You have something to offer. The right experience will find you.

Network! The #1 way people usually get noticed is through referrals. But don’t just look for what someone can do to help you: give back, help others, volunteer.

Ultimately- stay positive.

Create your brand, know what you want to accomplish, find your passion, or grow a passion as you grow a new skill set… Never stop growing or learning.

I’ve found the best interviews I’ve been on as a candidate were where my goals & values lined up with those of the company’s, and the feel of the interview was more conversational then feeling like inquisition.

As a member of the interviewing team – What are we looking for? A candidate that has great:

  • skill experience fit
  • team energy/values match
  • passion for their role
  • communication

Good luck on your next interview!

Stop Blaming ! Start Hiring ! Happy Recruiting – Article for positive recruitment

Stop Blaming ! Start Hiring ! Happy Recruiting


Few reasons why Recruiters blame candidates?

  • Candidates don’t turn up for interviews as promised
  • Candidates accept multiple offers and reject our offer at the last moment.
  • Candidates don’t give more details about their job.
  • Candidates usually lie to recruiter and don’t give proper details
  • Candidates say YES to other conditions and finally decline the offer for same reason


How recruiters can reduce these blames?


As a recruiter, it’s our duty and capability to understand the candidates clearly and take a call whether the candidate is interested in the job opportunity that we are presenting to the candidates.


Spend More time over Phone:

It is important how much time we spend with each candidate. If we are spending more time with candidates then it means we are understanding more about the candidates. If we are a recruiter we need to spend at-least 7 minutes with each candidate. If we are sourcing then we need to spend at least 3 minutes with each candidate. The timing that  is for Indian market, it differs based on the market that we are serving as the questions that we need to ask also differs.


(THE MORE) logic as below


The more we speak/ask questions the more we understand the candidate,

The more we understand, the more we build better relationship with the candidate,

The more we build the relationship with candidates, there are more chances that the candidates can join the company.


So whose mistake it is? We need to spend more time with each candidate instead don’t tell that candidates are not interested to speak for long time.

Yes, I do agree few candidates might not be interested to speak for much time as they might be in their office or in meeting etc. So, How to solve this? Did we ask, whether that is right time to speak?, we might asked him “is this the right time to speak” but did we tell the candidate how much time the call is going to take? If not, then we have not made him/her to understand how long it will take. We have not understood, whether he/she have that much time now.


Ask Right Questions:

Spending more time with the candidates, but are we asking the right questions?

A right question start with an objective, our  objective is to find the objective of the candidate job search.

  • Why is he looking for job change?
  • What is the reason behind it?
  • Does he/she speak with an interest about the job that we are presenting?

Did we get valid reason? Did we get the real reason?

If it is Indian market, most candidates give reasons like better opportunity, but in US market most candidates give reasons like contract is coming to an end.

When a candidate says better opportunity, did we ask him what kind of “better opportunity” the candidate is looking for? Whether the opportunity is in terms of money or role or what else? If we have not tried to understand that “better opportunity” then surely we will fail to attract the candidate.

Check whether his expectations about the “better opportunity” matches and his expectations should not be more than what we have to offer the candidate. If it is not matching then please don’t process that candidate. If we process these candidates then we have to take the blame for the candidate not attending the interview or from the client for dropout or declining the offer etc.


The candidate has other offers:

The most important question the recruiter should ask to every candidate is “whether they have other offers” or whether they are in final interviews with other companies.

As the candidate is in the Job market then surely they will have other interviews happening and if they are 1 month old candidate in the market then they should be having some offers or at least some final interviews happening. But this again depends on the market and industry that we serve.

It is very important for we to know as a recruiter that we need to understand whether the candidate has finalized or about to finalize on any offer. The candidate has to go through a long interview and if he has already decided on any offer that he might have then when we extend an offer to him he might not be available or might not be interested as he has already made his mind on other offer.


Candidates don’t turn up for interviews:

This is another big issue that recruiters come across in their hiring process. I understand the cost and time involved will be a waste, if the candidate doesn’t turn up for interview. So how to reduce this drop outs?

First time we contacted the candidate and told him about the opportunity and next time we contacted him for an interview schedule.

Have we made the candidate to remember, at least our name and which company we called from and for which client and for which position? If we have not made that impression then we have not done our Job

Okay, now we have scheduled the interview,

Did we follow up? Did we send detailed email and meeting invite? Did we receive the interview acceptance email from the candidate?

