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 –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, 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:



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.

Top 10 Common Questions posed to a Head Hunter

top 10 common questions for headhunters

Contributor: Sher Yen

As head hunters, we throw a gazillion questions to the candidates in order to understand them better, but we are often placed on the interrogation chair too. Let us solve the mystery that you have been pondering by answering the top 10 common questions posed to a head hunter.

1. How did you get my name/number?
Recruiters often get referrals with the promise of not revealing their sources. Other methods include cold calls, connecting through social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook, sharing opportunity through online forums, and networking at events and exhibitions.

2. What is executive search?
In the Asia region, some employees might not be familiar with the term “executive search”. They call them recruiters regardless retainer or contingency firm. An executive search consultant or a head hunter is a person who identifies and approaches suitable candidates employed elsewhere to fill business positions in their clients’ company. Contingencies are committed to their cases, normally handling up to 4 or 5 cases. They spend time understanding the industry, meeting potential candidates face to face, sourcing for the best fit candidate.

3. What is this regarding?
Usually when a recruiter calls up, he or she is presenting a job opportunity. There are times when some candidates would misunderstood thinking the client has selected them when it is only in the preliminary stage. It is also beneficial to share your resume with recruiters to open up other job opportunities in future.

4. Who is your client?
During the first engagement, recruiters are hesitant to reveal the client’s name. Francesca Cohn from shared, “Usually, it’s because the client doesn’t want irrelevant candidates contacting them. The purpose of engaging a recruiter is to save their time. Once I screen the candidate, then I can assess whether it’s worthwhile providing detailed information about the company and opportunity.”

5. How long has the job been open?
Clients would engage with recruiters when they are unable to fill up the critical positions. Thus, it is normal if a job has been vacant for 4, 5 months. Though the longer a position is vacant, the more likely it is less important.

6. What is the reason for the open position?
There are mainly two possibilities: a new position or replacement. A new position often signifies an expansion of a company, or the need to delegate responsibilities because the existing employee is overwhelmed with work. A replacement is not necessary a bad sign as there are a few likelihoods: existing employee got promoted, there are no capable successor within the company, or an existing employee left for a better opportunity.

7. What is the compensation package?
Dollars and cents are important because we are living in a capitalist society. But other key factors to consider include career growth, exposure and the prospect company’s portfolio and culture. Recruiters are reluctant to share the compensation package for two reasons: one, salary differs with each company, even if they are from the same industry. Two, we advise clients to look into skill sets rather than remuneration, a good candidate always comes with a price.

Common questions by clients
8. Why should a candidate work with a recruiter than to apply directly?
Cohn commented, “It is all about relationships, and often times, the candidates that are referred to me are passively looking. I read a survey once that said more than 50% of the workforce at that time would consider a new position if someone contacted them directly, but would not look for a job online or apply to a job posting. This is what motivates me when I’m direct sourcing.” An executive recruiter is motivated and has the time to cultivate relationships with folks that might not be looking today or would be open for the right opportunity but aren’t actively looking for a new job. And an executive recruiter has no ethical issue with direct sourcing from a competitor.

9. Why would your candidates be of better quality than those that apply directly to us?
Posting job vacancies on job portals would attract more irrelevant applications because it is as simple as a click away. Head hunters are like snipers, we have higher pertinence in getting the right candidate than shuffling through hundreds of resumes. We find out what are the Must Have Nice to Have for the position, source for talents from relevant industries and these are usually passive candidates who are less likely to job hop.

10. What makes you think a headhunted candidate would not join another competitor if he or she is being headhunted again?
Firstly, it creates a bad reputation for the candidate. Secondly, it does not look good in their resume. Thirdly, as executive search firm we emphasize on onboarding program for new hires. This is an essential effort from both employer and employee to increase the retention rate while reducing onboarding failures.

F.U.D.E.S. For Thought

Contributor: Sher Yen

A field of game is more than just the sport, the athletes, or the triumph of your favourite team; it is a learning instrument where leaders can pinch a point or two.

What is the one common connection among soccer, basketball and rugby?

If you answered ball, you are right. All these games require a ball to function.

But the ball is just an extended tool in these adrenaline pumping, impassioned activities.

These games, in its essence require the formation of a team to work.

After all, what excitement could one derived from seeing two individuals chasing pitifully after a black-and-white panelled ball in a 7,140 square metre field? Brazil would have lost its identity should the whole soccer economy collapsed.

Team sports are games that rely heavily on teamwork, unity, and discipline. Like a pack of wolves, an alpha male will guide its pack. Its leadership will either lead the pack to its prime or succumb to the hands of cold, harsh reality – starvation and death.

Ted Sundquist, the man who spent sixteen years in the National Football League, is eminent for his F.U.D.E.S. leadership system. Inspired by the legendary coaching agent Bob Lamonte who instilled the thought of forming his own vision before leading a team, Ted infused his coaching experience in the Air Force and NFL to create his own “road map”.

As his book titled “Taking Your Team to the Top: How to Build and Manage Great Teams like the Pros”, it is apparent that running a company, be it a global corporation or small business, builds on the same foundation as leading a sport team.

The acronym F.U.D.E.S (pronounced as foods) derives from the first letter of each keyword – Focus, Unity, Direction, Excellence & Success.

