Simple ways to attract good candidates in Singapore

Shunichi Hamada employer advice 710x262When Shunichi Hamada transferred to en world Singapore in 2015 after years of experience in executive search for global MNCs in Japan, he was ready to change his approach to recruitment completely to match the market needs in Singapore. However, he actually found many similarities in the nature of recruitment as well. Here he shares his thoughts on simple ways to attract good talent in Singapore.

1. Why putting your eggs in one basket can be a good idea

We have all been conditioned on the benefits of spreading our risk, trying multiple approaches to increase the chances of success. However, when it comes to mid-career recruiting, there is a benefit to putting all your eggs in one basket.

“It all comes down to the ego of the passive candidate. We have seen that when top talent is approached from multiple recruiters about the same role, they don’t feel special: they feel like a commodity. It can be quite a turn-off,” says Shun. “When our clients use an exclusive approach to their contingency search and partner with a single agency for a fixed period of time, they reinforce the idea that the candidate is being handpicked, rather than being used to fill numbers on a pipeline.”

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2. Make recruitment a business priority – really!

Of course, you would expect a recruitment company to encourage everyone to prioritise recruitment as a business driver! When Laszlo Bock dedicated three chapters in his book “WORK RULES!” to the importance of hiring we felt vindicated in our belief.

“I find that it is important that the message comes from the top, not only from HR/Talent Acquisition. We have seen more successful hiring when HR is backed up with consistent messaging from the CEO. It makes it easier to get cooperation from line managers for hiring activities,” says Shun. “Candidates can feel the commitment during the application and interview process. It shows the company’s culture and it has a positive impact when they make a decision to join the company. I think simply asking your CEO for support can be very powerful.”

3. When in doubt…reject

“It is possible for candidates to feel positively about your company even after being rejected. On the other hand, we sometimes hear in the market that it takes a few weeks, a month or even more to get a feedback after application or interview. To be rejected after waiting for so long often leaves a negative impression of the company.

“I think the key is how effectively we communicate with candidates,” says Shun. “They always appreciate it if companies share their application status in a timely way and deliver feedback respectfully.

“If you are not sure about the candidate, rather than leave them hanging for more than a month, a rejection can be a good option. If you do it in a timely way with a positive feedback, you can also leave the door open to other possibilities for them with your organisation in the future.

“We have found that when clients treat candidates with respect they are able to approach them later – possibly even for the same role. In a well-connected market like Singapore a great candidate experience can make all the difference.”

4. Do your interviewers put people off joining?

With a candidate short market, the power balance in the interview is changing. Whilst the candidate is working hard to convince you to hire them, there is no time to sit back and relax on the other side of the table.

“We have found that when everyone in the hiring process is giving a consistent description of the workplace and is able to “sell” the opportunity of joining you, companies have more success in hiring top talent. When interviewers focus on both the short term role specific benefits, as well as the long term opportunity of building a career with your company they can really get candidates excited about joining,” says Shun. “Topgrading talks about the benefits of “tandem interviewing” and it really can help to ensure that the candidate gets a great impression of your company.”


“Whilst every market has its own norms based on culture and business environment, my experience in recruitment shows me that human needs are all the same at heart. I look forward to consulting with customers in Singapore to make the best long-term recruitment success,” says Shun.

If you are currently hiring in Singapore  and would like some advice on how to attract the best mid-career talent, please contact Shunichi Hamada.

Shunichi Hamada, en world Singapore spoke with Jennifer Shinkai, APAC Marketing Communications Manager.