Secrets of successful selection

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Friday, February 10th, 2017 - 6:58 pm

There are now about 300 third-party recruiters in Thailand who are licenced to help recruit Thais for jobs in Thailand. Not many know this, but the recruitment industry in Thailand is extremely regulated and is governed by the Job Seekers Protection Act enacted in 1985 (31 years ago). Recruitment companies must submit a monthly report to the Ministry of Labour showing the names and details of the candidates they have helped place with their clients.

Tom Sorensen is a 13-year veteran head-hunter at Grant Thornton, one of the longest established players in the executive recruitment business. We asked Tom Sorensen to discuss the changing face of recruitment and the role of recruitment professionals.

Interview question: There are many levels at which candidates may be recruited: CEO, C-Class, mid-career managers, new entrants, office workers, factory workers. What types of recruitment services are most appropriate for each?

TS answer: Companies have two choices: One, do their own recruitment if they have the necessary resources and expertise; and two, engage an executive search firm to find candidates for management positions or a recruitment company for non-managerial positions.

Many large multinational companies and Thai conglomerates that frequently need to hire people have established a talent acquisition function within the Human Resources department. This function is often staffed by former, third party recruiters. To add to that, up to 50 of the biggest companies in Thailand have also invested in advanced recruitment tools from LinkedIn, similar to what executive search firms have done for years.

The lines between executive search firms, recruitment companies and even online job boards are blurred. The word “head-hunter” was previously a prestigious title that executive search firms used to emphasise their personal approach; it was also a buzzword that came in handy when tapping on a candidate’s shoulder. This was distinct from recruitment companies that were not retained by their client but operated with a business model similar to throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. All of that went out the window about five years ago. It seems even Tom, Dick and Harry call themselves head-hunters now, even though all they do is shop on the Internet and place ads on JobsDB.

With a contracting labour force in Thailand that will see the current labour force go down by 20%-25% over the next 25 years, combined with a very low unemployment rate, the heat is on and the war for talent is for real. Companies must start building an employee value proposition that can be used to attract the right candidates. It is no longer about funding your business with capital; the future is how you get the right people to work for you. David Packard from HP once said that marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department, and now more than ever this is the case.

Build the all-important unique selling points that show people why they should consider joining your company. Be prepared to answer questions asked by Gen Y candidates like “Why should I come and work for you?” and “How do you compare to your competition in these areas: Location/condition of premises? Career opportunities – realistic? Corporate social responsibility? Atmosphere and culture – safe or challenging? Social events – is this a fun environment where people make friends? Flexible hours – flexitime/telecommuting? Democratic management style/freedom from controls?”

Interview question: In the era of the digital economy, much recruitment is undertaken directly online, at a competitive cost to employers. What is the continuing relevant role of the recruitment consultant, and for what positions is intervention of such consulting still essential?

TS answer: The assumption that many entrepreneurs have when they enter the digital side of recruitment is that all you need to do is build an algorithm that simply matches a company’s job description with the millions of candidate resumes in the database, and out comes all the relevant candidates. With this type of transaction, external recruiters have no real value and will eventually close. Even though the number of LinkedIn users in Thailand has increased considerably over the last few years, there are just over a million registered users in Thailand. That number includes less than 20% of people here that hold a higher degree, i.e. bachelor or master’s degrees.

According to official statistics, there are six to seven million people in Thailand with a higher degree. That’s the group of candidates most companies would love to hire from. So given these numbers remember this – when you go shopping and hunting on LinkedIn, you are fishing for talent in a very small pool of candidates because you’ve made the choice to exclude 80% of those higher educated candidates. Why would you do that?

Interview question: It is often said that the best potential candidates never apply for jobs, because they are successful and happy in their present positions. How do you attract such candidates?

TS answer: In the small world we live in nowadays, it is very easy to find the name of someone. Many have wrongly come to the conclusion that “Easy to Find = Easy to Hire”. But that is where it goes off track for most people. Just because you have a name and just because you can send them an email, does not mean they are open to the suggestion of a career change.

The US Bureau of Labour Statistics says that at any given time active candidates looking for a job make up just 16% of the work force. LinkedIn and others have over the years said that the number is actually 25%, but whatever it may be, it is clear that the majority of potential candidates are not really looking for a job. This means that if you put a vacancy on your company website, perhaps even use job boards like JobsDB or LinkedIn, only the 16%-25% are likely to see it.

So, the million-dollar question we all ask ourselves – how do you get in touch with this big pool of interesting candidates if you don’t know their names and if they do not see your job advertisement and corporate branding?  It is really quite easy: pick up the phone and call the person you have heard so much good about. Perfect your pitch and create a script for the two to three-minute conversation. Unfortunately for most companies, HR is not a sales function and I know few HR Managers who have the guts and courage to call someone they don’t really know.

So if you don’t have anyone in your organisation that can cold-call potential candidates, and if you don’t have the resources or the time to research potential candidates, the best choice would be to engage an executive search firm that does exactly that for a living. Search firms are trained to nurture potential talent and champions, and know how to seduce the right people for their clients.

This article was published in The Bangkok Post 29 August 2016, written by Christopher Bruton, Executive Director of Dataconsult Thailand.

