You will never find a candidate who is a 100% fit!


Does a 100% fit candidate even exist or are we searching for the purple squirrel? Darn, I hate the analogy of the purple squirrel so much!

My issue with a candidate “fitting” the role is a constant struggle I have with hiring managers. Employers would put in place assessments and tests to gauge candidates’ ability to perform a job, and that’s perfectly fine. At the end of the day, they do need to hire someone that they’re confident of to be able to deliver.

The question is, “Do we really know what we are looking for in a candidate?”

  • Are we measuring the right things?
  • For the things that we are measuring, does it really matter?

We all know that passing the hiring assessment or the interview is not guarantee of performance, and sometimes a rejected candidate could turn out to be a diamond in the rough. And, one of the most famous story in recent time is about Alibaba Founder Jack Ma’s amazing account of how he’s being rejected for the 30 jobs he applied to before starting Alibaba.

What is wrong with the way we do interviews? Is there a fundamental flaw in the system? And, is there such thing as a 100% fit?

There’ll never be a 100% fit!

Let’s face it. Finding a 100% fit is impossible. There’s just no way to tell if a candidate is going to be a perfect fit for the role. Even if this candidate feels like a 100% fit, there’s no guarantee of performance.

Employers not knowing what they’re looking for

This is not in a negative way. Hiring managers usually have an idea of what they’re looking for, but what exactly are they’re looking for?

With most hiring managers, you would find a rather clear picture of what an ideal candidate would look like. However, you will also find that there is a fair bit of flexibility and also a willingness to want to understand what other skill sets the slate of candidates can bring to the team. This is interesting as you would had thought that employers would have pretty much a fix set of requirements for what they’re hiring for, but in actual fact, there is usually a fair amount of tweaking to the roles as the search progresses. This could result in a very different hire from the original requirements.

So, what are we assessing for?

All of us assesses a candidate for a combination of different things with a variety of different techniques. A common approach many us use is to identify a set of “must haves” and assess the candidates against this set of 3 to 5 items. Combined with an idea of of what the role is about, a little bit of gut feel and a lot of assumptions, we derive a hiring decision. As much as we like to feel that there is a lot of consideration and science behind how we hire, a large part of it is very subjective.

And, what is the problem?

The problem with today’s recruitment process is that we try to over complicate it too much. There used to be a model where craftsmen would identify young talents they felt is right for the trade, give them an apprenticeship and eventually they would learn the trade and strike out on their own. While we can argue that all this is impractical in today’s modern age, which I agree by the way. The point in this analogy is that hiring is often based on an assessment of potential, and success comes with the naturing of the talent that’s been brought in to do the job.

The issues we have today in our recruitment process is that we try to assess and measure too many things in a candidate which increases the amount of resources that is required to make a hire. This drives up the rejection rate and increases the time to hire translating to a higher hiring cost and increased opportunity cost of not having the person on the job earlier.

The recommendation?

I would like ask all the recruiters and hiring managers that’s reading this to try a different approach.

Look at the assessment of a candidate from a different angle. Instead of trying to hire for the perfect fit, try to look at it from the angle of assessing for acceptable risk.

What does mean?

All new hires will come with risks. Regardless how successful the candidates had been in their last jobs, that performance came as a result of the conditions and environment at that point in time when they were on that job. With that in mind, consider the following steps:

  • Build a slate of candidates that can do the job based on a clear and concise set of criteria.
  • Instead of assessing the candidates for how well they can do the job (as that was a given – they needed to be able to do the job to get on the list), assess these candidates for the likelihood to fail in the job!
  • Remove the ones that are “high risks”. However, remember that all is are relative to the candidates you have on the slate, so if you find yourself removing everyone from the list, you should re-evaluate the role and how you’ve built the slate.
  • You can use additional rounds of interviews to get this slate to the top 2 or 3 candidates
  • Evaluate this finalist slate of candidates and, and look at what is needed to mitigate the risks of them failing in the job
  • Assess the resources that is needed to be to be put in place and build that into your new hire on-boarding plan

With this, you would have a good hire that can do the job, an idea of what could go wrong, and more importantly a plan on how to mitigate this.