How many times did we follow up?

Did we wish the candidate best of luck before interview?

Did we get his alternate number in case of emergency? Do we know the best way to reach him anytime?

If it is an in person interview did we ask how does he commute and what time he has planned to start?

Does he know the venue?

It is very important as recruiter we need to ask these questions to find out the inner mind of candidates. If we feel dicey somewhere ask the candidate directly and still we are not satisfied then drop him right there. Don’t assume for things to happen rightly in spite of dicey mindset

If we haven’t done all these before the candidate comes to the interview then there are less chances that the candidate can turn up for the interview.

Doing all these things before the interview has another benefit; we build a solid relationship with our candidates that help us to easily close the position. The candidate will not negotiate much with us.


Candidates Lie:

Yes, I agree some candidates may lie to us for various reasons. But though they lie to us it is our duty or I can say it is our capability to find whether he is lying or telling truth. As recruiter we need to ask more questions to evaluate the candidate and if we find the candidate lies to us then drop him right there.



Recruiters have to understand the candidates well and build strong relationship instead of blaming the candidates for various reasons. I am sure if the recruiter ask the right questions as said above then surely we can reduce the drop out numbers to a higher extent. I do agree we cannot make it NIL as there might be few candidates who can still decline our interviews but these questions can surely reduce the drop outs which will save a huge hiring cost.

Stop Blaming ! Start Hiring ! Happy Recruiting.

The Real Harm in Multitasking (Dr. Travis Bradberry)


You’ve likely heard that multitasking is problematic, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain. Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

A Special Skill?

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

Multitasking Lowers IQ

Research also shows that, in addition to slowing you down, multitasking lowers your IQ. A study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.

So the next time you’re writing your boss an email during a meeting, remember that your cognitive capacity is being diminished to the point that you might as well let an 8-year-old write it for you.

Brain Damage From Multitasking

It was long believed that cognitive impairment from multitasking was temporary, but new research suggests otherwise. Researchers at the University of Sussex in the UK compared the amount of time people spend on multiple devices (such as texting while watching TV) to MRI scans of their brains. They found that high multitaskers had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region responsible for empathy as well as cognitive and emotional control.

While more research is needed to determine if multitasking is physically damaging the brain (versus existing brain damage that predisposes people to multitask), it’s clear that multitasking has negative effects. Neuroscientist Kep Kee Loh, the study’s lead author, explained the implications: “I feel that it is important to create an awareness that the way we are interacting with the devices might be changing the way we think and these changes might be occurring at the level of brain structure.”

Learning From Multitasking

If you’re prone to multitasking, this is not a habit you’ll want to indulge—it clearly slows you down and decreases the quality of your work. Even if it doesn’t cause brain damage, allowing yourself to multitask will fuel any existing difficulties you have with concentration, organization, and attention to detail.

Multitasking in meetings and other social settings indicates low Self- and Social Awareness, two emotional intelligence (EQ) skills that are critical to success at work. TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that 90% of top performers have high EQs. If multitasking does indeed damage the anterior cingulate cortex (a key brain region for EQ) as current research suggests, it will lower your EQ in the process.

So every time you multitask you aren’t just harming your performance in the moment; you may very well be damaging an area of your brain that’s critical to your future success at work.Real Harm in Multitasking


11 ways for HR leaders to command respect of business? By – Rameswaran Chandrasekaran

Although HR leaders add immense value to mainstream business, they fail to command the respect of the business

How many times we have seen HR adding significant value to mainstream business? Still, the talks at water coolers are generally HR related jokes. Some of them have good knowledge about the business but that is just not sufficient to earn the respect of business. Unfortunately, they are seen in action mainly on few occasions like retrenchment and employee strikes. Both top management and HR professionals themselves are to be blamed equally for the status HR has got in many organizations.

Therefore, what should HR do to command respect from the business (which however few of them receive in abundance)?

People first, everything else is second. As a first step, HR must be staffed by people with credible line function (like sales, production, project delivery, supply chain management) achievements who are subsequently trained on HR. They know the difficulty in achieving numbers and while managing their teams they would have done on the job “real” human resources development. (I have seen in a midsized IT company, a line manager shining as HR head but this kind of examples is unfortunately rare).

Once HR is staffed with line experienced executives, what should they do to command the respect of the business on a sustained basis?

