【雙語】從應徵者變成面試官,十年有感 ── 給台灣年輕求職者的誠心建議
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【本文以中英雙語刊出/中文編譯:黃維德】

我還在美國念書的時候,參加了無數協助學生準備求職的論壇,主題包括如何撰寫簡潔的履歷、如何在面試人員面前呈現自己(電梯談天、面試破冰等)等。

搬回台灣之後,我從受試者轉變為面試官:我常得為公司面試應徵者,也會以校友身分,為母校哥倫比亞大學面試申請者。

求職季即將到來,我想利用這個機會,說說幾年下來的感受:我無意討好或說教,但還是得列出我的觀察,好展開有建設性的對話:
 
從受試者變成面試官的角色轉換──實用的應徵技巧,並非全是惺惺作態

我還在念書的時候就聽說,面試人員通常只會花非常少的時間看履歷,有時甚至連 10 秒都不到。今日,我發現這個說法非常符合現實,因為即使自己有心,在一份履歷上通常也很難花超過 1 分鐘

因此,常有人說最棒的履歷應該只有 1 頁,這話有其道理:各項經歷和表現的說明應該用一句話就搞定,讓面試人員在瀏覽之時,可以一眼就看出最優秀的特質。

我在剛開始撰寫履歷時發現,遵循前述建議並不容易,因為我在把自身特質化為文字之時,常會太過囉嗦或太過謙虛──這個能力需要不斷練習才能精進,我們也會練習「電梯提案」,在有限時間(從 10 秒到 1 分鐘都有可能)內介紹、推銷自己。

這些練習的目的,在於學習如何使用效率、效果和說服力兼備的方式來推銷自己。這些能力除了會在應徵時增加機會外,其實到了職場,同樣極為重要:

以「電梯提案」為例,最近突然在我的工作中派上了用場:我和一間大型科技企業的執行長搭上了同一部電梯,也利用那段她沒辦法無視我的短暫時刻,介紹了我自己和我們的產品。還在念書的時候,幾乎所有人都是朋友或朋友的朋友,可能會覺得這種練習沒有必要又惺惺作態。但在職場上,一旦機會到來,無論再怎麼短暫,我們都該想辦法抓住它
 
面試像配對──相互尊重做好準備,充分溝通理解對方

簡單來說,面試就像是配對。作為面試官代表公司選才,我在尋找相信自己適合這個職缺,值得公司投資時間和心力的人選──透過訓練和引導,讓他們在組織之中成為主動又積極的貢獻者。

同樣地,受試者希望能加入一間值得投入寶貴時間和心力的公司,提供服務並獲取合理的報酬。面試時,雙方得在有限的時間內理解對方,也讓溝通成為面試的關鍵之一。

我想從應徵者那裡聽到幾件事。例如:他們是什麼樣的人?為何想加入我的公司?以第一個問題而言,面試者自然會請受試者簡介自己的背景,不過,我還想從中觀察受試者如何描述自己的人生,觀察受試者如何建構、分類和組織他想傳達的訊息

簡言之,連自我介紹都做不好的人,真能有效地溝通嗎?

應徵者應該點出自身的強項、個人特質,以及可以突顯前述正面特點的過往成就。我也會問應徵者,是否有針對我的公司(或學校)進行任何研究,藉此觀察應徵者是亂槍打鳥,還是預先做足準備才選擇了我代表的組織

正如我先前所言,面試就像是配對,因此,我想在面試之初評估應徵者是否重視這場面試、是否擁有這份工作所需的敏銳和特質。

此外,我一向會請應徵者提問、看看他們是否還有什麼想詢問的事:在我心目中,這個面試末尾的提問,不但可以處理受試者的疑問,也是個受試者的機會

當然,受試者可以將全部時間,用來提出與薪資或工時有關的問題,但如果受試者提出的問題能夠引導對話、總結自身的特質,我就會知道:這個人真的是有備而來

誠懇、扼要為上策──「美式」面試未必適合你

回想起我在美國的學校接受過的求職訓練,我發現在台灣,我面試過的應徵者相對來說常會太過謙虛,或是不太知道如何包裝自己,但這並不代表我學過的方式比較好──我同意,履歷應該簡潔易讀,而且要突顯個人長處;但以呈現自我而言,我覺得「美式」面試過度重視包裝、排演和教練,甚至到了有些自吹自擂的地步

身為面試官,我知道大學畢業生可能沒法列出太多成就,此時,如果有份履歷寫滿了難以置信的傲人成績,難道不會有點過度脫離現實之感嗎?