As recruiters and hiring managers, we all need to accept the fact that every hire comes with risks. When we change the way we look at a hiring decision from trying to “buy the result” to “building the structure”, we would naturally look at ways that the new hire can succeed and flourish in the new environment.

This way, you would had made a quality hire that could last longer. If all fails, remember the probation period was put there for a reason. 🙂

Would love to hear what you think about this topic. Share your thoughts and comments below! Happy hiring!

Eric Wong is the Managing Consultant from The Talent Shark and the CHRO forIntel Wise. His experience spans across the various human resource functions such as HR Information Systems, Business Partnering and Talent Management. Eric is also the Advisor for Workbond and currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS). Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.

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The future of “Work”


“Work” as we know it has evolved over the years. The organizations of today are a lot more sophisticated than those of yesteryears. I remember not too long ago, where the function of HR (Human Resources) was catering to just personnel administration and management. In fact, in those days, the “HR” function was referred to as the “Personnel Department”. While we can argue that this is merely a choice of words, we all can agree that we’ve come a long way in the evolution of the function. Today, the HR function plays a much more strategic role in the organization.

We’ve all heard about the “Gig Economy”, and the first thing that came to mind are “freelancers” and “contractors” who would engage with an organization for the duration of a project or assignment. While we are not entirely wrong in this assumption, in fact, I would say we are mostly right about this, the fundamental reason why we think this way is due to the traditional role base structure of an organization. We think of an organization as an entity with a predefined structure, and within that structure, there are relatively well-defined roles and we would staff those roles with employees (be it full time, or otherwise) to do the job.

As the organization undergo a slow evolution in its structure, the one thing that we all become very familiar with the increasing engagement of termed employees or contractors in bid of reducing the full-time headcount. Coupled with the increasing trend that tenure in employees are getting shorter, which is due to many different reasons, employees today are evaluating jobs and employment much differently than the previous generations.

This creates challenges on multiple fronts. From the organization to job design perspective and creating meaningful experience to maintain deep engagement with employees throughout their career lifecycle with the company. This also changes the way we define an employer’s value proposition (EVP).

In a recent article by John Boudreau, “Are Freelancers Your Best Performers? Applying Organizational Network Analysis to the Gig Economy” , he talked about looking at the interaction between employees in an organization and that going beyond the traditional org chart. Citing an example from Rob Cross’s work where he applied the ONA on the exploration and production division of a large petroleum organization, we can see the communication map is drastically different to the organization setup.

This got me thinking about the role in which these individuals play and how their job description (JD) would look like. (Ok, I confess. That’s because I was just rewriting the JD for one of the role I’m recruiting for).

Going along with the point that I’m making, if we dissect the “job” that they are doing and compares the individual tasks to the tasks in a project, a “job” is essentially made up of different tasks. Taking that one step further into this “gig economy” discussion, essentially, what needs to be done in an organization would comprise of many tasks. Keeping that in mind, and putting on our radical thinking cap, let’s just say, we put a price tag against each of these tasks, and have a bunch of individuals “build” a “role” by picking/ bidding on these tasks. The amount of money they make will be based on the number of tasks that they can complete and turnaround, and the premium for the “proven quality/ reliability” in completing those tasks.

I’m going to push that idea a step further. Organizations of the future can than look at this group of “Top Performing” individuals and work on a baseline retainer to buy time slots (commitment) so as to guarantee capacity.

In this model, the concept of “work” will become one that is decentralized and itemized. Theoretically, we will break free from the traditional role-based organization and move towards a task-based one. In doing so, we might even mitigate issues such as gender pay parity and workforce efficiency.

