Interviewing Techniques Revisited

As it is the New Year now and more and more of our candidates will be out there interviewing with our clients, we thought this could be a very good time to highlight some of our top articles that cover interviewing techniques. Whether you are speaking to someone by telephone, video interviewing from overseas or meeting people for the 2nd or 3rd time, our articles should have you covered!

Click on the links below to learn more:

Interviewing Basics – as the name suggests, this gives you a overview of how to prepare and be successful at interview

How To Interview SuccessfullyPart 1 and Part 2 – this goes into a lot more detail and forms the basis of any interview preparation we go through with our candidates

Telephone and Video InterviewsPart 1 and Part 2 – if you cannot meet the interviewer face-to-face then please make sure you read through our advice on how to interview remotely by telephone or via video (Skype etc)

If you are a recent design graduate then we have a 3 part series which not only covers interviews but the whole job application process – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

And finally Some More Tips On Interviewing with links to other articles on the matter.

Of course, the interview is just the start of the process – make sure you know how to follow up after you have interviewed by reading our related post here.

We can provide tailored and specific interview advice for almost any scenario – if you have any questions as a result of these articles please don’t hesitate to drop us an email or leave a comment to this article. Monthly Update to follow next week!


Happy Chinese New Year!

Wishing all our followers, blog readers and group members a very Happy Chinese New Year of the Dragon! We hope that 2012 is a year of good fortune and prosperity for you all and look forward to keeping you up-to-date with our latest news in what think will be a very exciting year for Ellicott Long!

Chinese New Year of the Dragon

Following Up After Job Interviews

We recently came across this great article providing really helpful advice to candidates regarding what they should do following a job interview with a company. The link to the original article is here, through – 3 Rules For Following Up After A Job Interview

By Kelly Eggers

When Erika Walker’s good friend set her up on a blind date, she wasn’t expecting much more than a nice dinner over a couple of glasses of wine.

The human resources manager for Best Essay Help, a small professional writing and research company in Florida, Walker hires qualified freelance writers. She had turned down one candidate because his writing didn’t pass muster and never heard from him again.

Until the middle of the date, when the guy came clean. “He told me that he was the writer whose application had been denied, and he did all of this to get an opportunity to talk to me face-to-face and convince me to hire him,” she says. “Is there a way for a date to go worse?”

Aside from an example of poor dating behavior, Walker’s experience shows how desperate job applicants are to get hired these days. “Whether they’re applying for a job or following up after an interview, most candidates just want a response,” says Jayne Mattson, senior vice president of client services with Boston-based career consultancy Keystone Associates.

But how you follow up is as critical as following up in the first place.

An October survey from global staffing agency Robert Half International found that after simply sending a job application, 81% of 1,000 hiring managers want to receive a follow-up message within two weeks. Following up after an interview is even more critical. According to a 2011 survey from CareerBuilder, 22% of hiring managers would dismiss an applicant who didn’t send a post-interview thank-you note, saying that it indicates poor follow-through and a lack of interest in the position.

Follow up should begin before you leave the interview, experts say, by asking when they expect to make a hiring decision. Starting your post-interview communication off with that knowledge can help you properly time your attempts.

Always appear gracious, positive, patient and interested, says Bill Driscoll, the New England district president for Robert Half International. Career experts say they’ve seen everything from scathing follow-up emails from job seekers who think they’re out of the running to candidates who write one-liner, “Can you call me back?” messages. Neither falls into the “reasonable follow-up” category. Here’s a guide.

What to Say

After an interview, you should send a note within 24-48 hours while it’s still fresh in your mind — and the company’s.

“With technology like iPhones and BlackBerrys, you don’t have an excuse to not be in touch immediately,” says Roy Cohen, a New York City-based career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. Handwritten notes are okay to send in addition, says Frank Dadah, general manager of financial contracts with Boston-based staffing firm Winter, Wyman.

Address a note to each individual person you met with – sending a group note doesn’t necessarily imply laziness, but sending individual, personalized notes definitely won’t. That means no copy-and-pasting. Being personal will increase your likability factor. And spell everyone’s name correctly, including the company’s. Errors of that sort can be a game-changing embarrassment.

