Interview Questions for Interviewers and Job Applicants

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Sample Questions for Lectures 7, 8 and 9, for course participants enrolled in my on-line course:

Interview Questions: Interview Like a Professional HRM 

Interview Questions Blog Post Image

Lecture 7: Close-Ended Questions

  1. How many years have you been driving and have you ever been involved in a motor accident?
  1. In your current job, what is the value of the sales budget you are directly responsible for?
  1. In your current job, what percentage of your customers are multinationals, government agencies and small & medium enterprises?

Lecture 8: Open-Ended Questions

  1. How do you juggle family responsibilities and job demands?
  1. Talk about the most difficult account that you brought on board.
  1. How do you see yourself contributing to the business?

Lecture 9: Scenario Based Questions

  1. You want to introduce a new product to the market, how would you go about it? Give an overview of your approach.
  1. Who do you see as major competitors for our products?
  1. Going forward, what do you consider the biggest challenge to our industry? How would you respond to this?

Note:

The internet throws up dozens of sample questions, often with hyped up headlines – Top 10 Questions; Most Common Interview Questions; Questions and Suggested Answers; and so on.

Some of these questions are excellent but unfortunately many are clearly not thought through. Just because everyone uses them does not make these questions effective.

In due course, I shall upload more tutorial videos here. These are free and you don’t have to sign up.

The 5 minute tutorials will analyse these questions to point out the effective and less effective ones and the reasons thereof.

Meanwhile, check out the other video tutorials in this site.

Thank you and all good wishes.

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Match Qualification Criteria to Job Scope

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Why do human resource managers in Singapore demand unnecessary paper qualifications from their candidates?

Are GCE O Levels required for ALL job openings?

Or, is it a case of herd instinct? Since everyone else asks for it, I better ask for it too.

Or, is it something more –

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Questions for Interviewers and Job Applicants

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Sample Questions, Lecture 5, for course participants enrolled in my on-line course:

Interview Questions: Interview Like a Professional HRM 

Interview Questions Blog Post Image

Close-Ended Questions

  1. Do you have a driver’s license?
  1. Are you taking further studies? Night school, perhaps.
  1. If the job requires it, can you work the occasional weekend – a Saturday or even one Sunday a month?

Open-Ended Questions

  1. Speak about your strengths and weaknesses.
  1. Talk about your hobbies.
  1. Talk about your career to date.

Scenario Based Questions

  1. You are part of a project team, and feel that one of your colleagues is not putting in his fair share of work. How would you resolve this?
  1. You are meeting a client the following morning but the night before, you had taken ill. How will you handle this situation?
  1. Your supervisor has assigned you a task, something beyond your job scope. How will you handle this situation?

Note:

The internet throws up dozens of sample questions, often with hyped up headlines – Top 10 Questions; Most Common Interview Questions; Questions and Suggested Answers; and so on.

Some of these questions are excellent but unfortunately many are clearly not thought through. Just because everyone uses them does not make these questions effective.

In due course, I shall upload more tutorial videos here. These are free and you don’t have to sign up.

The 5 minute tutorials will analyse these questions to point out the effective and less effective ones and the reasons thereof.

Meanwhile, check out the other video tutorials in this site.

Thank you and all good wishes.

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The Shortfalls of Performance Based Promotions

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We all know the game – we studied it in university, we hear management gurus spew it, we practice it on the job and seen it in action in every organization in the private and public sectors, and whether religious, charitable or non-governmental.

Performance based promotions. The foundation is meritocratic and its allure, seductive.

Therein lays all the problems of incompetence, failures and employment terminations.

Let us assume, an employee, John Typical, joins a company with the following hierarchy: Sales Executive > Senior Sales Executive > Sales Manager > Sales Director.

John Typical meets targets set at Sales Executive level. The organization promotes him. He meets targets set at Senior Sales Executive level and he is again promoted, to Sales Manager. He meets KPIs set and does an excellent job. Management promotes John Typical to Sales Director.

