Meet HackerTrail, a fast-growing HR Tech business, where tech talent gets hired!

HackerTrail is a cloud-based recruitment platform, which focuses solely on the IT industry. The company was founded in 2014 by Tushar Tejuja, a seasoned tech expert previously from the banking sector. Tushar set out to solve the pain points he himself experienced when hiring technology professionals.

Although the business initially focused on technical assessments, it soon grew to incorporate more aspects of the recruitment cycle. Proprietary technologies and algorithms were developed to match registered candidates with relevant opportunities and employers, and it wasn’t long before the business had created its own machine learning engine, specifically focused on technical hiring. In some areas HackerTrail’s matching capability has exceeded the capabilities of most human recruiters, which means that profiles can be recommended to hirers directly, without manual intervention. This automation makes the HackerTrail operation significantly more cost-effective than a traditional recruitment agency, and means the company’s clients benefit in the form of lower recruitment fees and a significantly reduced time-to-hire.

Each month, more employers turn to HackerTrail for their technology hiring. This has created an enviable and fast-growing list of clients, including DBS, UOB, Singtel, Bank of Singapore, Accenture, Visa, GovTech and many more. In 2018 the company grew by 400% and plans for 2019 include new offices in India, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Very soon recruitment activities should also commence in the USA.

What does this mean for employers?

HackerTrail’s technology platform leverages sophisticated digital marketing, an active community of technology professionals, and a wide variety of third party platforms to source thousands of new IT professionals every month – all very specific to HackerTrail’s core capability. These are then curated and screened automatically by a combination of parsing, matching and gamified assessment technologies. Job types supported include software developers, data scientists, cloud architects, business analysts, QA, DevOps, and support engineers. It is this sharp focus, combined with automation, that allows HackerTrail to process applications in much higher volume than a recruiter-led agency. For HackerTrail, this has created the opportunity to deploy an advanced sourcing strategy, and to leverage tools, technologies, and techniques that are beyond the skillsets and budgets of most internal and agency recruiters. Ultimately this means HackerTrail’s clients get to choose from a much larger pool of potential candidates, and have the means to measure technical competency without using expensive third party tools. All of this results in wider choice, more accurate screening, jobs filled more quickly, less effort, and lower cost.

To illustrate this, in a recent collaboration with GovTech in Singapore, more than 3,000 candidates were processed for a handful of job types. Of these, 62 were interviewed in a single afternoon, and 26 were offered full-time employment. In a similar case, OCBC hired 12 VPs in one day – the result of HackerTrail sourcing and screening more than 1,000 applications.

HackerTrail’s goal is to bring a more efficient technical hiring process to employers across the APAC region, and later to expand globally, before looking at other verticals such as engineering, medicine and certain parts of finance.

Click here for more info on job postings.

What does this mean for tech candidates?

HackerTrail is as committed to its platform users as it is to its clients. Its strategy is to provide technology professionals with the information, tools, education, and training to become more proficient technically, and more employable. When candidates sign up, they are guided through a series of gamified challenges, and will soon be provided with a suite of training options, focused both on technical aptitude and on interviewing skills.

The long-term vision is to build the world’s largest and richest community of technical professionals, which allows employers and job seekers to find each other, communicate, and decide if there’s a fit, all without human intervention.

To find out more or contact the team, visit

On the Hunt for Software Developers – Again!

After two highly successful HackerHunt, we were back to give Software Developers – and their prospective employers – the ultimate recruitment event of the tech industry! Riding on the wave of our first two events, we at HackerTrail, saw about 75 zealous candidates meeting top employers for our third edition of HackerHunt on the 17th July.
This time around we had more than 900 applicants from the start, after which our proprietary relevance algorithm and gamified technical assessments distilled this number down to 100 to whom exclusive invitations were sent. What this really means is that HackerTrail cuts through the inefficiencies of a traditional recruitment firm thus giving birth to an exclusive speed-recruiting event without sacrificing on quality.
Team Structo
In fact, our invite-only HackerHunt is designed to connect top tech talents with top employers seamlessly. To avoid any conflict of interest, we are careful not to invite any candidate whose present employers are participating in the event. That is HackerTrail’s promise of speed while preserving professionalism.
“I really like the idea behind HackerHunt because it allows us, developers, to meet the right companies – wonderful idea! Thank you HackerTrail!”
– a satisfied HackerHunt participant
HackerHunt in progress
For candidates, the process is straightforward: Simply go to , apply for the relevant job role and drop off your resume. After that, all you need to do is to wait for a reply from us! If you meet the screening criteria, we will send you an exclusive promo code.
For employers, the upside of attending a HackerHunt is evident. A whopping total of 84 follow-up interviews have already been arranged post-July 17th – despite each employer having a different hiring requirement. Just ask Codigo, Visa , ZUZU, RedMart, PropertyGuru, Singapore Press Holdings, Structo, Titansoft or FWD, each of whom walked away with a decent number of shortlisted candidates thanks to our proprietary analytics.
Team Codigo
Tonight’s HackerHunt has been fantastic. In just a few hours, we managed to go through countless Developers across different roles, types and skill sets!”
– Hiring Team, Codigo
As always, our HackerHunts come with chilled beers and a delicious buffet dinner. That night, we even had ciders on the house too – if that’s your preference! But even without the booze, we’d say it’s a good event for both employees and employers in the tech world.
But if you missed the past 3 HackerHunt events for whatever reason, no need to fret. On the 29th of August, we’re hosting yet another one for frontend, backend or full-stack software developers. So, what are you waiting for? If you want to inch closer to that dream tech job, register with us today!
Keen on joining the event? Register your interest HERE!
HackerTrail is an award-winning recruitment technology that serves top employers and geeks in Asia. We’re specialists in disruptive tech recruitment, and we’re really good at it. Take a look at our suite of solutions and let’s connect if we can help!
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HackerHunt – A Speed Dating Recruitment Event

