Candidate Insights

Ten Questions To Ask When The Headhunter Calls

By | Candidate Insights

There are two kinds of recruiters. There are polite and professional recruiters, and then there are impolite and unprofessional ones. Because it is easy to start a recruiting business or start making calls as the newest member of a commission-only recruiting firm, there are more unprofessional and impolite recruiters than polite and professional ones. That makes things harder for the excellent recruiters who take great care of their candidates and their clients. These 10 questions will help you determine whether a recruiter who contacts you is worth your time and energy, or not.

  1. Are you calling me about a specific role, or collecting information for your database? (You can decide whether or not you want to donate your time to populate the recruiting firm’s database, if there is no actual, relevant job opening for you to explore right now.)
  2. Tell me about yourself. How long have you been recruiting? How long have you been with your current firm? (You can look up the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile while you are chatting by phone. Read their profile to get a feel for the recruiter’s experience, subject-matter expertise and credibility.)
  3. How many employees did you place with this employer client this year? (You want to determine whether the headhunter who calls you has a real relationship with the client, or is just tossing resumes at the employer and hoping they’ll become a client by hiring one of the recruiter’s candidates.)
  4. What is the job title and what is the salary range for the position? (If the recruiter won’t tell  you the salary range, you can politely hang up the phone. Professional recruiters will tell you what the job pays. After all — they reached out to you! If they are coy and cagey with you about something as fundamental as the salary range for a position, you don’t have time to waste with them.)
  5. Where is the position located (downtown, west side, etc.)?
  6. What kind of background and which skills is your client looking for?
  7. I have certain requirements for recruiters who wish to represent me to their clients. I need to give you written permission every time you share my resume with a client or a prospective client of yours. I also need to hear back from you within two or three days after every interview that I participate in, whether the client has made a decision or not. Do those two requirements work for you?
  8. As you review my LinkedIn profile, how much overlap do you see with the job opportunity we’re discussing?
  9. If I send you my resume now, what will be the next step, and when will that next step take place?
  10. What else do you need to know about me?

Some recruiters will be happy to answer your questions, and some of them will try to wrest control of the call from you. They will be affronted that a lowly job candidate would presume to ask them about their background or their relationship with the client firm. They are used to treating job candidates like dirt, the way unprofessional recruiters have done for years. Those folks believe that candidates must  be kept off-balance by being reminded that there are lots of qualified people out there (false), that they are a ‘stretch’ candidate for the job anyway (obviously false — why would the recruiter have time to include them in a candidate slate if they’re not clearly qualified?) or that their salary requirements are really pushing the envelope (if you’ve done your research, false again!). They are used to making job candidates feel dispensable and small.

Your career and your precious mojo are too important to entrust to someone who doesn’t value them! Save your time and attention for the recruiters — and employers — who deserve them.

Seven Counter-Intuitive Productivity Tips

By | Candidate Insights

It’s another 15 days before we close the year to welcome 2016! And this will be the final posting for 2015 about what’s important, urgent and really important but maybe not urgent – does this makes sense to you? We run from activity to activity, clients to customers, deadline after deadlines to simply clearing our emails. So here’s 7 really cool and practical productivity tips I recently read from Rohei. I can 100% identify most is about “DON’T START YOUR BUSY WORK BY CHECKING YOUR EMAIL RIGHT AWAY” because it’s got a terrible way of stealing your time. Have a blessed Christmas and A Blessed 2016!! You go to work, check your email while munching on a blueberry muffin. You spend the whole morning responding to requests and questions, and finally achieve Inbox Zero. Phew. By lunchtime you feel like you just ran a marathon. You worked at lightning speed, but were you productive? What if you forgot about a deadline because you were more preoccupied with answering not-so-urgent emails? Sometimes there are things we do instinctively because that’s what people do at work—check emails, go to meetings, write memos, update excel spreadsheets. But being busy is not the same as being productive. There are some things we can do that may make us appear or feel less busy, but actually translate to higher productivity.

Here are a few:
1. Don’t check your e-mail
Don’t check your e-mail right away. Checking your email puts you in response mode, addressing an assortment of demands and requests. Start the day instead by taking control of your time. Revisit your checklist and remind yourself of what the priorities for the day are. And get rid of the so-called frog— the task you perceive as most difficult, or the one you are likely to procrastinate on the most. Getting started on that dreaded task will give you a great feeling of accomplishment and will already be a big jumpstart to a productive day.

2. Choose paper over digital
We are all terribly reliant on technology for communication, organization and taking notes. But our Hospitality Consultant Ann Romey says, “I like to keep my phone strictly for messages and email.” She takes the classic paper route for planning, managing her calendar and making lists.” It allows me to focus,” she says, “when I try to do it on my phone, I get distracted by all the messages coming in.” Karen, our VP of Operations, agrees. “Papers and notebooks are the best for planning and processing ideas. When I go straight to software, I feel that I don’t process or retain the information as well.” Our Principal Consultant Helen takes all her notes from conversations, small meetings, and big meetings, in a binder-type notebook, with all the sections and notes labeled by topic and date, which makes it easy for her to access information about a particular conversation.

