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Julia and Hoi Yee: Hiring the right staff is probably the toughest element of running a business. We’ve read hundreds of books on how to choose the right people and how to encourage them to be loyal for ever.  We word the recruitment ads carefully; create questionnaires for the interviews; design forms and procedures.  Have we been successful?  Overall, yes, but we have whittled the selection down to two things; experience or energy.  

For experience, I choose older people for the jobs that require dealing directly with clients, following procedures, and being able to keep calm under pressure.  The older ones are often set in their ways so are not comfortable handling the unexpected and prefer to keep their heads down when difficulties present themselves.  In Asia, the older staff members still preserve the tradition of “face”.  They don’t like to acknowledge that they have made a mistake or to criticize their colleagues, which can lead to issues dragging on unnecessarily.  On the other hand, older staff members are often more considerate and more tolerant.

For energy, we choose the young bloods.   But they are chameleons that fall into two categories: a strong, loyal tiger, or a job-hopping sloth. 

The tiger can take on a challenge that is completely outside their scope of experience, while the sloth complains about why it cannot be done.  The tiger will walk up to a client trembling with fright but full of motivation, while the sloth, also, trembling, won’t get off the office chair.

There is nothing more motivating than to see the strong, young tigers learning, adapting and growing into areas that are new to them.  The beauty of these 20-something young bloods is that they are so willing to be taught, they are very open-minded and will enthusiastically adapt to a new world. 

We secretly love to mirror these young tigers, who simply think they are mirroring us.  Keeping up with their image of us keeps us motivated and enthusiastic!!!

As for the sloths, well, they move from their seat in our company when they quit and job-hop to another seat in another company  . . . Adios, and have a good nap in your new cubicle – We’ve got to save our energy for the tigers.

Hiring is not easy, but over the years, we have found the most consistently good guideline to a successful engagement is to choose someone who has a twinkle in their eye; the twinkle that the client sees; the twinkle of pride and success.  And (see the picture) . . . it’s the twinkle in the eyes of one of Julia’s staff on her wedding day!