Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Market So far.

The job market has picked up. I think, one thing good which most companies have put in place is their decision to take their businesses, products and solutions overseas. Either that or they innovated on their sales strategies, worked harder and pressed on deals which were on the pipeline. A lot of companies which implemented operation cost cutting has somewhat bounced back and begun hiring and projects have now started. Maybe I only speak for a few hence the decision on hiring and acquiring new talent. Despite that, the demand for employee’s have been rather difficult as people are still although exploring yet choosy on career moves. It is still the employers market and talent war is very much still alive. Just a few months back there was an influx of SAP Consultants in the market and now, most of the consultants have been employed, in that area of IT the market is still moving fast, despite of the layoffs from a few SAP companies here.

There is much more emphasis on key technical areas, such as talents from project management, solutions architects from various backgrounds, low-level hardcore programming, Quality Assurance, infrastructure engineers, product and solution driven talents to consultants from the consulting industry.

I see the market picking up and this is the time to be aggressive. The hiring game will somehow come about alive again, perhaps not just yet but soon. Maybe during the first quarter. The market has been volatile so I am being skeptical but my fellow colleagues are rather confident.

I am getting more calls for sales talents and most companies have now proposed their resources budgets for FY2010. Usually when companies start hiring account managers or business developers, this is a good sign that business is picking up and there is a need for new and constant business development. A lesson that a few people in sales took from the downturn is this, the importance of client rapport and good client support, innovation on key selling skills and also most importantly relationships. This actually was the same for me because, most executive search firms just come and go, just like that, after an assignment or two. I leveraged on this because despite us not being able to fulfill certain positions and found it difficult to find other clients, I leveraged on rapport and relationships. I took this alternative because I would like them to know whether there was business or not, that I am always there for their executive search needs. Maybe not now, but some other time and this has paid off.

I also think that most people who have moved in 08 and in 09 as a basis to job hop might find it hard to secure something in 2010 because especially in these critical 2 years, companies would’ve prefer their employees to stick with them rather than take flight at the slightest fear of insecurity. Unfortunately but especially in sales. It also separates the real performers than the non-performers. But then again, in this day and age, loyalty is not a factor which is highly regarded right?

I really took a lesson from the 4th quarter of last year because I took the first quarter in 09 for granted. From a business perspective I did not prepare myself for the downturn despite a few signs showing in November/December 08. So a lesson learnt from that is, push harder despite the end of the year being slow business months and despite all the say on how good next year is going to be, I will take it as it is going to be as hard as it was this year.

I think you should too!

Cheers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Train and Place

A friend of mine is currently involved in the Train and place program for unemployed graduates or diploma holder students and those with less than a years of working experience and the retrenched. This program is funded by the government and it kicks off with about, if I can remember correctly 80 to a 100 students per-program. Its fully funded by the Ministry of Human Resources and the award goes out to training companies who fit the criteria. More information here:
Anyway, there are more details out on the net, but where I come in is, he needed help from someone from the industry to conduct mock interviews in the real world for his unemployed candidates to prepare them for the interviews after they have completed the program. I think I did about 30-40 interviews with graduates and diploma holders from the Electrical and Electronics qualifications, Culinary, Physiotherapy, Human Resources and a few more, all either Degree and Diploma holders. It was a good session because it reminded me when I was a graduate out there looking for a job and also reminded me of the time when we had implemented a management trainee program for my previous company when I was working in HR, only that time we interviewed about 5-600 graduates.

To be honest, I expected more out of the graduates. The program was good, it does help and transform the graduates but I am worried. Out of the I think the 40 candidates I interviewed I felt that only about 10% were willing to help themselves secure a good job out there. Only 10% stood out. The 10% that stood out were from rural areas and had taken a lot of thought in getting themselves a good foundation for a career and had no luck. Of course, all of them had taken initiative by attending this program but I only I identified these few.

One problem was English. Most of the candidates were from rural areas and had trouble expressing themselves in English. Another problem was the lack of knowledge on the industry and confidence. Base on the issues above, you can understand why they have low confidence. It is upsetting because, what I get out of this interviews is; here are candidates who I know will do a good job because of their aspirations and persistence in wanting to do well but will likely get turned down by employers because of their lack of communication skills. I can see them trying very hard to address our questions and trying very hard to express themselves. Their lack of general knowledge and industry knowledge could also be a factor to this. I am also upset to know that the basis of their lack of either confidence, industry knowledge, passion is from their Education! There is no one to blame unless this changes. Also, industrial training was done for most companies which just needed additional manpower and not much emphasis on learning. This is what I gathered from the interviews.

Sources from this website:
http://educationmalaysia.blogspot.com/2006/07/70-public-university-graduates-jobless.html says there about 20, 000 unemployed graduates in 2006 I think we can add more to that now, what makes it worst is that they are from local universities. Most of the graduates from this programs were from local universities anyway.

My point is, these are graduates which will not be given a chance to be noticed and to work in the field that they are wanting to work in because one fine day after waiting on those applications, countless rejections and no hear from interviews, they will become frustrated and end up choosing just any jobs that come their way. They come to this program expected to be hired at the end of the program and given RM500 per month for the 3 month duration but all in all, this dare I say will not be a total guarantee of their futures, because after the train and place program the training companies are expected to find a job for these graduates or retrenched workers.

These came from those with the qualifications I stated above, but what about the rest I.e., IT, Bio-technology, Civil engineering, Accounting etc? The basis of this is perhaps if local Education Institutions puts in place a learning program to prepare their soon to be graduates for the real world such as making good CV’s, mock interviews, writing cover letters, real world industry knowledge and not theoretical but fundamental knowledge, this will possibly allow a higher chance for their graduates to be land a job after graduation. Also more emphasis on communications skills, please.