Every step of the way, past performance at a junior level, propels John Typical’s promotion to a higher level. Each level comes with added responsibility and authority over an increasing number of direct reports. The assumption here is, because he did well at a certain level, he would do well at the next.

However, as every high jumper knows, it’s simply a question of time before the bar drops.

womens-high-jump-finals-live-on-aug-8

Image Credit @ Reuters

When John Typical, now Sales Director, fails to deliver, he is demoralized, sidelined by his management or worse – demoted and perhaps even asked to resign.

The organization just lost a good employee – no, not a sales director, but an excellent Sales Manager!

The loss of talent and experience to the organization is great, and the toll on the employee’s self-worth and dignity, incalculable.

Notwithstanding these obvious pitfalls, most organizations, including brand name MNCs, go down this path. This is a case of hitting the same button on the keyboard in the mindless quest to gain a different outcome.

What then is the solution?

Look out for the next post.

————————- Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2016 —————————–

Your Carbon Footprint and Working from Home

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Those Days You Work From Home May End Up Wrecking the Planet

So claims a Bloomberg article which goes on to quote a consultant for Carbon Trust, a London-based research group that advises companies on sustainability, as saying, “You can have a very efficient building in a city where people are walking or using public transport. If employees working from home are switching on the heating across the entire house, it will be a negative.”

You can read the full article here > Those Days You Work From Home May End Up Wrecking the Planet.

I’ve not read the complete/original report but, if you look beyond the sensational headline and conclusion, many questions pop up.

The report uses one measure – the carbon foot print caused by workers commuting and sharing energy-efficient buildings versus power consumption by working from individual homes.

To summarize their conclusion > because people working from home use more power for heating, etc, they create a larger carbon footprint and cause more environmental damage.

It conveniently ignores the rest of the carbon footprint that is a consequence of working in a regular office.

  1. Meals taken during lunch > the carbon footprints caused by the eateries and their staff and the takeaway/throwaway boxes, paper and utensils
  2. People who commute on public transport are more prone to catch illnesses such as the common cold > the carbon footprints caused by the clinics and their staff
  3. Taken at a truly macro level, the continued construction of buildings to house ever-increasing numbers of office workers > the carbon footprint caused by every square foot of new office premises
  4. How about the depletion of natural resources to build these glass and steel giants?
  5. What about the carbon foot print required to constantly maintain, remodel and upkeep these buildings and the offices within?
  6. The roads and infrastructure…

Every individual who works in an office block has a share of the consequential carbon footprint.

Moreover, you need to take the total of the totals – meaning, even if the study might hold true for people who live near the office – what about those who live beyond the distances stipulated in the study?

What is the total carbon footprint of all the people working in an office block versus that same group of people working from their homes?

The study by  these experts is interesting – and innovative – but needs more data and stress testing before we can draw definite conclusions.

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Hard vs Soft Skills

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In interviewing and selecting candidates, most hiring managers excel in identifying hard skills. Practitioners also refer to Hard Skills as Tangibles, Objective Criteria and variations thereof.

That being the case, these are some broad classification of hard skills:

  1. Paper qualifications
  2. Specific industry exposure
  3. Specific technical skills
  4. Years of experience
  5. Specific languages skills
  6. Age (See below)
  7. Nationality – jobs open to citizens and permanent residents
  8. Etcetera

The key to classifying Hard Skills is objectivity.

Does the candidate have a specific paper qualification – Yes/No. Does the candidate have minimum years of experience in a particular or related industry – Yes/No.

The challenge is in identifying what HR practitioners broadly refer to as Soft Skills – the Intangible Character traits; the Subjective Criteria and elusive X-Factor that defines a great employee from an ‘also ran’ or worse, a destructive addition to the Team.

Over the years, many models and theories sprouted. High-end placement agencies (colloquially referred to as headhunters) even developed and jealously guard their in-house models.

One measure of success is the fees paid versus the results. By this measure, all have had varying degrees of success.

Soft skills continue to remain the challenge.

Even identifying soft skill traits is a challenge – let alone measuring and valuing these skills.

 

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