Assignment model: Periodically, HR professionals should take up assignments in various functional areas on a full-time or part-time basis and could also specialize in a certain functional area through these assignments. This collaborative model would help them to get overall experience of the business and truly test cross pollination of ideas and subsequently prepare them for higher responsibilities.

I could quote an example from my own experience. During my earlier years, as a sales manager, I was reporting to head of sales and marketing of a particular business, in a highly profit making Indian diversified group employing around 15000 employees then. I used to always think that this assertive and intelligent sales head should have started his career as sales professional. To my surprise, later I understood that he had spent more than a decade of his initial career in HR and rose to the position of handling national HR responsibility, in his previous organizations. This demonstrates the possibility of how professionals, primarily from HR back ground, can shine in senior mainstream roles.

Interestingly in nationalized banks, majority of the middle and senior layers are rotated across major banking functions like Advances, Deposits, HR and Accounts in their career. Therefore, when some of these executives move into HR, they would already have gained experience in other functions. This practice is in vogue for decades in this part of corporate world. However, sadly this is not being widely followed in other industries.

Leadership bench: Whenever business wants to toss the views and brainstorm any major business challenge, HR leaders should become the first option. They should proactively don the role of internal consultants to business. They should aim to graduate to “Consulting” function from the present “Staff” function. Line experienced HR (LEHR) professionals can contribute directly to business by providing unbiased opinions on important decisions like new product launches and location of the new plant. In fact, they should be able to fill up any senior position in short notice, if required. HR should become the leadership bench for the entire organization.

In the above mentioned previous organization, I had an opportunity to gain the insights of a senior HR professional, on few strategic challenges. He could have definitely assumed a bigger cross functional role over time but for he leaving the organization prematurely.

Owning top managers: Battle-hardened LEHR should own the responsibility of top managers along with their line managers in terms of their development, rewards and advancement. One worthy example to look for is from the times of legendary Jack Welch (Fortune described him as “Perhaps the most admired CEO of his generation”). He and his HR head Bill Conaty in General Electric were personally responsible for 750 managers.

Succession planning: Even in many presently successful companies, this is not given its due importance may be because the KPIs for measuring the financial loss of not seriously undertaking this activity are not being followed up by top management. Therefore, this is a perfect area for LEHR to show their mettle and make differences to the organizations. Since they are common to all functions, there are fewer chances that they would have vested interests coming in their way while planning successions. The ability to judge and pick suitable persons comes to those experienced in its pursuit.

360 degree appraisal: In India, very few companies like Bank of America and some IT firms practice it in spirit. Many colleges and even schools undertake 360 degree appraisal of their teachers for long time but not corporates, ironically (T.A.Pai Institute of Management (TAPMI), Manipal, Karnataka has been evaluating their teaching team by their students as part of the appraisal system since early nineties).

Pushing matured practices like 360 degree appraisal and preparing ground for its execution would be another worthy challenge for new age LEHR, which would force many managers and leaders to perform better, apart from creating healthy working atmosphere.

Mentoring: Hindustan Unilever’s HR department has brought the practice of mentoring to its real meaning over the years and it is an important KPI for mentors across the company in their yearly appraisal. HUL’s senior HR executives have graduated to international HR roles unlike in many other Indian arms of MNCs. We can believe that LEHR would be able to execute this best practice than the traditional HR.

Appraisals: A large percentage of line managers struggle in doing balanced appraisals for reasons like lack of maturity and training, unfounded fear of attrition and personal bias. This is an ideal area where LEHR can be of immense helpful to business.

People decisions: This author had witnessed how HR had fumbled in taking action on a totally incompetent highly paid senior manager who was deteriorating the entire atmosphere of an important project in a health care multinational for more than two years, to quote a case. A matured LEHR would have definitely taken a quick action. The point is HR should be able identify bottom raters and have the guts to decide on them.

Playing umpires: Tensions between departments and seniors are common in corporate life. LEHR is ideally placed to resolve them because they are neutral and have rich cross functional experience.

Value promoter: Since HR is a horizontal, LEHR could play stellar role in supporting CEOs by promoting organization wide common goals like fostering the desired culture, bringing in meritocracy and so on, far better than traditional HR.

Recognizing HR: Key inputs for the appraisals of HR team should be from them with whom HR have worked in that year and top performers should be published to reiterate that HR is facilitating business. Asking for too much from HR? The organizations that truly believe in excellence can build these kind of HR teams and have them as competitive advantage in their armor.