Transforming the hiring process

Office workers in Raffles Place.
Office workers in Raffles Place.PHOTO: ST FILE

When employers hire, it is inevitable for many of them to look at academic qualifications.

While it is necessary to constantly remind employers to pay more attention to abilities and skills, job hunters need to be realistic about this die-hard behaviour and cannot just expect those hiring to throw this practice out the window.

While hiring based on skills is evolving, it is hard to say how long it will take for an entrenched industry practice to evolve.

Having been involved in the hiring process for more than a decade, I would like to share some techniques in identifying potential job candidates based on abilities, skills and knowledge instead of leaning too much towards paper qualifications.

In the IT industry, I would ask candidates for their thoughts about current technology and the state of play in the industry. As the candidate articulates his thoughts, this allows me to quickly assess his understanding and theoretical knowledge. It also allows me to look for soft skills, such as communication techniques.

If the candidate is shortlisted for subsequent interviews, I would then let him know in advance that a short, hands-on assessment would be arranged and provide him with some scope on the assessment exercise. This allows me to evaluate if the candidate has done any preparation beforehand and to get a clearer picture of his skill sets as indicated in the application form.

Some employers may not have the resources and measures to carry out such assessments. This is where job applicants can play their part by taking the initiative to show activities that demonstrate their skills and how they fit into the company, in lieu of academic qualifications.

Tan Kar Quan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'Transforming the hiring process'. Print Edition | Subscribe