9-point job interview as selection tool

Boss, who's your President?
/ 12:03 AM May 08, 2016

“KAYO ANG boss ko.” The incumbent President of the Philippines intoned this during his inauguration speech. He was referring to all of us Filipinos comprising our organization named Republic of the Philippines. We are in the process of recruiting, so to speak, our next President. On our behalf, the Commission on Elections conducted the pre-screening vouching that five candidates meet the basic qualifications for the presidency. The next level is where we the bosses, 54.4 million registered voters acting as nationwide selection committee, will vote. Prior to that step we need to meticulously scrutinize each aspirant – they are vying for the highest position in the land. Websites, social and mainstream media, and other sources perhaps including personal interaction have provided us with candidates’ resumes, insights into how they conduct themselves in public and in private, opinions and feedback on the kinds of persons that they are, and analyses on what each of them will be like as President. We have formed our initial assessments.

With only a few hours left until decision time, it is important to keep in mind that it is a key decision with long-term consequences. We want to know each candidate’s fitness to lead.


The questions below can support voters in arriving at an informed decision. Assess each candidate for President (and for Vice President for that matter) by asking the nine questions. Using the tally sheet, indicate 1 for every Yes and 0 for every No. The candidate with the highest point gets your vote on May 9. With objective and careful deliberation, vet your bets.

Question 1: Is the candidate applying out of sense of duty to the country?


Know the candidate’s agenda. Make sure the candidate is not aiming for the presidency for self-aggrandizement or self-enrichment. This reveals the values and principles that guide the candidate.

Question 2: Will hiring the candidate be good for my sector?

Focus on the issues of your own sector. At the very least the candidates should demonstrate a thorough understanding of your sector and will be a consultative leader who will listen. At the most, the candidate should espouse your causes and have concrete plans on how to address your sector’s issues.

Question 3: Will hiring the candidate be good for the entire country?

Adjust your lens to view the entire country. The candidate needs to be a unifying leader not a divisive one. There are political divides inherent to the election. There can be instability among the population if these divisions linger for a long time post-election. Also, a divided Congress will manifest dysfunctions that can set back the President’s legislative agenda.

There is the socioeconomic divide as well. Per government statistics 26.3 percent of the 92.34 million Filipinos are poor. How does the candidate plan to bridge the poverty gap?

Question 4: Will the candidate enhance brand reputation?


Widen your lens for a global view. The President is the Philippines’ No. 1 brand ambassador – he or she is required to adopt global thinking. The candidate should be an asset not a liability, a source of pride not of embarrassment. Statesmanship is a key competence of leadership. The candidate must be able to promote understanding and resolve conflicts while putting forward the country’s best interest.

Question 5: Does the candidate have adequate EQ?

It is established that emotional intelligence, not IQ, is the single most reliable indicator of career success. EQ is divided into two general areas: self-awareness and social awareness. For self-awareness, look at how the candidate acknowledges and works on his or her areas for improvement and how he or she leverages own emotions to influence others to achieve desired results. For social awareness, as the presidency is not a one-man or one-woman job, look at how he or she relates with others and what effect he or she has on people. At the extreme, consider how the candidate will likely respond to crisis and handle harsh criticism, which are par for the course. Narcissism, megalomania and arrogance are indicators of EQ deficiency.

Question 6: Does the candidate have business acumen?

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 ranks the Philippines 47th out of 140 countries. It cites the country’s dramatic improvement – a leap of 17 places since 2007. To be able to sustain and build on these gains, the next President must confront the top three problems that limit the potential of the business sector: inefficient government bureaucracy, inadequate infrastructure, and corruption. Measures to combat these ailments will stimulate the local business climate and attract foreign investors in turn resulting in job creation and a stronger economy.

Question 7: Will the candidate be audacious to demolish the status quo?

The President will be confronted with complex issues from all sides. He or she must be able to give creative solutions without resorting to extra-constitutional means. These solutions include championing the revision of the Constitution to make it in step with the times. He or she must have the political will (balls) to push a legislative agenda and implement a package of programs that will improve the Filipino’s quality of life today and in the future. Independent thinking is required so that the President can speak truth to power always mindful that he is beholden to us, the bosses, not to a few elite blocs that propagate patronage politics.

Question 8: Does the candidate abide by the principles of human development?

Three key principles have to be considered: human rights, democracy and ethics. The candidate must also ensure that his or her development agenda respect, protect and fulfill the package of fundamental rights and freedoms that makes each person a human being. Propagating discrimination and prejudices is unacceptable. As for democracy the candidate needs to abide by its four pillars which are justice, equality, freedom and representation. Ethics means the candidate will do the right thing in his or her actions and decisions. By upholding democracy and human rights, the candidate will be able to maintain ethical uprightness.

Question 9: Will the candidate be good for the country’s future?

We are the voters but we are by no means the only ones impacted by the results of this election – our decision on May 9 will have consequence for our children and future generations as well. We represent their interests. Take the long view, think of your children’s wellbeing. Based on your answers to the eight questions above, visualize: with this candidate in mind, what will the future – five, 10, 20 years from now – look like? Will his or her leadership bring us to a better future or will the Philippines be worse off with him or her at the helm? Is the candidate future-minded at all or is he or she just aiming at the presidency without concrete plans for the country’s future?

Tally the score for each candidate. What score did each get? If two or more candidates got the same points, let your conscience be the tie breaker.

Candidates can be impressive on paper and even say the right things during public appearances but later prove to be a tyrant. We need to get the entire picture. The cost of faulty hiring can come in the forms of instability, conflicts, crisis and worsened poverty. We are the bosses, we have the power. Let us hire the right President.

(The author is an OFW and social justice advocate. Email him at [email protected] and @ImRoelistic on Twitter)

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