You’re already working in the tech industry and you’re seeking a fresh challenge but that dream tech job is still – well – a dream. You feel like time is catching up and self-doubt is starting to creep in. Or maybe you’re that hiring manager who just can’t seem to find the perfect candidate for the job. Whether you’re an experienced hire or an employer, we have the perfect recruitment hack for you – HackerHunt!
Team HackerTrail all set for the event!
HackerHunt is HackerTrail’s very own recruitment event with an added twist. Unlike a traditional recruitment drive, HackerHunt combines the interview process with speed and quality. At our event, all candidates are guaranteed to meet directly with all participating employers individually for 5 minutes each. This process continues until every candidate has had a quick chat with every employer present (yes, that’s why we said “guaranteed”). We see this as a win-win situation: employers won’t miss out on any talent and candidates get their due face time. Best of all? This is done over a buffet dinner and chilled beers so that everyone’s evening is comfortable.
Leveraging on both conventional and unconventional channels, we first engage about 400 – 500 initial applicants for each HackerHunt. From there, we use a proprietary combination of relevance algorithms and gamified technical assessments to sieve out the most relevant 70 to 100 candidates. We then invite them for the event in a central location in the CBD area for easy accessibility. Because HackerHunt is held after office hours, no candidate ever needs to worry about any pesky leave application – it really doesn’t get any easier than this!
For our inaugural HackerHunt on 19th March, we gathered 64 Software Developers to meet top-notch employers such as Accenture, Capgemini, VISA, AXA, Circles.Life, NinjaVan, OCBC, Play2Lead and more! The enthusiastic participants had diverse skills such as frontend, backend and full-stack development and all came with the intention of securing exciting job offers.
Team Accenture eagerly awaiting HackerHunt candidates!
Based on current industry hiring trends, on 7th June, we held a HackerHunt focused purely on roles of Data family. A total of 65 candidates, comprising of Data Scientists, Data Engineers and Big Data Developers, turned up to meet participating employers like Micron, PropertyGuru, RedMart, NinjaVan, Grasshopper and more.
Our Gold Package employer – Micron Technology talking about innovation!
Here at HackerTrail, we understand the challenging job market in Singapore. Needless to say, it is incredibly difficult to find that dream tech job or that perfect techie to join your team, which is why we have designed HackerHunt as your ultimate one-stop solution. But why take our word for it when you can hear from past participants?
 “ It was just perfect, crisp and well organised! I would definitely love to participate again! 
– Backend Developer
“ The event was well organized with top employers and the interviews went through pretty fast. I went through the interview process for one of the participating companies at the event and I got a final offer within two weeks. Overall, it was a good experience and an informal way to meet employers, grow your network and keep in touch with the tech community in Singapore.”
– Fullstack Developer successfully placed via HackerHunt
Keen on joining the next event? Register your interest HERE!
HackerTrail is an award-winning recruitment technology that serves top employers and geeks in Asia. We’re specialists in tech recruitment, and we’re really good at it. Stay tuned for the upcoming HackerHunt
events !
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The Secret Hack For Hiring World Class Talent

95% of conversations between founders and managers in Tech revolve around how hard it is for them to attract and retain top talent.¹ It is fashionable to commiserate about the tussle for talent. Plus it is objectively hard to hire 10x people and keep them happily engaged for the long haul.

But all hope is not lost. During my tenure at great companies like Google, Facebook, Intuit & Aleph, I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews.² I’m here to tell you about a hack that will give you an unfair advantage and help you hire high output people better and faster than your opponents can hire them away.

The trick is to be so good at interviewing that you out-hire the chumps at Amazon and Facebook³. But to fully explain, I’m going to have to ask you to connect with your inner-MBA and picture a 2-by-2: on the X axis is plotted how good a person is at Interviewing (which is a skill, and a game-able skill at that). On the Y axis is how good they are at actually working, doing whatever it is you’re hiring them to do. I’ve plotted this 2 by 2 for you above.

To make sure we understand — the up-and-to-the-right of this quadrant is people who are good at both working and interviewing (of course they are good at it to different extends — there can be many dots scattered there).

Now that we have the lay of the land straight, let’s look at the four quadrants. If you interview often enough, you are bound to run into all four types.⁴

The Quadrant of Disaster (Good at Interviewing, Bad at Working)
People who are good at interviewing but bad at the actual work are an unmitigated disaster. Google can afford to hire them (just) and offload them later. You can’t. You have to be super vigilant about keeping them away. The more you make the interview practical and hands-on, by working on a micro-problem that represents the real work the candidate will have to excel at, the better. I’m also a big fan of trial periods, and references. Some combinations of these can help you avoid disaster, which you *must* do.

On to the next group:

The Quadrant of Irrelevance (Bad at both)
Now this one’s easy. These are the interviews you will cut short, going directly to the cubicle of whoever did the screening for that candidate. They really shouldn’t have gotten as far as an interview in the first place.

On the plus side, there is little chance you’ll hire them, so all you’ve lost is how long it took you to place this person squarely in the bottom left quadrant.

The Quadrant of Value (Bad at Interviewing, Good at Working)
This group is the point of the whole exercise.

Here you’ll find an extraordinary software engineer who is just not that adept at answering situational questions, or simply didn’t take the time to prepare in a very systematic way.

Hire them!

Now you may be tempted to raise all kinds of objections: shouldn’t we worry that they didn’t prepare? or will their poor communications skills at the interview hamper their work in the collaborative environment we all surely encourage in our teams? and so on and so on.

Yes. OK. Maybe. That’s not the point. These candidates can do well in the role. You can think of them as value stocks. It’s not about finding their faults. It’s about the kernel of ability that you can recognise in them. They may not have everything but that’s not a bad thing. If they had everything — they’d be in the next quadrant.

The Quadrant of Entitlement (Good at both)
Here we find superstars who are supremely skilled. They are very good at their job, and they are very good at communicating about it and answering questions that start with: “Tell me about a time when…”.

You want to hire them. But so does everyone else. They found time to interview with you wedged between getting offers from two or three strategic over-payers. If you can get them and keep them, say because they fell in love with your earth-shattering mission — great! But if not, they’ll just take the offer you can’t possibly match.

So now you understand why you’re better off hunting for talent in the quadrant of value, if you can. Let’s talk about how you do that.

How to Interview for Value
In order to hack the system, you must become exceptionally good at interviewing, good enough to tell the difference between someone who just interviews poorly, and someone who is not good enough. There are several tricks to do that: Ask smarter questions. Beat the “Tell me about a time when” crowd. Follow up well if the first answer is not satisfactory. Draw out introverts. Find a way to talk to the person their way.

Unfortunately there is no magic trick to becoming a sufficiently penetrating interviewer to be able to tell. But the same techniques you need anyway to filter out Disaster quadrant candidates, will also come in handy here. Have them do an exercise and sit with them while they do it. Put them on trial. Give them a project as a contractor. See what happens.

Above all, when you exit an interview, picture the 2-by-2. Try to place the candidate in the right quadrant, and if they are in the quadrant of value, pounce to hire them. In all likelihood you will win yourself a long-term high performer.


1. Also, 95% of confidently quotes statistics are made up on the spot.
2. Mostly for product manager, but also many engineers, tech leads, managers, data scientist and even the odd biz dev.
3. They are of course not chumps. They just don’t have to hustle like you do.
4. Although not in equal amounts — any decent screening process will filter out most people from the bottom left side.

