Everyone Comes With an Agenda… Or two

Contributor: Sher Yen

What happens when an executive search firm and an event comes together – employees flocking in to seek for a greener pasture.

It is exceptional for an executive search firm to organize events due to the nature of our business.  But Executive WorkPlace International has been organising talks, workshops and seminars.

The purpose of these events?  In view of business, to generate more leads.  In view of relationship, to foster better relationships with our clients and candidates.  In view of marketing, to establish our name and position as head hunter within the spawning industry.  As consultants in this executive search industry, we are more than willing to share our know hows with the rest.

With no surprise, the first people who eagerly sign themselves up are the “sales” agents.  Second in line, the job seekers.

Our last Chinese New Year Gathering took place on 14th February, in conjunction with both Chinese and Western Valentine’s day.  After the event, we conducted a post mortem.  The first thing we all agreed upon; to be selective when it comes to attendees.  We have gotten complaints of pushy insurance agent asking insurance related questions during the “Interview Your Neighbour” Ice Breaking session when they were supposed to interview each other using the name cards as a mock resumes – A fun way of providing interview tips for hiring managers.

“I am not looking for a job,” Stella* said.  “I just can’t work with local china man bosses!”  She went on sharing her experience and knowledge with me for at least an hour.  We also met a few attendees of such, who were apparent with their intentions.

Everyone comes with an agenda.  We have our agenda, participants have their own agenda.

As candidate, this IS one way of conducting your marketing campaign.  Knowing a few head hunters personally is beneficial because you get an insight to the market (assuming they cover the job function or industry of your interest).  You could actively seek their advice in relation to hiring and onboarding matters, or for their core service – to get the right people you need for your organisation.

It is also a good networking arena to meet managerial level executives.  Occasions like these are usually an informative session where we provide real life examples of recruitment and people management.  After all, information sharing is the new networking.

There is nothing wrong when you come with an agenda or two, but do practise good participant ethics and let’s not become the party pooper of the day, shall we?

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Event photos can be found here.


Inspirational Friday: Single-minded focus; Operationally strong Technopreneur

Image“We only know the ‘kerbau (water buffalo) way,’ that is to work hard and wait for the rain.” Mark Chang quoted in an interview.

The man in his 50s, Mark Chang is the driving force behind Jobstreet.com –Malaysia’s largest online recruitment company. Chang initially wanted to form a company only to earn a living but the popularity of Jobstreet among employers and job seekers revolutionised the recruitment market in Malaysia. Jobstreet has continued to be profitable from the time of its formation.

JobStreet had passed RM1 billion in market capitalisation on April 26, 2013 when its share price closed the week at RM3.20. RM1.008 billion was the market cap at the close of that week.

“Product value is key to the ongoing success of Internet companies, and the fact that Chang is still focused in this area is very reassuring,” notes the analyst, who estimates that JobStreet enjoys gross margins of between 40% and 50%.

Mark Chang also pointed out the importance of aligning his staff to the company vision. Labelling himself as a broken old record, he personally remind the staff of the company’s vision on how many people they help to get their next job.

With Mark Chang as its CEO, Jobstreet.com has won several accolades including Internet Company of theYear, Malaysia Internet Awards by Jaring and The Star, E-Business site of theyear at PIKOM-Computimes ICT Awards.

BFM spotlight with Mark Chang: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4PCTR8lLQs





Why Are Most Recruiters Female?

Is it safe to say that women occupy a majority of recruitment roles? Why are there so few men in recruiting? Do women make better recruiters? However you phrase it, it’s an elephant in the room — or rather, industry. Let’s examine that elephant a little closer, shall we?

What do the stats say?
In 2011, Israeli economists Bradley Ruffle and Ze’ev Shtudiner published a study that analyzed whether female recruiters discriminate against attractive female candidates, and along the way they captured some some numbers.

 *****UPDATE: Bradley Ruffle recently noted via a comment on this post that they expanded their initial survey to 208 companies. 91% of these recruiters were female (with the majority still being single and under 30 years old). More than half were working at employment agencies, while the rest were at companies doing internal hiring. Recruiters were predominantly female in banking, budgeting, chartered, accountancy, finance, accounts management, industrial engineering, computer programming, senior sales, junior sales, and customer service.

Why Are Most Recruiters Female?What do observations show?
There’s also quite a bit of circumstantial/observational/anecdotal evidence worth exploring, which is what sparked the post in the first place. I spoke with four former and current recruiters who all agree that the gender ratio is skewed.  Apparently, it’s been this way for a while.

“When I started in staffing in 1992, I’d say the industry was female-dominated by at least 90 percent, including upper management,” said a former east coast recruiter. She went on to explain an even more precise “type” for the industry during that era. “I used to look around at trade shows and see it was mostly middle aged women with perfect hair and painted nails wearing Chico’s clothing. They all seemed to service the same areas where they were born and raised.”

Decades later, the discrepancy is obvious to Elizabeth James, who spent four years as a recruiter for Kelly Services. “There was only one male recruiter, and he was only there for six months. There were ten branches, and you figure two recruiters at each branch…” She shrugged as if to say, “do the math.”

Jason Kolles, senior recruiter at ShopNBC, said he’d been warned early on that HR/recruiting was a female-dominated field. He feared he’d be seen as the “odd man out,” and sure enough — at one point he was the only man among a team of fifteen staffers.

Indeed, Rebecca Cenni, CEO of Atrium Staffing observes, ”there are more women than men in recruiting today than ever before.”Why Are Most Recruiters Female?

Both Kolles and James noticed, however, that upper management roles include more men, which isn’t all that surprising considering the national female participation rate for executive positions hovers at just 16 percent. But this also suggests that males are entering the industry from the outside, leaving little mobility in the ranks of the recruiters, who are overwhelmingly female.

Why are there more female recruiters?
Now for the stickiest part – the “why.” Are there more women in recruiting because they’re better at it, as the consulting blogger Greg Savage so bluntly states? (The subtext being that people gravitate toward professions where they actually excel). If so, what makes them better at it? Or are there more women in recruiting due to outside forces at play, like the level of education traditionally afforded to women? Or what is expected (or not expected) of them, professionally?

A few of my interviewees echoed the environmental explanation — the “nurture” half of the nature versus nurture argument.

“It didn’t take a degree or even a high school diploma to go into staffing, as long as you were good with people,” said the east coast recruiter, which perhaps explains why the majority of recruiters were female in the past. But why does the imbalance persist?

“I feel there is a gentle push toward the profession based on education and environment/benchmarks,” said Kolles. “I also feel we have set examples and role models for women so the field of HR becomes more attractive and something to pursue. The same story is true within education.”

One of the most interesting facets of Greg Savage’s argument was that female recruiters are especially drawn to being paid based on results. Because of the fact that “the more you bill, the more you earn,” compensation is transparent, and the effects of gender discrimination are muted or eradicated altogether.

On the other hand, some of my interviewees had no problem embracing gender differences as innate.Why Are Most Recruiters Female?

“[Women] have more compassion,” said James. “And I think that encompasses being a better listener. They want to hear what the candidate is really saying. [Candidates] trust you because you care. You want to hear how their interview went. You get attached.”

Cenni had similar thoughts. “Women are uniquely skilled in HR because it employs both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are more technical… Soft skills deal with personality, culture fit, and knowing how to match relationships … In my experience, women have a good eye and instinct for combining these two sides of the HR coin.”

Soft skills also encompass being able to “read” body language, which is one of the stereotypes that Greg Savage touts in his male-recruiter-bashing post. Others have noticed — and scientifically documented — the same thing.

“I tend to pick up on other things but completely miss out on some of the non-verbals that come across in interviews,” said Kolles.

It’s hard to be a spokesperson for an entire gender – but that’s why we have the comments section. Lay it on us. What does your cross-section of the industry look like, and why?

Article from staffingtalk.

Experience of A Young HeadHunter

Contributor: Consultant

As a young headhunter, I realised one thing – not many people know what headhunting really is.  I keep finding myself having to explain what I do for a living.  And even after explaining, some may still not get it (especially when my family are mostly Hokkien).  I would frequently ended up sounding like I’m a thief, assisting my clients in stealing other organisations’ talents.  But this is not how most headhunters see it (or want to see it).

Headhunters, as how I see it, present people with opportunities that they may not get in their current companies.  We give them another option to consider.  We give them hope when they’re drowning in work that they don’t have time to look for other opportunities.

Throughout this period of time, I’ve been through many ups and downs.  The one I remembered most was when I got scolded by my boss that I had to run to the toilet. To cry.  It was a tough period.  We had a very demanding and aggressive client (which made the boss even more aggressive than he already is) – everything had to be FAST, ACCURATE, FAST.   Things got worse when we finally got a candidate on-board with the client – the candidate resigned within 3 months.  It was the toughest job that I had to handle.

However, in addition of having to handle tough clients, I got to handle good clients too.  There are a few clients that I would get really motivated to recruit for.   Those are usually companies that I, myself, would want to work for.   It feels really great when you get to match one good candidate with one good company.  The feeling of satisfaction that you get would make up for every bad experience you had with another client.  And this, I think, is the main reason that has kept me in this field so far (despite having to make so many cold calls and paperwork that some might hate doing.  That will be another topic by another colleague to share 😉 ).