Scenario Questions


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For some jobs, such as sales/marketing/business development—individuals can stand on their track record.

But how do you identify track record/expertise where people work in teams? Think of the shirker in your old college project team. Has the candidate applying for the job hijacked his team’s success as his own? Worse, is he blamed for his team’s failure?

But some hiring managers rely on “years of experience” as a proxy for “expertise”.

Scenario or situation-based questions are the best means to identify expertise.

If you’re a HR manager seeking someone for a HR function, you know the questions to formulate. You have the job-specific skills to pull this off.

If the scenario question is specific to a line function invite that line-manager to construct the questions. He knows best the problems and the help he needs.

Here is a sample scenario question for a hydraulic systems technician in the automotive, industrial, aviation, or marine sector:

System pressure is low. The pressure gauge is not defective. Full reservoir; and the system plumbing is not leaking. What could be the problem?

This is a common trouble-shooting scenario for hydraulic technicians. He might have worked in a workshop for many years. But was he mopping the floor and topping up the oil? Or was he in the thick of things? A scenario question will nail his level of expertise and experience.

Caveat: Do not allow line-managers to waste the interview session by having them cover questions which the HR person can handle. Questions such as what is your strength; what is your weakness; and similar generic themes.

In fact, when the HR or hiring manager is interviewing the candidate, the line-manager should keep silent; study the candidate’s body language; and pick up hints regarding his character.

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019

Identify, Measure and Grow Human Capital


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Here is an outline to identity, measure and grow your team’s human capital.

List 3 to 5 soft skills you desire or reflects your management style, business needs, and corporate culture. Take a team approach (from multiple stakeholders) and draw up this list.

Construct questions to identify the soft skills and proficiency tests to verify expertise you seek. Do not rely on mere “years of experience” as time spent on a job does not equate to expertise. Proficiency tests could be multiple choice or short-answer questions and scenario based questions.

Establish a baseline with internal staff. Interview and test your existing staff. Assign numerical scores (for example, give scores of 1 to 10) for the interview questions and proficiency tests.

To minimise subjectivity (the bane of interviews and selections) use the same questions and sequence for all candidates. Use a template to keep the interview and selection process consistent.

To further minimise subjectivity, have at least two interviewers and average their scores for each interviewee.

Collect the scores and establish your team’s average score. You have a numerical target.

To ensure growth in your team’s human capital, every new employee must exceed the team’s average score (the numerical target).

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019

The 3 Types of Capital


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Businesses require 3 types of capital:

Financial Capital

Money grabs the most attention and the large corporations, with their deep pockets, enjoy a clear advantage.

Time Capital

Time is money. Unlike spent money, you cannot recover spent time. Moreover, everyone has the same 24 hours: an individual, a mom-and-pop shop or a huge corporation.

Human Capital

People working in an organisation contribute their talent for rewards. And the more human capital a business accumulates, the better its chances of success.

What is Human Capital?

In simple terms, human capital comprises 3 components

  1. Hard skills (training and qualifications)
  2. Technical expertise (includes experience)
  3. Intangible qualities (soft skills)

When members of your team possess all three components in the right proportion, your team’s human capital grows.

Ensure that you interview and select the right people.

Join me next week for an outline to identify and grow your team’s human capital.

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019

The 10 Goals of Performance Appraisal


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Managements and human resource (HR) experts are great fans of performance appraisals because of the benefits.

Here is a list of the 10 goals:

  1. To reward exemplary performers.
  2. To motivate under performers.
  3. To identify training needs.
  4. To improve communication.
  5. To decide on staff retention or termination.
  6. To validate training & development programs.
  7. To test effectiveness of recruitment & selection.
  8. To measure gaps in targets and results.
  9. To establish forward goals.
  10. To comply with statutory and/or union awards.

The benefits are compelling and real. In its most basic form, and one that the vast number of organisations adheres to, the annual performance review is central to performance management.

Sound human resource management demands that your performance review protocol meets all 10 of the above goals.

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019

Free Book: Human Capital Growth Model 2nd Edition


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New Launch. Second edition. Heavy revision. What little fluff existed in the original book was edited out and the page count reduced—without forsaking content. Contains 20 tables to the 10 in the original book.

Thin book, thin on theory. Condenses several decades of hands-on business exposure.

The FREE download starts on 22 Oct 2018 (12.00 am PDT) and ends on 26 October 2018 (11.59 pm PDT). Note: Pacific Daylight Time is 7 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.

Download FREE eBook. Click on image.

For a limited time. Free offer will not be repeated.

Handbook specially crafted for busy business owners and managers, and addresses these seemingly elusive questions:

  • What is Human Capital?
  • How do you identify Human Capital?
  • How do you measure Human Capital—Individual & Team?
  • How do you grow your Team’s Human Capital?

Ranked #1 Bestseller (Entrepreneurship Management) on Amazon

Ranked #1 Bestseller (Organizational Learning) on Amazon

Ranked #1 Bestseller (Human Resources & Personnel Management) on Amazon

Subscribe/follow my blog so you do not miss out on future free offers. Thank you!

Key Takeaway:

Simple spreadsheet based Human Capital Growth Model that:

  • Provides Quantifiable Results
  • Allows Customizing to Management Preferences
  • Measures Line and Staff Functions
  • Adapts to Business Cycles

For a limited time. Free offer will not be repeated.

Click on link for free preview and download

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018 ***


Books to de-Stress



Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke – Mayo Clinic

Humour is a very effective, simple and inexpensive way to decrease stress – Harry Mills, Phd., Natalie Reiss, Phd., and Mark Dombeck, Phd.

The above are just two of the dozens of articles one sees when searching the internet for the key words humour, stress, and relief.

Click on the images below. Have some laughs. De-stress.

Click image for free preview:

Click Image for free preview:


Eric Alagan

Stress Management | Tip


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Every morning, Alfred would complain about how stressful it was to drive to office. Heavy traffic. Inconsiderate road users. And the traffic snarls from accidents caused by some ‘idiots’ as he would refer to those involved. He would enter the office in a foul mood and take hours if at all for him to simmer down.

Know anyone like Alfred?

Mabel on the other hand never complained about how stressful it was to drive in morning rush hour. She would enter the office with a cheerful greeting to all she met, including the security guard, office cleaner and coffee lady. She was the life of the office and people gravitated to her good nature and cheery demeanour.

Know anyone like Mabel?

What was Alfred doing wrong and Mabel doing right?


To begin with, while Alfred sought out someone or something to blame—externalised his problems—Mabel internalised her responsibility, she looked within and took charge of her happiness. This was all the more remarkable, as she too used the same route taken by Alfred and, in fact, lived in the same neighbourhood.

This is how she ensured a stress-free drive to the office:

  1. Mabel departed from her home on time. She was never a minute late, for she knew in the morning rush, every minute—every minute—added traffic to the roads.
  2. She knew her route very well—in minute detail. Once she left her home, she would get onto the lane that entailed minimum lane switching. She would not switch lanes just to squeeze into one car length ahead, for Mabel knew this meant unnecessary stress and worse, the risk of accidents. When traffic slowed, she would remain in her lane. She had already factored in the time.
  3. She always filtered into lanes by getting behind the next car—not racing to cut in front of the next car.
  4. She always gave advance signals of her intentions and maintained adequate gap from the car ahead.
  5. If for whatever reason, traffic held her up, she will not let the delay irritate her into committing rash manoeuvres. On such occasions, Mabel would think of her loved ones and how much her safety meant to the people at home. And she would call in and inform her boss or co-worker that she was running late. She used a hands-free phone kit.
  6. Mabel practised safe driving. She took charge of her well-being. She always arrived cheerful at the office.

Be the Mabel in your office. And driving—even in rush hour—can be pleasant and stress free. You will be ready and calm and make good quality decisions. You owe this to your co-workers and more importantly to yourself.

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***

Why Great Team Builders Chose the Best


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1. Why do great team builders chose the best people?

Great team builders know that more than quantity, it is quality that counts. The team is made up of individuals and will succeed or collapse dependent on its weakest link.

2. Why don’t hiring managers chose the best people?

There are many reasons and here are a few (feel free to share your points in the comments below):

  • They’re unable to recognize the best – the most talented.
  • They do not know what they’re looking for in people.
  • They confuse paper qualifications and “years of experience” for expertise.
  • They’re fearful of bringing in people who might outshine them.
  • And many more…

3. Is it not true the more the talented, the more an employer has to pay?

Most people speak in general terms and this is part of the problem. Instead of asking the right questions, they seek the “right” answers. Getting the right answer to a wrong question is not progress, not productive. However, even a wrong answer to a right question sets you on the path of progress.

Instead of seeking the “most talented” the question should be – How do I select the most talented (the best) from a given class of candidates?

This leads us to the next question.

4. How do I determine the class of people?

You do this by clearly defining the following:

  • The job’s scope – what exactly do you want that employee to accomplish. The more detailed, the better.
  • The job’s requirements – both objective or hard skills (paper credentials, years of experience, etc) and subjective elements such as soft skills.
  • An overview of the remuneration package on offer.

These three criteria will attract the right people, or people who consider themselves qualified.

Use the objective/hard skills as a funnel to shortlist candidates, people who meet ALL the requirements (excluding the soft skills) – and this will be your class of applicants.

During your selection process, zero in on the soft skills you desire and you will have your best-in-class. You’re not paying more but paying the same to chose the best from a given class of candidates.

5. Let us be candid here, as a salaried manager, if I chose someone better than me, I risk losing out on promotions and even my job. Do you expect me to chose what is good for my employer over what is good for me?

A pointed question and it’s a very valid question. Answer pending…



Note: I shall upload more questions and answers in this post, and welcome you to “follow” my blog so that you’re kept updated.

Meanwhile, enjoy this short clip: Quality over Quantity is what makes a winner!

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