The Winning Recruitment Partners Who Fought Alongside With Me All These Years...

The Winning Recruitment Partners Who Fought Alongside With Me All These Years...

I first penned down my thoughts on The Winning Ways of Working with Recruitment Agencies in Feb 2016 where I shared my experiences and belief in working with them on an Exclusive Contingent Search Arrangement (or what I called ECSA in my earlier article, because it's so long to type).

1,975 views and 6 months later today, I met some of my recruitment agencies' friends over coffee, and some of them asked - when are you going to publish another one about us?

And so today, I decided to share and talk about The Winning Recruitment Partners Who Fought Alongside With Me All These Years, making me look good in front of my business and my hiring managers.

Many people have asked me, "Zhi Rong, which recruitment agency do you work with"?

My answer has always been, "I don't work with a recruitment agency, I work with a recruitment partner".

What do I mean by 'a recruitment partner'?

I don't work with a single agency for my hiring needs. I go with disciplines. And let me use Sales & Marketing, IT, Finance and Corporate Communications as an example:

On Sales & Marketing recruitment needs, Wendy Heng from Robert Walters impressed upon me as a solid guru. We have fought alongside for years now, from good times to transformational times in the FMCG industry. She knows the industry, the network and understand almost every marketing roles & responsibilities with just a simple brief (from brand managers, consumer insights, digital marketing, to a lot more which I can't possibly list it out here), making my job so much more easier when it comes to scoping the role!

Here, I wish to also mention Effendi Sihalam-Toh with Randstad as well, who gives Wendy a good competitive run. He's a marketeer turn recruitment partner, passionate about the field & FMCG industry and strong resilience.

On senior Finance recruitment needsCecelia Koh from Kerry Consulting and Caroline Poh from CAP CG never fails to deliver.

Cecelia is a responsible recruiter from a client and candidate perspective and one of her philosophy is - Recruitment is not just about closing a transaction for a company with a successful candidate. It is also about assessing the company to ensure it is a responsible employer. We are talking about people's career and future here. We want to be able to sleep at night, knowing that we did not sabotage or damage a candidate's career and future with a bad or poor employer (yes, there are bad companies out there) just because we are blinded by the financial pursuit to close deals.

With Caroline, she supported me when I was still a budding young HR Associate 10 years ago at Temasek Holdings. Despite my 'juniority' back then, she provided theright attention, fullest support and patient guidance, helping me in every step of the way in closing Investment Associates vacancies back then with the company. And she's a legend. Did you know Caroline established her credibility in the Singapore recruitment industry for achieving an impressive S$2 million per annum of personal revenue billings consistently over a 10 year period (2003-2013)? This result stemmed from her excellent network with clients and candidates, and her ability to deliver solutions and ensure a strong fit for all of her assignments. 

Moving on to Information Technology roles, I had the chance to work with 2 outstanding IT recruiters in my career. Soizic Daniel from Michael Page and Kelly Chua from Hudson.

To date, Soizic holds the longest record of ESCA with me - Six months to be exact. There was this IT Digital Marketing & Front Office Business Partner role that took Soizic and I six months to fill. It was a very senior and specialized role. The Global Business Lead & Hiring Manager had very high expectations and we interviewed many. She was the appointed exclusive agency/consultant and she never gave up–because she knew she was on an exclusive contingent search arrangement with me. Eventually, we closed it successful with an excellent candidate found (and who is still with Mondelez International today). In fact, she's so good that she's now with Google as their Regional Recruiter. Congrats!

Last but not the least, on Corporate Communication roles, I am most impressed by VMA Group. They are the Edelman of Recruitment Agencies in the Comms and PR world. They know the Communications field so well and they are extremely well connected in the Comms network. Unfortunately, the folks whom I know from VMA Asia have left. But I think under Tim Gilbert's leadership, they should continue to make a positive impact as an institution.

I could go on and on but I am sure you get the drift by now.

I go with functional discipline based on the strategic functional value that the consultants can bring to the table. No one single agency dominates the business because even the largest agencies may not be strong in a certain field as there is always another boutique expert consultant around. 

I trust the consultants who I work with. These are recruitment partners that I have come to know for almost a decade and relationships that are built over the years. As Joanne Chua from Robert Walters once said,

'...Clients who view recruiters as partners often get the best candidates as they truly see the value of the services agencies provide. It's beyond sending a CV, it's beyond getting the candidates at the lowest cost. It's about providing consultative advice on how we can land you your dream candidate (perfection doesn't exist!).

...If the talent doesn't exist, it's about coming up with alternative profiles with transferable skills for the role you're looking to hire etc. It really is a partnership and not a transaction.

...Unfortunately, there are recruiters who view it as a transaction, thus leaving a bad taste in the mouths of our clients. And when the next agency come along, the client may put the agency in the same pot.

Hopefully those of us who have developed our career in this industry (and you know how high turnover in this industry is) can make a real difference.

With that, thank you for fighting alongside with me all these years...

Epilogue: I do direct recruitment on top of working with recruitment agencies. I'll find time and pen down my thoughts on direct recruitment in another article later.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn

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