On the bright side these graduates took the initiative to enroll in this course because this prepares them and transform for their next phase of life, but in the first place, why did they have to resort to this program?

Sometimes I believe employers should give candidates a chance. Although it is easier said than done, but I have been in a situation before and from what I remember if you can identity a candidate who is wanting to learn, this candidate will achieve. Putting together a management trainee program could also help. Speaking of management trainee and this is disappointing, one of the graduates recently went for an interview with GE Malaysia for one of their management trainee programs and she was told off by one of the hiring managers that she is useless and not appropriate for the program. I mean seriously? Who gave any manager a right to tell off someone about being useless, particularly so if it is GE Malaysia? Damn disappointing.

Anyway my hopes rests on this program because it helps the unemployed graduates to get noticed and given a chance to be hired in their right field and a foundation for their career! One of the better moves by our government. Cheers!

Monday, October 12, 2009

How do you evaluate an opportunity?

I keep thinking about this and i can tell that no master is good at evaluating an opportunity. Accepting a new job or a career change is a big step to alot of people especially those in a senior level related position. It is always a risk.


I always advice my candidates, to think about what lies ahead and how you would be able to see yourself fitting in to an opportunity, adding value and most importantly understanding the companies need and to see if you would see yourself in such a position. An opportunity keeps you awake most of the time until atleast the resignation is over. So....

Things to consider in an opportunity:

Monetory (This we cannot run away from, no matter how people say tht monetary is only a small incentive, yea right!)

Organization (Once you have been in the industry long enough, you know who is who and most importantly, understand the organizations need of such a position)

Team/Boss (Are you managing or who is your superior)

Expectation (Set it right, in the interview, lay down the expectations and be clear of your strenghts and weaknesses that could be a threat to the job. Atleast, be clear of the interview and the job in the first place).

Growth ( Yes, you are here for a Consulting Manager position, but in two years?)

Position (Is this a new challenge to you? Learn up the job scope and understand it completely and this will make the interview an excellent discussion)

TimeFrame (Give yourself a timeframe on your decision to accept a job offer, its easier said than done, but alot of times the hardest decision. On a personal note, i speak to close friends and associates and usually give myself about 5 days for an answer, not from above but from myself :))

If you have been headhunted, try to get the most of the information out of your headhunter, although at times difficult as they could be a little sketchy on the information given by the client but take the extra initiative to do a google search. Research has always served me well, not only for a job but looking for information that could help my candidate.

I just took some of these thoughts out of my head, hope this helps!

Cheers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Snippets.

It’s been slightly more than a month since I have updated this piece of internet turf of mine. I hope all three of my readers would still come back. A lot has happen over the past month. Other than being busy, I have been brainstorming on new possible business ventures in the HR industry which still has very much to do with headhunting. I’m thinking this will benefit most people and potentially might piss off some employers but, it’s still in its early stages, ‘the idea’. I would like to think of it as a reference tool for everyone.

Market has picked up although has slightly has slowed down due to the fasting month. I have recently closed one of my toughest assignments this year, which took both my client and I 3 months to fulfill, through other Exec Search companies and also their internal recruitment procedures. This was an easier said than done assignment. I had to find someone who has many years of experience, technical experience, in OO technologies, someone like a solution architect and to convince them to change their career path into Quality Assurance. Simple, my client was looking for a QA Analyst and wanted someone very experienced. As most QA positions and roles, most talents perform QA and testing on proprietary software’s ie. IBM rational or Tivoli suites, but what we were looking for, was someone with software development background, project management, team leading, IT strategy to someone who had many years of software implementation. So it was quite a challenging assignment, particularly when convincing someone who has many years of experience in trying out a new role. IT was tough, but we did it. Also, our client is a renowned company that specializes in Decision Analytics, I think by now we can already guess who this client is.

One of the interesting observations which I have made myself of myself during this period is this, I help brand companies. A few things which have happen this year is retrenchment. When companies retrench, people talk. Especially in the SAP industry; which is small. So retrenched staffs tend to get a little vocal and expressed their feelings in websites such as www.lowyat.net forum. Well it is normal, companies are not able to please everyone, so when this happens, a company’s image can be tainted because when people Google a company name they will stumble upon forums and they come across bad reviews from other people. It’s a free world; it is not filtered so it’s pretty up in the air, what is posted. So when this happens, recruitment becomes difficult because of word that is going around.

So at this point of time, I have been called into assist two companies in their recruitment for two particular positions. Once I have had known of their challenges and had a good meeting, we move forward, laid some possible strategies and went down to the market to perform our search. We had to brand a company, taking time in explaining management’s decision, company strategy as well as business strategies, the immediate challenges etc to potential candidates. It was a two way game, because we had to work very closely with decision makers of the company as well as work closely with the candidate. I had to gauge many of the decisions which the candidate was making as well as managing the overall expectation and the hiring process.

I was very happy to do this even though it was very hard work, but all in all it paid off. We build a very good relationship with the said client and we manage to find them a suitable candidate which was then hired. It was good, I had to brand a company also had to manage a difficult hiring process. Like how Dato’Idris Jala went in to a company which had a big loss but turned it around in a matter of time!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Interesting read on Gen-Y

If you have been following this blog, you might have known that i have a keen interest on the Gen-Y workforce. I was reading http://www.zdnetasia.com/ this morning and i came across this study:

"Singapore's Gen Y respondents, aged between 18 and 29, placed greater importance on achieving better balance between work and social life than older respondents. About 71 percent of Gen Ys viewed it extremely important to have a good work-life balance, compared to 64 percent of Gen X workers, aged 30 to 47, and 59 percent of Baby Boomers, aged 48 to 65.

