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What are your biggest deal-breakers when hiring?

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Even before starting the hiring process, most employers would already have the ideal candidate in mind. Perhaps you are looking for someone with good computer skills and communication skills, or maybe you need someone with good domain knowledge in engineering.

But, in today’s talent scarce world, the ideal candidate is hard to come by, and with restructuring forcing many workers to acquire new skills to take on new careers; employers might have to take a step back and look at recruitment from a different angle, and think about the employee they don’t want.

At the International Recruitment Forum hosted by the Swiss Education Group earlier this year, Human Resources spoke to eight HR leaders and recruiters to find out their biggest deal-breakers when hiring. Here’s what they have to say:


Eugenio Pirri, chief people and culture officer, Dorchester Collection

For me, one of the biggest concerns is they have already ‘figured it out’. I think if you figure out things too early in life, you will not be open to seeing what life can offer and be open to the changing world around you. If you already know what you are going to do and how you are going to get it, I don’t think you’re being very forward thinking because everything is changing.


Sarah Stanger, regional director of HR – EMEA, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Poor attitude is certainly a deal-breaker. If someone is not willing to go above and beyond and go that extra mile and come from that place of humility and wanting to serve, then that would be a deal-breaker for us.

ALSO READ: Who’s the most important in a business?


Patrizia Hofer, hotel manager, The Ritz Carlton, Doha

When you feel that the person is not really looking to learn or to grow, and it’s the title they are concerned about. When you feel that the person is not really interested in the company or not really listening to the philosophy that you are looking for.


Jason Feng, GPHR, assistant director of HR, Regent Hotels & Resorts

Attitude. I would say that if a person thinks that he/she already knows everything, that means he/she doesn’t really know anything. We want people who are willing to learn instead of those who come with the mindset that they are already very good.


Reyes Javier, international recruiter, Disney Worldwide Services, The Walt Disney Company

Our guests expect the best. So we need to have the right people in the right roles – people who are very good in guest service, people who have experience, and people who are going to meet the expectations of our guests.

We’re looking for personality, the guest service, being approachable, and having the desire to help the guests with anything they need from providing information to solving problems. That’s what we need, and what a person needs to be successful as part of our company. If they don’t have what we are looking for, that’s a deal-breaker right there.

ALSO READ: 2 in 3 GenZ employees expect a 9-14% pay increase every year


Eric Bösiger, PR & marketing cabin crew, Swiss Air

Apart from the language knowledge which is dependent on their location, it’s probably the personality. It’s the way the person appears to us when they come for an interview – the way they present themselves, the energy that they give – that’s probably what makes the difference. The people who are hiring are also cabin crew members and we hire people who will be working with us later on. So it’s really the person who makes the difference.


Thomas Dutilleux, HR executive recruitment, UBS

Generally, except if you have a criminal record, nothing prevents you from working at UBS. If you have the motivation and the will to do so and put in the effort, it can be achieved. If you have a criminal record, it is probably a deal breaker because you are working with the client’s money where trust is the main thing.


Maroun Antoine Alsayah, director of talent development, John Paul

Customer service and a passion for customer service is the most important trait that we look for. If they don’t care about people and don’t have the passion that is needed, that’s a deal-breaker. This business is not for everybody, so if talking to people and engaging with people is not your thing, then being at John Paul is not for you.


READ MORE: Are degrees really necessary for a management role in hospitality?

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