This article originally appeared on Hackernoon.

About HackerTrail

HackerTrail is a curated marketplace exclusively for IT talent ranging from developers to infrastructure specialists to data scientists. Using clever technology and gamification, HackerTrail connects the right candidate to the right job opportunities with top companies across Southeast Asia.

Looking to grow your tech team more efficiently? Post your tech jobs for free* and lock-in interviews with the right tech talent on today! Want to find out how to optimise your job postings to receive top profiles of pre-curated, responsive candidates? Get in touch with our Customer Success team at

*For a limited period only till March 2018.

The Best Interview Questions We’ve Ever Published

Hiring is by far the biggest concern we hear from founders. Finding the right people to work at your company is high-stakes. Poor performers can take a catastrophic toll on your success. Most seasoned CEOs say that founders should be spending as much as 50% of their time early on getting the right talent in the door. Yet, the actual hiring process tends to remain more of an art than a science for startups — regardless of all the structure and rubrics they try to impose.


This makes the questions you choose to ask during interviews of paramount importance. You only get a narrow sliver of time with each candidate, so you need to maximize your learning per minute. How do you do that?

Over the years here at the Review, we’ve collected and aggregated hundreds of interview questions recommended by top leaders in every field. Our goal in this piece is to present the very best questions we’ve heard for hiring incredible performers — with deep dives into interviewing technical and product candidates in particular. We hope having them all in one place will make your future hiring that much easier.

1. Ask these questions to test for the 7 most important high-performer attributes.

As Co-founder and CEO of KoruKristen Hamilton has long worked to bridge the gap between graduation and employment, and place people in jobs where they’ll excel. Working with candidates who lack real-world experience has had a surprising byproduct — she now has a crystal clear sense of the skills and traits that make people great performers. She’s identified seven characteristics that, taken together, best translate into someone killing it at their job. These traits transcend department or career stage, and they apply to entry-level engineers and marketing executives alike:

  • Grit
  • Rigor
  • Impact
  • Teamwork
  • Ownership
  • Curiosity
  • Polish

To test for each of these qualities during a standard interview, Hamilton has curated very specific questions—

For grit, ask:
Tell us about a time in your career that you wanted something so badly that you were unstoppable in pursuing it. What obstacles did you overcome to get there?

As you listen to the answers to those questions, pay close attention to both the tasks and the duration described. “Try to get a sense of how long that person can stick it out. How long are they going to beat their head against a problem?”

For rigor, ask:
Tell us about a time you used data to make a decision.

Look for details about the complexity of the data and how the thinking happened, rather than focusing on them immediately getting to the right answer.

For impact, ask:
1) Tell us about a time you had a measurable (read: quantitative) impact on a job or an organization. 

2) Tell us about a person or organization that you admire. Why do you think they have made an important impact?

You’re looking for signs that the candidate understands the larger picture, and that they can speak to the importance of making trade-offs and prioritizing appropriately.

For teamwork, ask:
1) When working on a team, what’s hardest for you? 
2) What about a time you worked on a difficult team? What was your role and experience? Do you know where the other people involved were coming from? Tell us about the situation from their perspective.
3) What makes you happiest and most effective when working with others?

You want to use their answers to measure EQ and ability to empathize. Are they able to acknowledge and understand the experiences of those around them?

For ownership, ask:
Tell us about a time you experienced what you perceive to be an injustice.

“Regardless of their answer, empathize with the unfairness,” Hamilton says. “Say, ‘Are you kidding? That’s crazy. What a jerk.’ True owners will immediately respond with something like, ‘Yeah, but I recognized it wasn’t worth my time to complain about it.’ They won’t buy in and double down on venting or complaining.”

For curiosity, ask:
What’s the last thing you really geeked out about?

You’re looking for them to say something they then obsessively taught themselves about. “If someone doesn’t have that quality — if they don’t need to learn every single detail of the topic in front of them — they’re probably not going to reflect that level of engagement in their work, either.”

For polish:
1) See how they handle themselves when you interject or interrupt them in the conversation.

2) Do they send a thank you note shortly after the conversation?

You’re looking for calm confidence when they might otherwise be flustered or thrown off their game. Gratitude following an interview indicates humility and a sense of professional standards that will translate into their work.

For more on how to ask these questions and suss out the 7 traits for success, read the rest of Kristen Hamilton’s interview here.

2. This is the anatomy of the perfect technical interview.

As the former Technology VP for both Amazon and Zynga, Neil Roseman‘s interviewed hundreds of people and believes every phase of the process needs to be meticulously designed to drill deep into skill sets, actual accomplishments, culture fit and leadership potential.

In his opinion, great interview questions focus on specific examples of the candidate’s unique contributions, actions, decisions and impact. Ideally, you want to:

Probe: give me an example…

Dig: who, what, where, why and how on every accomplishment or project

Differentiate: we vs. I, good vs. great, exposure vs. expertise, aprticipant vs. owner/leader, 20 yard line vs. 80 yard line

“I look for past projects and accomplishments that seem to have enough weight and depth that I can apply STAR questions — STAR stands for situation, task, actions and results.” Roseman subscribes heavily to an approach called Behavioral Interviewing, in which STAR questions are a staple. They include:

  • What’s the background of what you were working on?
  • What tasks were you given?
  • What actions did you take?
  • What results did you measure?

When it comes to soft skills and culture fit, Roseman is a big fan of one question — he asks everyone, no matter the position: Do you consider yourself lucky?

“I’m looking for the people who embody the phrase ‘fortune favors the prepared,’” says Roseman. “It’s the willingness to be ready and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. At a startup, this is particularly valuable.”

For more questions and advice on how to structure interviews from Roseman, read on here.

3. Identify ‘Adaptable Leaders’ with this list of questions.

According to Anne Dwane, former CEO of Zinch, CBO of Chegg and now Co-founder of Village Global, the most important quality any startup leader (current or aspiring) can have is adaptability. And the most defining attribute of adaptable leaders is who they surround themselves with. They are often on teams with other flexible, resourceful, innovative people. Whether now or in the future, Dwane recommends a certain hiring framework to help you identify self-motivated individuals who will enrich your team’s aptitude for learning.

“The most powerful way to construct a job description is to clearly communicate that unyielding, consistent learning is a core part of the job,” she says.

After making introductions, Dwane begins with a pointed two-part question: What motivates you and what do you want to do next?

Most candidates deflect the question by repeating their resume. “They try to add to it but it doesn’t demonstrate what I’m looking for which is: active listening, the ability to answer the question, and self-awareness.”

