Monthly archives: January 2009

Company values and the targeted interview

One of the expectations of a recruiter is that the interviewee should have read the company website and conducted a google search on the company. Prior to your interview, you should find out the company vision, mission and values. When you look at the values, what core values do you share with company core values? When you read about the company vision and mission, how will YOU add value by helping the company achieve it? You may also want to conduct some analysis about the company, its competitors and where the industry is headed in the next 5 years.

E.g.1 Application to pharmaceutical company.
Pharmaceutical companies face the challenges of :-
1. Increased government regulation
2. Increased income from outside the United States
3. Increased competition from generic drugs
In view of these challenges, my background as a lawyer will be able to understand and communicate the increased government regulation. As an international business major, I will be able to work within the global marketplace. My experience managing a team of 50 people will allow me to effectively manage a sales force’s challenges while maintaining profitability.

This example demonstrates your ability to tie in your past experience with the company direction.

E.g. 2 Targeted interview
Interviewer : Are you a hard worker?
Interviewee : Yes, of course.
Interviewer : Are you an ethical person?
Interviewee : Yes, of course.
I learned the targeted interview method when I was interviewed by Johnson & Johnson. Almost every interviewee will tell you they are hard working and ethical. The targeted method is where you ask the following questions:-
Interviewer : That’s great. Please give me an example of a time when you worked harder than expected. Can you describe the :-
1. Situation that you were in
2. Task that you were given
3. Action that you took
4. Results of 3. above.
1-4 is the Situation, Task, Action and Result (STAR) approach.
Very few interviewees actually prepare in this thorough and detailed manner. This will enable you to stand out from your peers.

Job Interviewing – Ideal resume

What should you put in a resume? What do I see in a lot of resumes?

I just helped conduct training for a group of unemployed graduates sponsored by Permodalan Nasional Berhad. During the tea-breaks, some of the participants asked me to have a look at their resumes. Here is a list of things that I don’t want to see in your resume:-
1) Your photo. I am not hiring you based on your looks. I want to know if you can add value to my organization. Note: some people included a photo which was over 1MB. It jams up my email on my blackberry and doesn’t impress.
2) 2-3 pages of resume. Most of the key information should be summarized into one page. If you have less than 10 years of working experience the key achievements can be summarized into one page. I don’t need to know that you were a girl guide or cadet in Form 1. Keep it Short and Straight to the point!
3) Repetition. Why do we want to know that you are female 3 times. Some people put their full name with a binti. They also put in Gender : Female and Sex : Female. A resume is a short and sweet summary of your achievements and how you will add value to the organization. Don’t waste space by repetition!

What I would like to see more of:
1) Value proposition. Your resume should highlight key achievements and what it means to the employer. E.g. Member of St Johns Ambulance. vs My membership in St Johns Ambulance taught me teamwork and co-operation which I intend to continue at [name of organization].
2) So what? I would like to see more resumes where the applicant showed that they thought out what they wanted to put in the resume. Look at everything in the resume and ask yourself “so what?”. What does this mean to the interviewer? How will this help my value proposition?

All the best with your resume writing. You may also want to refer to this website for more tips.

Dealing with a recession/downturn

Everywhere we go people are talking about recession/downturn and a gloomy economic outlook. In fact some studies show that more millionaires are made during a downturn than during a boom.

If you have a relatively small market share in a fragmented market, this is your opportunity to grow market share. Why?
1) Some of your competition may go out of business. This will mean that you have a new potential market which needs your service/product (albeit in reduced quantities)
2) Your consumer may now have a reduced budget. Overall your market will shrink – perhaps from RM100million to RM70million. Is that a large contraction? Yes. However, in your fragmented market, your business may have 1% or less market share. That still gives your organization large room for growth while some competitors shut down.
3) Your product pricing may have to be amended. We are currently offering a product where we tie in our fee with the customers performance. If their organization increases its profits, our fees increase with it.

Do post your thoughts on this.