Far too many companies in Bangkok hire the person who interviews the best, rather than he person who can do the job the best.  The reason for this is quite simple…they ask the same questions every Thai professional has heard a thousand times before: “What’s you biggest weakness?”, “Tell me about a time you encountered a problem and how did you handle it?”, “Tell me about both your greatest success and greatest failure?”.  It’s no exaggeration to claim that as you are reading this column,  someone is Bangkok is asking someone during an interview one of these exact questions.  Ultimately, asking questions like these do little to determine how someone would actually perform in the job which is the whole point of the interview process.    However, Bangkok companies that integrate role plays into the interview are able to better gauge a person’s abilities as the person has no idea what to expect which means you get a clear sense of their thought process.

A role play interview is a proven tool to measure problem solving, decision making, verbal communication, analytical reasoning skills, assertiveness and the ability to present a persuasive case. These are management skills that every successful hire should possesses and by putting an individual into a situation specific one is likely to face in the job, the company can evaluate a person’s ability to perform.  Hiring managers at successful Thai companies sit down prior to the interview to discuss with colleagues, “What problems are we looking for this person to solve?” and then develop a role play based on these situations.  In wanting to know how someone is going to handle a pressing concern for the company, doesn’t it just make sense to put a candidate in a role play that will go a long way in answering that question?

What companies in Bangkok need to realize is that people are often not honest during an interview as they want to put their “best foot forward”.   If responding truthfully to a question could hurt their chances for landing a position, candidates will offer a safe response.  Therefore, the standard interview is no longer the suggested approach in evaluating candidates.  As a company, you want someone to show you what they can do versus tell you what they can do as words and offers of great success are just that…words.

Another method companies use in measuring a candidate’s ability to successfully perform a job is through the use of case scenarios which is a form of role playing.  In this interview style, candidate’s assume a role and are presented with a specific case entailing issues they would face should they be hired.  The candidate then needs to provide a response as to how they would solve the problems outlined within the case.  Again, companies want to know if the candidate under consideration can solve their particular issues and concerns and you can’t determine that with standard interview questions.

Role play interviews take more preparation time yet they help Bangkok companies make better hiring decisions.  Through improved employee selection, companies benefit from reduced turnover, increased performance, cost savings, improved morale, better results, etc.   Keep in mind, role plays do not need to be elaborate productions.  They only need to be “real world” situations that people are likely to face while in the job and they can be presented in a variety of formats: an actual role play or a written case that requires the candidate to present their solution to the problem. Regardless of which approach you decide to take, the role play interview is nothing that someone can prepare for and it shows the true nature and abilities of a candidate.