Just some crazy thoughts that I needed to get out of my system. (Must be too much JD writing this week). If you’ve made it all the way to this point in my article, thanks for the patience and attention. What’s your thoughts on this? Do share your comments and I would love to hear from you and maybe seek some assurance that I’m not going crazy! Happy Thursday (almost Friday).

Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

Eric Wong is APAC Head of Talent Acquisition at Equinix. His experience spans across the various human resource functions such as HR Information Systems, Business Partnering and Talent Management. Eric currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS). Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong

Technology and Trends that is changing how HR functions


Life used to be simple in HR. Or, at least that’s accordingly to what I’ve learnt in school. As I was tidying out my books, and old notes, academic “HR” seemed to be this utopian concept where each function integrates and works well seamlessly with one another.

The other thing about textbook HR is the ease of record keeping. Data and analytics seemed to be effortless and straight forward. Bell curves are always perfectly shaped and scatter diagrams of employees’ salary distribution always correlate nicely.

I think we all agree that in the “Real Life”, it’s probably a little more complex.

I am not intending to discuss the evolution of HR today. What I think is interesting to talk about some of the recent technology and trends’ impact on how HR functions. This is something that I’m sure every one of us had encountered, and I think it is also important to acknowledge the way it’s changing our workflow and processes.

Social Networking

By now, this is not a new concept. The fact that you are reading this article on Linkedin shows that you are probably very well aware of the existence of social networking platforms and how these platforms can be used in a professional setting. This has direct impact on how we do recruitment. The availability of information on individuals listed on these platform changes the way sourcing is being done. A lot of companies had since moved the sourcing function in house hoping to save on agency uses, this had also changed the roles agencies plays in the process.

Apart from recruitment, companies are also leveraging on the social networking channels to strengthen their employment branding which in turn support the overall recruitment function.

Enterprise Social Network

Moving on, some companies recognizes that not everyone wants to be “friends” with our colleagues. The rise of software such as Yammer or Jive, supporting social networks at an enterprise level allows companies to provide a platform to interact “socially”. Content generation moved away from a top-down towards a community driven model, allowing stronger level of engagement and interaction among the employees with the subject matter experts.

This would also change the way corporate intranets are being run, where content generating and maintenance are being decentralized.

Some may argue that this is a corporate communications “toy” and has got nothing to do with HR. Am not going to indulge in that debate, but think about how much employee engagement you can drive with a robust enterprise social network!

Gamification

Leaderboards, badges, and points. I’m sure many of us (at one point or another) caught the internet gaming addiction bug. Be it “Plants vs. Zombies”, “CandyCrush” or “Angry Birds”, the fundamental design incorporates a ranking system bringing in a certain social element where you see how you rank against your friends in progress and achievements.

Coupled with a gradual progression, increasing the level of difficulties designed to keep you engaged to the game as long as possible. You would notice that you would almost certainly start with an inbuilt tutorial, allowing you to learn the game easily. Another feature is the constant but not too easy “achievements” serving as a pat on the back as you go along.

Now, isn’t what all your employees want? A gradual progression throughout his/ her career, with acknowledgements for achievements and progression.

Companies are now starting to see the value in incorporating gamification concepts into their employee engagement initiatives. It could be a simple leaderboard competition, a simple competition with prizes, to a more elaborate system that allows companies to analyze the workforce productivity and engagement. The bottom line is, gamification will be something that will gain popularity in organizations.

Cloud

All of us love our HR systems. There’re like the center of our universal, and the very foundation of our work evolves around our HR management systems (HRMS), our Learning Management Systems (LMS), our Performance Management System (PMS), and our Applicants Tracking System (ATS). Let’s not forget the leave administration systems, benefits administration systems and our medical claims systems.

The list goes on. Today, the term “cloud” is becoming a common term that we all got used to. Cloud based solutions allows companies to move away from having to invest a great deal of money upfront in capex spending, and go into an opex model allowing a pay as you use approach.