3. Stop before it’s perfect
“There’s no such thing as perfection,” Karen says. “Overanalyzing and overthinking can be very unproductive.” While we all work toward excellence and put our best into every task, there is a limit. There is always something that can be changed or improved, but the goal is not perfection. The goal is to meet needs and provide solutions to clients, and to each other. We should know when to stop and call a task done.

4. Block out your time
In most workplaces, people are at their supervisor’s disposal. But at ROHEI, having a culture of trust gives us freedom to protect our time when we need to. For example, our Marketing Team blocks out time weekly for data analytics and reporting to ensure it is faithfully accomplished each week. Operations teams block out time to handle special tasks like creating SOPs, creating systems to facilitate flow of information, or re-grouping to clarify roles.

We also block out times to collaborate and delegate. Most people feel that they are faster working on their own, without a team to care for. But the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Initially a newly-formed team may take time to become a strong unit, but after a while the investment of time is reaped in increasing productivity.

Perhaps the most important time-blocking we do at ROHEI is on Mondays. Monday morning is staff discipleship time, in which our Chief Executive and leaders speak and share inspirational messages, give updates. The rest of Monday is spent on team communication, goal setting and planning. It’s almost a whole day of planning and discussions, but it ensures that the week is spent on the right things.

5. Limit meetings
Meetings help facilitate work and get consensus on important decisions. But meetings also create more work. So like everything else in life, meetings should have limits. Our batteries tend to drain, and attention span dissolves after 30 minutes to an hour of discussions. Meetings are also best done after lunch, to keep mornings free for people to do their most important work, as mornings are the brain’s peak time. Meetings also should preferably have food and coffee to keep everyone engaged and awake!

6. Take more breaks
There’s a story of an old man and a young man, both tasked with cutting as many trees as they can in the forest. Confident about his stamina, the young man cut trees all day, taking only one break. He cut down 25 trees. Meanwhile, the old man cut down 40 trees. “How did you do that?” The young man asked him. “I took 10-minute breaks every hour to sharpen my axe,” the old man explained. Though the young man had the stamina, the old man had the wisdom to take breaks—to rest physically and make sure his tools were in top form.

The same principle applies at the workplace. Breaks can be taken strategically—to recharge physically and mentally and also take a step back from our work and assess how we’re doing. Though it seems like you’re taking time away from work, it is actually more beneficial—it increases quality of work and productivity.

7. Sleep more
Have you ever experienced working all the way from 9am until about 10pm and you realize you’re working much slower, and then you stop and call it a day? The next day, you continue, doing the same thing and finish it 4 times faster.

The power of sleep is often underestimated in the corporate world. People trade sleep for a little more time to work. But that equation is out of balance. The more accurate equation is: proper sleep multiplies the quality and quantity of work.

We all have productivity hacks we discover along the way as we work, and let’s face it, doing some of them sometimes make us feel guilty, because they’re not the norm. Sometimes we feel like we have to work like machines because it looks like everyone else is. But in the right work culture, where we trust one another and know that each one has the company’s best interest in mind, we can choose the path of productivity that works best for us. When we see the bigger picture, beyond our desks, beyond the urgent and immediate, we take a broader view of our organization’s role and vision, and we work towards that vision. We view ourselves as a team and if we aim for productivity for the sake of the team, we are being good stewards of our time and are serving others well. And this makes our quest for productivity all the more purposeful and meaningful.

Questions to ponder on:
1. Have you discovered any counter-intuitive practices that help you be more productive at work? Perhaps waking your mind up with a video game before starting work?
2. Are you able to practice your own productivity techniques? Why or why not? How might you be able to introduce productivity practices in your workplace?

4 Mentalities That Are Killing Your Career

By | Candidate Insights

AWAS is the Bahasa word for BEWARE which you will commonly see the roads in Malaysia. So do you have AWAS alerts you can apply in your work? The AWAS sign is a good reminder of 4 common categories of “mindset” that could hamper our career growth. The biggest fear is we could potentially be our worse enemy for growth. I like this article by J.T. O\’Donnel highlighting 4 categories of mindset to watch out against which may hinder our growth.

Read on for the full details about:

  1. Overthinker
  2. One-track-minder
  3. All-talker

Job security no longer exists (and that’s not a bad thing)

One of the most important ah-a! moments we can have today is to accept that employment stability no longer exists. Every job is temporary. The sooner we embrace and adapt to this mindset, the better. Unfortunately, many professionals are still working with outdated assumptions. Things like, “My goal is to get a good job with benefits that I can stay at for a long time.” Or, “A college degree will ensure I get better job opportunities.” And even, “If I work hard, keep my head down at work, and just put in the time, they will see my effort and I will be rewarded.” If you believe any of those right now, you’re setting yourself up for a let-down. Today, there are no guarantees when it comes to career advancement.