Start by thanking them for the opportunity to meet, and acknowledge that they took time out of their day to do so. Next, note why you think you’d be a good fit for the role. “You’ve had the opportunity to ask the hiring manager questions about the position,” says Driscoll, so this is an opportunity to elaborate on why you are a great fit in writing, beyond your initial cover letter.

In your conclusion, Dadah suggests hitting three points: 1. State that you’re still interested in the position; 2. You’ll follow up with them again within a specified time frame; and 3. Thank them again. Anything that requires the reader to scroll down the page is too lengthy.

Subsequent Follow Up

After your initial follow up, you might be tempted to reach back out to a hiring manager. “Nudging isn’t appreciated,” says Cohen. But you can send something equivalent to a reminder note.

Begin with a pleasantry, followed by a sentence explaining where you left off during your last communication, says Mattson of Keystone. “You had indicated to me that you’d be making your final decision during the week of such and such, and I just wanted to follow up to see where you are in that decision,'” is one way to phrase it, she says.

Include something of value in your follow up, instead of simply sending nagging emails. If you completed a course you were taking or closed a big sale, anything that you think will impress them, pass it along.

Mattson also advises that you match the communication medium the interviewer has been using, i.e. returning emails with emails, phone calls with phone calls, etc. “If you’ve been communicating back and forth with emails and that has been effective, continue to use it,” she says. “If you haven’t heard back from a person, let an extra week go by and then leave them a voicemail.”

Speak in a very respectful manner when you’re leaving a message, Mattson says, by saying that you know they are very busy, but wanted to follow up on the email you sent them, and that you’re still very interested in the position.

What to Never Say

One of the most common ways in which people flub their follow up is by showing impatience. “Maybe there’s a recommendation delay, or something routine that’s just slowing down the process, or maybe you’re not in the running anymore,” says Driscoll of Robert Half. Regardless of the reason, you don’t want to blow your chances by being rude.

If the hiring manager gave you a specific date or time frame they’d be working within to make a decision, give them some wiggle room. “People always overestimate,” says Mattson, “and you don’t want to seem overly anxious.”

Mattson says that applicants should choose their words wisely when reaching out, especially when it’s subsequent follow up. Namely, she says, don’t ask someone to “call you back.” Instead, let them know that you’ll follow up again within a few days, but, in case they need to reach you, here is the best contact number.

Other no-nos? “Don’t reference someone senior in the company who might put in a good word for you,” says Cohen. “Wait for them to put the good word in for you.”

Cohen also advises candidates avoid gimmicks. “Gimmicks don’t really work, except on an exception basis,” he says. “We’re conditioned to think that sort of behavior can be tolerated, but doing something totally bizarre and out of the box isn’t necessarily going to be appreciated.”

Save the dozen roses for your girlfriend.



Opinion Poll: January 2012

It seems like the whole world is talking about 2012 and whether the market turmoil that influenced much of 2011 will continue through this year. In particular the focus is shifting more and more towards China and a potential “hard landing” this year. We want to see how our followers feel now we are into 2012 and whether you believe China will face problems this year, particularly in our Construction and Property industry. Are you positive about the prospects and do you still feel there is strong potential in the market? Have you already experienced a bit of a slow down in your sector? Do you think things are in fact going to get drastically worse? We would be very interested to find out.

Interestingly, we have come back into what can be a traditionally quieter period between Christmas and New Year and have had a large number of new requirements called in – these are for roles in Hong Kong and China.

As always, please tell us where you are based (anonymously of course). Thanks in advance for your votes!#


Monthly Update: December 2011

Market News

The results from a recently conducted census in Shanghai show that there has been a big increase in foreigners moving to the city for work. The average stay for someone from overseas is 21 months although the survey found that people from South East Asia and Europe (predominantly the UK and Germany) remained in the city for the longest periods. The trend is expected to continue as the local economy continues to grow.

The UK’s opening up of infrastructure projects to foreign investors is expected to attract a lot of interest from Chinese companies. Working through Public Private Partnership (PPP) schemes, Chinese investors are looking to make fast investments as soon as this year.

Developers in China are looking to new online auctions to attract buyers into a slowing market. The plan is for some auctions to start zero yuan to add some impetus to the market. After signing up with a cash deposit, buyers can invest in 3 types of auction: English auctions, in which a property goes to the highest bidder; Dutch auctions, in which the asking price starts at a high point and is then lowered until it is accepted by a participant; and sealed first-price auctions, in which bidders simultaneously submit offers that have been sealed in envelopes and cannot be raised in response to a competitor’s bid. A survey showed recently in China that customers are becoming more accustomed to purchasing property online so it is hoped this new initiative could become a successful model.

