Recruitment consulting must be transparent

The selection process is critical to success

The effects of personnel decisions are long term. It usually takes months before management and the other staff members can begin to see what a new hire brings to the table – for better or for worse – and whether or not the decision to bring this person on was the correct one.

This makes it especially important to select one’s staff with a careful hand that is experienced in evaluating applicants. When doing so, there should be a certain harmony between the credentials on their CV and the ‘good feeling’ that comes about during the interview.

With SANET ASEAN ADVISORS, you get a reliable recruiting process guaranteed by strict quality controls for hiring either management or general staff in Thailand as well as other countries in Southeast Asia.

While there are plenty of HR consultants out there, many of them often limit themselves to an examination of the applications, after which they then try to “sell” to their client as quickly as possible whoever appears to be the best person on the list. The quicker the deal is made, the quicker the money rolls in.  This often winds up costing companies who choose to trust the advice of such consultants quite a good bit of money in the end.

We don’t make it quite as easy for ourselves here at Sanet. The principle of our selection is a screening process via which choices are narrowed down further and the evaluation of each applicant becomes more individualized in each phase of the process.

The foundation for choosing the right people: knowing exactly what you are looking for

We put care into each phase of the process, starting from the very beginning.  Simply accepting the search profile supplied by the employer with a smile is not an option for us. On the contrary, Sanet introduces already various criteria, requirements and opinions in the initial screening phase, all formed based on a comprehensive range of experiences in different branches and specialized fields of human resources. After an extensive discussion process, we are able to create a search profile containing:

  • clear definitions of new employees’ required tasks
  • a solid overview of desired applicant qualities and qualifications

This might sound easier than it really is. The key to this part of the process is separating key criteria from desirable qualities found in candidates, either in terms of work qualifications or personality. We also make a list of “Nice to Haves”, meaning either desirable qualities or tasks to be taken care of at a later time if possible – not, however, if they diminish the truly critical qualifications profile.

Interviews work both ways

Good employees only apply for jobs with good companies. Therefore, during their interviews with applicants, companies are actually being interviewed themselves. It is for this reason that describing one’s company in a way that is both accurate as well as eye-catching is just as important as listing out which responsibilities the position offers.  Applicants need to be interested in the company and the position before they will offer their services to your company and show you what they can do.

With that being said, at Sanet, stock phrases like “we are a successful international company…” rarely make it through our profile testing. It has to be more concrete. A common question asked by our project consultants is, „Have you ever considered asking some of your employees in a comparable position to quickly name three reasons why they enjoy working for your company?”. The employees then give a few honest answers straight off the cuff, which then of course should be used in your company presentation if you plan to attract attention from quality applicants.

First “Screen”: Comprehensive Information

Most applications are not perfect. Sometimes they forget to indicate their age, sometimes their picture, and sometimes their most recent salary. This is why it is important to have a compilation of all commonly provided personal and professional data from the applicants. Be sure to comb through the CVs for anything indicating an applicant possesses the required abilities, also making notes about how many times they have changed employers.

The data is compiled into a “Matching Table” which contains both the standard personal and professional data as well as some “quantifiable” indicators for further evaluation.

If any information is missing, which is the case with 80% of all applications, it is to be obtained over the phone or submitted later.  Anyone failing to give us their details is then weeded out. Every serious applicant is happy to talk about their strong points and the qualifications making them the one for the job. Omissions result in automatic disqualification. This serves to increase the efficiency of the process, which is especially necessary in Asia, where there are often hundreds of applicants who are clearly from a first glance not qualified for the position.

Second “Screen”: Team Evaluation

Now we have a complete overview of all applicants, including a photo and all objective data as well as first impressions. For efficiency’s sake, “suitable” data for getting a bid is marked visually, just as are the critical data which might stand in the way of an applicant getting selected.

This next part of the process requires the company to work together as a team. Experienced managers and young team members submit their evaluation of the applicants, dividing them into A Candidates and B Candidates. All opinions are valued, even purely subjective ones. Perhaps an “older colleague” is not pleased with the style of an application which younger employees find to be in line with newer trends in formatting.

At the conclusion of this phase, we end up with a provisional list of A Candidates who are then invited in for a personal interview.

