Some essays, some thoughts

An Interesting Interview

1997 was an important and historic year for Yung Kong Group of Companies. As Yung Kong Galvanising Industries Bhd (YKGI) was preparing for its listing on the Stock Exchange and was installing a new galvanising line, we were in nee d of extra manpower to join our team at all levels - workers, supervisors, technicians, professionals like engineers and accountants.

Just when we were informed that our application for listing was approved by the SC (Securities Commission) in April 1997, o ne of our key management personnel the Accountant cum Assistant General Manager submitted her resignation. She was leaving us to join a stock broking firm, a move which took us by surprise as she will be giving out her "Pink Form" entitlement (while every b ody in Malaysia is dying to "buy" some pink forms - before the stock market turned up side down at the end of the year, this was the sure way to make money from a company seeking new listing on the Stock Exchange) , but then when you really think about it , maybe it is much more lucrative to be a remisier than an accountant, so we accepted her departure.

Yung Kong Holdings Sdn Bhd (YKH) was once again entrusted with an immediate man hunt exercise for a replacement, together with other vacancies available. The usual media we deployed was the press and so we placed a series of advertisements in the local newspapers to make our search known. The interview process went on smoothly for all the posts, applicants were given a set of simple questionnaires to fill be f ore the face to face rendezvous, if the candidates gave us reasonably good first impression with appropriate background, then a more serious interview would be conducted by a senior staff, sometimes by two or three persons including myself. The office of YKH is normally rather quiet but during this "recruitment period", the office springs alive with many strange faces, some waiting in anxiety, some filling in the forms, some being interviewed, most are appropriately dressed for the occasion even though som e might have cold hands.

The YKH interview process is really a test of the skill of the hiring manager, who has to find out within a short period of time, the nature and qualities of a total stranger who has come to impress us that he or she is the right a n d the best person that we are looking for, with a price tag, of course. Every interview we conducted we took it seriously, there is no point of wasting the time and effort of both parties. Before we offer a job, we explain clearly on the nature of work, t h e working environment, our expectations etc., this is to ensure that the potential new recruit knows what he or she is in for. After we offer a job, we normally give the candidate a chance to consider, a day or two, or even up to a week. It is not our pra c tice to rope people in to join us in a haste and then to see them marching off soon after. An employment and career in Yung Kong is a serious matter, we want both sides to be earnest about it.

On the 9th of April, 1997, I conducted an interesting intervie w for the above immediate vacancy of "Accountant". After one candidate filled in the questionnaires, I went to meet her in the room. Name: xxx, Age: xx, Sex: m, Height: x'x", Race: Chinese... Hold on! The person sitting in front of me was NOT a "male" but a "female"! Had my eye-sight deteriorated so much that I couldn't differentiate boys from girls? Was I in the wrong room seeing the wrong person? Or was the "Confidential Data" in my hands a mixed-up with some other candidates?

"Yes, I am the right person," she claimed, "I come to interview on behalf of my husband." Ah! Even with my more than 10 years' recruiting experience, having interviewed hundreds of people, I had never encountered an "on-behalf" kind of interview. The answers given in the questionnair e s were her own opinions, how was I going to assess her husband based on her view??

"Where is he now?" I enquired.

"He is now in London and is thinking of coming back."

"I need to meet him personally."

"But he wouldn't come back unless he finds a job here. "

"Well OK, let me review his CV... looks fine... but he is earning GBP30,000 (equivalent to RM120,000)! Our scale for the post is slightly lower than that..."

"I know, so I am asking a humble RMxxxx ++ for him."

"Fine, except what are these plus-plus?"

"Well, we are expecting some fringe benefits. You do give, don't you?"...

After the surprise and pleasant encounter, my comment was "can be considered". Indeed after a few more contacts and clarifications with the wife, he came all the way from London for a p ersonal interview on Monday 28th April. And he joined us on Friday 2nd May.

With a sigh of relief, we have found a replacement swiftly for the accountant who was leaving in 3 weeks' time. This was the most interesting interview I ever conducted and it wil l be written in the history of Yung Kong. To conclude, I would like to share the following thought:

Seek and you will find. If at first you don't find, try harder, look further.

- Ir Michael Hii, 1997


Seraphim Home