She then asks these questions to identify whether a candidate is an adaptable learner:

  • What have you started?
  • How would you describe yourself in your own words?
  • How would a colleague describe you in three adjectives?
  • What current trends are you seeing in your profession?
  • What new things have you tried recently?

The last two questions are strong indicators that your candidate is self-motivated to explore and embrace new trends, routines, and technology. Take note of this as a critical demonstration of self-learning in your interview. Dwane advises probing more about the new process he or she introduced, why it intrigued them, and the results of implementing it.

As for homework: “I love to give people an opportunity to give a compelling presentation on a topic they care about,” Dwane says. “That’s the game. If they look pained while they are doing it or don’t enjoy the assignment, then you know someone isn’t going to have a gameful approach. You want someone who is going to enjoy talking about the topic and putting the presentation together.”

For more on how to spot, hire and nurture adaptable leaders, read more from Dwane here.

4. These questions are designed to bust bureaucracy before it starts.

As VP of Engineering at Airbnb with an impressive track record behind him, Mike Curtis has seen the dire impact that bureaucracy can have on a company. In his experience, hiring well to begin with is one of the most powerful antidotes to paralyzing bureaucracy. You want to recruit and onboard people you know you can trust, so you that you don’t have to set up a bunch of newfangled process just to ensure productivity and quality.

To hire specifically for this type of trustworthiness, Curtis recommends allocating at least 45 minutes to an interview that is entirely about culture and character. Diversity of backgrounds and opinions is championed at Airbnb, so ‘Culture fit’ is about finding people who share the high-performance work ethic and belief in the company’s mission. If people don’t share your conviction in your company’s success, they aren’t a fit.

At Airbnb, Curtis found that these four moves truly extract the most value out of this type of interview:

Let them shine first. For the first 15 minutes of your culture interview, let a candidate describe a project they’re particularly proud of. The idea here is to get a sense of what excites them — is it technical challenges, for example, or perhaps personal interactions? “Try to suss out what gives this person energy,” Curtis says.

Then make them uncomfortable. The other side of that coin is that you want to learn how candidates react when they’re not excited, too. Ask them about difficult experiences, or moments when they were somehow not in control. Some of Curtis’s go-to questions are:“Describe a time you really disagreed with management on something. What happened?” and “Think of a time you had to cut corners on a project in a way you weren’t proud of to make a deadline. How did you handle it?” This exercise is all about reactions. “Does the candidate start pointing fingers and say, ‘This is why I couldn’t get my job done, this is why this company is so screwed up’? Or do they start talking about how they understood another person’s point of view and collaborated on a solution?”

Calibrate your results. It’s easy to see if someone nailed a coding challenge. It’s a lot harder to get comparable reads on candidates when you’re working with a group of different interviewers. It takes time to get on the same page, but you can help the process along. “We get all our interviewers together in a room and have them review several packets at the same time to help expedite the process of getting to some kind of calibration on what’s important to us,” Curtis says. Essentially, try to make the subjective as objective as you can.

Watch out for signs of coaching. If a candidate seems to have uncanny command of your internal language, take note. The public domain is exploding with tips and tricks from past interviewees and journalists. “Especially as your company starts getting more popular or well-known, there’s going to be a lot of stuff about you out on the Internet. If people start quoting things to you that they obviously read in an article or something that is your own internal language, they were probably coached. They either read something or they talked to somebody who works at the company,” Curtis says. That’s not to say you should reject them immediately, just don’t let yourself be swayed.

For more from Curtis on not only how to hire, but onboard and train new employees to head bureaucracy off at the pass, read more of our interview with him here.

5. Recruiting practices and questions for hiring ‘Originals’.

Bestselling author and Wharton professor Adam Grant has spent years researching and interviewing people he refers to as ‘originals’. In his book of same name, he shows how to identify, foster and nurture nonconformists — and the brilliant benefits they bring to their work and the organizations they join. Here are the questions he suggests asking to recognize and recruit them in a startup setting:

Tell me about the last time that you encountered a rule in an organization that you thought made no sense. What was the rule? What did you do and what was the result? “You’re not excited about candidates who just let it go. But you also don’t want somebody who says, ‘Yeah I saw this rule, marched into my boss’ office, argued and quit over it,” says Grant. “What you’re looking for is somebody who says, ‘I saw this rule that I thought didn’t make sense. I first did some research to figure out how it was created and why it was this way. I spoke to a couple of people who’d been at the organization longer than I had, asking if they knew what it was initially set out to do. If they didn’t know, I reached out to some people who have influence and sought their advice on ways forward to improve the rule and made a few suggestions on how. I got tasked to lead the committee to change the rule. We made a change and here’s the evidence that we had an impact.’ That’s an original who’s learned to be a tempered radical.”

Why shouldn’t I hire you? “In Originals, I talk about founder Rufus Griscom, who pitched his startup Babble to investors by listing three reasons not to invest in his business. Sarah Robb O’Hagan once opened her job application the same way, describing why she shouldn’t be hired. In one breath, she outlined which qualifications she didn’t meet, but also why she was suited to do it anyway,” says Grant. “She challenges the job description and shows that she can bring something different than what a company thinks it needs. Part of why this worked is that, in one fell swoop, she shows extreme awareness: not only of her abilities, but also of the proposed requirements — and why some don’t really matter.”

It’s your first few months on the job. What questions would you first ask and to whom? Presidential candidates are often asked what they plan to accomplish in their first 100 days in office, and hiring managers tend to evaluate candidates for leadership positions similarly. “This idea came from one of my collaborators, Reb Rebele, an applied positive psychology expert who leads many of our hiring projects,” says Grant. “He observed that when new people are coming in, their first few months should be as much about learning as doing. Originals distinguish themselves by asking questions that no one else has thought to ask, and posing them to people who have fresh perspectives to offer. Ask candidates what questions they’d want to ask in their first two months on the job, and who their ideal sources would be. Listen for examples of open-ended questions — rather than just yes/no or testing-my-own-thinking styles of inquiry — as well as a willingness to draw from and challenge many sources of information.”

How would you improve our interview process? “I find this question powerful for a couple of reasons. One, it’s an opportunity to see if they’re willing to speak up. Two, it’s a window into their thinking process. When they encounter something that they don’t like, do they have the instinct not only to raise why it may be broken but also suggest how it can be better?” asks Grant. “It’s a chance to learn about their tendency to share opinions that might be unpopular but beneficial. It gives you a little bit of perspective on their ability and inclination to improve their environment.”

For more on fostering an environment where original talents can truly thrive, read more of our exclusive interview with Adam Grant.