SANET ASEAN AVISORS offers recruiting services for employees in domestic and international companies with global orientation in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia und Myanmar. At Sanet, they stress the importance of upholding quality standards, helping to carefully selected and qualified applicants to quality companies. The intercultural cooperation between local and international project members ensures that the recommended applicants are integrated into their new company in an optimal fashion.

Third “Screen”: The Well-prepared Interview

One practice of recruiting agencies that is as useless as it is popular is the “informal” interview, in which the interviewee is asked about several of their basic qualifications. The standard questions about key matters are similarly easy for an applicant to survive. The approach outlined below for the third phase of the selection process, however, is sure to help you get much more out of these first meetings.

  • A small “case study”, i.e. a small task according to the position’s core responsibilities, is to be completed and submitted prior to the interview. Anyone who is unwilling or unable to do so without sufficient reasoning will be cut
  • A catalogue of questions based on both the demands of the company as well as the application itself must be prepared for each interview. This will be presented to the employer later, including the answers, in order to show the reasoning behind our recommendation.
  • The interview is always carried out together by one “interviewer” and one “evaluator”. There is not enough time in an interview for one person to take adequate notes without causing a disruption.
  • The “evaluator” records their impressions into the appropriate empty space in the Matching Table. Criteria such as punctuality in arriving for the interview, language and ability to express oneself, demeanor and other aspects are evaluated according to a scoring system. Most important is, however, that the evaluator write down the answers to questions prepared in advance by the interviewer. It is sometimes possible, when interviewing salespeople, to find a way to provoke them a bit in order to test their behavior in critical situations. Whoever stands up and says “I don’t like your questions” before they walk out of the room is showing you how they will act when dealing with a client’s pushy purchasing team.
  • Applicants also have a right to have their questions answered, so we make an effort to answer honestly and exactly even the most subjective of inquiries. They are, after all, making a decision to begin a perhaps very long new chapter in their lives. For this reason, they deserve to be taken seriously. We are also very open and reliable in explaining the remaining parts of the selection process.
  • It is especially important that applicants can find out to the greatest extent possible whether their own hopes and desires can be fulfilled by the new job.

The second Interview and fourth “Screen”:

It often feels like the person you meet in the second interview is a totally different person from the first time around – a somewhat shy applicant is suddenly more relaxed and friendly, even showing they have a sense of humor, or an applicant who came off as clever in the first interview now seems uncertain, or makes new demands that they withheld in the first meeting.

This is why it is an absolute exception to include the employer into the meetings after only one interview. The second interview once again involves the management in a team discussion. The interviewer and evaluator note their impressions as before and discuss the results. Then, a joint decision is reached as to who will be invited back once more.

At this point, it is time for the applicant to learn that they have made it into the final round of selection. This interview should serve as an opportunity for both sides to communicate their impressions of one another. Strong points and concerns regarding the applicant are discussed together, in order to prepare the candidate for their introduction to the employer. They should also be notified as to how many other applicants are in the running and when a decision will be made.

The Report is our Final Answer

Only unwillingly do we hand in interim reports. Doing things half-way or giving provisional opinions is not “our thing” when it comes to consulting. Our reports contain everything needed by the employer to make the best decision possible. Thus, they include:

  • An executive summary of the findings of our work
  • Renewed documentation of tasks, requirements, and budgeted remuneration
  • A description of our approach and applicant statistics
  • A description of the selection process
  • A list of the recommended applicants with an informational overview, CV, interview records and our overall impression, with strengths as well as weaknesses, if applicable, financial expectations and availability
  • An organizational suggestion for handling future matters

The Employer makes the Final Decision

The consultants should be present at the deciding interviews between employer and applicants, although, of course, the employer alone is the master of the proceedings. They check to see if they agree with our consultant evaluation. We neither moderate nor mediate. We also are not “selling” our candidate; instead, our goal is an employment relationship in which both sides are happy.

Everything that we have to say is in our reports, which we discuss together before they are submitted. It is also not uncommon for the client to prefer speaking with the applicants without having the consultants present, which they have every right to do.

After this last round, clients of course want to discuss their impressions with us, often requesting personal advice for their decision. This shows that our advice is valued and appreciated. We are very proud of the fact that we have yet to lead a selection process resulting in a hiring which did not survive the trial period.