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Conversation with Craig Dobson, APJ Vice President at VMware: Useful tips for hiring managers

Recently, I had a virtual coffee with Craig Dobson, Vice President – Professional Services – Asia, Pacific and Japan at VMware. Craig was kind enough to give me advice on how hiring managers could improve the interviewing experience for their candidates. If you have any questions around hiring, please do contact me here

Hiring is no doubt one of the most challenging tasks for any manager – regardless of what company or industry you are in. Insufficient hiring could be more damaging to the company than you would think, especially in this current climate. That's why I caught up with Craig Dobson, Vice President – Professional Services – Asia, Pacific and Japan at VMware to speak about how hiring managers could improve the interviewing experience for their candidates.


1. Planning

Interview planning is crucial for hiring leaders to perform efficient and effective interviews and to bring the best talent onto their teams. Craig talked me through a very detailed plan he created for his team at VMware to follow when hiring for any roles. The plan is a step by step hiring process that details the interview stages, question types and which stakeholders are invited to sit in an interview panel. 

Craig’s interview questions are designed to cover all the values of the company and are kept in the form of an Excel spreadsheet so that the candidates’ answers can be easily recorded. Questions were written up in advance for each round so that candidates won’t be asked the same questions, a common occurrence in multi-stage interviews. Craig and the interview panel will then use these spreadsheets to compare the candidates answers and to help shortlist for the next round.

2. Information

Hiring managers should provide the candidates with as much information as possible regarding the logistics of the interview. For example, tell the candidates how many rounds of interviews they are expected to go through; what areas will be covered for each round; how they are expected to answer the questions (using the CARL or STAR Models).

Majority of the roles Craig hires for are leadership roles. As such, candidates will receive a copy of the company's Leadership code and interview process PowerPoints prior to the interview, outlining the structure and context so they can get prepared. 

3. Timeline

I’m sure all of us have been a job seeker at least once in our life. Do you remember that feeling going home after a job interview wondering how you went? It isn’t a very nice feeling, is it? Because of this, it is essential for hiring leaders to provide candidates with a realistic timeline in which they can expect to receive feedback after an interview. 

Craig’s goal is to get back to the candidates within 24 hours after the interview to inform them of the results and to provide feedback. As a recruiter, this is music to my ears. Well done to all the hiring managers and internal recruiters out there who try their best to get back to the candidates as quickly as they can.

 4. Feedback

It is necessary for hiring managers to provide candidates with feedback if they have not been successful in getting the job. Why weren't they successful? What advice can you give them to help in their career development? As a recruiter, I’ve always tried my best to obtain the most detailed and honest feedback for my candidates as this will help them succeed in future interviews. I suggest delivering this interview feedback over the phone rather than via emails as it gives the candidates a chance to ask questions or advice. 

If you are working with a recruiter, make sure you always communicate as much as you can. Besides a detailed job description, recruiters would also like to know more about your team and company culture to help when looking for the perfect candidates. A lot of people out there would probably be able to perform the role, but not all of them would fit in the organisation. 

I’m very thankful to Craig for sharing these insights with me. I hope you will find this useful like I have, and if you have any further question i'd be happy to answer them contact me here


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