Ideas for Employers

Some great ideas for employers from around the web.

3 Soft Skills to Look for in an Interview

38911217 - feather in female palm on white backgroundPeople are complicated so assessing candidates for a job can be overwhelming.

And as a result we sometimes settle for the candidate with the strongest technical skills or most relevant experience.

But having these attributes doesn’t mean the selected candidate will be a joy to work with!

That depends on their soft skills and Kate Weimer writes a great article on Fist Full of Talent about which soft skills you should look for in a candidate during screening or an interview.

Time Management, Humility and Respect are attributes that can be identified in an interview and if the candidate can demonstrate them then there’s a high chance that they’ll be productive in your team.

How to look for those skills?

Time Management

Ask candidates to describe a time when they had multiple projects and how they handled it. Keep an ear out for organizational strategies they used and ways they coped with having multiple projects, including delegating parts of it and keeping their manager abreast of issues they were having.

Are you taking too long to hire?

49515763 - 3d illustration of waiting room. chair, table, clock

Our clients are always interested in the timeline to hire.

And for good reason, getting a position filled and that person kicking goals is always a top priority (otherwise why bother hiring anyone?)

In spite of that initial urgency the process can take a long time, often because the employer needs to follow lengthy internal procedures, get buy in from internal stake holders or just can’t make a decision about candidates they’ve seen so far.

Not only does this stretch out the time to hire but it increases the risk of losing the best candidates both now and in the future.

This issue is addressed in a post by John Hollon on Fistful of Talent and we’ve reproduced a large chunk of it below (you can see the full post here).

If you don’t time to read the full post then here’s the key takeaway:

A long time to hire causes good candidates to lose interest and damages your employer brand but you can mitigate this risk somewhat with constant and thoughtful communication.

Hiring ‘independent contractors’ in China? Don’t do it.


Are you thinking of hiring someone in China as an ‘independent contract’ and think it’s ok?

It’s not.

Unlike Western countries, China has no concept of an independent contractor (although there has been some minor adjustments recently) which means that you’re violating Chinese labour law if you:

  1. Treat someone as an employee, with a contract in English, and transfer funds to them on a regular basis from outside of China, and
  2. Let them take care of all the legal obligations in China (like income tax, social insurance and housing fund), which they cannot do unless they have their own company.

There can be some serious consequences for your non-China employees if they visit China while this is going on.

However, we know why it is contemplated by new entrants to China.  Most institutions realise that they need to have people on the ground there to compete for students but then comes the shock:

They discover that the cost of employing people in China is way more than they expected, especially when employer costs like social insurance and housing fund are discovered (around 44% of before tax salary in most cases).

The Unexpected Downside of Hiring for “Cultural Fit”

Agent Smith

What could go wrong if we hire someone that looks like they would fit out culture?

Rachel Bitte writes a great article on Fistful of Talent:

The buzzy concept [of culture fit] has been the talk of the town amongst recruiting types over the past several years, and, for the most part, is a well-intended idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to hire people that gel with the organization? But without defining exactly what it means to be a ‘fit’ at your company, the recruiting process can fall victim to forms of unconscious biases.

Some pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Personal connection with the candidate (can lead to recruits being fun for the hirer to have around but not necessarily good for the company)
  • Employee referrals (can lead to a lot of people with the same views and attitudes)
  • Overconfidence in credentials (without looking closely enough at behaviours and experiences)

She advises: