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Monday, April 5, 2010

A case of pride and prejudice

My colleague introduced a friend whom he said would like to apply for a post that we have in my company. I was quite excited since the candidate was highly recommended, so I asked for the CV to be sent in quickly. Our HR department can then arrange for an interview asap.
After some initial technical or technological hiccup, the CV was received today. That was already a delay of almost 5 days including the weekend. As we have reviewed most of our candidates and I was only waiting for this one, I asked for the interview to be arranged tomorrow or Wednesday. So my HR executive called the candidate, only to be told that he was busy and would not be able to make it for both days. Then my HR said, "In that case, I will ask the hiring manager if we are able to arrange a later date for interview. Otherwise, we might not be able to wait and would not be able to see you." At that, the candidate replied, "Well, it's ok, then."
Huh? Obviously this person is not that interested in the job after all. When I related this incident to my hubby J, he asked if the candidate was a Chinese from Chinese primary school. I said yes. Then he explained that job-seekers with a Chinese education background tend to be modest and do not want to trouble other people, and that I should give the candidate a chance. I disagreed. I felt that if he was "hungry" enough for the job, he would have answered: "I'm so sorry but I'm really tied up with work responsibilities at the moment. Please ask the hiring manager if she could wait for me till Friday, I would really appreciate an interview opportunity." If he had said that I would easily wait for him, and probably have a good impression that he really wants to do a good job at his work.
If he is really the modest and considerate person as my hubby says, then it is such a shame. Because of the lack of a "go-getter" attitude, many of the Chinese-educated job-seekers do not show the aggressiveness or initiative at interviews, and miss their chance at the best jobs available. That is my opinion. A person should know when to be aggressive, and when to display the traditional Asian value of being modest. As parents, we will have the challenging task to instill this EQ awareness in our children. And that is a delicate balancing act.


  1. Hi, I'm Wendy, a Chinese-educated student. Thank you for your opinion, I think it is very useful for me.

  2. Wendy, thanks for dropping by. My children are in a Chinese school because I believe in the system and the good values. But it's the soft skills that the schools don't teach that also play an important part in the social world.