Tag Archives: Business Tianjin

Making Best Interviews

Making the Best of Interviews

By Robert Parkinson

bt_201504_19_hr_-_2 In a recent radio show, China International Radio’s Career Builders, I was asked to talk about the volume of Chinese job changing around the Spring Festival time and spoke mainly from the point of view of Chinese employees. It was a very interesting discussion. Unlike the situation in China, British employers barely worry about the “festive employee loss” issue. On my way back I thought about the topic from the different angle. HR Managers either recruit to fill a new role or to replace someone who is about to leave. In the busy hiring season I notice that the majority of HR managers are often so eager to interview candidates that they misjudge a lot of job applicants’ performance in the interview process. To make the best of interviews, efforts shouldn’t just come from interviewee. I think that it is a good idea to give some potentially-can-succeed candidates a second interview opportunity. The first principle is to make sure that HR staffs always notify candidates about the interview process and tell them the result on time. Failure to succeed at an interview is sometimes the result of sudden changes in the financial or personnel dynamics of the company. It has nothing to do with the quality of candidates. If you keep a senior managerial type candidate waiting for 3 months without any feedback, they will absolutely be angry with you. Remember the golden rule is to notify candidates as soon as possible after the interview. Instead of sending an email, I would suggest that candidates are notified by phone calls. Few HR people call candidates about the result of an interview, but it is a very important and indispensable step. Although nobody likes being rejected for whatever reasons, keeping candidates waiting makes it worse. In particular, promising candidates who are interested in your company might postpone or give up interview opportunities from other companies. If you forget or intentionally postpone letting them know, you will leave a poor impression of the professionalism of the HR department and the company. To follow up with the example of keeping a senior manager waiting for interview results, anger equals to distrust. Once they are angry with your ignorance, they rarely turn back to you even if you ask in a very nice way. I suppose that is also the major reason why there are sometimes complaints from recruitment consultants that HR Managers are sharp and brusque. It seems that some HR Managers and HR staffs behave in a less than professional way, making U-turns on candidates before and after the interview. While a 180°attitude change is likely to alienate, a friendly approach will produce a better result in the long term. If the interviewee fails to bring out his or her best performance, HR staff should not be judgmental. It is the best to finish the interview by telling a candidate how long he or she will have to wait for the result. Some interviewees might be too nervous or unprepared for the first interview, but sometimes they can show real potential with a precious second chance. The benefit for HR Managers is huge, too. If important positions suddenly become available – and this happens all the time – it is often effective to look back at old contacts instead of searching for new people. Making Best Interviews In addition, I strongly suggest that HR managers should keep a record of all candidates who are failed or postponed at the first round interview. This can be done on a simple Excel sheet or in a more sophisticated company talent database. Those who impressed at interview but just failed to meet the standard needed to move to the next round might usefully be highlighted. Such a database can be the basis of a company recruiting network which is very useful when there is an unexpected and urgent need to fill a position. This will be particularly helpful for start-up or small businesses to further develop and expand. You can also use this to notify those in the ‘not quite’ category of the latest job opportunity. If they are truly interested in the business, they will want to apply again. For example, recruitment consultants in my company always keep records of past interviews. The official term in the recruitment business for this is called building up the “interview pipeline.” They add information about potential candidates and put them into various categories according to their needs and abilities. Whenever they communicate with these candidates, they always write down key points and useful information in the conversation. Candidates are highlighted in different colors to indicate their potential and attractiveness to clients. In this way, consultants are reminded on the frequency to keep in contact with these applicants. When a level of trust has been built up gradually, these candidates are extremely helpful in sharing not only industrial information but their availability to clients. With such a powerful candidate pipeline, you will want to maximize what you can achieve with it. In addition to sending them new vacancy updates, what else can you do? There is an important term in the field of marketing – User Stickiness. Many marketing executives work hard to encourage users to keep visiting their official websites, Facebook, Ebay, and store websites. The third suggestion is to apply user stickiness human resource management, too. HR Managers are able to increase the “stickiness” of the relationship with potential candidates simply by adding those high potential candidates to the company newsletter list. In this way, candidates can be updated in the newsletter with industry insights, company news, notices of new product releases, industry surveys, networking events and so forth. To make the plan work well, you’d better discuss your thoughts with the marketing or sales department beforehand. Make sure that they are willing to open a separate list in the newsletter system. With some advanced newsletter apps, you can track the performance of each list, too. For instance, with my company, the marketing team uses Mail-chimp to send the monthly newsletter out. We can set separate sending lists and name the categories by ourselves. We can see the number of people who open the email, how many times they open it, the specific percentage of people who click links, and who they are after sending newsletters. The app will even usefully rate each person on the list from 1 (poor engagement) to 5 (great stickiness). It is worthy of trying this with solid data feedback, because you can know candidates better. We are all busy at work. Starting every task from fresh might waste too much time. However, if we can keep discovering new people and make full use of the current candidate pipeline at the same time, what a result it will be! Recruiting is a job with constant daily communication with different people. Wearing the “HR Poker Face” mask every morning and taking it off after dusk will not work at all. To quote a principle from How to Win Friends and Influence People, you have to “become genuinely interested in other people.” I am genuinely interested in candidates. I do believe that hard-working candidates are worthy of a second chance. I urge you to give it a try. Making Best Interviews Read the original article, please click: http://t.cn/RcEBvIK

