For one to blog regularly, one has to read more. In my case, I havn’t gotten the time to even visit a bookshop. So much has changed in a year but I will not not get into details. My life isn’t exciting enough for me to blog chronically.

However, I have been wanting to blog about my career. About the ruthless recruitment industry in Singapore. 

I left the hospitality line and joined the recruitment business. I HATED IT! The recruitment business is known for it’s hire and fire attitude. If you don’t don’t bring in the moolah, out you go! Candidates are commodities. If a candidate is good, you keep them “warm” and “spec” them out. What that means is, recruiters take your resume without permission and send it out to hiring managers and hope for a positive response. This happens everywhere. Spec-ing resumes is fine. How you spec it is important.

It’s easy to be promoted as a manager in the recruitment business. Be a good sales person, bill continuously for a period of time and you will get promoted! The hindsight to this practice is, they don’t make the best managers. What most of firms have is arrogant, greedy managers who want people working for them. The more the consultants bill, the more the managers earn. This also means, consultants always try and sell the role and the company to a candidate even if they knew that it is a very bad match. ( Note: I’m not saying everyone does this but, it is a common practice)

Eat! Sleep! Recruit!

The recruitment business in Singapore is still very young and booming. We have an obvious skill shortage in many sectors. Especially in banking and finance, commerce and technology. Heck! Walk into any bank in Singapore and the whole IT department is made up of Indians! Realising this  opportunity, many overseas recruitment firms have set up their base in Singapore. Bulk of these firms are UK headquartered.

Now, this is the first problem.

Being a British firm, recruiters from UK are invited to work in Asia. Most of them are good recruiters who are good billers in their country. BUT, they don’t realise the working culture in Asia. The golden rule in doing business in Asia is, creating good relationship. Arrogance is never going to work. A hiring manager will still meet you for a cuppa even if he doesn’t have business for you. If you leave a good impression, he may call you. If you don’t, he wont remember you. Picking up the phone and asking directly if he has a role for you to work on is never going to work. From my understanding it is different in the UK. Hiring managers never will want to meet recruiters. So if  you are new recruiter in Singapore, GET OUT OF THE OFFICE AND MEET PEOPLE! 

Asians value their lunch times breaks and only eat on the desk if it’s extremely imminent. That isn’t the case in UK. One hour lunches are considered a luxury. But in Asia it’s a necessity. Candidates are not going to speak to you over lunch. Especially if they are eating. They are going to ask you to call them back! So, GET OUT OF THE OFFICE AND TAKE A BREAK!

Locally owned agencies do not have a very good standing in the industry. Most of these firms hire young diploma graduates who have no clue about the recruitment business. I’ve gotten a couple of calls from these recruiters. Most of them sound like clueless kids on the phone. Working hours are longer and the base pay is much lower as compared to the “renowned” boutique firms. However, you would be surprised that these local agencies would have bigger accounts because they charge much lower agency fees. Some of these agencies work with MNCs and government agencies.

I could go on and on about the difference in working culture in Asia and in the UK. Maybe I should write a manual? It will take a long time for the expat owned recruitment companies in Singapore to realise the working culture and local agencies have a lot to earn from foreign agencies about marketing and hiring of recruiters.

I will write more the recruitment business in Singapore. Having spent 2 years in it, I am have seen and observed enough to help someone out there. For now, I am glad I came out of this industry.


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