Across the age groups, fewer Gen Y respondents were happy with their current work-life balance than their seniors. About 51 percent of Gen Y respondents were satisfied with the work-life balance in their current jobs, compared to 59 percent of Gen X and 60 percent of Baby Boomers.

It is advised employers keen to attract and retain Gen Y talent that it is important to note attitudes and perceptions of Gen Y employees toward work-life balance.

"The line between work and personal life is blurring as employees are integrating information technology into their lives at many levels," he said. "Employers who use technology to enhance working arrangements are also likely to reap productivity benefits and to be seen as employers of choice.".
(source - zdnetasia.com)

Incase this is a blur, this article was a study on how mobile communications have helped work life balance. Read the rest here: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,62056031,00.htm

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SPM Results.

Are SPM results still relevant from someone whois earning a five figure salary, who is 35 years old and has a job which requires technical knowledge of risk and compliance, H&S, Maritime or business and technical knowledge?

Apparently it does and it took him three days to obtain that particular certificate. This is a big conglomerate company, and while discussing this is a friend on MSN, this was his response after a few lines and being sacarstic:

"HR Manager: Wow a Masters in Astro-Physics and Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. That would be good for what we do here at Aerospace Bhd, but we really need to see your SPM results la!" - This is coming from a director who's company does R&D for batteries.

Does it still really matter? SPM results? Considering you have other qualifications to shout about? Oh, now both our most important taught subjects in school has been reverted to BM - Bravo!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SME Solutions Expo 2009


I visited the SME Solutions Expo 2009 last week for a few hours, an hour to be exact and did my usual rounds of visiting booths and networking. I went with the intention to find out about how i can improve my companies performance with IT infrastructure and as usual to network with both potential employers and employees. I do not go for the sake of getting name cards, i try to leverage my time at these expo's because there is alot to learn. From marketing campaigns, alternative advertising, IT solutions, business solutions and many more. I encourage everyone to attend expo's as such because there is a lot you can take home and to build on your knowledge especially in technology, because this is where we learn about tomorrow's technology. Belief me.


I found the HR Asia booth and also bought a few magazines and subscribed to the quarterly issued magazine. While reading it today i found something interesting about a survey and it reads:
" A survey done which overs 94000 employees from 21 countries including Malaysia, showed that Malaysia has a more engaged workforce compared to the rest of the world. Almost one in four Malaysian workers is engaged compared with one in five globally". (HR Asia. 2009, Survey done by Towers Perrin's Global)

Isn't that nice to know?

I was thinking about this interesting fact and i would like to believe its true. I mean i look around me and i think for myself. I realize that when i think about my candidates over the past few months especially those in mid to high level positions, i definitely realized this, because i remember a few of them saying, i have to do it for the company. A GM from one of the aggresive document company and i remember him saying this "Our companies numbers rely heavily on my part for the rest of the year as hardware sales has dropped, we will be pushing!" And another candidate said something which i remember which was "My team depends on me for the succesful roll out of this project because our company needs this".

Having said that, i also realise that more employers have relied heavily on the ideas and dependance of their line managers to produce good results by thinking for themselves inline with the companies strategy. 1)obviously because he or she needs to keep his or her job and 2) recognition in this times of need and 3) because new strategies that are well thought of does produce performance improvement.

Another interesting approach which for a fact drew more employee commitment is when a CEO called 25 staff in batches of 5 to the meeting room, to explain the current condition and had to announce 15% salary cuts. I would say, that was done with care and also done with integrity. You would expect high turnover in that company because of this, guess what, turnover was very managable, because employees felt respected and obviously the speech which was given by the CEO was something like Mel Gibson did in Braveheart, it was done with integrity in turn which will generate employee performance. It was one of my clients which over the year i placed 3 candidates in the respective company. They told me about it but were not emotionally affected by it, it only made them work harder.

HR Asia magazine, really provides good knowledge to both employers and employees. Another magazine i would encourage reading is, Enterprise Innovation although it is still hard to find it around here. Overall the SME Solutions Expo was good. It was for me short and sweet after all it is aimed at entrepreneurs and business owners together with professionals. What i think they can do without is, credit card applications, direct sales and wealth management booths, although these also produces millionaires, i mean wealth management companies. All in all, it was good!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hows it going?

The market has definitely picked up. It has definitely picked comparing to a few months ago. There has been request from both new and present employers for new and specific talent. Especially in technical positions. Specialised technical positions. I've also moved into the Oil and Gas sector, although i am doing alot of R&D at the moment.

Good technical talent are definitely in demand now. Unlike about a year ago, an average talent will have a higher chance on getting employed through one application. Unfortunately especially in these times, the best gets picked up and they do easily. Althought it is difficult to land a job today, there are still plentiful of opportunities. I realise that people are still quite fussy given the fact that they are sometimes unhappy or are unemployed. I try my best now, to help the unemployed by reverse selling them, but the quote 'beggars can't be choosers' have no meaning in their dictionary. I am talking about middle management people.

Well, headhunting for me has been challenging, which is good though. Employers are really cracking my head in searching for talent for them, and seeing that there are an abundance of headhunters out there, my competition is pretty steep and they are also trying to earn a living. I still or i would like to believe that i have a good advantage because, despite of the many openings out there, i am one that understands not only an industry but i have integrity when managing people and their careers. Although i also at times fail to get back to my candidates but as when i do remember, i am sincere as i find it hard to keep track with alot 0f people. I believe all headhunters go through this. On average i meet about 25-30 new candidate a month, which is about 360 candidates a year which means 360 interviews :), 20-30 phone calls a day, 2-3 meetings a day, new and present clients, 20-30 emails,...Which i find truely great!

Well, assignments are now challenging. Employers are very aware of who they hire, because of cost factors and also budgest constraints. You cannot hire someone who is demanding for exhuberant entertaintment allowance to do business, rather you hire someone that is able to bring deals on board or able to think outside the box. Also, i expect employers to be cautious at these times because despite employment, candidates may put up a very good front to join another company to get out of theirs because of uncertainty. So where i am getting to is, us headhunters have to be tactful when we are recruiting in these times because we have to understand our candidates motivation for a move eventhough they have been headhunted and we have to gauge their level of confidence in delivering their performance. Remember we also have KPI's which we account for our dear clients. So recruitment and headhunting is challenging and interesting. I have to say, i enjoy these challenges because there are moer factors involve than just projects or sales KPI's, we have to consider market demands, economic outlook, government tenders and projects, our clients projects, cashflow etc. Most importantly is understanding our clients needs and most importantly which is in our bible, their business.

Although we meet alot of potential employers today, i still have to ask questions like, what are the main projects which our projects managers will be involved in? OR Do you think these sales targets are achievable for the rest of the year? OR Is this the only project that our team lead will be heading? OR Once the business has turn around, does our CEO obtain a more operational or more business orientated role? One of my friends recently placed two candidates in a company that had only one project on hand, but are paying a high premium for technical guys, so my advice is also, to be careful when you are applying for a job :).

I have also been getting more emails and i thank all my readers out there as i hope i can continue to write. Also, if there are any headhunters reading this blog, please email me to see how we are able to work together as my traffic can be pretty high at times and i would love to refer best talents around.

Cheers!

Monday, July 6, 2009

What inspires you?

People ask me sometimes, what do i like reading...in terms of books. Mine is simple, i do not have to think because i like reading biographies. From musicians, F1 drivers, succesful businessman, Chefs (Anthony Bourdain so far - it's hilarious) to other inspiring figures. Why? Simple, because i like to read on the trials and tribulations of what a person has to go through to become what they are or were to be today and how they overcome their challenges.

But this caught me. I have been reading Tony Fernandes blog so far and this is basically one of my favourite reads. A man who's dare i say schedule is busier than our Prime Minister but has a few minutes to reply to his readers:

http://www.tonyfernandesblog.com/main.php/2009/04/11/a-compliment#comments

Looks like i'll be headed out to get a new book this weekend =]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Employment Hint.

There has been a lot of articles in the press lately addressing issues pertaining to enhancing your employment. But I find that the issues brought forward are too repetitive. Such as, do your research, write a good CV, networking etc. I thought I would share something which I hope it can benefit a few people.

Apart from all of those ways of enhancing employment here is a piece that a lot of people aren’t doing or thought of doing.

Firstly do your research, think about companies which you would like to be employed with or companies which you see yourself having a future with. Do some research on that company to see if they happen to have released or post any job advertisements or dive into their careers page. Check out their vacancies. Usually they would have an email address which you could write too, but believe it or not, you are usually one of the few hundred that has written in. Through this you are not only browsing their website but also learning their business. Other ways to see who are hiring in your own domain or specialty is, log on to Jobstreet and JobsDB and do a search based on your job profile. Check out the companies that are hiring ad GO DIRECT, because once again when you apply, you are some of the few hundreds.

Secondly once that is done and you have found something, identify the contact details of the company. This is where you need to take it a step further and a lot of times how we headhunters do it. Call directly and obtain the HR Managers or the person who is in-charge of recruitment’s email address or if you would like talk to the respective HR Manager, go ahead. Make sure you also get the names of the person. Of-course it is easier said than done, but this is a good way of showing initiative, drive and that you are serious in getting yourself employed. The receptionist is usually quite difficult when giving out information as such, but if you could convince the ‘gatekeeper’ and obtain the details you need, you will see that the HR Manager will be looking at your email when you are able to get into the door. Try to get the email address and e-mail your application through straight to the HR Managers email add or whoever the person is in-charge of recruitment is. When you are talking to the receptionist and she is still not wanting to give you the email address, you can usually say that you have tried multiple times and there is still no news or the link is broken and you need the HR Manager or Recruitment Managers email address.

Now your application is in their hands and hope that they will be giving you a call soon. You can also choose to follow up with them since you have the details. Just an advice, this is another creative way of getting employed. It is not an easy method and you could get blown off a few times, but if you hit it right, it could be your best opportunity. I believe this is also shows added initiatives and value that you carry simply by showing your interest.

All the best, let me know how it goes.

Cheers.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Snippets

A lot of industries have been quiet for a few months. I am taking this off my head but speaking to a few headhunters lately, advertising, FMCG, manufacturing and production have been relatively quiet. Mainly, due to recruitment and headcount freeze as a cost saving factor and stimulus for business recovery for many of our clients.

Still the IT industry looks ‘ok’. I got a friend in the Enterprise printing business that said numbers are rising and there has been good activity in the banking and IT industry. In the first few months of the year, I could count on one hand how many assignments I had and now, the number of assignments have increased and we are back on our toes.

There are a few reasons why companies need to use headhunters now and they are:

Seeing that, even if they reach out to their future hires though advertisements and referrals, a lot of people generally are not applying because is it not that they are not comfortable with their employments but their current jobs offers security.

Some companies have not done their retrenchment processes properly hence when word gets out especially when unhappy employees have been laid off due to the unhealthy retrenchment process, the company will get a bad name and there will be a second thought to those who want to apply, unfortunately.

Should a company be awarded a sizeable project now, they will definitely emphasize on quality and excellent service delivery not by Malaysian standards because in this difficult times not only that it is hard to find projects and win projects but firms will definitely have to provide better service hence with a project generally employees will stick to their companies.

Well these are a few things I thought of as I write this, this hazy Monday morning. These are a few reasons why companies might have to rely on headhunters to reach out to the market and to assist them in identifying talent for their respectable companies. What I also enjoy most about my job is when I see myself opening doors for my clients too, I recently had a catch up lunch with my client about 3 weeks ago and I propose that they hire a good business development manager to spearhead into the market to bring in new business. This sprung up in my mind learning of my client’s business challenges and about a week or two before that I had a meeting with a good business development manager which now has been hired by my client. Cases like these apply to a lot of other businesses. Learning a clients business and challenges has its importance in relationship building because a deal is not just a deal, everyone can get a deal, but it is how you identify opportunities and also how you are able to find ways and add value to a clients business.

Also look out for a new page I will be creating, it will be my job page. Mainly some of the assignments which I am currently working on to share with you as I have more write ins and it is my part to help the jobseekers obtain jobs in my little way, if I can.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

So far.....

This is going to be a very quick one, as I have been busy with some new transitions and a new endeavor. Nevertheless I should always find time to update my blog. Like twitter. Follow me, I am at www.twitter.com/jmjmonteiro.

It is good, it is a good sign. The market again is picking up slowly. When I say market I mean the job market. I guess in that sense the business market is also picking up. I have had a few clients who are now re-hiring and new clients hiring. These are reputable companies which froze their recruitment for Q1. I guess most companies have put in place new strategies to combat the global economic issue and also have finally digested the issue and moved forward. This is always a good sign because we are able to help our clients fulfill their headcount and although it is still the employers market, there are jobs available out there. Jobseekers now experience that the difficulties looking for a job hence job retention strategies might be of a lesser burden and employees stick to where they are.

There is more technical positions available comparing to sales positions. Basically they way I see it is simple, GM’s, CEO’s and CTO’s now are able to push for sales for their company because at the end of the day, these are people that know their business well and understand their industry better than newcomers, but when it comes to technical positions, such as like a SAP MM consultant, you cannot just throw a rock and expect to hit one in the market like you can hit a DATUK everywhere, these are the niche specializations which you need to have when you are on a project or supporting a particular solution.

So the job-market is getting slightly better. There are less and less companies that are retrenching (based on my everyday newspaper readings) and companies have put in new stimulus in combating the global economic issue.

Will update soon..Cheers!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Top ten in Malaysia?

Here are list of the top-ten employers in Malaysia. (Those who participated). Hewitt recently did a study on the best Emlpoyers in Malaysia in 2009 and here are the results.

The Judges selected 10 Hewitt Best Employers in Malaysia 2009. The results are presented in ranked order:

Rank
Organization
1 -
The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur
2 -
American Express (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
3 -
Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia
4-
Federal Express Services (M) Sdn Bhd
5-
Agilent Technologies
6-
S P Setia Berhad
7-
Hilton Kuala Lumpur
8-
Intel Technology Sdn Bhd
9-Golden Arches Restaurants Sdn Bhd
10-
Telekom Malaysia Berhad

Here is the regional list:
http://was7.hewitt.com/bestemployers/asia/english/results_2009.htm?expand=10&expand=121

More information can be found here:
http://was7.hewitt.com/bestemployers/asia/english/index.htm?expand=1

'Resource - Hewitt- http://www.hewitt.com

Snippets.

I've noticed that more and more companies are now putting in hard work on staff retention, particularly with IT companies where turnover is high. There are still a handful of companies looking for middle management staff and specialized skillsets ie - SAP and Oracle DBA's. Those with 3 years of experience in IT have less opportunities but those who are Team Lead's, Project Managers, Service Managers, Operation Managers, Performance Manages, Supply Chain Managers (IT) are in very much demand now. There are alot companies that are hiring and identifying good talent, but try alternative job search other than jobs sites, perhaps even go directly. Pick up the phone call HR and tell them that you are in search of a job and open your doors for them! Talent war is still alive and believe me that we are also fighting for good talent.
Don't wait as in this economic outlook, you have to work a little bit harder..Everyone has to work harder in everything...Despite the lay-off's people are also able to find employment. Oh and constantly work with good headhunters...

Working with headhunters.

I’ve done some stat analysis of this website and over the past few weeks I’ve came across readers which usually Google this ‘working with a headhunter, how does a headhunter work or headhunter Malaysia’. Thanks to Histat’s I am able to obtain information as such. Over the past few weeks I’ve been getting new readers too, so it says two things, many people are looking for jobs or this website has been circulating. I thank everyone for this. Thank you very much I am glad I am able to give you an inside to what I do and if at all I am able to help I will continue too.

Today, I’m going to write about snippets of headhunting on how you can work with your headhunter. Most of the time when a headhunter has contacted you, the headhunter will have an opportunity for you, a career opportunity. They won’t waste their time identifying people they usually do not need. We are on an assignment for a client who we need to identify talents and match their strengths to our clients needs. When we have identified you, we have an opportunity for you. Simple as that. We work on an assignment basis because we get paid our consultancy services from the client.

At this point of time, today, now!, we have more calls from candidates or people who are looking for new opportunities because of retrenchment, looking for a company which provide more job security or exploring new opportunities. Oh I’d like to share that over the course of last few weeks, I’ve been getting many calls from IT Sales consultants, looking to move out of IT if there is a possibility…Anyway, since there are more people that have been giving us calls, we will usually try our level best to help candidates that are looking out for opportunities by helping them open door through clients we have built relationships with and through our business contacts. We are able to do that, or I speak for myself in that matter.