6. Interview questions for hiring the best product managers.

Todd Jackson has led product organizations across some of the best companies in tech, from Google to Facebook to Twitter. Now VP of Product at Dropbox, he’s worked with hundreds of product managers — and hired dozens — over the course of his career. In every product manager interview, he recommends making sure a candidate fits the following criteria:

  • Intellectual ability
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Effectiveness within the company culture
  • Knows that users wants
  • Strategic/ Analytical Thinking
  • Technical background
  • Entrepreneurial spirit

Below, Jackson lists the questions he’s found to be the most valuable when interviewing product management candidates in person, what he believes good answers sound like, and the responses that should give you pause.

QUESTION 1 (Product Sense): Name a product that you think is exceptionally well-designed – ideally a non-electronic product. Tell me what makes it well-designed. (Testing intellectual ability, communication, and whether they know what customers want.)

WEAK ANSWER: Something superficial or cliché. “If they don’t go into a lot of detail and say something fluffy like, ‘My electric toothbrush is so great, it’s won a bunch of design awards,’ that’s a strike against them.”

GOOD ANSWER: First, the candidate will get excited to talk about a product they admire, and it will show. “One of the best answers I heard was about the Micro Kickboard scooter for kids – I remember the candidate getting really excited telling me all the details: ‘I recently noticed how thoughtfully designed my niece’s scooter is. It’s the mini scooter that you see a lot of kids riding lately. It’s got two big polyurethane wheels in front and a third small one in the back, so it goes over cracks and bumps smoothly and prevents faceplants. Also, instead of handlebars that turn, it has a ‘lean-to-steer’ design which is really intuitive for kids, teaching them how to steer by shifting their weight. And it’s also just super easy to assemble and disassemble—basically just two parts that click together.’”

Particularly strong candidates will look at the product from the user’s perspective and talk about the problem it solves. In the above example, “the candidate spoke about how the users of the product (kids) are actually different than the customers of the product (parents) and all the product design and marketing ramifications of that, which I though was quite insightful.” The candidate will have a lot to say and will be very enthusiastic as they speak, especially about the very small details that provide a finished and delightful experience. “That’s how you know the difference between a passionate product person and someone who just wants a job.”

To take it up a notch, you can follow up with the question: “What would you improve about it?” or “If you were the CEO of the company that produced this product, and you wanted to sell 10X as many, what would you do?” Look for educated guesses or reasonable assumptions about the market for the product, who the target buyer is, how the market could expand, the constraints of production, etc. Those are the components that should drive the next best step for the product, it shouldn’t just be a random idea.

Note: It can be easy for PM candidates to prepare for this question. You can make sure they’re thinking on their feet by constraining the space they choose from. For instance, the example must be a physical or non-electronic product or one they have at home.

QUESTION 2 (Technical Skill): In as much detail as possible, tell me what happens when I type into my browser and hit enter. (Testing intellectual ability, communication skills and technical background.)

WEAK ANSWER: Their response might be rudimentary or confused. You could get an answer like, “I see the Yahoo homepage, right?”

GOOD ANSWER: Something like, “Your browser generates an HTTP request. A DNS lookup gets the IP address of the host. The server receives the request, checks for cookies to see if you’re logged in, and eventually generates an HTTP response containing the content you should see. Your browser receives the response, parses the DOM and starts to render the page. CSS, images and Javascript are loaded to modify the page.”

The strongest candidates can answer this question in good detail, taking about five minutes to walk you through the process. This is a good level-setting question for product managers so you can see where they stand technically. They don’t have to hit every single action that happens. Watch out especially for candidates who say they’ve programmed in the last few years but are clueless about this question. That’s definitely a red flag.

If you think that candidates may have prepared for this type of question, you can mix it up by drilling them on specifics at various junctures of their response. Or you can ask them similar questions about the fundamentals of iOS or Android programming if they have a lot of mobile experience.

QUESTION 3 (Leadership): Tell me about a time when you disagreed with engineers and designers on your team. What did you do? (Tests communication, leadership and effectiveness within the company culture)

WEAK ANSWER: There will be allusion to finger-pointing, or mention of blame. The tone of their response will be generally negative, and you might see a dip in self awareness, complemented by a spike in defensiveness. They’ll be more concerned with smoothing over their role in the confrontation than sticking to the facts.

GOOD ANSWER: They’ll demonstrate leadership by diagnosing root causes of the conflict. They’ll show humility. “One candidate told me she couldn’t agree with her engineering and design team on one feature — they all wanted to build it and she didn’t. She said, ‘Okay let’s time-bound it. We’ll do the idea, but if it doesn’t pay off in four weeks, we’re going to change it to this other idea.’ I thought that was a great solution to avoid gridlock.” The candidate knew when to push back and when to disagree and commit.

A candidate who ends their response by saying what they learned from the situation and how they applied these lessons going forward should get serious bonus points.

QUESTION 4: What are all the implications of self-driving cars? (Tests strategic and analytical thinking and entrepreneurial spirit.)

WEAK ANSWER: A response that is boring, cursory, or disorganized. They might throw out some obvious answers, like unemployment for taxi drivers, or self-driving big rigs. But they won’t go deeper into the ripple effects in other industries that will create a whole new wave of businesses. They’ll stay in the inner ring of cause and effect.

GOOD ANSWER: Showing vision and imagination, they’ll paint you a picture of what could happen. Maybe car seats will be arranged in a circle around a coffee table! No one will own cars anymore, which means no one will have garages anymore. “I got an amazing answer to this one the other day: ‘Google will open-source the software for self-driving cars so that any manufacturer can build them, the way they offer Android,’” says Jackson. “I have no idea if that will be true or not, but I thought it was pretty creative.”

Most importantly, the answer should come packaged in some sort of organizational framework. Maybe they’ll say how life will change for drivers, and then the auto industry, and then urban planning. Ideas should be presented within themes, not as a free-association jumble.

QUESTION 5: What aspect of product management do you find the least interesting?

WEAK ANSWER: A PM who complains about doing nitty gritty work (e.g. taking notes, scheduling meetings) and implies that these things are beneath them.

GOOD ANSWER: A great PM understands that they need to lead from the back, and they relish their role as an unsung hero. The candidate doesn’t have to say they love the tough nitty-gritty stuff, but they should get points for acknowledging the grungy parts of PM work and why it’s important to be in service to the team and mission their supporting.

QUESTION 6: Why do you want to work at this company or on this product?

WEAK ANSWER: “X industry/company is getting a lot of buzz. Everyone is talking about it. It’s really hot right now.”