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Two easy ways to test candidate personality and intelligence

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 - 12:01 pm

Picture a jigsaw puzzle! Then think about the next candidate you are going to interview. This candidate is like the jigsaw puzzle you just pictured, a human being put together by many different shapes and forms of puzzle pieces.

Imagine for a second that you only have one single puzzle piece and are asked to guess what the complete picture is. Likely an impossible task, wouldn’t you say?

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Join my team: Tom Sorensen now hiring

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 - 2:12 pm

If it’s one of your dreams to become a successful headhunter, please continue reading. I am now hiring recruitment consultants for my own team. Join me so I can teach you international best recruitment practice. You will learn and master unique skills that will elevate you to be a superstar in the profession. Invest in your own career development by joining a real retained executive search firm.

… it will enable you to live a life of massive personal freedom.

Please call me on 08 1917 5828  – so we can talk about which of the vacant positions suit you best.

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What fee do you pay recruitment firms, 3 or 4 months’ salary?

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 - 12:53 pm

Your third-party recruitment company, or executive search firm calculate their service fee as a percentage of the successful candidate’s first year’s annual income.

But what is the percentage and what does annual income mean?7013_dollar_stack_colorLow_resize

The percentage will typically vary from, and be anywhere in between, 15% and 35% and even up to 40%. A standard definition of annual income is the total of the gross salary per month before tax multiplied by thirteen months plus other monetary benefits such as fixed allowances times twelve (e.g. transport, mobile phone, housing). The thirteenth month represents any fixed and variable bonuses no matter how many months a client ends up paying.

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10 things candidates will hate you for doing

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 - 2:39 pm

This message is not for you if applicants and candidates are queueing up outside your office every day looking for job opportunities, and you have absolutely no problem in finding and hiring people. Google, Apple and Starbucks come to mind.3401_Production_line_Low_res

Your corporate brand and value proposition may be so unique and spectacular that applicants will be on their knees begging for a job. At that very moment, they will take any abuse and arrogance just to get in the door.

If you recognise yourself and your company in the lines above, you may stop reading now; better check in with me next month.

9533_Hands up - LowResFor the rest of you – don’t stop here. The following may save your career if you are involved in hiring people. I will draw your attention to ten outrageous and rude employer behaviours that will have applicants and candidates going nuts – and not in a good way.

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Is Interim Executive a job for you?

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 - 5:18 pm

This is now a career choice for many. Perhaps it’s something for you?

1169_athlete_winning_colourThe interim executive is a highly skilled, seasoned manager who is available for assignments of any duration, to either lend specialised expertise to a strategic project or to fill a critical skills gap.

Interim or contract roles tend to be for a set period of time, typically several months, and tend to be more for experienced professionals with niche skills who have to hit the ground running.

Interim executives are also known as fixed-term-contract-employees. They are employed by our clients in much the same way as permanent staff but for a fixed period only.

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When a candidate scolds a recruiter

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Wednesday, August 24th, 2016 - 2:27 pm

You be the judge. A candidate forwarded me this email sent to a recruitment company where she was interviewed recently. She is well aware of my frank and candid opinion of those third party and in-house recruiters who still to this day have an air of arrogance in the way they treat applicants and candidates.7810_mailbox_blackLow

I have not heard from you for a few weeks since the last time we talked. I am wondering what the status of my candidacy is. I assume that you are either super busy or my candidacy is not making it to the next step.

However, I expect a big professional recruitment firm has the courtesy to send at least an e-mail to the candidates who didn’t make it to the shortlist.

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Love at first sight in recruitment

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Thursday, July 14th, 2016 - 2:43 pm

Why is it such a surprise that many employee and employer relationships end in what I call “recruitment divorce’: Employee Leaves Employer.8645_Fire extinguisher_70dpi

It is said that 50% (or more) of marriages end in divorce. That’s a scary prospect that makes many think hard before proposing or walking down the aisle.

Love at first sight during the interview process often turns sour because the assessment was artificial and the employer fell for the candidate’s well-practiced dance.

Too many get duped into assessing presentation over performance. You have just been outmaneuvered by a candidate who had prepared better than you. Basically, you have fallen victim to the 4A syndrome.

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Why do you want to leave your current job?

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 - 1:21 pm

It’s one of these questions an inexperienced hiring manager or over-smart recruiter may ask you next time you attend a job interview. Hat’s off to you and my respect, if you have the guts to answer: “To be honest, I am not sure I want to leave”.4692_Suitcase_red

If you are a candidate who was nurtured and convinced by an executive search firm or a recruitment company to consider an opening with one of their clients, if you agreed to an appointment with their client to explore a new job opportunity, you definitely have the right to say that you are not sure if you want to leave your current employer. If you are an interviewer, read on to learn what you really should ask instead.

What if the interviewer asks you: “How did the recruitment company find you?”

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Is hiring top talent important in your organisation?

Submitted by Tom Sorensen on Thursday, May 26th, 2016 - 3:32 pm

If recruiting talented people is one of your top priorities (and it should be if you want to stay a top manager), then spending an hour of your time with your HR Department or your preferred Headhunter is critical to the success of the hiring process.5211_highjumper_70dpi_sky

I’m always puzzled when executives don’t take this briefing more serious because it leaves your hiring partner (whether HR or Headhunter) with a lot of guessing to do. When your hiring partner is left to fill out the blanks with their own ideas on what the job really is, you probably have a better chance of winning in the lottery than getting the best candidate for the job.

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