4 career mentalities you can’t afford to have

A recent survey by LinkedIn of over 10,000 job changers shows that more than 53 percent of them made the change for better career opportunities. While money was important (it ranked second), the need to move to a job that could give them the chance to increase their skills was their primary reason for making the switch. These successful job changers focused on making sure their businesses-of-one stayed employable by keeping their career moving forward. Unfortunately, not every professional will succeed as these job changers did. Why? They have one of four career mentalities that hold them back.

  1. Overthinker
    The person who thinks about every career option as a scary risk, finding flaws and roadblocks to each one. Such people spend hours, days, weeks, and even years pondering what they should do next. Meanwhile, time marches on in their dead-end jobs. They don’t build any new skills. Eventually, they find themselves part of a “corporate restructuring”–they get a month’s severance and get thrusted into an unexpected job search.
  2. One-track-minder.
    The person who knows exactly what he or she wants to do and has no desire to consider any alternate options. Convinced they’ve got the perfect master plan, they work like crazy, often to the point of exhaustion. Over time, their intensity works against them. Co-workers and managers see them as too rigid and controlling, which often gets them passed over for promotions–and, in some cases, let go for failing to be a good team player.
  3. All-talker.
    The person who loves to talk about his or her career, but never really takes action. Such people are full of ideas and sound very convincing that they’ll be a huge success. They seem to have it all figured out. However, as time passes, you notice they aren’t moving along in their careers. They always have an excuse, and it’s usually someone else’s fault they aren’t where they should be. Eventually, they lose credibility and find people actively try to avoid career conversations with them.
  4. Open-roadster
    The person who feels fate will guide him or her on the career journey. If they just keep an open mind and let the opportunities present themselves, they believe they’ll find the careers they were meant to have. Over time, they drift from career to career, never really establishing any particular skill or specialty. They claim they’re enjoying the process, but as the years pass, they find themselves with diminishing options and not a lot of money saved for retirement. Looking back on your career, can you identify with any of these mentalities? If so, it might also explain why you aren\’t where you want to be professionally.

If you’re thinking, “That’s not me,” consider this.

Studies by CAREEREALISM show that 88 percent of professionals feel unsatisfied with their career success. While you may not have a severe case of any of the mentalities above, even possessing one of them to a small extent can hurt your ability to move forward. Ask yourself, “Am I guilty of a career-limiting mentality?” The sooner you recognize what’s holding you back, the sooner you can make changes and take action to eliminate it.

Dressing For Your Next Interview

By | Candidate Insights

First impression does count! When you step into an interview, the interviewer(s) forms certain perception about you in the first 10 seconds. How should you dress for your next interview? You can either dress in a formal attire or a business casual attire when you attend an interview, depending on the nature of job/career that you are being interviewed for.
For example: if you are being interviewed for a Relationship Manager in a bank, formal attire is required. If you are being interviewed for a Software Engineer role with a Software solution provider, then business casual may seem appropriate.

Do your research on the company that you are going for interview, know the nature of their business and the culture in the company. You can ask the HR/secretary or the recruiter who is helping you to arrange the interview, what is the appropriate dressing of the company. When you are unsure of what to wear, it is better to be a little overdressed and look professional than to be underdressed for the interview.

  • Wear long sleeve shirt (white or light blue colour) with tie and pants.
  • You can wear a suit if you are being interviewed for a management position.  A suit means a matching jacket and pants, shirt and tie.  Dark coloured suit and light coloured shirt is your best option.
  • Wear a pair of clean and polished shoes with dark coloured socks.
  • Avoid loud colours and flashy tie.  Disney themed tie is a no no!
  • Clothing should be neat, clean and pressed.
  • Your hair should be neat, clean and conservative.


  • Generally, you should wear a suit with a skirt or pants.  When in doubt, be more conservative.
  • For business casual, you can wear a neatly ironed long sleeve shirt/blouse with a skirt or pants.
  • Skirt should be knee length.  Keep those super mini and tight skirt for social outings!
  • Anything tight, bright, short or sheer should be avoided.
  • Light make-up is better than no make-up. If you have nail polish on, shades that are neutral to your skin colour are advisable.
  • Wear a pair of fairly low-heeled shoes, clean and not worn-out heels.  Save your 4-inch stiletto heels for party!
  • Keep hair accessories to a minimum, tie up your hair to a pony tail or bun if they are frizzy.  The idea is to look polished and professional.

Not forgetting to make sure you have fresh breath when you attend interview.  Brush your teeth before the interview if you need to. Use cologne/perfume with light fragrance, you do not want to “choke” your interviewer(s) or worse if it causes an allergic reaction! Lastly, allow extra time to travel to the interview venue so that you will not be late or rushing. When you arrive early, you will have time to compose yourself and walk into your interview confidently with a smile to leave a good impression!