GOOD ANSWER: Clearly passionate about the industry, company or project. Look for specific ideas and plans for what they’d want to do and how they want to make things better. This indicates that they really did their homework and have thought deeply about the company. In particular, keep your eyes peeled for long-term thinking, which indicates commitment to the industry or type of product. For example, is the person talking about what robots or drones will look like in 5 or 10 years? Or do they just talk about how robots and drones are exciting now? Here are some examples:

I’ve always wanted to work in X industry, I’ve done Y and Z in the last couple years to really prepare for this career move.

Company X has a huge competitive advantage because of Y.

I have been using product X for a while, and I really like feature Y. I think feature Z could really improve growth/engagement/monetization and here’s why…

You want people who are excited about the space, not just this one opportunity.

For more on finding, vetting and closing the best product management candidates, read more from Todd Jackson here.

This article originally appeared on First Round Review.

About HackerTrail

HackerTrail is a curated marketplace exclusively for IT talent ranging from developers to infrastructure specialists to data scientists. Using clever technology and gamification, HackerTrail connects the right candidate to the right job opportunities with top companies across Southeast Asia.

Looking to grow your tech team more efficiently? Post your tech jobs for free* and lock-in interviews with the right tech talent on today! Want to find out how to optimise your job postings to receive top profiles of pre-curated, responsive candidates? Get in touch with our Customer Success team at

*For a limited period only till March 2018.

Recruiting top talent? ‘Spray and pray’ is NOT the way to go!

Whether you are a multinational, a rapidly growing mid-sized business or a teething startup, recruitment is bound to be one of your perennial business challenges. Digital presence and social media outreach have made it easier for your HR or recruitment agency to garner mass interest in your job requirement. However, that does not necessarily guarantee that you will find your ideal candidate. “Spraying and Praying” may have its benefits, but it doesn’t work in recruitment anymore. Here is why you need a definite recruitment strategy.

Beyond the Number Game
For most recruiters, recruitment is a number game – reach out and interview as many candidates as you can, and you will eventually find the right fit. While these basics still hold some place in recruitment strategy, the nature of candidates has evolved. The sheer number of specializations offered by schools today indicates the amount of graduates available for hiring every year. In Singapore alone, the number of degree holders increased from 26% in 2000 to 51% in 2013. Such growth makes it impossible to manually assess each candidate.

Resume v/s Talent
As the talent pool gets bigger and better and individual assessment is ruled out, recruiters have the option of screening candidates based on their CV’s. However, with a wide variety of CV templates available on the Internet and a number of seemingly qualified candidates, it may not be fair to screen them on the basis of the skills they mention without actually testing them. Additionally, there is bound to be several candidates with similar qualifications and experience. Even with good internal CV screening software and seasoned recruitment instincts, there is always the risk of filtering out good talent.

You are “telling” your role, not setting an experience
The run-of-the-mill recruitment processes – like advertising, shortlisting & interviewing – lack transparency and engagement. You list out your requirements and assess your candidate based on an interview or a case study – a case study that the candidate has probably already prepared for, off the Internet. In many cases, this is an inaccurate and non-objective assessment of your candidate’s skills. Additionally, the blanket assessment practices do not give your candidate a feel of the role they are interviewing for or the brand they will be working with. Whether a candidate is a fit for the role cannot just be theoretical; it needs to be explored and agreed upon.

Roping in Gen Y
According to a report by Manpower Group, up to 1/3 of the global workforce will be made up of millenials by 2020. Naturally, most companies have taken that fact as an indication to evolve, doing what they can to lure in Gen Y candidates. As such, blanket recruitment strategies may no longer work. If you want a sizeable number of Gen Y to join you and stay loyal, make sure to speak their language. Weave more dynamic social and interactive experiences into your hiring strategies.
Nowadays, technology is developing different sectors and making them more competent and resourceful; HR is not far behind. Here are three ways you can use technology to improve your hiring strategy:

#1. Data Analytics

Analytics can be used by companies in several ways. For recruitment in particular, it can help you efficiently filter through the noise and shorten your pool of candidates. This can be done by analyzing existing employee data, their productivity and engagement, and accordingly build an ideal employee persona. The company can then hire employees that replicate or compliment these personas as required. Alternatively, analytics can be used to directly assess your CV pool and shortlist candidates. Models for these analytics can be built in- house by your data analysts or you could use online tools and platforms available in the market.

#2. Social Media Integration

Whether its building the employee brand or outreaching for talent, there is no escaping social media. According to LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Recruiting Trends, emphasis on employer branding stays top priority with 47% of the respondents working on outbound recruitment strategies through social media. Companies should ensure that 1. their recruitment strategy has space for social media integrations and 2. their recruitment partners also use social media efficiently to prospect and engage with potential candidates.

#3. Gamification

Gamification adds an element of fun and engagement to your hiring processes. Given an increasing talent pool with seemingly similar backgrounds, testing candidates’ actual skills should take center stage. Recruitment platforms like HackerTrail tailor company job requirements into creative online challenges for candidates. Gamification, through challenges, help companies duly assess the candidates – all the while making the process exciting for them.
As people and technology evolve over time, so must the inner workings of businesses. Today, technology has made HR functions and recruitment processes more efficient and resourceful. It’s time that you move away from the one-size-fits all recruitment strategy and tailor your assessment processes to reflect your brand and your hiring needs.

Need someplace to ignite your inspiration? Check out our new product at HackerTrail – the Marketplace.

Hiring Trends: 2016 wrap-up with HackerTrail

As we wind up 2016 and chalk-out our strategy for the new year, let’s take a look back at how this year molded the recruitment circuit. Irrespective of the growing candidate pool, the recruitment market continued to stay aggressive with companies competing with each other to attract top talent. The hiring strategies this year were also heavily influenced by employers in their efforts to woo and retain millennials.

Here is a look at the hiring practices that dominated 2016:

Social Media Recruitment 

The initiation of social media in recruitment practices has opened new avenues for companies over the years and 2016 was no different. According to a survey by LinkedIn’s global recruiting trends, 47% of the respondents stated that their outbound recruitment strategies involved social media. Social media outreach is empowering employers to go beyond traditional job posts and establish a continued relationship with prospective candidates. Employers are grasping the concept of being “switched on” on relevant social media platforms to build a strong presence to showcase their company brand and culture to their respective target audience.

