Time to hire the right people

By Orlando Huaman* 08 October 2018, 12:00AM

I read in the Samoa Observer recently that eight C.E.O positions are vacant. Fine. We need them to run the country; but this time let’s get the right ones by hiring them the right way. Those who have tasted the job should not reapply. 

Only if by the general consensus has done a great job, relevant to his position. To renew them is a bad move, a waste of money and a disservice to the country. 

Why? Because they are going to keep doing the same old routine, nothing new,

We need the best C.E.Os we can find. If not from here, advertise the position overseas. Science is science everywhere; we just give them the right tools and they will do what they are good at.

My question is: Are we going to proceed and fill them up following the old tested and ineffectual way of doing it? I am very much afraid that is going to happen. Change is progress. Let us try a different way how to hire people the country needs to drive us forward. It is as simple as that. If we don’t capitulate to change, no need to complaint about the rampant corruption inside the government; inefficiency at all levels.

If we rely on our C.E.Os to take the country forward, we will be barking at the wrong tree. Why? In all my 14 plus years in Samoa there is not one C.E.O. whose performance startled us, the paying population, the public. 

No new ideas, no breakthroughs, all doing routine work with no relevance to push the country forward. Nobody reviews their performance; to see if they deserve the big salaries and perks.  I know it for a fact. 

And besides it is no secret in this small society. It is because these new C.E.Os are not trained to do the job? Just as it is done in countries where their reliance is the excellence of the people they hire is a must. The government should throw away those three year contracts and carefully hire the best people around wherever they come from.

A review of their performance on a yearly basis is a must.  Who needs dead wood around if they don’t perform, why keep them on? Somebody on the side might be willing to show their worth. We should give them the chance. 

I do like Campbell Soup did. They cut the salary of its C.E.O. in half due to the performance rated at “0”.

Let me say this for again. In order for me to qualify as food inspector to work for the U.S.D.A./F.S.I.S., I had to undergo a 6 months training, in all areas of my responsibility. 

Besides I did not have to handle money. Not here, millions are put in their hands and where do they go? To worthless projects, white elephants?

People in very responsible position that do not know how to handle money; don’t know how to collect money; don’t know how to save money; don’t know how to make more money with the money at hand. 

Who needs those people? They are leeches. They are milking this poor country  because the money is not theirs, nobody trained them how to use a tight budget or produce more with less people.

 Parliament can’t open without the presence of the big honcho.  Do they know how to follow the rules, obey the laws that govern us or what? And when they open, they do a “snow job”. Are we going to rely forever in the big donor, just not only that we need the money but also to satisfy political ideologies?

Like say YES when the Chinese ask our leader: how many Chinas do we have? Answer: Just ONE China big donor. 

I always wondered, there have been 56 years since this island became independent from the Kiwis, yet in all this time our  M.A.F. has been unable to send to the Fugalei market  vegetables such as carrots, orange, apple, kiwi fruit, not to say produce our own milk, cheese, or produce a piece of meat sanitarily processed through an abattoir. 

Why? Why? Because we do not hire the right people to do the job expected of them, that is to make us self- sufficient in fruit and vegetable to start with.  SACEP just have changed names. I applied to review their performance for the past six years. No, I am not qualified. M.A.F. sent me a form letter. Boy, do I hate them. They gave the job to somebody (no name) because of “Qualification and experience”. Those words do not mean a thing to me, a job counselor. 

To get an appointment to talk to the C.E.O., no way. Five times I applied to see him, I was ignored. After I complained they set up an appointment for me to see the C.E.O. Same thing. No appointment. Is that the way to treat a customer by a servant of the country? Something is wrong there. .

My question is why do we have a M.A.F. if they don’t solve problem of the great majority of our poor farmers? 

Fact. I have asked big and small plantation owners if they receive help from M.A.F. They feel aggravated and say, of course not.  You can’t improve our agriculture by sitting in an air-conditioned office.  Solution: Prepare an Agricultural Extension Service, staffed by experts in the problems the farmers face. And at their request send them to the fields  to talk science to them . Remember it is the 21st century not the time of Noah. Do something men at MAF.

Education. If I were a Samoan parent, I would be ashamed if a foreign government will pay the school fees of my kid.  So why marry then, if they can’t  rear a kid properly. You know why? Here and everywhere male and female just cohabitate, they don’t bother to get married, produce kid without their sacred duties as a parent. Result: “abandoned” kid selling stuff on the streets. Parents sitting not far away to see if the kid gets the money. 