不過,如同前述的例子,「電梯提案」倒是個相當有趣、值得台灣面試者進行的練習:受試者可以多練習在 1 分鐘、30 秒甚至是 10 秒內介紹自己。

說到這裡,我從受試者轉換為面試者已有 10 年的時間。我聽過,前者認為後者有如殘酷無情的強盜資本家,不合理地獲取了應當公平分配的利益;另一方面,我也聽過後者認為前者牢騷滿腹、只在乎自己,以及最重要的,找不到合適的年輕人。

正如備受敬重的企業領導者徐重仁(於「失言風波」後的道歉中)所言,這些老一輩確實對年輕世代懷有許多誤解和憂慮。然而,(勞資雙方)縱有諸多裂痕、縱使雙方再怎麼看不對眼,面試仍舊得儘可能地保持專業,生意也還是得做

面試不是認同之爭──盡量不帶偏見,尋找適合自己的企業(與員工)

我想,勞資雙方當然都有權抱有自身觀點。如今身為所謂的資方,我也想談談我在這方面的印象:現今的應徵者傾向於避開(傳產)現場、生產線上的職位,偏好與製造產品本身沒有直接關聯的工作,例如行銷或品管等。

我想強調的是,這些職位其實同樣重要而且相輔相成。

但我的經驗中,常遇到受試者「鄙視」現場工作與排班制──改用和緩一點的說法就是,他們非常重視工時。我知道,確實有剝削勞工的企業,工時也已成為爭議性十足的重大公共議題;然而,得向受試者解釋「排班制」的概念,還是讓我相當困惑。

針對「排班制」我想在此簡單解釋,並提供另一種觀點:製造業工廠為了讓機器持續發揮全數產能,常會使用排班制,它代表員工依循有限且預先排定的時間工作、知道自己何時可以下班,而在排班時間之外若仍繼續工作,即為加班,也就可以依法獲得額外報酬。

換言之,剝削的來源應該是「不按照法規給予加班費」(或導致無給超時工作的責任制)的違法企業或雇主,而非「排班制」本身。而在產業裡要全面了解工廠和生產線的內部運作方式,至少得熟悉製造流程,因此,未經了解直接反對排班,其實相當不符直覺,也會讓面試者擔心,應徵者是不是真的有心學習、是否有足夠的專業能力。

反過來說,如果我真的碰到願意花時間在現場工作和學習的應徵者,當然會非常樂意提供更好的薪資。

最近,我在為我們的石膏板工廠面試儲備幹部之時,碰到了一位教育程度極佳、履歷也十分亮眼的應徵者。他告訴我們,他離開科技產業,就是因為他覺得工時太過折磨人。我十分欣賞他的誠實,但他接著就告訴我們他「不想排班」,我們的資深管理者則不可置信地回應道:「但我們數十年來都是這樣工作的。」

我可以理解我的同事為何會如此震驚,但我也知道,我這個世代的人,非常害怕遭受有如卓別林《摩登時代》那樣的資本家剝削。

面試的重點應該是建立共識,而非認同之爭。資方和勞方未必需要喜歡對方,然而,雙方仍必須相互合作,才能推動經濟。面試求職亦然:如果雙方都覺得對方非常適合自己,那就值得花時間共處。

出身於那個準備充足、幾近過度排練的環境,我覺得台灣的面試常有點未經琢磨之感,但也比較實在。然而,我還是會建議應徵者,好好思考如何呈現自己、展現自身長處。

面試應該是件互蒙其利之事,讓面試者知道為何該投入資源訓練受試者,讓受試者知道為何這間公司值得花費時間和心力,並有所貢獻──畢竟到頭來,我不必找出救世主或是偉大的執行長,我只要找到能夠把工作做好的人就夠了。

【以下為作者侯智元撰寫之原文】
(部分中文內容經核稿編輯與作者調整補充後,與英文原文略有出入)

One thing I have been doing since I moved back to Taiwan is conducting interviews. I often interview potential candidates for my company, while I also interview prospective students for my alma mater Columbia. When I was a student in the US, I have attended numerous forums that help students prepare for the job searching process that covered topics from how to write a succinct resume and how to present yourself to your interviewers in settings ranging from elevator chat to ice breakers to interviews.

Now that I have relocated back to Taiwan, instead of being an interviewee I have become an interviewer, and instead of looking to work in the US, I am now interviewing Taiwanese students on behalf of my company. While now we are entering job hunting season, I wish to opine on some of my reflections over these past years. I do not wish to be patronizing nor overly didactic, but I will list my observations in order to elicit constructive dialogues.

When I was at school, I was told that interviewers usually spend very little time looking at your resume, sometimes not even ten seconds. These days I find that statement to be extremely valid as I usually do not spend over one minute looking at individual resumes. Therefore, I was told that the best resume should be kept under one page, and description of your activities should also be kept in one sentence in order to poignantly list your best qualities for the interviewer's perusal.

While working on my resume, I struggled at first to fit the above guideline because I was either too verbose or too modest with putting my qualities into writing. Similarly, we practiced the "elevator pitch", introducing ourselves in a limited amount of time (can be 10 seconds to 1 minute) to market yourself. There is a underlying purpose in all these practices, and that is to teach you to promote yourself efficiently, effectively and cogently. The “elevator pitch” exercise came in handy recently as when I was in the same elevator with a CEO of a big tech company and I was able to use the brief moment when she can not ignore me to introduce myself and our product. When we were in school, everyone is pretty much a second degree connection away from knowing one another so we may find these sort of exercises to be unnecessary and pretentious. At work though, when opportunity comes, one ought to seize it no matter how brief the time window is.

Now that I am usually in the role of the interviewer, I have come to appreciate these lessons from another perspective. In short, the interview process is similar to match making, I look for candidates who they believe will be a good fit to the job opening. Moreover I hope to identify candidates that are worth investing time and effort to train and mentor in order for them to be active contributors within the organization. Likewise, the interviewee wishes to join a company that they can invest their precious time and effort, offer their service and be fairly compensated. Therefore, both parties are tasked to understand both sides in an finite amount of time, making the communications in these interviews crucial.

There are several things I want to hear from an applicant, mainly who they are and why they want to be a part of my company. For the first question, it is obvious for an interviewer to ask for the interviewee to provide a brief background of himself, but much like what I mentioned previously, I would like to listen to how the interviewee is able to narrate his own life. It is also a showcase of how one is able to construct, compartmentalize and organize informations that he wishes to convey. Simply put, if one cannot even properly introduce himself, how can we expect said person to communicate effectively?

The applicant should touch upon his strength, personal quality, and past accomplishments that might highlight any of the above attributes which can paint one in a positive light. I will also ask the applicant whether he or she has done any research on my company (or school), this is to test if the applicant is just randomly submitting his candidacy or has already done prior preparation to determine that the institution I represent is a good fit. Overall, as I have stated above, interviews is very similar to matchmaking, so at the beginning of the process I wish to deduce whether this candidate is serious enough about the process and if whether he possess the mental acumen and personality for the job. I will always ask the applicant to ask me a question, if there is anything that he or she wishes to inquire. I look at this concluding question as a free opportunity for the interviewee, in a form of a question to touch on any outstanding issues. Of course it can be a question about compensation or work hour, but if the interviewee is able to pose a question in order to lead it to a finishing summary for him or herself, than I will definitely know that this person came prepared.

