Insights from interviewing candidates

Being the sai kang Ops Manager, my new add-on duty currently is to hire for a HR generalist position for the company I am working at (before I get a new add-on duty of  the human resource manager too). Here are some interesting takeaways from the interviews I have conducted -

1) Those who don't know how to give 'model answers' for the standard questions asked, I know they have little or no experience in interviewing and recruiting people, as well as being interviewed.

"What do you know about our company xxx?" *stumped* 
"Thank you, exit is over there."

2) "What makes you leave your current position?"

Ah, I have to watch out for complainers. Those who talk a lot of 'bad' stuff about their current work. You know? I know.

Most standard answer - "I want a change of environment / industry." (The nicer way of saying I don't like my current workplace.)

Ok... so what kind of environment are you looking for? What makes you want to join our industry? Many of them don't have a clear answer.

3) "What makes you state your expected pay as such, which is... $xxx more than your last drawn?"

One epic answer was -
"From what I observed in the candidates that applied (this person works in a recruitment agency), typically they will put down a 20% pay increment for expected." (WL, this I really don't know wor. Shhh... am I being short-changed? Cos I always put less than 10% rise in my expected! =.=)

My reply in my heart was -
You are most welcomed to price yourself out of the market.

4) I have not seen a single applicant who graduates from either NTU, NUS or SMU specializing in HR. Rare breeds?

5) The candidates can write in perfect England when they send in their resume and cover letters,
BUT somehow the writing standard dropped drastically when tasked to write a simple paragraph of answer.

Sometimes I just switched off in the midst of the interviews...

I might not be much of a seasoned interviewer as I have been asking mostly standard questions. Any 'old ginger' around who can share some tips on effective recruitment and interviewing?

I am so guilty of not blogging any financial stuff these days, no time for more financial learning. Hopefully back to that soon!



  1. Hahaha give chance, they'll get better :)

    Sometimes I used a riddle to test them how fast they think on their feet.

    1. Hi B,

      I will give chance to those who can show to some extent (no need full marks) that they know what they are applying into.

      Ooh, general riddle or riddle that relates to the work of the position?

  2. Rainbow girl,

    HR generalist is code for Man Friday or Girl Friday positions... You har!

    Now that you know what's like on the opposite side of the table, focus on what you gonna say if in the future when you intend to parlay your "wrap mountain; wrap ocean" track record into a more powderful post in a MNC...

    "What makes you think your experience at a puny SME can apply at an organisation that 1000 times bigger?"

    Think of an kick-ass "I'm worth it" Maybelline reply so that the person on the opposite side of the table will go, "Wow! This girl sure is sassy! I like her style!"

    And if you have hair, toss you hair back girl!

    1. Hi SMOL,

      Lol, Maybelline's tagline was "Maybe she's born with it". But I like the current one better - "Make it happen".

      I realised that in a small organisation, a position may seem like very big because, like you said, must 'wrap mountains, wrap oceans' and really know the in-out of the whole organisation, report directly to director... However, when in an MNC I feel like my position is very small - I can be a manager but there are so many other managers and we each mind our own plate.

      What is Girl Friday, Man Friday?? Sorry har I catch-no-ball.

    2. Rainbow girl,

      1. Opps! It should be Loreal's "Because I'm worth it". That's excellent copywriting!

      "Why you spend so much?"

      "Because I'm worth it."

      How to argue with that??? LOL!

      2. I guess you've never read Robinson Crusoe? This is classic generational gap. My time in the 80s still got advertise Girl Friday positions...

      What is Girl or Guy Friday? It's personal assistant. Any tasks we don't feel like doing, we dump it on them ;)

    3. Why Fridays?

      Those days without Interenet and Mobile; bosses dump whatever they no bother to their Fridays and then went to enjoy their weekends and Girl or Guy Friday would take care of them till next Friday. LOL!

    4. Hi SMOL,

      That means I am also sama sama to Girl Friday la. I am Girl Friday to my boss, and my assistant is Girl Friday to me. Lol.

    5. Rainbow girl,

      You more equal than Girl Friday. You have direct access to the boss.

      Who knows work, work, work... Rub shoulders, rub shoulders... Business trips and late nights slogging together...

      One day become 老版娘?

      Now that's for the win!

      Don't you dare wear flats. Must wear heels!

      Makes your S line more pronounced ;)

    6. No chance to be 老板娘, definitely not 小三。
      No business trips nor late nights. Wear slippers more like it. I mean in office.

  3. My favourite two questions ..

    Tell me one thing you don't like about your boss and one thing you like about your boss

    Tell me one thing you don't like about your current/last job and one thing you like about your current/last job

    1. Hi Uncle8888,
      Simple but straight to the point.
      Many times attitude is more important than aptitude! :)


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