Results last month showed that property prices in 4th or 5th tier cities actually maintained solid and robust growth in 2011, bucking the trend of the overall market. Without the central government restrictions imposed on the larger cities, prices were seen to rise in more than 30 cities nationwide.

Poll Result

This month we asked our readers how often they search for job opportunities. The results can be seen below:

One third of respondents said they did not search adverts unless they were actually looking for new opportunities. However, quite a large number of respondents, a total of 40% in fact, said they check job adverts every week or every couple of days. We assume that the ease of job searching in the internet age makes it very easy for people to keep an eye on what’s being posted out there on the web. We were also quite surprised that a relatively large number of people (13%) check adverts every day – does this mean that searching job ads is becoming as common an online activity as checking Facebook statuses and Twitter updates? We would be curious to hear your thoughts.

As always, thank you again for voting – considering it was the Christmas period we had an excellent response with more than 100 votes. Do check back later this month for another poll.

What’s Hot

The run up to Christmas is usually a slightly quieter time with clients having one eye on new starters after the New Year and, more so in Hong Kong and China, after the Chinese New Year. That said, we experienced a consistent flow of new positions coming through from our clients who have been starting to forward plan for early new year hires.

As with last month, we have many architecture and design roles in Hong Kong and across China. If you can speak Mandarin, have worked in China for a couple of years and want to work for strong international names, then we have opportunities available. These range from newly qualified architects through to senior level. Language is the key though and unfortunately candidates based overseas who don’t speak Chinese will continue to find it difficult. In particular we found a greater need for strong designers with a real hands on approach to their work and a want to really be involved in the design process – a few clients have expressed recent concern with the number of people who seem interested in managing a team and delegating work to others. This is not what is wanted so if you are a passionate designer who really wants to get stuck in to projects, we have some great options available.

In interior design, the retail and hotel sectors remain strong. We have some new mandates with hospitality interior design for very experienced team leaders and project management individuals. These are for roles in Hong Kong on China and South East Asia projects. All are luxury 5 star hotel schemes. We also still need more experienced concept corporate designers. Within urban design and landscape, Mandarin speakers are again required for roles across the region but mainly in China – this area is a little quieter at the moment but a few clients plan to grow their teams following Chinese New Year.

In project and design management, we are still having real success placing experienced candidates within our developer clients. Demand remains very strong and we continue to be inundated with interview requests for people. If you have an interest in working for a developer and want to make use of the strong relationships we have built with our clients, please get in touch as we are confident we can find you options! Of course, Mandarin fluency and / or China experience are required for these clients!

Within our engineering business we continue to look for a strong leader for a top international consultancy. This will be a Director level appointment to manage the civil and structural business for the firm in China based out of Shanghai. This is a great leadership opportunity for someone with China experience and the language skills. Candidates have been shortlisted but there is still the chance to interview.

Most Urgent Requirements

We have outlined below the urgent vacancies we have had through from clients over the last month.

  • Architects and Project Architects – China – international architecture practice looking for top design talent
  • Senior Interior Design Leader – Hotel- Hong Kong – top boutique design consultancy with a portfolio of luxury 5 star hotel projects
  • Senior Interior Designers – Hotel/Retail – Hong Kong – top international design firms
  • Senior Architectural Designer – Shanghai – work closely with one of China’s top design directors
  • Urban Designers – Shanghai – variety of roles within a growing award winning design firm. Bilingual candidates only
  • Technical Director Structural/Civil – Shanghai – senior appointment with an international consultancy
  • E&M Project Managers – China – top tier Hong Kong developer looking for top tier talent
  • Senior Project Managers – China – multiple roles in multiple locations for our many developer clients
  • Hospitality Director, Architecture – Shanghai – help develop a new hotel design team within this growing international design practice.

We also have many, many more roles posted on our website and these are only an overview of our top positions at this time. Please check back regularly. The easiest way to stay up to date with our latest positions is to follow us on Twitter.

Please visit our website for more information on the above roles and our other vacancies:

If you wish to enquire about a position please send an email and your CV to

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