9 reasons why I declined the job offer

Here you are, this is for you: Recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers. You will get lots of learning points in this unbelievable real-life story, why a candidate declined a job offer from a famous brand name in the industry.

The candidate told me the story, why he decided to decline the attractive job offer from one of the big guns in the business. The story started when he one day got a call from a talent acquisition officer of the company.

Months and months later he was offered the job – but to the company’s surprise, he declined.

He gave me these 9 reasons, which he also courageously shared with the HR Director, who called to ask him why.

  1. I had 6 rounds of interviews. One with the Global HR far far away from Thailand, who even admitted she had never been to Asia and didn’t really understand the culture that seemed so different from her own.
  2. I was grilled with questions but nobody took the time to explain what the job was like. They did not even ask if I had any questions.
  3. Lots of their questions did not make sense – like why I am leaving my employer. Actually, I was not thinking of leaving; their HR recruiter approached me and convinced me to come for an interview.
  4. Where I see myself in five years? LOL, they could not even tell me where they see their own company in 6 months.
  5. The hiring process was too long, too disorganized. The offer took way too long.
  6. The interviewers did not compare notes, because during the six rounds of interviews they were asking the same questions.
  7. The interviews should not feel like an interrogation.
  8. The people interviewing me also looked tired and stressed.
  9. If you want to hire talent, fix your basics. Treat candidates as people, not as applicants.

Are you surprised? Ever had this experience as a candidate? Perhaps you recognize this experience and these recruitment steps from your own company?

I mean, where does one start to explain the do’s and don’ts in best practice recruitment after reading this scary real-life story?

Let me be very blunt about this. Embarrassing, unacceptable, and amateurish. There is no way you will impress senior executives with that kind of recruitment process. Period.

Too many hiring companies still think that the supply of people (applicants or candidates) is bottomless, and that they can take forever to make their decision.

It’s hilarious to watch the arrogance displayed by some hiring companies, when they call in a candidate five times to interview. Mind you, five times as in five different days. Thai candidates with ten annual leave days have just used 50% of their yearly vacation entitlement to take time off for the interviews.

If you are totally flabbergasted like me, ashamed and angry on the candidate’ behalf, wondering why the top management has not provided proper and professional recruitment processes, let’s look at how world class hiring companies manage this.

Designing an effective interview process

The key word is: process. There is no difference hiring people through a process than working with processes in accounting, finance, procurement, quality assurance, and production. Hiring with an effective interviewing process follows these four steps:

  1. Prior to the interview make sure you understand the key elements of the job.
  2. Identify the knowledge, attributes, and skills the candidate needs for success.
  3. Identify the people skills a person brings to the job. This is by far the hardest trait to determine, but by understanding the applicant’s personality and motivation, you are guaranteed to improve your hiring process.
  4. Follow a structured process. This does not mean the entire process is inflexible without spontaneity but that each candidate is asked the same behavioural-based questions.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail

These famous words are credited Benjamin Franklin, mentioned as a Founding Father of the United States. In a recruitment context, it means that if you don’t take time to understand what the hiring manager really wants, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

You must insist to get an hour with the hiring manager. Having a job profile is fine but far from sufficient to prepare a recruitment plan. Here are just a few examples of questions you should ask:

  • What specific equipment or technology (software) is essential to know in this job?
  • What are the 2-3 major challenges to be faced by the candidate in this position?
  • Define 6-8 deliverables i.e. steps required for on-the-job success. In other words, what must the person in this job need to do to be considered extremely successful in this job? 
  • What are the key performance indicators for his job?
  • What needs to be addressed and looked into the first 100 days?

If you’re interviewing someone by asking them hypothetical questions, also called situational or scenario questions, you don’t get the truth, you get speculation. This means that to get a good, accurate picture of their capabilities, don’t ask interview questions along the lines of “what would you do in X situation?” or “if X happened, how would you react?”.

Questions should be reality-based, something similar to “tell me about a time you had to…” or “when this happened in your previous position, what did you do?”

Try to understand what people have accomplished in their career rather than spending the whole interview just talking about yourself and how great your company is.

Hiring is also a selling activity

And always remember that hiring is also a selling activity. If you are meeting so-called passive candidates, which are people typically provided by headhunters, keep in mind that these people have good jobs and are not yet necessarily convinced that they should make a move.

If you feel you have a strong candidate, you need to switch into sales mode. That means you should tell them why the grass is greener on your side of the fence compared to where they are employed now. If you manage this, the candidate leaves convinced about the great opportunity your company can offer.

Candidates should be treated with the courtesy and respect that you would offer to your best customer. Make sure that your receptionist is at her best and welcome the potential new colleague with a smile and Thai greeting.

This helps ensure that the candidate’s first impression of your company is positive. Interviews should have the tone of a meeting, an exchange of ideas, rather than a cross-examination of someone’s background.

And the wake-up call to hiring managers; please remember, a candidate may have no more than honest curiosity to learn more about the position and your company.

If the candidate is not convinced about the opportunity after meeting you, the candidate may decide that s/he may not want to pursue the job. Just as you may decide not to move forward with the person.

Key Performance Indicators for talent acquisition

I am a strong believer in: “What gets measured gets done.” It means regular measurement and reporting keeps you focused — because you use that information to make decisions to improve your results.

  • Number of days from HR receives an approved Personnel Acquisition and to presentation of a candidate shortlist to the hiring manager. Some will use 30 days for regular staff but 45 to 60 days for management positions. Another measure is from Personnel Acquisition to the successful candidate’s employment date.
  • Acceptance rate is the percentage of accepted job offers from the total number of job offers extended to qualified candidates. It also means assessing why a job offer is being rejected.
  • How many of the hired candidates came from the first shortlist, which you presented to the hiring manager? The perfect number is of course 100%; because it means you did not have to start a second search.
  • How many of your successfully placed candidates pass the probation period- or not? Of the new employees you hired the past three years, how many (percentage) passed one year? A good target is 80% but with 90% over being excellent.

What a story!

What my friends think I do – what do you think?

Happy New Year to all Best Practice Executive Recruitment followers and readers. 

2018 was a record year for Boyden Thailand, in search assignments and income. Some believe the best ever in our history. But hey, we have been in Thailand for 35 years, that’s a lot of history and numbers to remember. Continue reading “What my friends think I do – what do you think?”

Sometimes we recruiters forget that looking for a job is the hardest thing

As the days go by, no one returns your calls, when no one cares to reply to your emails; once again you curse the idiot of a boss who let you go from your most recent job. The guy who told you the company could do without you.  Aaarrgghhh.

As you climb the ladder in the organization, as you move up the pyramid towards the top, as you get bigger responsibilities and tougher challenges, as you also consequently enjoy a bigger pay cheque, so will the risk of being at the wrong place at the wrong time suddenly become very real. Continue reading “Sometimes we recruiters forget that looking for a job is the hardest thing”

3 things most HR Managers still don’t get

You will be surprised when you read this. Something so simple as knowing the Thai Labour law inside out. You would expect that from HR, right?

But here’s the sad news, the unexpected truth of the matter. During the last 15 years of interviewing HR managers, I have personally experienced that 80% of the candidates could not answer three basic labour law questions correctly. Continue reading “3 things most HR Managers still don’t get”

Dealing with an interviewer who won’t shut up – blah blah blah!

You are really in big trouble if you come across a job interviewer who just keeps talking.

What the interviewer really should be doing instead was asking questions, then listening to what you have to say about yourself and your work experience. You came for a job interview not to listen to a marketing presentation. Continue reading “Dealing with an interviewer who won’t shut up – blah blah blah!”

Get your staff pipeline ready for the war for talent

If you find it increasingly difficult to find new staff,  as you seek to grow your business or simply replace some who left you, sorry to say but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Why is this fact not keeping all business executives up at night? Most have their heads buried in the sand and are seemingly unaware or ignoring the challenges that lie ahead. Continue reading “Get your staff pipeline ready for the war for talent”

Looking To Change Career? Avoid These Job Switch Killers

Did you ever think to yourself… “Been in my industry what seems a life time, too many years in my current position, I’ve been there, I’ve done that?”

