Asia Pacific Recruitment - Soft Skills
At McCall’s we are often asked to advise Recruitment businesses on start ups in Asia, along with our experienced take on what makes a successful business in the region and what companies should be looking for when hiring the all important senior and junior members of staff. Although similar to all recruitment markets worldwide Asia does have some subtle differences which when adhered to can make the difference when building a sustainable and profitable business.
Soft recruitment skills are paramount from the beginning in Asia - way more so than other countries I have experienced and sometimes this is where many companies and recruiters get it wrong. One of the main things people have to understand in Asia is simply that the culture here, compared to your own Country, is different and so in most cases you will have to adapt your own model/way of doing things to suit the new culturally different marketplace. If you come straight into the Asia market assuming that your successful European, American or Australian recruitment model and style will work here too, or that your current clients will automatically use you in the region, in the majority of cases you could well be wrong.
Relationship building in any recruitment market is important - certainly in Asia it becomes second to none as companies place a huge amount of weight on this. For instance I have seen many Retained Search firms come and go in the last 5 years because they could not adapt to a market where you need to build the relationship firstly i.e. build trust before they would ever consider paying a retainer. I’ve heard so many times from clients who have been told ‘not to worry our 100% retained model will work because we do it differently from every other company and we work at the highest possible level in this specialized field’, and so forth. Retained business can be achieved in Asia of course and many companies have some excellent retainers in place with multiple clients - but this has been achieved only after trust, performance and a strong relationship has been built by doing a sound job repeatedly and over a prolonged period of time. This is why many worldwide retained focused firms, even the big 4/5 in Asia, do contingent recruitment as well in the area. Relationships in Asia need nurturing and HR departments are very strong in most major companies making it very difficult, often in many cases fatal, to try and circumvent the process. However, once relationships are built and nurtured, many companies do open up to line contact - make no mistake HR have a greater power in Asia.
Therefore networking in Asia is also in my view more essential than other recruitment markets. Companies want to see you at numerous events, demonstrating that you are improving your market knowledge and network connections whilst they also want to be taken out and courted. Most clients expect this in Asia (some on a regular basis!) And the ones that do this continually reap the benefits 10 fold as loyalty and friendship can be built quickly. Many good companies in Asia forget this - or are not allowed to loosen the purse strings by stingy bottom line senior managers/owners -but by not doing this you really are shooting yourself in the foot and losing ground rapidly to your competition. It really can be the difference in getting that slot on a new PSA/PSL, or getting that exclusive role you are after, when competing with similar brands as your own.
Brand awareness is also becoming a major factor within the Asian market with the growth of Linkedin, Facebook, Google + and Twitter to name the majors. Companies want to partner with professional firms and generally they will do there homework on any new organization before engaging or being engaged. Being able to show a professional approach on your website/Social Media avenues to business does help significantly in the new digital age and never more so than in Asia which is fast becoming the worlds market leader in technology.
Good Communication is also essential in today’s Asian recruitment market due to the diversity of the people who live there and the cultural differences. In some cultures in Asia they do not want to say NO to you as it’s seen as bad manners so if you do not understand the culture and people you are dealing with you may go away from a meeting thinking you have got something you haven’t. In a multi-cultural environment good communication is paramount and it is definitely worth taking the extra time to make sure both parties understand the points correctly. This is especially important when negotiating in business across Asia where a single handshake in some areas can be seen as binding.
Becoming successful in Asia as a recruiter or recruitment business is tough due to the strong competition from local and international businesses - being able to get ahead of the game can come down as always to doing that little bit extra. Soft skills will definitely help but understanding the market, hiring the right kind of people with the right experience has never been more important than it is right now in Asia.
It is the case that the above factors will all have an effect on business in Asia – it will be the difference needed to either help you get ahead of your competition in Asia, or successfully off the ground! For further information please contact Peter.email@example.com or +6593582668