Hiring A players 101 – APAC Focus

December 1, 2012

-Recruiting Trends from our SE Asian Expert


The economy across Asia Pacific continues to grow and the quality of local hires is the key to develop a successful business. Paul Dupuis, Head of South East Asian Business, based at en world Singapore, with 8 years experience of recruiting for global companies in Japan, discusses the secrets of how companies can attract local A players.


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What is driving en world’s expansion in Asia Pacific?


“Apart from some pockets of underperformance, business in Asia Pacific is in a relatively good condition compared to the other regions. There are approximately 7,000 global companies in Singapore, and 60 percent of those companies are using Singapore as their Regional HQ. Therefore, the demand to acquire excellent human resources – we call them as A players- is constant.”


For small companies or those who do not have a strong employer brand it can be difficulty in attract great people. How can these types of firms attract A players?


“First of all, you should clarify the selling points of the role and the company. When we begin a search with a client, we ask our customers to prepare two or three selling points that help us to position the job competitively on the market.


Japanese global companies often say “Stability” as a selling point but this is not always attractive for people in emerging markets. “Growing”, “Innovative”, or companies that devote resources to development and career planning are seen as employers of choice. ”


How do companies acquire A players?


“Companies that successfully employ A players focus on expressing their unique employment opportunities.


For example, an established company told candidates in interview that they were hiring aggressively because their mission was to be No. 1 in the South East Asia market. The candidates responded positively to this as they felt that the clear regional focus meant that they could develop their career in a growing company. ”


How else can hiring managers strengthen their hiring process?


“In addition to the executive team clarifying selling points, it is important that all those in the hiring process convey the same message to the candidate.


Normally, multiple interviews are held by a variety of people, and it’s important to make sure that these interviewers relay the same message. The candidate will feel that the company’s values are clearly aligned and that the team is all on the same page. This also helps retention after on boarding as there are fewer differences in expectation and reality. ”


I hear that there is an issue of job hopping” in some part of APAC. Once you find an A Player, how do you retain employees?


“Employees in emerging countries, especially the most talented are “hungry”. They don’t always want to commit to the same work for three or more years. If you can find ways for your employees to continue to grow and develop their skills then they are more likely to stay with your team. If not, they may consider leaving.


Also, the motivation for a job change is different by market so your corporate response should reflect that. For example, in China, salary increase is a big motivator whereas in India, titles can be a big draw to another firm. ”


What are the key skills or competencies to be successful in Asia-Pacific?


“Employees who can understand each market in the Asia-Pacific region are particularly successful. Those who not only understand the business environment but also law, culture and common practices are especially valuable.


Language capability is of course important, but you don’t need to speak in Vietnamese only because you are operating in Vietnam. It’s necessary to understand how business gets done in each market and the difference between those markets. ”


Do you have any final advice for hiring managers in the region?


“I heard a story about a famous restaurant that they put a lot of effort into decorating the tables with flowers and so on to increase sales to women. The initiative had no impact on sales. The restaurant went back to basics; they changed the menu and, naturally, the sales increased.


It is the same for acquiring A players. It is a good thing to talk about the stability of your company or the length of your company’s history, but it can be a second or third priority to the person you are speaking to. Acquiring and retaining excellent workers often depends on a feeling of whether “the business is exciting or not”.


I recommend that you go back to basics when putting your effort into acquiring A players. Consider whether your company continues to grow, is making acquisitions, can provide new experiences, or has attractive product lineups. Opportunities like this are what attract A players in Asia Pacific. ”

For more information on how we can support your hiring needs in APAC,  contact Paul Dupuis, Head of South East Asian Business, on +65-6420-0572 , paul.dupuis@enworld.com.