"I think technology has transformed the HR industry."
Q: Brian, why and how have you started your business? What was the most difficult initial step?
Ten years ago, I had built a number of recruitment businesses from scratch with very little real support from my employers and I had an epiphany one day, I can do this myself. The other main driving force behind starting my own firm, was my own integrity and honest approach to recruitment / business in general. Most recruitment business are run as pure sales organizations rather than talent management business’s, many times companies or worse still individuals were being sold the wrong opportunities / hires. Banking your first invoice is the most difficult step.
Q: What was the biggest project in your career? What did it teach you?
Recently I became involved in a potentially very large B2C mobile business start up. It was truly a global business with finance coming from the US, development based in Vietnam and the target launch market in Europe. It thought me a very valuable lesson in start ups, it’s all about execution, not necessarily ideas. Also I hired an entire Digital Marketing function for fortune 100 company once, we basically took a fully functional team from a competitor and took the entire team, this is a win/win, for my client, guaranteed this team will work well and also dramatically weaken your competition.
Q: In your view, how has HR industry in HK changed in the past 5-10 years?
I think technology has transformed the HR industry. Never before has there been so much data available on employees or potential employees. Additionally we have seen the rise of the in house recruitment function separate to HR. Something which always bemused me in the past, why were these investment banks paying millions upon millions in recruitment fees when they could just hire in house, pay them a reasonable base salary and save themselves 50% of there recruitment fees instantly. Also the power of internal branding seems to be on the uptake.
Q: From your perspective, how could companies decrease employee turnover?
Notice your staff, develop them and nurture their talents. Your people are your business not the company’s products or services. Additionally pay well, for the budget you save in the short term, you lose out over the long run because your staff is extremely easy to headhunt.
Q: Many business owners in Hong Kong complain that employees are “jumping too many jobs”. Do you agree?
I disagree; good staff stays the course, always regardless of how in demand their talent is or how volatile the market is. I think the brutally honest answer to this question is companies simple hire the wrong people over and over again; those wrong choices have a gestation period of 6 to 12 months and then a further 3 months in exit. This is why you see so many people with 1 to 2 year stints on their CVs.
Q: What are your 3 most favorite interview questions? Why do you think they are effective?
I am a very instinctive recruiter; I usually assess people on the overall engagement rather than specific questions. A lot of the time, there profile will speak for itself. Why did you leave that company is still one of the most important questions in the process, its puts the candidate in a different mode and you can tell a lot from how candidates answer that question rather than them regaling there successes
Q: Can you give some advice to job seekers on how to land a perfect job?
Do a lot of research; try to find companies or roles that you are genuinely interested in. Spend time to consider what is important to you, in a job, in a company in your future career. Then actively seek out that role constantly to you find it. Remember people hire people that they like first and foremost, learn to relax and enjoy the interview process.
Q: If money didn’t matter, what is the-one for you personally?
Psychologist / Councilor, I find people endlessly fascinating, their emotional baggage and how they process it, intrigues me.
Q: Who inspires you in your life and career?
People who are kind.