Verztec Consulting CEO Nicholas Goh Provides Tips on Hiring the Best Employees

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Hiring the best person for the job isn’t easy, but finding a person who loves to learn seems to be one of the most important things to look for.

Hiring the best person for the job isn’t easy, but finding a person who loves to learn seems to be one of the most important things to look for. In this article, CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, Nicholas Goh, provides a tip sheet as to how one can hire people who have a learner attitude.

The job interview is a vital tool that hiring managers use to identify the best candidate for the job. Asking the right questions is key. However, to identify the right hire, it may no longer be enough to ask them where they want to be in five years’ time.

Hiring managers should appraise candidates based on their ability to reflect and learn so they can act on their goals in the most effective way possible. “We have found that learning ability is the leading predictor of success – No. 1 above intelligence and education,” says Laszlo Bock, head of people operations at Google.

The Singapore government has been actively promoting a culture of lifelong learning. The initiative, aptly named, SkillsFuture, is about getting workers to go for training to keep their skills current or even embark on a new career.

With over 10,000 SkillsFuture courses up for grabs and a $500 credit to help pay for the course, Singaporeans can ready themselves for any uncertainties.

For hiring managers who are seeking employees with a learner attitude, a good question would be if they have signed up for any courses recently, especially SkillsFuture courses.

1. Identify self-directed learners

Hence a question like – “What is the most recent thing you you’ve learned professionally?” is useful because “aside from finding out what the candidate actually learned, it’s also very interesting to learn the impetus behind it. Was it for a project, new responsibility or professional development?

“It provides insight into whether the person takes initiative to learn new things so they can be more effective, stay current on advancements in their industry or function, or if the learning was required,” explains Alyssa Gelbard, the founder and president of Resume Strategists, a career consulting and personal branding firm. “I want to make sure our team is comprised of like-minded people who seek out opportunities to learn, are intellectually curious and are adaptable, especially when roles are evolving.”

2. Using failures to identify learning

“One way to find out if the candidate has a learner attitude is to have him to be candid about his failures. This requires the candidate to be vulnerable, but by highlighting his failure, it may reveal that he has a mindfulness that will make him an effective worker,” says Verztec CEO Mr Nicholas Goh.

Penny Herscher, Executive Chairman of FirstRain, a business consultancy, gives advice on how to talk to candidates about their failures in an article for She throws out the question "So, tell me about a time you failed and what you did that contributed to the failure". Perhaps more bluntly is a follow-up question “what is the area where you keep screwing up and you're currently working to fix?".

Herscher observes that “Some very smart people cannot talk about their failures in a meaningful way, or they give all the reasons why it wasn't their fault. Conversely, it is powerful when a candidate can tell me what they are working on (in personal development) and how they are looking for a team with complementary skills, or an environment where they can grow and learn.”

3. How curious are candidates

One useful interview question that can pinpoint a candidate who has a knack for learning is “can you describe a situation where you were presented with a problem outside of your comfort zone and where you were able to come up with a creative solution?”

This question is helpful because “having a natural curiosity to learn more is one of the most important attributes for being successful in a start-up environment.

When one is growing a business, resources can be tight, so start-up employees are often challenged with figuring out problems that are not necessarily in their field of expertise. Possessing the natural curiosity to research an issue, figure out alternatives, and present a new point of view or viable idea separates the average start-up employees from the exceptional ones,”4 says Janice Ryan, vice president of product at the app, Lucktastic.

4. A winning attitude

An employee who has a learner attitude, one who reflects on mistakes and uses the insights to do better next time, or who is constantly on a quest to master new knowledge, is a valuable addition to any company’s team. By knowing the right questions to ask at the job interview, one can pinpoint the right candidates who have the learner’s attitude.

About the AUTHOR

Nicholas Goh is the CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, a leading global content consulting company. Verztec assists companies around the world to design, develop, localize and publish their global communication messages in over 100 languages across various channels.
For more information, please visit

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Nicholas Goh
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