Call us  (306) 569-0388

Box 1216 Regina, Saskatchewan CANADA S4P 3B4

Why Asian Applicants Hesitate to Boast (Why Canadian Leaders Miss Out On Ideal Candidates)



In Canada, we believe that someone is qualified to do a job when they have held a similar position in another organization. A successful candidate would demonstrate their experience which aligns with the advertised position by detailing their achievements, accomplishments, responsibilities and results.

Canadian managers expect to see this specialization of experience on a candidate’s resume. Native born Canadian applicants understand that requirement and tailor their resumes to reflect it.

However, in eastern nations, employees are valued for their ability to see the ‘interconnectedness’ between business roles and organizational divisions.

Transferable skills are highly valued and resumes of immigrants from Canada’s top source countries (India, Pakistan, Philippines and China) reflect that spirit. An Asian immigrant’s resume will therefore detail all the different kinds of experience and skills they may have – leaving the recruiter to interpret the applicant as having breadth but no depth in their field of work. So even if the applicant does have the depth of experience to master the role, they are perceived as a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.

An Asian candidate may not have a complete idea as to how to determine accomplishment or achievement in the western model of job search.

Their resumes might list various responsibilities but not necessarily tie accomplishment to those responsibilities, leaving the recruiter to make an educated guess as to the success of the candidate in their home country.

In Asian society, rarely do people put themselves forward, others do it for them.

They find positions through friends, family or recruiters who solicit them directly from university. In their resumes and interviews, they are expected to highlight group effort over individual achievement. It is characteristics such as these – so valued in the East – that make for an unsuccessful job search in the Canadian marketplace.

To connect with the recruiter ‘relationally’, candidates often include items on their resumes that Canadian HR professionals find inappropriate.

Marital status, number of dependents, birth date, picture, age, or citizenship – are all items a Canadian recruiter would consider inappropriate to be included on an application. These can be common inclusions on a resume from an Asian applicant. A cover letter might use off-putting salutations or signature lines such as ‘from your humble servant’ or ‘I pray to God that you will consider my application’.

So what can you do to ensure you are attracting the best of the best, in spite of their alternate application style?

Although the first look at a resume is often brief and cursory, you can alter your process to identify these great candidates by:

• Include on the recruitment and selection team staff members that are diverse, particularly from Asian countries
• Look and ask for evaluations of academic credentials by organizations who compare international education standards
• On your website and social media, explain your recruiting process, including what you look for on a resume for a position in your organization
• Take the time to read between the lines where the candidate is trying to tell you who they are and why they are qualified to be a great new employee for you.


Did you miss the first article in this series?  Click here to read How To Decode The Resume of A New Immigrant So You Hire the Best

These ideas are from Jeanne’s new book, “From Away – Immigration to Effective Workplace Integration”. Find it on Amazon! Buy it here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *