10 Factors I Look Into When Weeding Out Job Applicants in the Philippines

One of our office staff resigned two weeks ago.

She’s 22 years old and have been with us for almost two years.

Reason for resigning: She wants to try out her luck working overseas in Abu Dhabi as a cashier, despite the fact that she’s earning a decent wage with us in the Philippines. If she moves to Abu Dhabi, her salary is a mere 12% higher than her salary here.

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But hey, who can stop someone from pursuing her dreams?

So I am using Jobstreet.com.ph and Indeed.com to find the right applicant for me.

The statistics was pretty bad. As of today, I have 265 applicants for the position of Office Staff:

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Out of the 265 applicants, I have automatically rejected 73 applicants (27.5% of the pool). As to why I have rejected them, here were the most common reasons:

1. They lived far away from our office.

If they lived in the province or outside Metro Manila, they are an automatic reject. Traffic is really bad in the Philippines and commute time can last for hours.

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A realistic commute is a minimum of 30 minutes per way, to a maximum of 1.5 hours.

Anything beyond that is ridiculous and can only last for short-term employment. An employee who lives 3 hours away from your office may initially accept if he/she is desperate, but over time, will still quit as the commute time is too long, or the money required to get to and from work is too high.

To save myself from the trouble of re-hiring again, I will not invite the person who lives far far away from the office to an interview. Waste of time.

2. They are asking for a salary way beyond the budget.

An office staff is a junior, entry level position. If the person asks for a managerial salary — which commonly happens especially if that person worked as an OFW before — then I don’t waste theirs and my time.

No, the fact that you used to earn Php 35,000 per month before does NOT mean I should give you that amount of money. It also doesn’t mean that just because you’re your family’s primary breadwinner or the fact that you have 5 hungry kids does not mean that I should give you the salary you asked for.

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This is also a problem with 20-year old fresh graduates with zero experience who are asking me for salaries higher than the minimum rate (e.g., Php 16,000 to Php 20,000). No, I don’t care how smart you think you are.

We will pay a fair salary based on actual contribution and tenure. If you ask for way more because of the budget just because you can or just because you’re hoping we will fall for it, I don’t invite you to the interview.

3. They don’t have any relevant experience to the job we are looking for.

I am hiring an Office Staff. This means, this person must know how to do filing, encoding, and use the computer.

If the person only has experience limited to being a cook, a waitress, or a massage therapist, he/she most likely will not have the detailed orientedness and organizational skills to do the clerical and administrative job well.

4. People who keep on changing their jobs until they’re well over 35.

This is a problem — If you take a look, this applicant have changed jobs multiple times over the years. Do note that this resume is only until January 2011. That means, she has changed even more jobs since then.

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This is a red flag for me: a) She has changed into different unrelated jobs during the years, and b) Some jobs, she’s only stayed on for less than 5 months. This means that the applicant is restless and always on the lookout for something better (And if that’s the case, there’s no satisfying him/her), and two, he/she keeps on trying to find the perfect job for her, but in the end, doesn’t really figure out what.

One day, the applicants wakes up and realizes he/she is 38 with a series of irregular jobs through the years. Sometimes, it’s the employer’s fault.

But many times, it is the Employee’s fault.

When an employee keeps on jumping from one jump to the other without staying very long, it usually signals a personality, attitude or competence problem for the Applicant. Best to avoid this problem and not invite the staff to the interview.

5. When the person badmouths his/her previous employer.

This actually happened. Needless to say, he wasn’t invited to the interview.

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Reason for not inviting: You may have some beef with your previous employer but a resume is not a place to air out your dirty laundry. Complaining about a previous employer just makes you insecure, maarte and a person who complains a lot.

I don’t like people who complain. It’s stress I don’t need. If they don’t like it, they should just leave the job. Please don’t offload your frustrations to me, especially if I don’t know you yet.

After I initially weed out those under-qualified, over-expensive but not worth it applicants, I invite those that suit the position. However, I continue weed out the people. How?

