Why Are Most Job Interviewers in Singapore So Mean?

I felt so mad and sorry for Lady J for what she had to go through. It’s an issue that has been infuriating me for years. Why don’t job interviewers in Singapore show some basic decency and respect.  Haven’t they ever been at the other side of the table? The way a HR hiring manager treats a potential interviewee is a reflection of that company. Don’t they realize that? And sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it. It can make a world of difference. Basically, you can be honest about your needs, but just be nice.

Am I evil to wish that one day Lady J will be at the other side of that table and have the opportunity to interview this very person? I know I’m being bad but I love it when karma works.

Please read her post and I hope you’ll send her your words of encouragement.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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12 Responses to Why Are Most Job Interviewers in Singapore So Mean?

  1. Lady J says:

    Wow..thanks dearie for your kind words of encouragement on this topic. I wish job interviewers would have more accepting of women who have to juggle many roles and would still like to have a career. But unfortunately, I haven’t met many who are open enough to accept this notion yet. One positive take-away from this? To stand up and defend the decision that I’ve made.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I was fuming when I thought about how you were treated. I don’t like people who abuse their power and bullies.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Haven’t they heard of transferrable skills. Soft skills are important too and I bet you’re more of an expert in social media and international relations than most people who never took a sabbatical. They really need to widen their approach if they want to be more innovative. Creativity is a skill that should be valued too.

      It’s so shameful how you were treated. Organizations should take heed. It’s no use having a nice corporate mission statement if it’s not truly put into practise. No wonder Steve Woz mentioned that in Singapore it’s hard to foster creativity.

      My partner used to get so mad when he heard that I had been badly treated in interviews. He said next time I should stop them right there and walk away but it’s really hard for me. I have delayed reaction to these incidents. Usually shell shocked and when I get home I just feel like crying. Only get mad a couple of hours later.

      On the other hand there have been hiring managers who treated me so respectfully that even though I didn’t get the job I have such a good impression of these organisations now. I feel thankful that they never crushed my spirit and treated me with basic human decency.

      • Lady J says:

        I guess we are pretty alike in this way. I get a delayed reaction too. I don’t like confrontations so to avoid it, I just keep quiet. It’s only when I have time to think and examine the situation properly, do I then react.

        • bookjunkie says:

          I sound all assured on the blog but I have my confidence easily shattered. Yeah I really don’t like confrontation. Rather have peace, but always end up the doormat. I usually keep it all inside.

  2. wendy says:

    human nature. true human nature because most humans maybe coz of ‘survival” are hypocrites. work in f and b on the service side. good way to see what assholes humans really are

    • bookjunkie says:

      I hope you get to meet some nice people too. I have met both types when I was working. Wish there were more nice people, but it seems that the more aggressive ones get promoted.

  3. Jane says:

    This story highlights how different expectations are between those in other countries and here in the US. To me, this interviewer doesn’t seem to be any of the things readers are calling her, rude, mean, etc. She is simply stating the obvious, the candidate has left 3 other positions to go with her husband, what are the odds that she will do it again? She didn’t say that the candidate was wrong for what she did, just that she couldn’t take a chance on her. The candidate seems to have lived a fabulous life, why get so worked up over one interview?

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks for sharing your perspective Jane. Just my personal thoughts, but I think the candidate’s personal life should not factor into how she should be treated in an interview. I can understand the need to want to be financially independent and how a job can be very tied to our self esteem. I also think most people tend not to share the harder moments or problems on a blog so it may not be as good as it seems and I wouldn’t judge based on that. I think everyone should be treated fairly and with compassion.

      I think we are extra sensitive about issues like this in Singapore because we are very lacking in terms of employee rights. There are guidelines in place for many things but no laws as there are in UK and USA where employee rights are protected. Often we face discrimination that would not be tolerated in another country (due to the laws in place mostly). This may be one incident but there are many cases where employees are abused, so we are extra sensitive to any abuse of power. Yeah in terms of overall welfare I think in Singapore it’s a pretty hard life for employees.

      I guess it’s not what the interviewer said but how she said it. And I really feel that she should have read the resume before calling the potential candidate down. It’s the same way in doctor’s offices, when patients are kept waiting for hours while the specialist has his/her lunch and is not even present in the clinic. I just feel that it’s both ways. The candidate should be on time and punctual and at the same time the hiring company should be respectful enough not to waste the candidate’s time in return. In a way I would be preferred not to be shortlisted at all, then to come all the way, be super nervous and then be put down. So I guess I took the whole issue a lot more personally. If it was a pre-interview a telephone interview would be much better.

  4. Guillaume says:

    I just commented on Lady J and as I was saying. It frustrates me when I see HR people no able to show empathy. Moreover I really don t like when people abuse from their so called “power” with others!

  5. John Hunter says:

    I agree with the person that said I don’t see any meanness. Someone that didn’t wonder about the risk of a person leaving isn’t doing their job very well. Granted most would just note that themselves and not give the person being interviewed a chance to respond. In a way that is nicer – it doesn’t question the person being interviewed but actually it is worse if the person is just going to assume the worst.

    I also don’t see anything to be upset about as the person being interviewed. I wouldn’t be discouraged by what was reported. I think often people get a bit too worked up about interviews so then stress themselves out. I think it is better to learn and just move on. If you notice you don’t answer a question or two well, then work on some better answers. Other than that don’t worry about them much.

    It is important for those doing the interviewing for the company to know it is a two way street. I was more interested in figuring out if I wanted to work for a company than I was worried about impressing them in my interviews. It is bad to treat those coming for interviews with anything less than respect. Quite a few places do seem to act as though they are doing a huge favor by listening to you.

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