So ideally headhunters work on an assignment basis. If you call a headhunter now to look for an opportunity which by chance the headhunter is working on an assignment which matches your strengths, then it is a plus. However a lot of times, this happens when you have a headhunter that specializes in a specific industry not a generalist headhunter. So pick and choose wisely and do some background research on the headhunting company or ask the headhunter which industry is he or he specializing in.

Best ways to work with headhunters:

Make the call and establish the relationship.

Build rapport.

Follow up calls and stay on their radars.

Keep us updated.
Cheers!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Interview outcome.


I think as a headhunter, hiring manager or CEO, one of the important factors to have for an interview is A goal. Think about it. In an interview, we are going to meet someone we have not met before or will never meet again and most importantly someone whom we are going to hire. It is very crucial that once you receive a formal document i.e.; CV, you need to set a goal of the outcome of the interview.

For instance when I used to interview potential candidates for my previous company when I was in HR, I use to plan my goals for an interview. Every one person we interview is unique therefore if there is no plan that has been set, such as asking specific question pertaining to what has been listed in the CV, trust me, you will not asked the question. It will just be a conventional interview like the question and answer game.

A plan can be a simple plan on how the interview is to be conducted. Whether you would like it to be a very formal or informal interview. It depends on your goal outcome. If you set a goal that, you wanted to know more about a persons personal capabilities rather than work capabilities, well list it down. I usually write a few questions on the back of the CV or I have rough markings on the CV so I will know that I have questions pertaining to what is listed in the CV. If you would like to study or learn about a persons thought flow and how well an individual responds to a specific situation, do explain your question in such a way that you expect different answers back. Answer which you expect and do not expect, but at-least rational.

I plan my interviews because I have questions for my clients which I require to vet through first. I plan my questions and also I plan the interview on what I want to achieve out of the candidate. If there is no set goal or no expectation out of an interview, time will be wasted OR you will need to either call or clarify further with the candidate which In time will waste more time.

So good planning and setting a clear cut goal of what you want to achieve in a meeting will be clear. Such as in project meetings or client meetings, you plan your goals….

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Professional Feedback.

My next post will be about something personal that happens to all headhunters. This post kinds of relate to the next post because sometimes hiring managers can be rubbish too. Literally. This was once when I had a very good candidate on hand. I like the attitude, the experience speaks a lot of the candidate’s capabilities and the candidate is young, dynamic, aggressive and a real go getter. This is someone that knows where she wants to be.

When we head-hunt a candidate and even when we have matched made to a companies need, obviously this has already carried some weight. Our report together with the CV was liked by the client/hiring manager and the candidate was called for the interview. This is for a mid level role.

Some facts about headhunting. Match making has already begun even before the client interview. We have head-hunted the candidate, shortlisted, produced a report and most importantly qualified her for the role. Then the interview. Usually the client has to vet through the profile and only when it suits I will proceed to arrange the client meeting with candidate. Then it is totally up to the candidate.

Well, the candidate went for an interview and on their point of view it went well. Funny enough when I got the feedback from HR, she said, the hiring manager said, meeting the candidate was a waste of time’.

Waste of time?

Come on, how can you say that about someone you have pre-qualified and called for an interview when the headhunter has also qualified and has interviewed the candidate? Headhunters are specific and they cater to the job need and to say that a candidate was a waste of time, it is just wrong. Feedback is meant to be constructive – whether negative or positive because weaknesses can be turned into strengths.

Hiring managers should always provide positive or negative feedback for us to fine tune our search or even so that I am able to gauge what went wrong in the interview so that I could help he candidate in future. Hiring managers should provide PROFESSIONAL feedback. I was quite taken a back, because my client is a reputable company and they have very credible people in the company. I was wondering would this be people that I would like my candidates to report to? I guess ‘I don’t think so’. My point being that, feedback should always be professional.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some retrenchement issues.

Over the past few weeks I’ve took on sort of a HR consultant role. I’ve been advising some of my friends and candidates on some clauses and HR initiatives on retrenchment.
So here is one;

My friend got asked to submit a six-month post-dated resignation letter. He is now asked to head another team but also given the green light to resign as and when he wants, which is good and also able to look for a job in the mean time.

From my point of view this is a win-win situation. I cannot see the management taking another step in retrenching him in a short span of time and he is free to explore other jobs in the next six months. This is actually the first time I’ve heard of this.

I think the management is also protecting themselves against any lawsuits of senior management staff in the event that six months later they would release their staff without notice and with immediate effect.

Another one:

R&D departments are usually cost-centre’s ie; those employee’s will be at risk of retrenchment first. So here is what another company did.

They my candidate her one-month salary per-every year she has been in the organization and because of company policy that she had to serve a 3 month resignation period, they remunerated her with 3 months salary as they were letting her go in a month.

So all in all, she had gotten 6 months of her pay: 3 months for serving with the company for 3 years and 3 months to serve the resignation period.

So all in all this was a win-win situation too, but unless is unable to find a job in the nest 6 months. But looking at her technical capabilities, I am sure she will find a job in no time.

By the looks of it, i think companies will try to help their staff as much as they can, such as offering alternatives as above. At the end of the day, companies would not want to be swarmend with unwanted lawsuit issues as it comes with a price. Well, even if u raise up and issue with the union today, your case will probably on be heard a year later, unfortunately.

Please feel free do share if you have any retrenchement stories or issues. You can either email me or leave a comment.

Cheers!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Generation Y.