6. When a person asks silly questions before even showing up to the interview.

Sorry, but I am automatically annoyed when an applicant asks:

  • Is this one-day processing? Why I am Annoyed: This is more of an irrational feeling for this question. It’s actually a legit question. But I hate this question because I hire on the spot. So if I like you, I hire you the same day. If you have requirements, I will start you the very next day.
  • Do you accept even if I am an undergrad or graduate of two-year course? Why I am Annoyed: Because I already read your resume and invited you to the interview. I would not have invited you if your educational qualifications or age does not fit my requirements. Asking this questions simply shows insecurity. 
  • What are the office hours? Why is your Saturday not half day? Why I am Annoyed: I have actually indicated office hours and days on the job ad. This questions shows that you do not read. 
  • I’m sorry, what’s the job description again? Why I am Annoyed: They applied to my company. I informed them of the job description when I invited them to the interview. This shows they do not read. 
  • Is it far away from my house? Why I am Annoyed: I wouldn’t know. Nor do I care if it is far away from your use. Use Google Maps.
  • How do I get there from _____________? Why I am Annoyed: The complete office address is there in my interview invite. Please read. Then use Google Maps to look for it. 
  • I am sick / There’s a family emergency / It’s raining. Can we reschedule the interview? Why I am Annoyed: People usually ask this question on the day of the interview. Insert (Random reason) here. I get annoyed because I have blocked my time for the interview, and they cancel on the last minute. Usually, such reasons are lies. They are just not serious to come to the interview.

7. When they don’t even answer my interview invite.

If they have no decency to respond to my text, regardless on whether you have load or not, you’re crossed off my list. I don’t like people who can’t even bother to respond to my text.

8. When they actually confirm to my interview invite but do NOT show up or inform me beforehand.

This actually happened. And no, not feeling well and not having load to inform me are NOT valid excuses.

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9. When they have bad body hygiene. 

This rarely happens. But it happens once in a blue moon.

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Our positions require close proximity and hours of working together. If the person has body odor, he/she is not hired. Body odor is tough to remove, and usually, the applicant is unaware he/she has this problem.

To prevent this problem, we just don’t hire him/her, lest it causes future conflict.

10. And lastly, when the person has an inferiority complex.

I don’t care if you have a two year vocational degree, unless you think it’s a problem. It’s not a problem. But it’s a problem if you feel less intelligent because you don’t have a 4-year college degree.

I don’t care if you’re old and over the “age limit” so long as you can do the job. But if you blame your previous employers for discriminating you because of the age limit, then it becomes a problem.

I don’t care if you feel you’re short, dark and ugly. But if you keep on reminding me that the reason why you haven’t kept a steady job was because you’re short, dark, and ugly, maybe the problem is actually you. Not your appearance. Companies don’t like employees who are negative all the time.

I don’t care if you were fooled or scammed by your agency or previous employer. But I don’t like it when you’re overly careful and think that every employer is out to get and scam you. If you keep on citing all the bad things that happened to you before, then I won’t hire you lest you bring your complaining nature inside my company.

It’s a personal thing. I like employees to enter my company without too much baggage.

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There are many other reasons that make me weed out job applicants. But this is just a few of the things I consider.

Just for your information though, I did hire someone today.

Out of the 265 Applicants who applied for this position:

  • I rejected 73 applicants (27.5%)
  • I did invite 65 for an interview (24.5%)
  • 33 Applicants actually confirmed with me via text or email (50.7% of those I invited)
  • 11 tried to weed their way out of the interview citing family issue, emergency or whatever reason
  • 13 out of the 33 applicants actually showed up (39% of those who confirmed; 20% of those I invited)
  •  9 simply didn’t show up, or had the decency to inform me.

This is just for one position my dears. The statistics is worse for us on average. For every 31 applicants who actually come in for an interview, only 1 last for more than a month after being invited for orientation.

But that’s another story. Happy weekend everyone!

About Bonita

I'm a forgetful person. But I think a lot. Every day, a lot of thoughts enter my head. That's why this blog came to be: first, to keep my memories alive through the years, and two, to actually see how I and my thoughts have changed. Please note that I seldom draft or edit my posts. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I offend some of you, my readers. And while I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, I am not sorry for being honest or for making well-intentioned mistakes. I will however be the first to admit if I change my mind. Hence, do read and proceed with caution. My life is as colorful and as boring as you make it. I complain many days, but offer some encouragement in others. Life is fluid, it changes. So keep the positives and throw away the negatives, and I do hope that at the end of the day, you will enjoy reading the blog and leaving comments here and there if my posts touches you. Happy reading!
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