Leadership tips for young managers

Leadership tips for young managers

By Robert Parkinson, Founder of RMG Selection

Business team working on their business project together at office - Team work

Manager, a sacred word in business which has connotations of hope and trust, is a very serious job title in the West, where the average age of managers is between 30 and 40 years old. The development of the Internet has changed some traditional industries dramatically in recent years. A senior manager in logistics might be good at managing the whole business process, but does he have any idea about operating a modern overseas warehouse? That is probably an area where his strengths are useless. Nowadays, more of the bright and talented young employees who have required knowledge and skills are promoted to be managers. But excellent as many young leaders are, they usually face a lot of challenges during the first big step up in their career. This article explores some of the pitfalls they may face and suggests some of the better ways of dealing with difficult situations.

Differences in behaviour, before and after promotion:

The purpose of promotion is to recognise an employee’s good performance at work. A young salesman, for instance, can be promoted to be a sales manager who is responsible for the performance of five sales people because of his amazing likability. Clients want to give them business and colleagues enjoy having them as a friend.

However, that doesn’t mean they are the perfect choice for a managerial role. If they used to show up 30 minutes late to work every other day and skulked away once in a while, neither had any negative impact on their sales figures, but it may mean they are not best suited for a managerial position. What do you think team members will do if they see their leader is late for work every day? Naturally they will follow! Therefore, a big difference young managers must make is to correct their own shortcomings and work on being a good example for team members. That is the basis of your credibility!


Dealing with your peers:

The major challenge for many young leaders is the changein relationship with their peer groups. Some think the shoe fits them quite well hence they tend to differentiate from their peers. However, others believe that not losing friendship with their peers is the priority.

Managers should be aware that they are responsible for the performance of others and try to develop a serious working relationship with their peers without letting it affect friendships.

Managinng the unmanageable:

Every manager at some point in their career has the unenviable task of having to deal with the “unmanageable” My advice for young managers is to find out, first and the foremost, why is this team member difficult to manage.

Listen to them! Team management is about communication. If a member of the team doesn’t listen to you and follow your plans, instead of complaining to a senior manager, you should at least try to listen to them first. Listen to their feedback on your plan and also listen to the plan they come up with. A good leader is not one who excels at everything but someone that excels at making the best use of others.

Building personal confidence: 

Another problem that young managers face is self-doubt. The voice of doubt normally starts when you have to deal with senior team members. The volume then keeps going up until it plagues your mind. The solution is very simple – stop it!

Focus on the positive sides of decisions that you make. The second step is to balance the negative sides. Thirdly, take time to rest outside of work. Go out with your friends to grab a drink or have a nice dinner. Anything that makes you happy is good for your confidence. The last step is to visit/call someone who can offer good advice. They can be your coaches, mentors, managers etc.

Your first few important decisions are probably made during this process. But that’s OK confidence building doesn’t happen all at once. Understanding this process will help young managers build up confidence gradually. In the meantime, be open to mistakes! It will help you grow as a manager.

Group of happy young business people in a meeting at office

Learning to say “no”:

Saying “no” to team members can be difficult. Some ask for casual leave and others ask too many questions. The key is all about the language. In other words, it’s not what you say but how you say it. Most young leaders are afraid to reject their team members because they do not want to damage the relationship. But this is the wrong way to go.

Think about the impact on other team members that watch you agree with everyone’s requests. They might think that you are a nice and easy-going person, but they may also regard you as a weak manager. Learn to reject unnecessary requests with kindness. Either a small talk or a mocking joke can easily let employees know that what they request is not appropriate.

To read the original article, please click:  http://t.cn/RcNiWgu

Create Good Relationships in China (really good).

“Oh Can you PLEASE stop banging on about relationships!”

By Robert Parkinson, CEO & Founder RMG Selection

create good relationships in china In the last article, there was a nice piece written by one of my team on how to create good relationships. I want to give a different perspective this time, and suggest why, in my view actually everything is becoming less and less about relationships, and more and more about substance; and of course how all this fits in to the prism of “Human Resources”. First of all though, don’t you get sick of people talking incessantly about how important it is to have “good relationships”? -all the time! It never stops in China! If you ask someone what will make them successful in their studies, the answer is: “A good relationship with my professor”. If you ask someone what are the essentials to success in your career, the answer is invariably: “lots of ‘cherished’ connections and contacts” [being good at what you do is sometimes a very long way down that list];  If you ask someone what do their clients want (you guessed it) it’s: “a strong relationship”. This encore of “good relationship” “good relationship” “good relationship” on occasion has made me quietly go mad! No! I shout (to myself). It’s not just about relationships (“It” I suppose meaning success in what you are doing): “It’s” about knowledge, credibility, sensitivity, ability; adaptability, and most importantly the ability to build and sustain trust with others. Possibly even more annoyingly as we start to slice up the relationship obsession, another expression I hear often is “My friend”: “My client and I are very good friends:” Oh really I think, that’s why they hammer you down on fees and make no apology for calling you at 9pm! Relationships where the service provider is exploited by the purchaser are bad relationships. When I ask my staff where they have found a candidate, the answer will often be “My friend referred me to him” when in fact it wasn’t his friend at all, it was a business contact on the company’s database. Is it even possibly to have a genuine friendship with someone who you have a commercial relationship with? Instinct tells me not. You might be friendly with them, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually friends, which is a subtle but important distinction very many misunderstand. create good relationships in china What does a good relationship mean any way? What “a good relationship” is, is subjective. To me it is a relationship of productivity and honesty, and mutual trust and respect. To others “a good relationship” may be timely favors and gifts. Of course those of us who are foreigners really have no idea (and I don’t intend to explore it here) just how important relationships are to Chinese people (and indeed to Asian people in general). I suppose it certainly must be very important otherwise they wouldn’t talk about it the whole time? But certainly we probably should respect its importance whether perceived or real. The other positive thing to say about the “relationship obsession” is that Chinese people are both pragmatic and instinctively commercial. They know that a good (business) relationship without timely service or product delivery will not last long, so perhaps when they hear the “relationship, relationship” refrain, they assume that good service is ‘a given’. So there are pros and cons of the “relationship obsession” and I agree that there might be positive reasons for emphasizing relationships; and we will forgive our hosts the occasional annoyance. However: what we have not yet done is answered the question that I’ve implied from the beginning, and that is: If your clients (clients could be colleagues, bosses etc) don’t just want good relationships with you, then what do they want? The answer, in my view, is simply this: You do what you say you’ll do. You deliver. Without delivery, a (good) relationship is pointless. relationships in china It doesn’t matter how nice the receptionist is, if the bed’s lumpy and the shower doesn’t work, the ‘friendliness’ is irrelevant and my relationship with that hotel is over. It doesn’t matter how cozy our lunch on Friday was, if you’re 20 minutes late to my meeting, I don’t like it, and our lunch will not forgive it. There’s a more important reason that all of this matters in China in 2016: As more business sectors are opened up, and GDP slows, and the rest of world’s economies are in uncertain territory, then the more competitive the Chinese business climate will become. Indeed one day, China Mobile, Unicom & Telecom will not be the only 3 in the mobile providers market, and no matter how many years you’ve been with the big 3, if you get a better deal from “Virgin Mobile China” (for example–it doesn’t actually exist), you’ll move to Virgin Mobile China. Old relationship over. All of this is directly relevant to the workforce of China in 2016: Just as the economy as a whole in China will undoubtedly feature a downward pressure on prices and upward pressure on quality, the same is true of us as “Human Resources”. I am now in my second decade living and working in China. In the first I observed a labour market that embraced even the most semi-competent as a high-fliers. The word “talent” was showered in amongst every HR related conversation. Even I stopped getting shocked when literally everyone said they expected 30% more salary for doing the same job just because it was with another company. My predication is that this decade of the outrageous pay increases even for the mediocre will not be repeated. Just like the country as a whole which will have to become much more competitive and value oriented; so must people in their own careers stop focusing on “who do I know” (the relationships) and start focusing on “what do I know” (the substance). I remember at the start of my career I read an article at a company careers fair which basically said we much prefer people who can be successful in any country at anytime rather than people who can be mega-stars, but only in one location and at one thing. I didn’t completely understand that then, I certainly do now. Never more is this truth-truer than in China in 2016. In light of that assertion, how important do you think relationships are now? To read the original article, please click:  http://t.cn/RtXtCRu relationships in china