I think I am coming to understand more about Generation Y. Generation Y are the cool generation, they embrace brand and live in the new world of digitize communication. Generation Y are the group born between 1979-1994 and some say the earliest 1976 and 2001 being the latest, so roughly around ages 15-28. This generation is the talent that organizations have to work hard to manage. I mean, graduates come to work, with blackberry’s which they want to sync with their new given company PC, wait did I say PC, sorry laptop’s, so that they able to work remotely, they come in equipped with most Microsoft Office functions, which a CEO might not be able to remember fast-key commands and most importantly they come in with rich family values, corporate expectations and new age digital social communication.

Well, the way I see it, Generation Y is impacting the workplace and will continue to change the workplace because, these groups bring new set of values, new sets of working ethics, new sets of thinking and their own unique set of setting their goals. They have gone through university, they know which organization they have to work hard to get into, they are governed by goals they have to achieve (getting a degree) to simply fit into a conform society. They generally know what they want to do.

The aim for an organization now is to retain young talent. In my experience, loyalty factor is about 2 years until they start exploring new avenues. Organizations have to cater to their needs. They have to understand that remuneration packages have to meet their needs because of their standard of living otherwise they cannot and will not join another organization. Their bosses have to know of their goals and to help them achieve it, of course inline with the organization culture and value. Most friendships are also formed in an organization and a lot of young workers will generally choose to work where most of their friends go. So it is quite important that organizations are aware that there are so many factors that govern young workers in and out of the office such as time. It is sort of like organizations have to drive these new age strategies to retain young talent and to respect their needs.

I can actually keep on writing and giving examples but that will just take too long. But one of the hardest factors that will govern Talent Acquisition, Retention and Recruitment is the lengths corporate organizations are willing to go to cater towards new generations. It is how you understand and able to create a healthy, dynamic and a driven organization that attracts and retain new talent.

Once I have read up on more sources, I will blog about how new and dynamic companies are in a way moving towards new workforce/place strategies. Just think how the organization Google works.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FYi - some statistics.

A total of 33,451 workers lost their jobs last year, according to the Labour Department. From last October to January 20, 13,040 people had been retrenched, according to The Labour Department’s department director-general Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim (The Star, Jan 21).

Will follow up with a post most probably tonight.

Cheers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A passive candidate.

I find handling passive candidates interesting. We cannot blame them that they are passive; it is simply their personality traits. You do not expect a sales person to be quiet and introverted. You do not expect technical people to be highly extroverted and on the go party mood (but there are a few I know of). Different people, different traits.

How do you handle passive candidates?

Ask more questions and find a button that will make them interested in you and the whole discussion. More or less when you are dealing with passive people, most of the answers are one worded; yes and no. But as long as you hit the right button, you are then in and you will be rewarded with a good discussion.

Today I had a meeting with a System Engineer and he was like the above. He was quite passive and only answered my questions very specifically with a word or two. I was trying to get him to explain to me his career progression and it was very straightforward (which is a good thing) but without much enthusiasm. I wanted to find out about what he liked about his job and what role he also could explore other than another System Engineering.

I started talking about pre-sales and talked about POC’s, vendor management, other similar projects, tenders and why he is good for the role I have for him. He suddenly opened up because I spoke his language and then he started looking at the JD in detail and started painting his career and matching it to the JD in-front of him and I got him talking. Somewhere along the lines I hit the right button. He was quite enthusiastic about the job because it was a step forward with more responsibilities and a move to a multinational corporation with good benefits.

I think when you are dealing with passive people, they would like the assurance that they are talking to someone they can communicate with. I once had a friend who only spoke very few words to me, but when I introduced him to another friend whom incidentally use to watch Star Trek in detail, they both became instant buddies. It is good to find out their interest and what motivates them.

I have written about a similar discussion here, have a look at: http://aheadhunter.blogspot.com/2008/03/good-interview-that-ended-up-great.html

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My profile.

Well, after a few thoughts going into my blog, i've decided to come out and explore the possibilities of not being a ghostwriter. I enjoy my job and passionate about the value i add, so i am starting to write today as myself =].

Have a futher read of my profile here - http://aheadhuntersprofile.blogspot.com/

Looking forward to hearing from everyone. Cheers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

About CCIE...

I was talking to a client about two weeks back and it was bugging me that both of us did not know an accurate number of CCIE (Cisco Certified Internet Expert) holders in Malaysia. Well, they asked how hard it is to search for CCIE certified engineers and I told her that a couple of years ago there were only 20. So it would be a challenging assignment. I told her that there would be less than a hundred today and she said, well she heard from other headhunters that it was about 2-300. So I was shocked that I thought I did not know my facts right and my figures were wrong, felt a bit stupid.

I was kind of taken a back, because when I was in HR a couple of years back, an employee wanted to apply for the course and had mentioned that there were only about 20 certified holders in Malaysia. It was pretty hard to believe that there are 2-300 at this moment of time, as it is expensive, extremely difficult to obtain with stringent requirements and expectations and also at that time you had to travel abroad to take the exam.

So here was my email to her:

“………With regards to the CCIE certification and because it was disturbing me, I called CISCO Malaysia and they verified that they are only 86 CCIE holders and practitioners in Malaysia. I spoke to one of the people from the Marketing Academy team of CISCO. I had an employee when I was in HR; who wanted to apply for the certification about 5 years ago, told me that they were less than 20 CCIE engineers in Malaysia at that time. So by the looks of it, the growing rate for CCIE is about 10-15 engineers per year up to date. I thought we could both share this information….”

Things I do for my clients…..and half past six IT headhunters with inaccurate information..

So far of 2009~

How is everyone this New Year? As for myself I have been fairly busy not only with the festivities but also striving to keep positive in this current downturn which is currently expected to be the worst recession, nastier than 1997. At least the petrol price is much lesser than it was expected to be, some consolation.

