Making A Good First Impression At An Interview

Apparently: it takes 7 seconds to make a first impression!

Wow, that's a very short period of time indeed...and it does not help if you are all a bundle of nerves, attending an interview session.

However, while you prepare and prepare some more on nailing the interview with looking the best, and trying to always put your best foot forward where your significant experiences are for the role being interviewed, here you have 7 seconds to make that good first impression!

However, the first impression you make in a job interview can have a lasting impact on the outcome of the whole session. From your appearance to your demeanor, everything counts! That's why mastering effective techniques to make a lasting impression is crucial for interview success.

Remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression that last, so make it count.

Here are some tips to help you make a lasting impression:
* Dress professionally,
* Be on time,
* Make eye contact,
* Smile,
* Be confident (but not arrogant), and
* Show genuine interest in the role and the company (means you need to attend knowing the company and its stable of products and services).

And you know what, the above is also true for the interviewers - one may think that they would have a lot more experience in interviewing every day, but it still takes conscious practice to put their impeccable professional front forward as they are representing the entire organization whenever they face their candidates.

Only 7 seconds for a good first impression!

Want to learn more about how to ace your next interview? Check out our training services and take your interview skills to the next level!

#mltalentsolutions #mikeleong #InterviewSuccess #EffectiveInterviewTechniques #FirstImpressionsMatter

Happy 63rd Independence Day, OH MalaysiaKu!

Is There Such Thing As A “Natural” Organic Talent Attraction Strategy?

I am sure that no one would object, if I say this: nowadays, it takes more than just monetary or tangible items to attract external talents to your organization; what more so to attract them (after these external talents became your staff) to stay on and sustain in your company, right?
I always share this litmus test to senior management and HR teams: if you were to ask this following simple question to a population of your staff, do you think you can get a 100% vehement “YES” for an answer? And the million-dollar question is:
Would you recommend any of your family members and close friends to work for our company?
Anything less than a 100% zealous “YES” means that there are hesitations; in other words, what attract them to your company might just sadly be the salary packages and the fact that they have a job. Nothing more than that.
Only when you hear heart-felt stories from your staff who endear their family members and close friends to your company (on their own accord) – and perhaps intimating to you details on how they are working towards ensuring that the field of studies for their daughters/sons are aligned to key areas of your companies, getting them internships and hopefully, permanent roles in your company – that you would have organically grown beyond monetary attractions of external talents and staff alike to your company and its brand.
No amount of PR, marketing efforts and corporate communication press pieces can beat these kind of natural talent attraction (perhaps I can also say “staff attraction”) strategies!
The good news is this:
You can actually work on creating such positive affinity within your company environment, what I call positive Cultural Affinity, such that your staff want to stay on – they will, in fact, proudly tell others there are no compelling reasons for them to even think of wanting to move out.
When they (your staff) begin to expound all positive virtues of your company to their family members and close friends, the rest of the jigsaw puzzle will magically fall in place!
Let us partner and work together to co-create this for you and your company!

#CulturalAffinity #ExcellentStaffHappiness #GlobalGrowthHunter #MLTalentSolutions #MikeLeong

Conversation with a Head of IT on Structured Interview Process

A Structured Interview Process (SIP) is an interview session which combines both Technical Interview and Behavioural Interview into one session. By simple definition, it is a consistent set of pre-determined and objective questions to be asked of each candidate being interviewed for the same role.
Recently, I had this conversation with a Head of IT where I had earlier mentioned the importance of using an SIP to select and hire the best talents into his team.
HIM: Mike, I am not convinced that an SIP would make any difference for me in my hiring. I have been using my own way to interview for many years, and I have always been able to hire the candidates with the skills that I need.
And I can finish up with my interview sessions in much shorter time that your proposed SIP sessions. I feel SIP is an unnecessary waste of time!
MIKE: I agree with you that a non-SIP interview session can still help you hire the candidates you need and in a shorter time, no doubt about that.
However, would you agree if I say this: after each of your non-SIP interview sessions, you really do not know anything more about each interviewee other than whether he/she has the skills to do the current role you are hiring for, right?
HIM: [Kept quiet but was nodding his head slightly…]
MIKE: An SIP, on the other hand, allows more information to be gathered about each candidate. More importantly, it allows you to have a glimpse of what other roles that each candidate might be able to take on in the future in your team or even in other departments in your company.
HIM: [He sat up, confused but quite interested] What do you mean by that? How can I know that?
MIKE: Well, simply put, aside from professional competencies match, your pre-determined interview questions are going to help you unearth their personal strengths and weaknesses plus their career aspirations, which allows you to make projections of them into future roles.
And because you are asking identical questions with all your candidates, when you are ready to make hiring selection(s), you are able to make “apple-to-apple” comparisons and to know exactly who tick the most boxes, both technically as well as behaviourally.
In other words, the candidates you are going to hire, ultimately are more likely able to rotate into other roles internally when they are ready to move on from their current existing roles. So you will be able to sustain and keep your talents in your team and/or your company. 
Want to know all the key importance and benefits of SIP and also how SIP lends itself strongly to creating sustainable staff for you in your organization?  You can find out more by downloading this Executive Brief here.

You have curbed staff turnover in your team already…
HIM: [Deep in thought] Interesting…

Tune in for a continuation Part 2 of the above conversation next week…
#StructuredInterview #SuccessionPlanning #CurbStaffTurnover
#MLTalentSolutions #GlobalGrowthHunter

Personal Journey #21 – My Sixth Toastmasters Meeting – organized Speech Marathon!

Took my audience on a journey down memory lane with my speech for the evening – sharing how I went from a full head of hair when I was young, to one with a “high forehead” in my teens and now a full-monty baldy! My topic of the day – “RECEDING HAIR LINE”! 

Personal Journey #20 – Clubbing @ Super Speakers Toastmasters Club’s Meeting

We went CLUBBING. Again. The dynamic team from Dynamic Toastmasters Club attended Super Speakers Toastmasters Club 249th meeting. Theme of the evening was “To Lead People, Walk Behind Them”.

Personal Journey #19 – My Fifth Toastmasters Meeting

“Thinking will not overcome fears, actions will!” That was my Table-Topic for the evening, against the backdrop of our theme for the evening which was “…you don’t have to be great to start, but you need to start to be great…”

That is so true, my friends…all of us have fears in our lives, of one thing or another and at different stages too.

The question is what do we do about them?
1) Do we think and rethink about such fears to the extent that they paralyzed us to inactions?
2) Or do we take actions and make efforts to change our lives? Even if these are “baby-step actions”?

Everyone rose up to the occasion and made their speeches – even though they mentioned that public speaking was their biggest fear! Talk about taking actions to overcome fears! Great job to all…way to go.

Inspirational Quotes #7 – Continue to Persevere!

Oh my, oh my! Time really flies! I made this video last year in May 2019 – proclaiming back then that I shall commemorate 2nd week of May every year to be “Come-Back Week”. 
This was because I was so awed and overwhelmed with the fashion that first Liverpool and then Tottenham Hotspurs secured their places in the Finals of Champions League 2019 over their super-strong opponents, Barcelona and Ajax respectively. Both cases were come-back victories as well as last-gasp goals that came about because both team did one thing right – PERSEVERE UNTIL THE END. It ain’t over till the referee blew the final whistle!

And in my humble opinion, I drew four learnings from these games:
1) Admit that there is a situation/problem – both teams went into the 2nd leg after 1st leg defeats, Liverpool was 0-3 behind while Spurs was 0-1 down. They knew their predicament, they knew that they need to step up many more notches than their opponents in the 2nd leg in order to overturn the situation. With this in mind, then only then, can they psyche themselves to put up the grit, work on overdrive and train more!
Same thing in our daily lives – if one is caught in a situation or a rut, take a few steps back and take a hard look at the situation that you are in. Be critical of yourself, your environment, your resources or what have you – and come to an admittance that there indeed is a situation/problem. 
Don’t try to take the easier route out – “sweep it under the carpet and try to forget about it”. If you think out of sight, out of mind, you are quite wrong, I am afraid. If the problem is still there, then this first step is crucial in “winning the wars”. Admittance will typically induce your system to produce that adrenaline rush to then attempt to take actions and rectify the situation. 
2) Never quit; continue to persevere – had they stopped chasing until the last second, the makeup for that finals in June would have been very different, isn’t it? 
Once you are pumped up with wanting to rectify the situation, capitalize on this drive and momentum to continue to persevere into an overdrive.
On this, I have a perfect example of Malaysia’s very own Pocket Rocketman, Azizulhasni Awang who despite having a splinter punctured right through his left calf, managed to finish Third during the final of the keirin event in the World Cup leg in Manchester in 2011. Talk about perseverance!!!


3) Change strategies; continue to reskill ourselves – I am pretty sure that both teams would have worked on and reviewed their strategies prior to the 2nd leg, what additional set-pieces they can explore more, etc.
Likewise, for us, we need to do that too – on this, I draw parallel to COVID-19 pandemic that is spreading in many countries around the world. This is so unprecedented for every country and everyone, no matter how many financial crisis we have been through! What must we do? Countries are changing strategies, policies as we move along daily, weekly, etc.
On a more micro level, we also need to be thinking post-COVID-19, what the “new norm” is going to look like for ourselves. Before this, we were worried and concerned about an era where jobs will be replaced by machines – but that was probably like yeah ONE DAY! Now for the past 2-3 months of 2020, jobs and people have already been mass displaced with no end in sight for now (and by something so small too)!
Hence, it is time for us to bring out our thinking cap, and to change strategies/to reskill ourselves – continue to learn, unlearn and relearn! Once all this gloom is lifted, the world we are all going to step into is just never be the same ole world again!
4) Seize opportunities when they arise – it was in such coincidental fashion that both teams needed spectacular and last-gasp goals to seal the deal on their nights. 
The partnership of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Divock Origi and Lucas Moura’s on-the-5-minute-mark-injury-time strike just stirred up such emotions that when you do see opportunities and seize them, you will walk away winners! Die-hard supporters would have thousand-and-one mental visions on what if these did not happen the way it did; am sure they are quick to thankfully (and gleefully) said luckily their heroes did! 🙂
Same for our daily lives, no one may know what they future looks like for us, and how opportunities may present themselves to us. If they do, are we ready? Or conversely, are we ever ready pursuing our goals such that these opportunities are within our reach? 

Well so much about the jubilations of Champions League 2019; I pray that everyone continue to keep well and stay safe. Cheers, happy weekend too!

Personal Journey #18 – Continuous Learning: Enneagram and LinkedIn Personal Branding

Personal Journey #17 – Meeting Another Mentor, Ritu Gupta Mehrish

Made a second self-drive 10-hour return trip from KL to Singapore in 2019 to meet up with another mentor of mine in my journey, Ritu Gupta Mehrish. She is the author of a best-selling book “Leader’s Block”.