Employer Branding

Employer branding continues to play a significant role in recruitment strategy. According to a survey by Jobvite, 59% of the respondents used social media to understand the company culture of organizations they wanted to work with as well as the perks and benefits that came with the role. Companies are putting immense emphasis on their value proposition as employers and working towards the culture they want to foster. This is not just to attract new candidates but ensure that they retain their top talent as well. Here’s how one company found success with video content on employer branding:

Recruitment Technology

The recruitment tech scene this year leaped beyond aggregators and market places. From the introduction of AI in automating recruitment workflows to writing unique machine learning algorithms for efficient candidate screening, technology is redefining the recruitment sphere. Companies are not just using technology to revamp their workflows but also using it to build focused and reliable assessment methods. For employers who engage HackerTrail to recruit, the hiring processes go beyond mere interviews as HackerTrail’s proprietary technology allows to automagically curate candidates, minimize the human bias and maintain the focus on quality. Coding challenges via gamification are put in place to test candidate skills, eliminating the element of chance from the process. This also gives candidates an opportunity to experience the job scope first hand and have fun while they are at it.

“Hackertrail was both an amazing experience and an unconventional interview process that allowed me to connect with my future employers through interesting challenges. It gave me a good preview of what to expect in my future role as a web developer and I thoroughly enjoyed the stretch of my technical capabilities while going through the tasks!”

– Yang LJ

(Top Talent on HackerTrail recruited by a government agency)

Predictive Analytics

Like every business function, human resources are heavily relying on predictive analytics to understand future scenarios and bet on their strategy and other executive decisions. Companies are using predictive analytics to understand their candidates better based on their interviews, submissions, work experiences and other data points. Many companies build models to assess their candidates and determine their potential fit in the company. Companies are also using predictive analytics on existing employee data to scrape for patterns to model their ideal candidate and shortlist accordingly. HackerTrail focuses on two key hiring metrics: speed and quality to empower employers to focus on the right candidates and shorten their time to hire.

This year has been a “candidate’s market” more than ever before with 2016 witnessing the industry restructuring their recruitment approach from “push” to “pull” – a focus on attracting and nurturing a healthy talent pool rather than blanket outreach and active scouting. Recruitment strategies anchoring firmly on technology and analytics are bound to up the notch in the coming year. With emphasis on efficiency and metrics, automation will be the focus in 2017 and the key for companies to fit into the rapidly evolving innovation landscape of recruitment.

We look forward to sharing some exciting news in the early part of the new year so do keep in touch by following us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Till then, here’s us wishing you best wishes for the new year ahead!

New year, new recruitment strategy? Here is one place to start:

It’s A Visual World: 3 Design Tips For Creating Infographics

Infographics can engage both visual and casual learners who want summaries of facts in minutes. Their appeal and ability to compress information without compromising clarity are what make them so effective.

Design influences the way prospects and investors perceive your brand. All too often, some presenters suffer from the impression that content and delivery are enough to leverage their proposals.

They end up falling into the trap of relying on either a bare deck or text-heavy slides. This has led to ineffective slide decks that have tuned audiences out and vilified PowerPoint.

It’s interesting to note that PowerPoint presentations rely on the same graphic design principles applied to infographics, such as color, typography, and white space. A PowerPoint deck can equally benefit from incorporating the balance between information and graphics in its own design.

1. Organise Your Research

Segregate key points from supporting details. Key points should be included in the deck, while supporting details can be left for verbal explanation, or further reading.

Here’s how to distinguish what data to keep, and what to edit out:

Identify your goals. Having a clear objective in mind can help you sift through the bulk of your research quickly. Summarize your presentation to specific one-word parts to determine the core message you want to show. This gives you a better idea of what facts you need to back it up.

Draft an outline. Once you’ve narrowed down your main goal and selected the needed information, arrange them in order of importance. This lets you sort the most important supporting parts from the less relevant ones.

Consider the audience. As with any output intended for other people’s viewing, infographics and presentation decks should take note of what’s relevant to their audience. Prioritize what they deem more important, be it stock reports or step-by-step explanations, to keep them interested and engaged.

Whether it’s infographics or slide decks we’re talking about, your audience won’t pick up anything useful from fillers. The end goal is still to inform your prospective viewers about things that will benefit them most.

2. Minimise Visual Clutter

You should layout your deck like an infographic to avoid visually overwhelming viewers. Here’s how to do that:

Use white space. If you want to highlight the right information, don’t shy away from white space. This helps relax people’s eyes and focus their attention on the more important visuals in your presentation.

Visualize as much as possible. While graphs and charts are good visual representations in your presentation deck, it’s highly encouraged to get more creative with your visuals.

Make it readable. Although you’ll want to make appealing visuals, make sure your data is readable at a glance. Avoid over-embellishments by keeping your visuals simple enough to read. Use the appropriate font size and style for your typography.

It’s the calculated use of visuals that makes infographics so appealing. Apply the same tactical reduction of clutter to your deck as you start designing and formatting its overall layout.

3. Specify Your Data

Presenting hard facts is necessary to supplement your claims. On the other hand, engaging images certainly help to pique people’s interest.

In order to make both work together, infographics and slide decks both need to be clear in their data visualisation.

Make your contents as specific and concise as possible with these tips:

Label the info. One of the easiest ways to distinguish the objects on your deck is to label them. This works if you’re presenting statistics, which can be very technical.

For example, when labelling your diagram, specify if the item is the percent of market share increase, the amount of new lead conversions, or something else.

Explain connections. Dropping information at random can be confusing. Your presentation needs a narrative hierarchy that connects each of your points.

Show how Point A gets to Point B in your visualised data. Is it through a comparison of these points, or a progressive timeline? This gives your deck a smoother flow that complements your pitch.

Differentiate images. Establishing a pattern makes your design look more consistent. Just leave enough room to differentiate between similar objects to avoid any confusion.

Aside from labels, give your images some variety in order to make each point distinct. Data on this year’s sales might be visualized differently from, say, the age range of your customers.

Be careful not to oversimplify your visuals. The mind may be designed to avoid processing exaggerated images, but making your visual presentation clear to the viewer is just as important to get your message across clearly.

Summing It Up

Visuals and content are designed to cooperate with each other so that you can produce substantial output regardless of topic. That’s why you should never compromise on one for the other. After all, beautifully presented data might not work without the appropriate specifications.

Likewise, a bulk of content won’t be given a second thought if it isn’t broken down into engaging images.

Infographic design does indeed help in attracting viewers and sharing information. People creating business decks can learn a thing or two from infographic design to also become visually engaging, and yet substantial as well.


Do you enjoy designing sleek interface that will serve its users well? Why not apply for the role of UI Developer at Piktochart? Find out more about this job opening in Penang, Malaysia here.


Article adapted from:

What Do Some Of The Best Companies To Work For Have In Common?

Mention “best employer” and most people would immediately cast their thoughts towards Google. The omnipresent tech/platform giant has built an unshakeable reputation for itself as the premier employer of the best talent in the world. Operating in 70 offices in more than 40 countries around the globe, Google’s legendary perks and unconventional office interiors have made its company culture a hot search topic on… Google.