There is plenty of negativity around about the gloomy recession that is hitting various industries and I hate to do this, but I am going to rub it in a little.

Motorola, Flextronics, GlaxoSmithKline, Panasonic, Intel, Agilent Technologies, Logitech, Microsoft, BASF, Western Digital and even Google are expected to lay off workers by the thousands globally. I have the figures but I feel that I should not put it on. These are powerhouse companies which give opportunities to a lot of people of different payscales to keep afloat. These companies provide opportunity to keep people employed, to keep our employment rate low and to provide people with lesser education employed. It definitely is unpredictable at this time. However friends, who are bankers and auditors, predict that this will last 18 months. Well 18 months is a long time.

Well, it is currently back in the EMPLOYERS market. There are still opportunities in the market at the moment but they are not being advertised as most business is trying to be creative, hence if advertised their competitors will know their next move. In the IT industry, business and employment is definitely slowing down, particularly for management levels but the usual technical positions are still in need. Sales positions are also growing and as we know, closed tenders are open for being bidding again, big boys are sizing down the channel sales partners and also very picky at it and most companies are basically surviving on maintenance and existing contracts.

It has definitely slowed down; a lot of big reputable local, regional and Multinational corporates have slashed or frozen their headcount. I have had a lot of calls from candidates, but my advice to all jobseekers is to stay put and not rush into any blatant opportunity because you will not get an opportunity which you WANT. I am biting my tongue by saying this but it is my advice and careful with a job opportunity.

Things to consider – Company, company stability, company size, on-going projects, growth opportunities, superior’s attitude, company direction, company listing and even the work place itself.

Why I say this is because there isn’t much opportunities out there as there was like last year or last two years and employers will be choosy and more careful on their hirers. Be tactful, if dealing with a headhunter make sure to ask questions and go through the opportunity in detail with the headhunter. Good headhunters do that even at these periods, now I speak for myself :).

Be positive, look forward to good growth, always have a positive mindset to counter negativities, get out there and do more sporting and healthy activities and have a good day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why companies should use Executive Search.

Benefits of using Executive Search.

Executive Search consultants or headhunters are professionals in identifying talent across industries for companies that have immediate or long term recruitment needs. Search services is engaged by companies or organizations which require a vacancy to be filled and have difficulty looking for the desired person or used for future resource planning for a company.

Their service reaches throughout more of the hiring process. These includes conducting detailed reports and interviews, only presenting the candidates to clients where they feel the candidate in question will fit into the employment culture of the client along with the correct experiences and desired skill-set.

Executive searches add value to an organization in many ways. Often enough, headhunters are engage for these few reasons:

Time:

· I use to work as a HR Executive in a leading local public-listed IT company and I have faced difficulties looking for people in a desired timeframe. Let’s face it, everyone is always busy and it is difficult having to screen 300 web-based CV’s for a position which we have advertised for, from one of our local leading online recruitment companies. This does not include calling candidates and making appointments for an interview which in my encounters, candidates do not turn up or will reschedule.

· Time is on your hands and you have your KPI’s and deliverables to meet for a recruitment cycle. Well, this is where engaging executive search services saves you time. Once a services fee has been agreed upon, headhunters are able to spearhead directly into the industry and search for the relevant and required people with a desired skill-set. Be it a CEO or a Project Manager, headhunters are able to find these talents which meet your requirement in a shorter timeline.

· When dealing with an experienced headhunter or an executive search consultancy, preliminary interviews are conducted, behavioral and skill-based competencies are measured and character to job matching profiles are carefully evaluated, thus leaving the employer to meet the candidates upon receiving the profile and conduct their own interview to ensure a total fit for the organization.

· Time is crucial therefore engaging executive search services will not only take away your headache but saves you time.

Specialization Positions:

· Candidates are able to bluff their way at interviews at times. What may seem good on paper might prevail to be a hiring mistake by hiring managers months later. A CV is a great marketing tool and it may lead you to think that this is the best candidate at a glance. This is very common in end-user recruitment and many make this mistake. Candidates may boast that they have done a brilliant job throughout their experience but in retrospect after a headhunter does their industry reference check, it could be a deception.

· Mistakes will and does happen in recruiting the right candidate. When dealing with a specialized headhunter, you can avoid these mishaps because other than having lots of contacts and relationships in a specific industry headhunters have strong character references.

· Headhunters are specialized in their specific industries and this gives employers an advantage with working with an industry-centric headhunter. Whether it is the engineering, finance, IT or telecommunications industries, headhunters are familiar with their industries. Headhunters are familiar with industry jargon and are updated with new information from their industry, simply by talking to candidates on a daily basis. They are able to walk in the hiring managers shoes and determine the right skills needed of a person for the job.

Results:

· Search consultants are result driven like any other employee in a different industry. As there is a strong reliance on headhunters to fulfill a position for a company, they take ownership of the assignment and strive to deliver their best for the client.

· As said earlier-on in this article, headhunters see through the hiring process, salary negotiation until the commencement of work of the candidate. These initiatives take away the hassles of dealing with people who do not turn up to work after signing the offer letter and at times resigning in such a short period frame, because search companies usually have a guarantee period as an assurance because of the services fee incurred. Headhunters usually manage the whole hiring process to ensure that their clients have found a competent candidate and the candidate is happy with the new employer. The gap is now closed.


Executive search services have helped many companies achieve its value of finding the right candidate for the right job at the right time. As far as headhunting goes, a lot of companies have relied on their services for timely staffing and to take away unnecessary headache’s from the HR function within the organization. High performers and competent staff re hard to identify this is where an executive search services bring you the best and matches an organization with the ideal candidate.