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This is an excerpt of an arranged interview with a senior executive of Lead Health International, Mrs Joyce Asuquo who is the current Administrative manager and possesses first-class employee supervision responsibilities. The behavioral interview technique was adopted.

The aim of the interview is to identify the interviewee’s orientation and business philosophy toward key human resource management functions. A face-to-face interview was employed. Prior to the interview I developed a list of approximately 10 human resource related questions that cover recruitment, staffing, staff motivation, employee development, employee appraisal and the Supervisors viewpoint on the “competitive advantage through people” were all covered in Part A. In addition, part B of the paper covered my personal analyses of the interview in this paper.

Attached to this paper is a list of the pre-interview questions and a copy of the “Thank You” note I sent to the interviewee.

Interview Overview – Part A

The following interview questions were asked and the corresponding answers recorded as follows;

1. Good day Ma, please can you introduce yourself and your position?

“My name is Mrs Joyce Asuquo; I am currently the Administrative Manager of Lead Health International, Lagos”

2. What is your role or involvement currently or in past in recruitment and staffing?

“Previously I was the Program manager and I got promoted last year to the Administrative Manager. Previously my role was that of hiring manager, who hires experienced and non-experienced employees across technologies, domains based on project needs.”

3. Would you like to change anything in recent process? What is it and Why?

“The current process is, whenever a requirement comes up, the hiring manager reaches to the Resource manager. The Resource manager searches for the talent within the organization first. In case there is a match, the person goes through an internal assessment interview.

In case a matching profile is not found in organization, then HR is contacted to hire a resource with similar profile from outside. And, once a candidate is found, the candidate usually goes through one round of technical interview, one round of interview with HR and one round of interview with program manager. Once selected, HR presents offer to the candidate and once the offer is accepted, HR starts onboarding. There is nothing in specific in this process that I would like to change. But this process is long, and communication and collaboration make the process longer. HR can set some timeline to reduce the time required from finding a resource to onboarding. May be some part of it, like communicating to stakeholders, finding matching profiles can be automated too.”

4. What are the 3 most important qualities you seek in someone while interviewing?

“First is the technical or domain knowledge based on the role in the project.

Second is attitude – if the person is flexible, a team player, has a positive attitude and if the person has a problem solver mindset. Third is communication – if the person is an effective communicator to team member and client.”

5. How do you motivate your staff?

“Being transparent to employees is important. I try to set goals in the beginning, then regularly provide feedback. Make them accountable, empower them to take decisions and make them responsible for the deliverables.”

6. How do you spot an employee who is not motivated enough?

“This cannot be spotted instantly. I need to constantly monitor the team. If I see someone’s attitude has changed, he / she is not showing much interest, or trying to avoid responsibilities, or opposing any idea team has, basically not being a team player, is a strong indication of being less motivated.”

7. Do you think motivating your staff is important? Why or why not?

“It is very vital. Motivated employees are easy to work with. Even, motivated employees simply are more effective and efficient.”

8. What role do you have in employee development? How do you help an employee to grow professionally?

“At the beginning of any project I work with each team member and set up major role specific goals to measure his / her performance against. I set up regular meetings with each one of them to provide feedback and let them know how they are doing on their goals. Based on their performance, I try to understand their aspirations and then help them get there. If their performance is not as expected I let them know about that.”

9. Does your organization have any competitive advantage over its peers because of its employees?

“The organization gets competitive edge because of employees with niche skills. But employees who have a technical skill that is common in market do not provide any competitive advantage.”

10. When an employee leaves the organization, how can we make sure that his or her skills do not leave the organization?

“We can make sure that the technical skill, application and business knowledge does not leave, but the experience and the soft skill, such as how the person used to work with team or client, those skills are hard to preserve once the employee leaves. The person replacing him or her comes with his or her own soft skill set.”

11. What is the secret of being an effective and efficient supervisor?

“Selecting the right staff, then motivating and empowering them so that they can be a good team player, deliver the project as efficiently as possible.”

Part B

1. What you learned about supervising/managing others? Did you learn anything new? Did the interview clear up any misconceptions you had about HR and HR management?

I learned motivating team members is very critical. Demotivated employees can be a drag, who will not live up to their potential and that might harm the team. I understood things clearly from the super visors perspective, which was new for me. I had very little idea about HR and HRM, I have better understanding now.

2. What did you agree with and disagree with?

I understood and agree with almost everything. But I am skeptical about one thing, providing feedback to employees seem to be fine, but I am not sure if I provide a feedback that the employee is not performing very well, I am not sure how that will be received. I think there is a chance that the employee will feel demotivated or no appreciated.

3. What was (were) the most memorable part(s) of the interview? Why?

I would say, when he mentioned that it is impossible to preserve all the knowledge when someone leave the organization. I was not expecting it. But when he explained, that how the person used work with team or client and the experience and soft skill that person had is not possible to preserve or transfer to the next person. There can be knowledge transfer to the next person filling their job for the technical or business / domain knowledge, but soft skills cannot be transferred. It made sense to me.

4. How did the responses of your interviewee compare to class readings and class discussions this far?

There are commonalities, like prescreening, he mentioned the important of it. In the discussion forum someone shared their experience with long onboarding process, he mentioned the same point and described it as a pain point, and he would like to shorten the lengthy process, and actually HR should be able to help.

5. What was the interviewee’s thoughts on the “competitive advantage through people”?

Since he is from technology background, he thinks the technological skill in an employee can be counted as competitive advantage not the employee him/herself. Because when any technological skill becomes abundant, the employee loses competitive advantage, so does the organization.

6. Summarize the interview and include your thoughts and feelings towards the professional you interviewed. Did you walk away with an overall view of this person’s philosophy and values as they relate to HR management?

I understood his philosophy to be honest and transparent with team, he likes to empower the team. But for him, selecting the right team member is very important, in fact he mentioned an employee with right positive mindset is preferable even if they do not have the best technical skills. And he believes, right employee can be independent when motivated and they deliver projects without follow up or push from supervisors.

7. Critically reflect on your own perceptions of HR management. What beliefs did you have going into the interview about HR management? Has anything changed for you?

I think I understand why hiring right person is most important and how the person with right attitude is better than person with right skills, in fact I understood how and why employees should be motivated.


The concept of this interview was Behavioral. This approach is based on the belief that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior. Therefore, my interview questions were designed to probe the senior executives’ previous experiences in order to determine how they might behave in similar situations in the future and learn from them. Generally, I didn’t really ask hypothetical questions about how she would handle a situation if confronted with it in the future. Instead I asked how she did handle a specific situation when she encountered it in the past. And from the excerpts it showed how much knowledge and skills she has amassed on the HR functions and how she can play a better role in the future. I have also benefited a lot from the interview seession.

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