As I entered his conference room, he stood up and slightly leaned forward, I did too.
He said : Welcome ! While his piercing eyes met mine in a five second arm wrestling type of look.
I held on as well as I could, while smiling. He was smiling too, indicating the chair that was ready for me.
He kept his smile, I kept mine.
The remaining thirty minutes of interview turned out to be a conversation. I knew I was hired before he even said so. Probably he felt it was a match, I kind of felt it too.
Thinking back to my first Hong Kong job interview, I realize it took my new boss just 6 seconds to make up his mind to hire me, a rather swift decision.
While in his logistics firm, I learned a lot: marketing, sales, networking, how to handle business on boat parties and how to be congenial in business clubs, as well as at lunches and dinners with VIPs. He could engage in conversation with anyone : truck drivers, CEOs of listed companies and mainland officials. His mood, as changing as the weather: sometimes irritable, inflexible in his demands, on other days, extremely generous and undeniably funny when he decided to be amusing.
He was my first hands-on experience, I still think, of executive presence at its best; so much so that within this international logistics group, from Hong Kong to Tokyo and from Beijing to Johannesburg, he was best known by his first name.