Make it FUN in 2015

February 2015

If you find employees are working listlessly in the beginning of the New Year, instead of snapping at them to work hard you had better find out the real motivator to them. According to the latest employee enjoyment level survey conducted by RMG Selection, a positive and healthy working environment has become the primary factor that can guarantee employees’ enjoyment at work. There is no surprise that working atmosphere already outranked the position of benefits welfare and incentives in the fun factor list. In the Talent Flow Survey 2013 (TFS2), another annual talent report conducted by RMG, the importance of benefits and incentives are in the first place of employee’s consideration. Therefore, it is time for employers and HR managers to think about how to improve the fun side of work.

There are a lot of people talking about how to help employees have fun at work. It is so important to talk about fun at work is simply because most of us spend more than ten hours in the office. Based on the latest survey result, 31.6 percent of participants’ fun time at work is about two to four hours. To bring that to the next level, employers should specifically work on improving the working atmosphere. To achieve this, we must figure out what are specific work are included in improving working atmosphere. In this regard, I would like to share a few tips.

First of all, nothing is of enjoyment and satisfaction if it is in an awful mess. Imagine you are working in an office with filthy carpets, stripped wall skin, dusty window-blinds, withered plants and flowers, scattered files and paper on tables and chairs every day. Are you going to enjoy yourself in such an environment? The answer is obvious for most people. Everyone likes a clean and tidy working place. A bad physical working environment often exerts negative influence on employees’ mood work, which make it absolutely not fun to be at work. One of my favorite emails is the regular tidy day email from the administration. In my company, a biweekly office cleaning day is a whole company “event”. While sorting out documents and cleaning table, employees talk and laugh with one another. If they enjoy working for a tidy office, I do not see why you should not you plan and organize it?

The second suggestion on improving the company atmosphere is to ask each team leader to hold regular team lunches. Due to the different job content, not all employees in a team have quality time to talk and share opinions together. By organizing a weekly or bi-weekly team lunch, preferably set the time on Friday when everyone is a bit relaxed, team leaders can help enhance the chemistry among all team members. Atmosphere is not just about the physical working environment. The people who they work with matter, too. However, the concern to employers might be the cost, in fact I suggest employers not to make the team lunch a paid-by-company meal. It is alright to make it a go Dutch meal for employees. By suggesting privately to all team leaders that they can have better team work if they try regular team lunch, they will organize and summon team members for the sake of the team.

Another piece of advice is to take care of employees’ birthday. Birthday is a very important moment to every individual. There is not much real care for employees if the birthday celebration is only prepared for the big boss. It does not take ages to prepare for a birthday celebration. Send birthday wishes and order birthday cakes are both simple ways to help employees enjoy working in a company. In some companies, I heard employees are given some money or shopping coupons as birthday gifts from the company. Money can be a gift if the operation cost allows the company to do so, but it is absolutely not the best gift in the world. To make a birthday celebration more effective than ritual, beautiful flowers or bottles of champagne might be better choices.

My fourth suggestion for employers to think about is to set up a board on the wall for employees to share their “big moments” in life. I know this might sound a bit personally, but the impact of such board cannot be underestimated. Some employees do not feel interesting at work, probably because there is not much to talk with other colleagues. However, the situation can be changed with a public show-board. For instance, by inviting employees to share family photos to win a family dinner in a decent restaurant, you will get employees who are active and interested in this. You can select the funny and nice photos to post them on the board. The next day when employees see a board that is full of interesting pictures, what do you think they will do? They will laugh and talk with each other! To give you a specific example, if you post photo of an employee with her cute baby girl in a nice park, others who are parents might want to chat with her about babies during breaks. The set-up of the board is an icebreaker. This is particularly useful for large size companies.

The fifth tip on improving working atmosphere is to engage employees in meaningful and positive team building events. Instead of organizing a dinner party or a club night, I suggest employers should try some “healthy events. I mean team building events where employees can experience something useful for work and they can have fun at the same time. An outdoor development training program or a room escape can be very helpful for employees to understand teamwork and cooperation. By organizing such outing activities, the chemistry among all team members will certainly be in a positive vibe.

The final piece has something to do with the end of the year meeting. A lot of companies give out small gifts to employees. The specific gift you pick shall be very meaningful for every employee. If it is just a random notebook from a stationary shop, nobody will be impressed by that. However, if it is something interesting and closely related to the company culture, I suppose most employees will enjoy the gift. For instance, I once learnt an interesting annual gift from a friend who works in a gaming company. The company made a very good game about fish in that year. To remind everyone of what they had gone through that year, they received the company-designed fish cushions (fish from the game) with each employee’s work span in the company. My friend still has that fish in his house. To give you another example from my company’s annual meeting, this year we gave a self-designed calendar with photos of every team and outing events. The purpose, of course, is to remind every colleague the fun moment in the company. Before summary 2014 with your personal opinions, ask from a receptionist to a regional manager about how they think of the working atmosphere in the company. Once you figure what are the satisfied and unsatisfied parts, it is not so difficult to make a working atmosphere improving plan in 2015!

The author is Robert Parkinson, CEO & Founder of RMG Selection, a leading recruitment firm in Asia. 

Read the original article here : btianjin.cn/150207

How Can I Increase Employees’ Efficiency?

January 2015


From an employer’s perspective, the incentive of an outstanding performance review has the potential to motivate. On the other hand, some employers use the other side of the coin-punishment. Unfortunately this usually yields poor results, and if you are about to disappoint and demotivate employees by decreasing salaries or berating them, I suggest you reconsider.

Let me start with a question for employers. Have you listened to employees who give reasons or excuses for not finishing their work properly? Most employers reply with a positive answer. However, by “listen” what I mean is not that you are taking phone calls, reading emails, or dealing with other work at the same time. We are talking about a serious performance review, and without contributing time and effort to employees, employers can hardly help them.

There are generally two types of employees who have difficulty in reaching a key performance index. The first has lazy genes coded into his DNA, while the other is the kind who is generally not clear about how to efficiently and effectively finish tasks at work. With my experience in meeting thousands of candidates and interviewees, the majority of employees belong to this second class. Employees in this group might think that they know how to finish their work properly, but in fact, they simply do not know any better or efficient ways to finish tasks. When you discover employees cannot reach targets due to a lack of efficiency, it is not too late to help solve the problem with employees, and I have summarized five typical flaws regarding employees’ daily working habits.

Difficulties in task arrangement

It is often the case that employees are assigned with many tasks at the beginning of the week. Some employees are well regulated in arranging assignments. However, a large number of employees have no clue which task they should start with. In this regard, it is important to introduce employees to the Pareto Principle, which is widely known as the Principle of 80/20. Ask employees to highlight those 20% of tasks which will be the most effective. Instead of directly telling employees which tasks to do, help them think for themselves. Management experience tells us people who focus on the 20% end up with much more efficient results compared to those who randomly start working.

Problems in time management

The second problem lies in time management, which is closely related to the first problem. A lot of employees have difficulty in arranging their time and workload because they do not fully understand urgency and importance. It is possible employees cannot differentiate which tasks are important and worthy of their time. Helping employees see how they spend their time and which tasks are worth spending time on will help them become more efficient.

Afternoon Farmers

Another common problem is that of “afternoon farmers”, which represents those who have difficulty in overcoming procrastination. Employers might need to be extra careful with this type of employee, as chronic time-wasters may be more trouble than they’re worth and need termination. On the other hand, if you simply find employees are addicted to social media during work hours, as many young people are, then simply communicating expectations with them can often solve the problem.

Thinking about tasks over and over again

“If in doubt, send it out” is a popular saying among employees in my company. I believe in the recruitment business it works well to send out candidate resumes, even when there are concerns or doubts, as opposed to wrestling with one resume for hours on end. We have limited time at work. Spending three hours thinking about various possibilities does not yield efficiency or results. When faced with a troublesome task, the key to the solution is quick action.

Stubborn about theirideas”

The last problem generally exists among young people. Inspired by the“exciting” and “legendary” stories of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma and so forth, many seem to misunderstand these pioneers’ sense of creation and innovation. Some even bring this type of spirit to their own work. Some young employees cannot get along well with other team members. Others are rather difficult because they do not listen to the experiences of their managers. Employers with entrepreneurial spirits like employees with creativity and innovation, but not those with stubborn attitudes. But try putting yourself in these young employees’ shoes. Often you can win sincere admiration and respect from them and then they are the most easy-to-manage employees in the company. There are any number of reasons for a poor performance review. In short, before getting angry with inefficient employees, you should look to discover the reasons behind this inefficiency. Helping employees is much more appreciated than criticizing or screaming at them.

The author is Robert Parkinson, CEO & Founder of RMG

Read the orginal article:btianjin.cn/150107