Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Head-hunting - Different Perspective!!

This is a lovely article I found in the "The Star" daily.. & thought of sharing it with you all. If I was asked 10 years back what is head hunting, I would have been probably given a blank. Today being here in the field for so many years & once been head hunted, I can say it is totally something interesting if someone wants to take up this as a profession. It's like you are a match-maker... & based on my experience nowdays you need a matchmaker in all walks of life.. so anyways here goes the article.. Being from the Malaysian newspaper examples quoted are very Malaysian..:) But I am sure it is still useful for other locations as well. 

A GOOD friend is now happily retired from his days as a head-hunter.

Each time I go online, he is always there, so I can surmise that he spends much of his time in cyberspace.
It is an interesting job – head-hunting – because rather than the applicants coming to you, you have to seek them out.
The firm he worked for is an international giant with a huge database. It has a very systematic way of sieving out the right candidates to shortlist before the initial approach is made.
It is not an exact science, however, and much of the final stages of selection go beyond the hard skills, so having a curriculum vitae that runs into hundreds of pages does not give one an edge over someone relatively fresh.
No wonder when someone gets a call from him or his associates, he has good reason to feel that he has arrived.
I remember a friend who excitedly told me that he was head-hunted but when he told me the name of the firm that called him, I did not have the heart to tell him that it was just a small fry in the business. There are head-hunters and there is the Head-Hunter.
Let’s get real. If you are one of those who still go job-hunting in the recruitment pages of this newspaper, you have not entered the radar of these professional recruiters.
Two major advertisements in recent weeks caught my attention, which made me wonder if they might get better candidates if they had used professional head-hunters instead.
The advertisement for the government agency Pemandu, led by CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala, challenged candidates to “be at the forefront of Malaysia’s most ambitious transformation programme.”
Pemandu will be staffed by specially selected people of exceptional talents and qualities from the private and public sectors.
Interestingly enough, the advertisement did not list down specific academic or work qualifications, so it would appear to me that Jala, true to his entrepreneurial spirit, is prepared to hire outside conventional methods.
Meanwhile, now that Malaysia is to have its own F1 team, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes is also hiring, and from the positions advertised, it is truly a start-from-scratch hiring process.
For those of you who enjoy being a part of something new and exciting, I would certainly encourage you to apply.
Although there are specific positions that will require specific talents, I hope both Jala and Fernandes will add “creative talents” to their teams. These are the people who think out of the box. Some may not even have much to show by way of academic prowess but are endowed with common sense and street knowledge.
For example, if Jala wants to make sure the key performance indicators for the public sector really work, he may not want to just have people from auditing firms who may be good with the head knowledge but have practically little experience on how things really work from the ground up.
Likewise, Fernandes will need people heading his marketing and PR to be fully aware of global marketing and challenges because only one race on the F1 circuit will be held on our home turf in Sepang. So having candidates who only know Malaysian editors will not be much of an asset.
Coming back to my head-hunter friend, I remember one time when he was down to two candidates for a top position in a well-known company, and he asked me for an opinion since I knew both of them.
I did not give him a scientific analysis based on their resumes but my “gut feeling” on who the better candidate would be.
All things being equal, I told him, I would always vouch for the candidate who has a life beyond work, who is capable yet not self-centred and who thinks of the common good and not personal glory.
My preferred choice got the job and he did not disappoint.
I would offer the same advice to Jala and Fernandes.
● Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin feels equal weightage must be given to soft skills that are often not so easily listed down in resumes.


Melorina said...

Do you happen to know when was the advertisement was published. I did not recall seeing yet despite reading the Star everyday.

Amolsledge said...

Hi Melorina,

Thank you for visiting my blog..hope you will keep coming back to find interesting blogs that i try to publish almost everyday.

This article came around 6th or 7th October.

I usually subscribe to the news over the net so get these news clips thru RSS feed.


Anonymous said...

The advertisement for Pemandu came out on P26 of The Star on Sept 15 while the advertisement for F1 came out on P51 on Sept 28. The email addresses given are and

Soo Ewe Jin
The Star

Amolsledge said...

Hi Soo Ewe Jin,

Thank you for visiting my blog & sharing the information.

Look forward to more such articles in the near future.

Hope you shall continue to visit my blog & leave your comments.

Anonymous said...

Quote "For example, if Jala wants to make sure the key performance indicators for the public sector really work, he may not want to just have people from auditing firms who may be good with the head knowledge but have practically little experience on how things really work from the ground up."

Isit fair enuff??? dun think so..