Referring to the tutorials I received back in school, I have realized that the applicants I have interviewed tend to be too modest or not really knowing how to package oneself though I am not suggesting that what I have learned back in school is a better approach. I concur with having a concise yet easy to read resume which brings out one's best quality, but from the perspective of self-presentation, I feel the “American” interview process is too packaged, rehearsed, coached to even sounding braggadocios. As an interviewer, I understand that a college graduate might not have many achievements to share, so if one sees a resume full of incredulous accomplishment, wouldn’t one find it to be a far stretch from reality? The elevator pitch would be an interesting exercise for interviewees to rehearse though, one may practice introducing oneself in one minute, thirty seconds, and even 10 seconds.

Having said all that, it has been ten years since I have changed my role from an interviewee to an interviewer. I have heard from the perspective of the former that the latter are ruthless robber barons who are irresponsibly benefits that should be equally distributed. At the same time, I also hear from the latter that the former are whiny, self-obsessed and most importantly, nowhere to be found. Much like what respected business leader 徐重仁 has said, these elders do have a lot of misunderstanding and misgiving towards the younger generation. Regardless of all these schism, interviews still need to be conducted as professional as possible as no matter how we dislike one another, business still needs to be done. 

I think both parties are entitled to have their own views, my impression on this matter is that applicants these days tend to shy away from onsite, production line posts in favor of jobs that are not directly accountable to the making of a product, such as marketing/sales or quality control. That is not to say one is more important than the other, but I am implying that these all these positions are equally significant and complement each other. A common question I also hear is the interviewees' disdain for working in shifts, or to put it more mildly, that they care a lot about work hours. I realize that there are companies that exploit their employees, and work hour has become a hot button issue in the public discourse, I feel perplexed that I have to explain to them the concept of "shifts".

To offer some different perspectives, it is common for factories to have shifts in order to keep the machines running at full capacity, and by having shifts, meaning working in a set and finite period of time, one would actually know when one will be getting off work, and logging in time outside of your shift would actually consider working overtime, hence one will also be lawfully awarded with additional compensation. As previously stated, in order for one to fully understand the inner working of a factory and its production line, one ought to at least be familiar with the manufacturing process, and thus openly refusing to work in shift is actually counter intuitive, a discouraging sign to interviewer of one's commitment to learn and unprofessional. However, if I do meet someone who is willing to be on site and learn, I would gladly better compensate said applicant. In one of my recent interview for a management associate opening at our gypsum board factory, a very well educated candidate whom we held in high regard upon an initial review of his resume immediately told us he left the tech sector because he found their work hours are too strenuous. While I appreciate his honesty, he also then immediately told us that he would not want to work in shifts, to which our senior managers incredulously responded “but that was how we all worked for decades”. I understand how my colleagues were shocked, but I also realize that members of my generation fear being exploited by capitalists akin to Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Time. Bourgeois and proletariats may dislike one another, but to enhance economic creation the two must work together.

The process of the interview should be about consensus building, notdissension identification. If two parties can arrive at a mutual agreement that we are a good fit to each other, then the time spent together is worth while. Coming from a background of learning to be well prepared to the extent of over coached, I find the interview process in Taiwan to be a bit raw, but also more down to earth. Yet, I would urge interviewees to still consider how they should present themselves in order to show their forte. Interviews should be a mutually beneficial process for the interviewer to know why we should invest our resource to train the interviewee, but also for the interviewee to know whether the company is worth them dedicating their time and effort to contribute to. I do not need to find someone who can save the world or be the next great CEO, I just need to find someone who can do one's job.

《關聯閱讀》
此一時、彼一時的求職面試:行銷自己,別賣假商品
面試時的身家調查?在瑞士,你可以拒絕回答

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執行編輯:張媛榆
核稿編輯:張翔一

Photo Credit:antoniodiaz@Shutterstock

侯智元/逆襲的田橋仔

侯智元,對許多東西略懂,不學無術,不務正業的黑五類田僑仔。
哥倫比亞大學政治系、哈佛大學東亞研究所畢業。
喜歡看球,打球,運動。
台南製造,溫哥華、台北、紐約、波士頓加工。
讀書時讀了戴季陶、吳濁流的憂國憂民,郁達夫、鐘理和的顛沛流離,畢業後卻改跑砂石廠、工地,現在則在認識電子業,完全跳 tone 的人生。

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