Thoughts from Singapore #16 – Peter Mills, Country Manager, McCall Asia
Candidate & Client Attraction
Last month in Singapore figures published by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) in its annual Population in Brief report showed that Singapore’s population grew to 5.54 Million rising 1.2% for the last 12 months. The number of non-residents (Expats and their families) rose by only 2.1 per cent to 1.63 million - a slowdown from the 2.9 per cent growth the previous year and is generally attributed to the dropping numbers of foreigners looking to move to the country. In 2011 foreign employment growth excluding domestic helpers hit a high of 77,000, It fell to 60,000 in 2012-2013 then declined further to 33,000 a year later and now to 23,000 in 2014-2015 - a significant drop indeed.
With the dwindling numbers of skilled workers coming to Singapore, instead choosing to look at other developing countries in the region along with the growing skills gap & ageing population in Singapore now more than ever companies are needing to up their game in the Talent attraction and Talent retention business. Failure to do this now versus later will affect many businesses over the coming years hence immediate focus needed.
So what do companies need to do to attract the best talent in the market today when the choices for todays candidates is growing rapidly? Personally I believe there is a number of pretty straight forward answers to the questions that quite frankly every Manager, Country manager, MD, CEO etc should already know; the problem most companies have is that they do not apply the simple strategies we see every day from successful companies in a wide range of fields: Candidates today in Singapore when looking for a new role have a wide range of options with different sizes and cultures of agencies - so they can be very choosy when making decisions re a new role. It is in my view imperative to get the basics right which include your own companies website and social media presence as a package, partnering with an ethical recruitment to recruitment firm to spread positive news on your company and proactively work on your behalf, selling your company at every interview (even if the candidate is not able to be hired at that time) but generally making sure your brand is visible as much as possible. These are simply steps in today’s business world - yet it is still amazing to me how many companies and managers overlook at least one of these essential areas.
Every interview will generally have the standard question thrown in at some point- tell me what you know about our company. Nowadays candidates and clients have the option of checking websites, Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin / Google+ etc pages where they should be able to find out all the information they need to answer this question and ultimately make an initial favourable opinion on the company for themselves. Unfortunately daily we see a huge number of company pages on all these sites which have only very basic information, or even out of date news, some even have the wrong company addresses on them, some have literally no information on their company’s culture, their staff, their areas of expertise… As we all know, first impressions count! When candidates have a number of different opportunities to choose from, or are looking for companies to approach, then this can be the one reason that they narrow the list down to consider solely those that look and promote a professional organisation and brand.
I think we would all agree that nowadays we all need to have a progressive social media strategy that sets us apart from the competition where possible, this should definitely look the part, be interactive and as well as advertising vacancies, also advertise the company, the culture and expertise/specialisations. New staff, clients and current employees should all be impressed by the company’s online profile and presence, as lets be honest, it can make the difference in many ways - it is a great selling tool for all. Having mistakes on your sites, having out of date information and having very little company information to sell a company shows a distinct lack of understanding of the digital market place today - and that covers all industries and verticals.
Partnering with a reputable recruitment to recruitment company like McCall is also an essential tool for helping to build your brand, promote your culture and attract top talent to your business. If you are not partnered you should be aware of running the risk of losing staff – after all who wants to become a source of candidates. More importantly you lose out on a second voice singing your companies praises which in turn gets the word out to many many more recruiters and clients whom they in turn network with, plus you lose out on hearing updated market information. Finally, your vacancies will gain far greater exposure with a wider audience than you could ever reach yourself – we can all do with some brand advocates!
Selling and promoting your company brand should not just come from you or your rec to rec though - it should come from all your staff and ideally your clients. Every interview you do or client you meet should walk away having had an enjoyable and professional experience irrespective of the final outcome and in my view that’s the easiest thing to do - also one of the best selling and advertising tools we possess. Obviously doing a great job on every level and representing your candidates to the best of your ability will always be what sets your business apart from your competition - nonetheless social media and the perception of your business from employees, interviewees and clients will help no end to boost your business plus help to attract the next generation of top talent.
With technology having become such a major part of business - and more and more talent coming from the digital age, branding is another key area that will set your business ahead of the competition. Utilizing the internet is for the most part free and the more your adverts, company information, company updates etc are shown on these sites providing of course the content is interesting and pertinent!) then more people will take notice and before long your brand will be one people look at firstly.
People will always buy from people – that’s our industry - but in 215 and going forwards you have to be at the top of your game to attract the best talent - which will in turn see your business grow the way you want it to. Getting the basics right helps to make sure that the top talent doesn’t pass you by...
Rec to rec
Selling your company at every turn