With employee benefits such as an 18-week maternity leave, a $150,000 reimbursement cap as part of its “Global Education Leave” programme, and, get this, free gourmet meals every day of the week, it’s not hard to see why a large portion of their workforce are enamoured with the company.

But what lies behind Google and other employee-centric companies? Fortune’s Geoff Colvin draws the argument away from the freebies and the niceties by declaring, “It’s personal – not perkonal. It’s relationship-based, not transaction-based.” This is especially significant in the tech sector, where hiring a quality employee – a costly and time-consuming process – accounts for only half of the total effort. Equally as important is keeping your new hire satisfied – content enough that they wouldn’t be tempted to work for one of your many rivals instead.

Ryan Scott of Forbes pinpoints the main source of employee satisfaction as “the opportunity to be part of a company that places a premium on giving back”. Citing Detroit-based Quicken Loans as an example, the retail lender has offered tens of thousands of volunteer work hours and donated more than $10 million towards downtown revitalisation, beautification and safety improvements in areas where team members live, and supporting programs that provide technology-focused skills training and entrepreneurship opportunities for startups in Detroit. It’s no wonder, then, that the company ranked #12 in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For 2015”.

Echoing the need for corporate philanthropy and volunteerism, Stanley Bing of Fortune lists “A conviction of “rightness”” among other yellow brick road traits, such as:

• A strong leader
• A strong hierarchy with a clear reporting structure
• Clear goals that everybody in the organisation understands and buys into
• Accountability for assigned tasks
• Victory always defined and within reach
• Camaraderie
• An open-office plan to facilitate communication and democracy
• High stakes, with even a hint of danger

All these traits will come together to form a solid company culture, but only if executives and leaders walk the talk.

While most would dismiss “company culture” as either an overworked cliché or an unattainable unicorn, the C-word is usually more pervasive than imagined. It is the way people (in this case, employees) behave from moment to moment without being told. This is of paramount importance, especially in the service-leaning industries. Thankfully, more employers are seeing the connection from culture and relationships to workplace greatness to business success. Audit and consultancy firm Deloitte surveyed 3,300 executives in 106 countries and discovered that top management place culture as the most important issue they face, trumping other more conventional concerns such as leadership, workforce capability, performance management, and others.

Analysing the “100 Best”, Geoff Colvin of Fortune describes the four key elements of company culture as:

Mission: These companies are pursuing a larger purpose, and company leaders make sure no one forgets it. When employees are all pursuing a mission they believe in, relationships get stronger.

Colleagues: Several of the “100 Best” also appear on lists of companies where it’s hardest to get hired. Organisations like Twitter, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and The Container Store, attract more than 100 applicants for every job opening. Those companies can hire the cream of the crop, creating a self-reinforcing cycle; the best people want to go where the best people are.

Trust: Show people that you consider them trustworthy, and they’ll generally prove you right. Many of the “100 Best” let employees work whenever they want, and they work far more than if they were punching a clock. Riot Games, creator of the hit game “League of Legends”, even offers unlimited paid vacation. Strong relationships prevent employees from abusing the policy.

Caring: Every company says it value employees. The “100 Best” don’t say it; they show it. This is where some of those celebrated perks do count. A true culture of caring goes beyond perks and includes daily behaviour.

So, will your workplace be the next Google?



“Best to work for, yes! But why?” by Stanley Bing, 7 March 2015

“How to build the perfect workplace” by Geoff Colvin, 5 March 2015

“Why Are These 100 Companies The Best to Work For?” by Ryan Scott, 6 April 2015

“100 Best Companies to Work For” by Forbes

5 Bizarre Psychological Drivers Candidates Look For In Your Company

Silhouette of businessman in lotus position surrounded by work, love and finance worries

As we usher in the new year still hungover from festive spirits, many people are going to be passively open to new job opportunities within and beyond their current industry. This means more people are going to have their eyes open at job listings.

How can you make your company stand out apart from the salary offered? Here are 5 bizarre psychological drivers to adopt in your company to impress candidates:

  1. A Generous CEO

Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price did it. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, took the plunge. Even Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, proclaimed his headline-making decision last week. Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, MD, shared news that they would give 99 percent of their Facebook shares — which is worth approximately $45 billion — to philanthropy.

What was it that these CEOs did? They demonstrated an exceptional degree of generosity.

Stories of generous bosses are undoubtedly feel-good tales. As human beings, we want to receive positive, happy news. Evidence of this has been proven by professors at Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania. They analysed thousands of New York Times articles and found two characteristics that determined the popularity of a given company: “How positive the company is and how much it excited the employee.”

2. Joy!

It is important to embrace the idea that there’s value to experiencing joy at work. The work environment should be safe and playful, which energises and unleashes creativity. Employees can pick up on the joy others are experiencing and share in it. Customers can feel it and be attracted to joyful environments.

Joy, like love, can be taboo in the office. But there is undeniable value to having joy in the workplace – and life, in general!

3. Wellness-focused Interior Design 

Ergonomic furniture drives a fundamental shift from a negative to a positive mindset and it has had a profound effect on the way we design offices. It is the main reason why more and more organisations in the UK are specifying height adjustable desks as well as chairs. But it is also why so many office designs are focussed on improving the wellbeing of people in holistic ways.

This can range from the direct such as the provision of daylight and fresh air to the subtle, such as signs of a working culture that encourages movement, interaction and taking proper breaks. There is now “overwhelming evidence” for the ways in which office design significantly impacts the health, happiness, wellbeing and productivity of people.

4. Flexible Working Hours

Plenty of evidence suggests that cutting back on hours can have substantial benefits, and not just because people are usually happier when they work less. If done right, shortening the workday can also boost productivity.

People who work too much are more likely to gain weight, fall short on sleep, get in car accidents, suffer workplace injuries and develop stress-related illnesses. And as fatigue sets in at the end of a long day, risks go up for eyestrain, headaches and muscle pain, while mistakes become more common.

Work less, do more: It’s an appealing idea that’s becoming reality for a growing number of people in Sweden, where some companies are shortening their workdays from eight hours to six or even fewer.

5. Room For Mistakes

Perfectionism might sound like a positive attribute — but in reality, it can sabotage your chances of success. According to psychologist Alice Boyes, perfectionists often use up all their willpower until they’re psychologically and emotionally exhausted. Then it’s hard for them to continue working on a task.

If you notice perfectionistic tendencies in yourself, Boyes suggests coming up with specific warning signs that you’ve persisted too long on something and it’s time to take a break.

Content adapted from


Cover photo: