What’s your New Year career resolution?

Being in Asia, there is little in the weather which tells you that we are once again in the month of January. The festive holiday season is now just behind us and you may have thought of your own personal New Year’s resolutions. It’s the time for reflecting on the changes we all want in the coming year.

Have you made yours yet? What about one of these resolutions:

  • Start exercising to lose weight?
  • Quit smoking for a better health?
  • Reduce stress and be less grumpy?
  • Improve your career, get a better job?

A study from the University of Bristol showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail. It was Albert Einstein who once said:

“I never think of the future.
It comes soon enough”

Mr. Einstein was a theoretical physicist and humanist widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time. He is most famous for his General Theories of Relativity and won a Nobel Prize in physics. He is also credited for this nice one-liner:

“Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

I meet many candidates who I thought wanted a career; turns out they just wanted paychecks. Improving your compensation is obviously one of the motivations to make a move. But honestly, the warm fuzzy feeling is usually only felt when you stand in front of the ATM machine and see the amount that pops up on your bank statement. Turn around, walk away, return to the office and the salary is but a distance memory.

Back in the real life, it’s all about the job, your boss, your colleagues. How much fun do you have? Let me share a nice little nice story that I have seen making rounds on the internet. And a wonderful twist with a surprise ending.

My best wishes to all readers for a peaceful year ahead. With or without New Year resolutions. Enjoy the story.

“A highly successful Human Resources Manager was tragically knocked down by a bus and was killed. Her soul arrived at the Pearly Gates, where St. Peter welcomed her.

“Before you get settled in,” St. Peter said, “We have a little problem. We’ve never had a Human Resources Manager make it this far before. We are not really sure what to do with you.”

“We’re instructed to let you have a day in hell and a day in heaven, and then you are to choose where you’d like to go for all eternity.”

“Actually, I think I’d prefer heaven”, said the woman. “Sorry, we have rules,” at which St. Peter put the HR Manager into the downward bound elevator. As the doors opened in hell, she stepped out onto a beautiful golf course.

In the distance was a country club, she saw many friends: past fellow executives, all smartly dressed, happy and cheering for her. They ran up and kissed her on both cheeks, and they talked about old times. They played a perfect round of golf and afterwards went to the country club where she enjoyed a superb steak and lobster dinner.

She met the Devil (who was actually rather nice) and she had a wonderful night telling jokes and dancing. Before she knew it, it was time to leave. She stepped into the elevator and went back up to heaven where St Peter was waiting for her.

“Now it’s time to spend a day in heaven,” he said.

So she spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds, playing the harp and singing, which was almost as enjoyable as her day in hell. At the day’s end St Peter returned.

He said, “You’ve spent a day in hell and you’ve spent a day in heaven. You must now choose between the two.”

The woman thought for a second, “Well, heaven is certainly lovely, but I actually had a better time in hell. I choose hell.”

Accordingly, St. Peter took her to the elevator again and she went back down to hell. When the doors of the elevator opened she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and filth. She saw her friends dressed in rags, picking up rubbish and putting it in old sacks.

The Devil approached and put his arm around her.

“I don’t understand,” stuttered the HR Manager, “Yesterday I was here, and there was a golf course and a country club. We ate lobster, and we danced and had a wonderful happy time. Now all there is, is just a dirty wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable.”

The Devil simply looked at her and smiled.

Yesterday we were recruiting you, today you’re staff.”

Headhunter Horror Stories

Seeming disinterested, arrogantly smiling and over- or under dressing for an interview – these mistakes can happen to anyone. But the almost unbelievable behavior of some candidates can leave a deep impression on the psyche of any  hiring manager. Continue reading “Headhunter Horror Stories”

European economies best at recruiting and retaining top talent; what about Thailand?

Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium top the World Talent Ranking in IMD’s prestigious annual report that assesses the methods countries are using to attract and keep the talent that their businesses need to succeed. 11 out of the top 15 economies are European countries.

The ranking of 63 countries, including Thailand, is based on how countries perform in areas of education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates. Continue reading “European economies best at recruiting and retaining top talent; what about Thailand?”

8 ways to evaluate a headhunter in 30 seconds

You know the feeling when a headhunter calls you. If you ever got the call that is? You feel a sense of pride and excitement. You think to yourself: Finally, someone found me, someone discovered my talent, the big salary and company car coming my way, the neighbours will surely notice my new status, my spouse and children will acknowledge how smart I am. I should go buy a lottery ticket today. Continue reading “8 ways to evaluate a headhunter in 30 seconds”

Candidates on blind dates

Blind dates are sometimes good, usually bad, and always weird at the beginning. So are many interviews between a candidate and a hiring company. If you have never been on one yourself, a blind date is when a friend sets you up to meet a mystery person that you don’t know.

It beats me how hiring companies still treat applicants and candidates as though these people desperately need a job and subject them to abuse and arrogance by misinformed hiring managers. Candidates still tell me how hiring managers and companies seem unprepared when they turn up for an interview. Continue reading “Candidates on blind dates”

The dreaded candidate black hole

It’s really hard to believe that many hiring managers and recruiters still don’t get it. That it’s a courtesy to inform applicants and candidates, who have been interviewed, that unfortunately another candidate was chosen for the job.

I love this line in the story that I quote below, that only one person can land a specific job, but everybody can have a good experience for the duration of the recruitment journey, even if they’re not ultimately the chosen candidate.

Here’s what you say on the phone or you write in the email: Continue reading “The dreaded candidate black hole”

40% of executive searches fail; clients to blame for most of them

Are you surprised? The research from ESIX says that 40% of executive searches fail and that the clients are to blame for 70% of these failures. What is your own experience with contingent recruiters and executive search consulting firms?

I have helped organisations to fill managerial and top executive positions in Thailand for the past 14 years. I see a clear pattern when clients are successful in their hiring, and likewise I notice when companies struggle to recruit. Some examples of what works for the successful client companies: Continue reading “40% of executive searches fail; clients to blame for most of them”

Headhunters don’t take the rap for clients’ behaviour

If you want to know how to jerk the headhunter around, how to make recruiters hate you, how to toy with them and lie to them. Or how you lead them to believe one thing while meaning another, promise them something when you really have no intention of keeping your word. The following will tell it all.

There are certainly moments where I think that clients, be it HR people, corporate recruiters, or line managers, have conspired to make our lives miserable. “Our lives” as in those of us who make a living from helping client companies identify the increasingly difficult-to-find talent. Continue reading “Headhunters don’t take the rap for clients’ behaviour”

Should I trust my gut feeling when interviewing people?

The short answer is no and never! If you want to know why, please keep reading. Using your gut is similar to scratching the surface of something; to examine and discover only the superficial aspects of something or in this case a candidate. We call it the Four A Syndrome, because when you trust your gut, you are assessing a candidate’s presentation skills over business performance and substance. Continue reading “Should I trust my gut feeling when interviewing people?”

Five reasons why slow hiring process kills all deals

Last week I got a message from a senior executive candidate, who is in the running of becoming the new Managing Director for a multi-national company. He said he was pulling out of the hiring process. He and other top candidates met the client five weeks ago and to date no decision or update have been forthcoming.

There is no way you will impress senior executives with a slow recruitment process. Period. Continue reading “Five reasons why slow hiring process kills all deals”

Two ways to test candidate personality and intelligence before you hire

Picture a jigsaw puzzle! Then think about the next candidate you are going to interview. This candidate is like the jigsaw puzzle you just pictured, a human being put together by many different shapes and forms of puzzle pieces.

Imagine for a second that you only have one single puzzle piece and are asked to guess what the complete picture is. Likely an impossible task, wouldn’t you say?

Assessing a candidate’s profile to determine the fit to your hiring needs is not done by just reading a resume once. It’s not done by just one telephone screening and nothing else. It’s not done by a short or one-time in-person interview. It would certainly be a risk to decide whether to hire, or not, if the only thing you did was call a previous employer for a reference check. Continue reading “Two ways to test candidate personality and intelligence before you hire”

Why headhunters don’t return your calls

If you missed the Bangkok Post article on 19 June 2017, Why Headhunters Don’t Return Your Calls, read the full article here. It’s the story why I used to hate headhunters…

Once upon a time is the phrase which begins fairy tales and fabulous stories set in some unspecified moment in the past. Except the story you are about to read. There is nothing fairy or fabulous about this real life experience of mine. I absolutely hated headhunters. My story starts like this: Once upon a time when I was a candidate myself. Continue reading “Why headhunters don’t return your calls”

Forbes ranks Boyden in Top Ten in executive search

Forbes recently launched their first ever ranking of executive recruiting firms. Boyden has ranked #8 out of the 250 firms included in the set.

To assign rankings, Forbes gathered 20,000 responses from executives and HR managers. Forbes asked them to name the top firms with which they had experience. The companies with the most recommendations are ranked highest. Continue reading “Forbes ranks Boyden in Top Ten in executive search”

Secrets of successful selection

There are now about 300 third-party recruiters in Thailand who are licenced to help recruit Thais for jobs in Thailand. Not many know this, but the recruitment industry in Thailand is extremely regulated and is governed by the Job Seekers Protection Act enacted in 1985 (31 years ago). Recruitment companies must submit a monthly report to the Ministry of Labour showing the names and details of the candidates they have helped place with their clients.

Tom Sorensen is a 14-year veteran head-hunter in Thailand, now at Boyden, one of the longest established players in the executive recruitment business. In the world and in Thailand. We asked Tom Sorensen to discuss the changing face of recruitment and the role of recruitment professionals. Continue reading “Secrets of successful selection”

Two easy ways to test candidate personality and intelligence

Picture a jigsaw puzzle! Then think about the next candidate you are going to interview. This candidate is like the jigsaw puzzle you just pictured, a human being put together by many different shapes and forms of puzzle pieces.

Imagine for a second that you only have one single puzzle piece and are asked to guess what the complete picture is. Likely an impossible task, wouldn’t you say? Continue reading “Two easy ways to test candidate personality and intelligence”