Candidates are getting better and better at interviewing in the highly competitive Chinese job market.
Strong interviewing skills don't necessarily mean the individual is a good match for the position, though.
Michelle LaVallee talks about the importance for hiring managers to improve their own interviewing skills by focusing on the 'right' questions.
Too Quick To Decide Based on Superficial Information
Professionals in China often jump around from one job to the next and interview constantly, looking for the next big opportunity. After a great deal of practice and experience, they tend to become very smooth interviewers.
''They come into a hiring manager's office and their interviewing skills are by far more advanced than the person on the other side of the table,'' says Michelle.
''I’ve had a number of executives say ‘Michelle, we have got this incredibly talented person, they are amazing, we want to hire them immediately.’
''Luckily they slow down and get a second opinion with me. We then conduct the Top Rated interview together and we find that there is nothing there. The conversation with the candidate is superficial.''
It is because before, the manager was asking the wrong questions.
The Root Of The Problem
''A lot of executives and hiring managers are staying in what’s called a hypothetical space of interviewing. They might ask What would you do if… then the candidate fills in the blank.''
''What would you do if you had customer complaint? Tell me what it means to be a good team player? Or tell me about what you believe are your strengths and weaknesses. These are all hypothetical questions and anyone on the job-seeking side of the table can tell you whatever you want to hear and make it sound so good! In fact, you know nothing about this candidate.''
The 'Right' Questions To Ask
''Use questions such ‘what did you like about that job?’; give me three specific examples; what did you not like about that job? what was your biggest accomplishment in that position? Why? How did you do it? When did you do it? What were the numbers and data around that experience? What would you say was your biggest mistake and let’s talk about that.
''A really great question as well is ‘when we do reference checks, and we will be doing reference checks, when I speak with your previous boss, what will he or she tell me about your strengths and weaknesses?''
''All of a sudden the candidates thinks ‘wow, you are going to talk to my old boss, I better be honest then about what I say.''
Be Clear Internally On The Job Scope Before Even Starting Interviews
Michelle encourages employers in China to ''be very clear about your job requirements. Too many people rush into recruiting, especially in China, out of desperation, they just need someone in the job right away, yet they are not clear about the job role.''
''We have got to slow down, talk about the job purpose, talk about the responsibilities, identify the measurables for that position and how we will know that someone is successful in that role.''
''Is it about driving profit and revenue, increasing quality, hiring A players? Then match that understanding to a set of competencies which are important for the job.''