Or have you suddenly and unexpectedly found yourself between jobs? Perhaps fired, cut from the payroll but still a family to take care of? Or at best, you called it quits yourself?

Welcome to the Club either way. The question is, how do you avoid being a permanent member of this Club of Wannabes?  When I look back at 15 years of headhunting candidates for management positions in Thailand, I have learned the following: Continue reading “Looking To Change Career? Avoid These Job Switch Killers”

Naively, hiring companies think recruiters work harder when in competition on a job search

Totally not true that recruitment firms work harder if competing with another recruitment company.  Let me explain.

Most recruitment firms in Thailand compete on price and not on service or the quality of candidates. A “contingency” recruitment firm will only be able to invoice their client if their candidate is hired. Only then will the recruitment firm receive an income and the recruitment consultant a commission. Continue reading “Naively, hiring companies think recruiters work harder when in competition on a job search”

How you should dress for the job interview?

If you are old enough, you may recall the shampoo commercial, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

You must have heard the saying that a first impression can make or break a business opportunity or relationship. That includes anything from meeting customers, pitching your business to new clients, to dating for a romantic partner, and of course very much to job interviewing. Continue reading “How you should dress for the job interview?”

Do you have a non-compete clause in your employment agreement?

Are you one of the many employees in Thailand who willingly accepted a non-compete clause in your employment agreement? Or perhaps you were forced to accept a  non-compete as a condition for getting the new job?

In more and more countries around the world, the non-compete clause is illegal or it comes with a lot of restrictions. But unfortunately not yet in Thailand where employers can still demand that an employee cannot take work with a competitor for years. Continue reading “Do you have a non-compete clause in your employment agreement?”

Your CV is too long

Your CV is a personal Career Balance Sheet; like the Balance Sheet or Income Statement used in Accounting. The CV lists absolutely everything you have done since kindergarten, primary school, the first job to the current; it can include dates, periods, all training activities or articles, publications. You name it. It can stand the toughest of audits. Continue reading “Your CV is too long”

Talent Acquisition – Stop damaging your company’s reputation!

You have heard me talk about this before; the appalling service level to keep applicants and candidates updated on their interview process.

I met an executive the other day who was interviewed two months ago by a hiring company. So far, he has not received a follow up call or email, no thank you for considering a job with our company, nothing to say the job has been offered to another candidate (I’m just guessing because who knows?).

“Treat others how you want to be treated.” Continue reading “Talent Acquisition – Stop damaging your company’s reputation!”

Who are the leading executive search firms according to Forbes?

Who does not love lists and rankings;, think: Thailand’s 50 Richest List to the Best Countries for Business to the Top Weirdest Most Promising New Jobs.

Forbes ranked 250 recruitment and executive search firms in 2017, the first ever such list. Boyden was in the Top 10.

In their new ranking for 2018, yes, Boyden is still there in the Top 10. Other great firms in the Top 10 include Korn Ferry, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, and Spencer Stuart. Continue reading “Who are the leading executive search firms according to Forbes?”

8 reasons why you should hang-up when a headhunter calls

If you think that recruiters help you a find a job, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you: Executive search firms and recruitment companies find candidates for jobs – they do not find jobs for candidates. May I say, don’t shoot the messenger please (read: me).

When you call or email a recruiter, and ask if we can help you find a job, we can only do so if one of our clients has a job opening that matches your experience and skill set. Recruiters have to be focused on their clients’ needs. That is how the business works. Continue reading “8 reasons why you should hang-up when a headhunter calls”

Lack of feedback to candidates by today’s HR and recruitment professionals is quite appalling

If you want to know why recruiters in corporate Talent Acquisition departments and recruitment firms are considered in the same undesirable league as unscrupulous real estate agents and sleazy second-hand car salespeople, be ready for a blunt wake-up call.

Candidates complain to me that way too many HR people, Talent Acquisition departments, and Recruitment firms do not keep them updated on the hiring process. I just came out of an interview with a senior manager who took a day off to meet the multi-national industry leader about a big job; this meeting took place two months ago. Since then, no email nor phone call, no feedback or update what so ever. Continue reading “Lack of feedback to candidates by today’s HR and recruitment professionals is quite appalling”