Health. Nurses are hurting our babes. You know why? Lack of professional responsibilities.  M.O.H. should be sued for malpractice of their nurses. Fact. I went to the hospital for a renal problem. The first time I went in 1996, they could not operate me. No urologist. This time around no specialist either. On my second follow up visit, an angry doctor told me one word and one word only “the surgeon will call you” end of the session. Is that the way to treat a patient? 

Like a assembly line, no compassion. 15 days have passed no call and my 45 Tala gone. I also have a hearing problem, no audiologist. One group came over. I learned of it after they left. We need specialists at the hospital not Associate Ministers.

The poverty in this country is proof of the inability of our leader on how to fight poverty. While Stui is pushing Climate Change all over the world when the  “priority problem” is not climate change but the needs of the great majority of our poor citizens right at home. 

By insulting our donor partners it won’t change the parameters. Our planet will  change whether we like it or not.  Just like it has been doing since 4.5 billions years ago. Countries are greedy just like people. The U.N. is the forum of the rich countries, a complaint from small, tiny island like ours won’t make a dent on them. If we move to another planet. Question: who would move first? The rich and powerful. The rest will fight to the death to survive. That would be a real universal flood that the bible talk about.

 Use the land and the ocean to the maximum. Most of all invest on people (the bright ones) to learn abroad how to run the country.  But for that we need scientifically prepared people in their field of expertise, not just anybody who wants to be a C.E.O. by presenting a poorly written C.V. where there is no trace of what achievement has done in their past jobs. And that is the noble truth.

Out of that poorly written C.V.( I have seen some)  the candidates are put in front of also untrained panelists in the job at hand, members of the panel who really don’t know what the country really need in that position. It is a serious choice, left only to a professional interviewer who knows how to hire the right people for the right job; of course knowing what are the current needs of the country. Otherwise is gambling with the future of the country. Solution: Create an Office of Personnel” staffed with professional people who knows how to choose the right people to fill the right job. One interview is not enough, and preferable a behavioral one; to find out what are his/her true intentions, objectives while applying for the job. As it is now; it is guesswork. Atchung!

This is the same to say: Are you going to put your beloved family under the hands of a doctor who has not received training how to perform, let us say a triple bypass heart surgery?  Any sensible person would say: Of course not. Or give your brand new car to your teenager boy who has not a driver license and on a Friday night to go out with boys to have some fun? Or would a country send their youth to war without training how to kill people? Of course no; because they better kiss them goodbye and wait for them in a coffin.  Yet our country is giving the higher jobs to untrained CEOs. And that is the honest true. 

Now my punch line. I have been opening my big mouth all over about my above peroration. But here is something that can be done.  


We are hiring people to create mediocrity all over. You know why? Because we don’t know how to advertise the position. Irrelevant things like: “ your current C.V. certified, and three references. Contract for three years.” This kind of advertising will not, repeat will not attract the best minds around for the position, any position.

As job counselor and a book writer about it I have come out with a powerful “formula” of how to hire only the best. You and I will agree: the country deserves the best minds to push it forward, by not doing so poverty and inefficiency will reign.  

So here is the way I would advertise big positions, like for a CEO. The part that says “Application Requirements” should read:

“ 1. You most recent updated résumé stating; a) Your Objective*, b) Your Achievements** in your previous employments and c) Why do you want to join our team?” 

Note  *  “An objective, as defined here, is a thoroughly  assessment of your skills and abilities as identified from an analysis of your many work and non-work accomplishments.”

** “An achievement is an experience which gives you this combination of feelings: you feel you have done something well, you have enjoyed while doing it; you are proud of what you have done”. -Since the references requested are all biased, skip that.

This format will attract quality applicants, not the regular Joe who wants to try to land a C.E.O. job. This format is used by Fortune 500 companies, Jeff Bezos of Amazons likes it a lot.

Be very careful Samoa who you hire, your future development is at stake. Poverty must be ameliorated, corruption wiped out. “Yes” men should be careful when they open their mouth. Be courageous and fight with your brain at hand. 

Vote for people who care about you. 


*Orlando Huaman is a Job Counsellor.

By Orlando Huaman* 08 October 2018, 12:00AM

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