This is fast becoming the norm and for some of us who are still working with some of the older systems would find themselves involved in system upgrade projects. For many others, who’s build their overall HR management systems with components from different service providers may find themselves looking at systems integration in their next software upgrade.

Thus, although we may not need to be HRIS experts, but there is an increasing need for us to be aware of how the systems can help support our workflow.

Massive open online course (MOOC)

MOOC was first introduced in 2008, bringing free quality education and content to everyone. Over the years, it has seen participations from various established universities made MOOC emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012.

With the various quality programs that are been offered for “free”. Many companies had started looking at incorporating these programs into their training plans.

Video

I’ve talked extensively about how video is changing the HR workflows and processes in my Polycom Blog “The View from APAC”.

The availability of quality video solutions today had enabled various HR processes to evolve changing the way we engage and manage our employees. Some examples:

  • Recruitment – Video interviews are fast becoming a norm. A lot of roles today require candidates to meet with a panel of interviewers and chances that part of this panel would sit in a different geographic location. Video interviews allowed much better cost and time efficiency allowing candidates to connect with these interviews from their local location and not having to make separate travel arrangements.
  • Training – The availability of video opened up different ways which training content can be delivered both via a pre-recorded video, or a live video training. Benefits includes:
    • Cost efficiency in training delivery allowing a larger and more geographically dispersed audience
    • Consistency in quality of delivery and content,
    • Real time feedback and interactivity, resulting in a higher level of engagement with participants as compared to pre-recorded videos
  • Workplace and role design – In a recent post on “Video and the Future Workplace – What to Look Out For in 2015”, Geoff Thomas talked about how video is transforming workspace and organizations as we know it. Such transformation would bring about new ways of working and how employees go about performing their roles. As such, we would see role evolve to fit into this workplace of the future.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

One of the most important inventions in recent time are the mobile devices which we all got so addicted to. The pervasiveness of this mobile technology, its popularity and ease of use blurred the line between personal and workspace. It is now common to see employees are linking their work emails and calendar to their personal devices. Some would even bring their own laptop to work.

The result of all this changes the way which employees engages with their work. Increasingly, employees are working more and more out of their mobile devices. It’s not just the emails, but also the various business applications that they have to access on a day-to-day basis.

These are just some of the technology and trends that’s changing the way how we in HR engages with our organization and employees.

I’m sure you would have more to add to this list! Share your thoughts using the comment box below.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Cheers

Eric Wong

Eric Wong is Head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom, and blogs about how video collaboration can benefit the HR function on Polycom’s “The View from APAC”. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.
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求职者如何为视频面试做准备


在不久前发表的“人力资源专家预计2016年视频会议系统将成为通讯工具首选”一文中,我们讨论过视频技术的发展及其在人才管理,配备,培训,产能提高,弹性工作安排方面的优势。

2013年一项调查显示,32%的组织机构正在引入视频面试,而这一比例在2012年仅为21%。导致这种变化的主要原因如下:

  • 减少出行费用
  • 缩短招聘时间
  • 联系不同地区的候选人

随着视频会议设备成为许多公司的常见配置,人们可以在找工作的时候参加视频面试。

尽管我们认为视频面试和“面对面”面试是一样的,但是它们还是有细微的差别,值得机智的求职者注意。

1) 确定时间

如果你要参加一次视频面试,面试官很有可能在完全不同的地理区域。为以防万一,询问一些详细信息,包括面试官的所在地,具体面试时间。如果是远距离面试,你不知道跨时区的时间转换是否有误,尤其是涉及到日期变更。

2) 熟悉设备

大部分视频会议解决方案跟宝利通 “RealPresence Group Series”类似,软件解决方案跟“RealPresence CloudAXIS”类似,直观且便于使用。 但是,不要认为它们一模一样。

墨菲定律:别让偶然因素决定一切!确保你知道音响和麦克风的控制键在哪里。如果联接失败或者因为某些原因需要换会议室和地点,知道如何手动联接也会很有用。

如果你已经能熟练使用视频会议设备,那就可以进一步使用它的其他功能。比如,如果你想给远程面试官做展示,或者想用屏幕呈现一些文档,至少提前15分钟进入会议室,了解怎样进行文档分享。如果是用个人电脑上的摄像头面试,事先询问如何使用。我个人就喜欢用文档共享功能来直观地阐释我的观点。因此,这是一个很有用的,值得了解的功能。

最后,如果你在会议室里,要找到摄像头的位置。在一套完备的会议解决方案里,摄像头与眼睛处于同一水平线,以便实现“自然眼神交流”。不要想当然的认为所有会议室都按同一标准配置。如果你发现摄像头的位置不能实现自然的眼神交流,要不时地看向摄像头。这能让另一端的面试官感受到你的眼神,也能够消除你在说话时无法看向对方的尴尬。

3) 紧急联系人

面试之前保存招聘人员或人力资源管理人员的姓名和电话。大部分的视频面试都是一对一进行的,候选人要独自留在会议室里。因此,以防万一,你要知道在必要情况下向谁寻求帮助。

4) 检查屏幕形象

所有视频会议解决方案都能让你在屏幕上看到自己。你要确保摄像头调整到最佳取景位置。我建议屏幕上要能露出手。

面试中很可能需要做记录,你一定不希望因为面试官看不到你的手而给他们留下你在“做其他事情”的印象。

5) 如果在家里接受面试,注意如下:

面试前检查设备,联接是否正常。清理背景中的杂物,检查灯光。最后一点,即使在家里接受面试也要保证着装恰当。更多信息请参照我之前的博客“视频礼仪”

预祝各位面试成功!

作者:
黄国晏 (Eric Wong) 宝利通, 亚太区人力规划与发展总监。请在 LinkedinTwitter@ErickyWong联系他。浏览更多关于“视频协作与人力资源”的博客,请点击 Polycom’s “The View from APAC

Original Article: How to prepare for your job interview over videoconferencing (as a candidate)

(译:Cherry Li)

Look back 2014 – “Flexible work arrangements”


Looking back on my blog articles for 2014, it has been an interesting year with a quite a few articles focusing on the topic of “Flexible work arrangements”.

It started out as a discussion back in May 2014 where we did a video clip around a simple concept where employees are empowered with the flexibility to manage their own work schedule and the benefits that flexible working brings for both employers and employees. You can view the blog article here – “A changing workforce – is flexibility the key? (Click Here)

That led to another article around the Fifa World Cup 2014, “What is HR going to do about the World Cup? (Click Here)”

Given the football fever and the crazy time zone, many companies look to having some form of flexible work arrangement to help mitigate the impact of a sleepy workforce, which in turn maintain a reasonable standard of productivity.

Going into June and July with a lot of anticipation and excitement, I welcomed the arrival of my new baby girl, Audrey. In preparing for Audrey’s arrival, I changed my working schedule to work about 70-80 per cent of the time from home for the next few months. This allowed me to be around my wife and our new born baby while she’s on maternity leave. That was the inspiration for the blog article “How to manage your time with a flexible work arrangement? (Click Here)

One of the feedbacks I got soon after the article about my own flexible work arrangements went live was, “How do you ask your manager for such an arrangement?”

Apparently, it is not easy to go about asking for such “special” arrangements. That brought about the next blog article “How to ask your manager for a flexible work arrangement (Click Here)” which led to a radio interview with 938Live on the same topic.

(Wei Leng and I @ 938Live studio)

One thing led to another. How do you hire for a flexible work culture (Click Here)?What do you look for?

In recruitment, we like to hire the best talent for the job; thus, flexible working should be a choice that the employee can exercise. Having said that, there are still steps in which one can take if you are looking to hire for a flexible work culture.

I think we had given the “Flexible Work Culture” topic a pretty good coverage in 2014.

Do let me know if there’s any topic you would like to see in 2015.

Cheers
Eric

Eric Wong is Head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom, and blogs about how video collaboration can benefit the HR function on Polycom’s “The View from APAC”. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.

The business of HR


Many of us, HR practitioners understand the importance of having a keen sense of business awareness and acumen, allowing us to partner with our business in today’s fast changing world.

So much so, “business acumen” has became one of the essential attribute companies look in HR hires.

However, as a HR practitioner myself, I found an added level of complexity in our role as HR. It is the “human” factor.

Apart from having to perform our functional role, be it in recruitment, learning, development or compensation, we have to be “guardians” to the policies and processes that maintains the “sanity” of the organization. On top of that, we are sometimes tasked with influencing the organization’s culture and building a positive employer’s brand.

At heart of it all, employees look to us as their de-facto representative (aka champions) in making sure that they are well taken care of.

So, what exactly is the role of HR? Who do we represent?

My short and simple answer is “the company”.

As HR, I felt that our role is in the management of the human resources for the company. While there is a great deal of “decentralization” where the people managers are required to take on a much larger role in the day to day management of their employees, HR has a pivotal role in supporting and facilitating this.

I was recently asked by one of my staff who’s looking to move from a recruiter’s role into a HR business partner’s role on what are some of the key attributes that he must have to become a good HR business partner.

My response to him was, “Represent the company in the best way you can; common sense, ethics and integrity. That’s all you need”.

I am not discounting the importance of sound HR foundation, processes, policies, and understanding of employment law etc. That to me is a given which every HR person should have to do his/ her job.

I guess the ability to balance business needs, function and employees is what makes a good HR great.

Eric Wong is Head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom, and blogs about how video collaboration can benefit the HR function on Polycom’s “The View from APAC“. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.

The “Human” in “Human Resources”


What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “HR”? Policies? Recruitment? Training? Benefits? The list goes on doesn’t it?

“HR” is one of the most interesting functions in any organisation. How many times have we heard the phrase “Go and ask HR” or “Talk to HR”. Surprisingly “HR” seems to have all the answers, or is that the case?

As an employee of any organisation, we often look at the company we work for and refer to groups of individuals collectively, such as “management” or “the company”. Often, we hear things like “management says this” or “the company is trying to cut cost” etc. We would also notice that “HR” is often being “implicated” as they are usually seen as the representative of “management” or “the company”.

So, what is “HR” actually? Are they an organisation function, the personification of “the company”, or the default representative of management?

In some of my recent articles, I talked about issues and challenges in keeping employees engaged, happy and motivated.
(Article: What is HR going to do about the World Cup?)
(Article: “Benefits” – attracting and retaining your best talents)

The articles touched on topics such as “flexibility at work” and “creativity with employee benefits”. The common theme in both articles is the creative (maybe provocative) approach to traditional HR practices.

Organisation workforce evolves over time, and employees’ needs and wants change. It was reported on a survey finding by Gallup in Oct 2013 that “Worldwide, 13% of Employees Are Engaged at Work” and this low workplace engagement offers opportunities to improve business outcomes.
(Article: http://www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx)

This could mean a few things, namely:

  • Traditional practices and benefits are becoming the norm and companies need to get creative in creating a differentiator
  • Employees are getting more sophisticated in what they are looking for in a career/ job
  • No one size fits all solutions; different employees have different needs and wants
  • Historical baseline is no longer valid where the business environment had changed.
    For example:
  • Businesses are highly connected
  • Information is readily available
  • Higher level of transparency in the supply and demand of talent
  • Employees are becoming more mobile and global

So, if HR is going to be the personification of “the company”, or the default representative of management, than the “HR” today needs to take a serious look at how they can better engage their employees and keep them engaged to bring out the best in them.

Eric Wong is Head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom, and blogs about how video collaboration can benefit the HR function on Polycom’s “The View from APAC“. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.