As a leader, you need to keep all aspects of the organisation centred on its objective and goals.
Focus and concentration will be the driving force of change.

The spirit of oneness makes each member place “team” above personal objective or aspirations. Everyone understands the importance of their role and how their efforts contribute to the goal of the organisation.

The alpha male guides and directs its pack in the most effective hunting formation. Similar habit should be practiced by leaders. Leaders will need to create detail plans and procedures in every phase. Work to create opportunities rather than to avoid failure

The team should achieves excellence by working harder and smarter.

The driving factor in decision-making is knowledge. Every interaction is an opportunity to generate information. Knowledge leads to the right people and in turn the creation of the right processes and procedures to produce results.

Players and employees should be cultivated as “assets” rather than used as “commodities”.

On the field is the inevitable result of implementing and executing focus, unity, direction and excellence. You need to create a work environment that convinces the staff and players that they are capable of achieving the “Impossible”.

Achieving the “Impossible” is about change. The road to SUCCESS is about how quickly and effectively this change is implemented. Change occurs more efficiently when people are excited about the future rather than resisting it. Only then will positive concrete results occur.

SUCCESS brings long-term organizational stability, a winning energy both on and off the field, and ultimately a club that others seek to “model” themselves.

Feast or Famine, Win or Lose, Profit or Lost – Team management determines them all.

Are you READY to declare workplace independence?

Contributor: Tan Aik Seng

It is amazing what one can learn while enjoying a cup of coffee at a ‘Kopi Tiam’.  Just the other day, I overheard a group of young urban professionals expressing their frustrations about their bosses and their workplace; “my boss micromanages way too often,” “she wants to know every single bit of what I am doing,” and “he is way too controlling!”

Perhaps you can empathize with them.  Most of you have probably uttered similar frustrations, especially when you were all zest up to bring your wonderful ideas to the attention of your bosses.  Your misguided managers can kill your enthusiasm by criticising your work prematurely, vacillate on a decision that you so vitally needed to achieve your KPIs, or giving irrelevant inputs just to put their marks on your work.  Everyone wants to be recognized and appreciated for his or her work.  It is not a wonder that 2 out of 3 people are not happy at their workplace.

An atmosphere of trust and independence is crucial to run a company efficiently.  When there is a lack of trust, work gets delayed, employees feel disengaged, and output lacks creativity.

On the other hand, many of our Malaysian clients have also expressed their frustrations with today’s employees.  When I mentioned about writing an article on “Declaring WorkPlace Independence,” I got many flaks from them.  One of them almost screamed at me, “Do you know that today’s graduate cannot even write a proper sentence in English?”  Another frustrated employer shared that the quality of their subordinates’ work is less than satisfactory, “they have the guts to submit ‘half-baked’ work!”  “Why do I need to pay them, when I have to do the work all over again?” another frustrated employer lamented.

As much as today’s employees want their employers to trust and empower them, they have to understand that the quality of their work matters a lot.  Poor quality work can affect the reputation and survival of their employers.

Employees have to assess their capability and capacity for empowerment and trust.  Are they ready for it?  In Ken Blanchard’s latest book entitled, Trust Works, he explained that managers and subordinates need to be aware of the four elements of trust – Able, Believable, Connected and Dependable.

Both the manager and the subordinate need to assess their level of readiness before declaring workplace independence.

1.  Is the subordinate Able to do the job well?
Do they know how to get the job done?  Are they able to produce results?  Do they have the skills to make things happen?

2.  Does the manager Believe that his or her subordinate will act with integrity?
Believability is also about acting in a consistent, values-driven manner that reassures managers that they can rely on their subordinates. This applies the other way round too.

3. Connected is about demonstrating care and concern for other people.
It means focusing on people and identifying their needs. It is supported by good communication skills. Managers need to openly share information about the organization and about themselves.  Subordinates must also have the humility and willingness to learn from their mistakes.  This symbiotic relationship between the manager and the subordinate creates a sense of connection and humanness.

4. Dependable is about reliably following through on what the manager or the subordinate say they are going to do.
It means being accountable for their actions and being responsive to the needs of others. Promises must be kept.  It also requires being organized and predictable so that people are able to follow through on their promises.

Perhaps it is time to stop griping and complaining.   Both the manager and subordinate must work together to establish trust that works. Your declaration of workplace independence will then be received with respect.

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 😉 ).

POV of A Recruiter

Contributor Syed Jaafar – Independent Consultant

We would like to share with you our experience in the recruitment industry:

1. On-line Job advertisements are suitable for non-key, lower level positions. Good candidates DO NOT apply for jobs here. Our contacts in told us that the highest clicking rate for online job applications even for middle management positions is during working hours. Guess who are the applicants?…applying for jobs during working hours- bit of integrity issue.

2. Good candidates DO NOT apply for jobs from newspaper advertisements. They hardly have time to think of changing job. On your HR side, the use of newspaper ads should be minimized to non-key, lower positions . Furthermore good candidates do not look for jobs in the news papers as they are busy performing at their jobs. Also not getting the “best-fit”candidates despite the high costs of advertisements.

3. The use of employment agencies (success basis) who just give you CV’s without even interviewing the candidates personally should be minimized to non-key and lower positions . Such practices pose a high risk of hiring failure. What more doing candidates’ reference checks, verifying their pay-slips and certifications are NOT done.