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The Balancing Act of Recruitment Business

Singaporean human resources consultancy RecruitFirst hopes to tap the growing market of contracting work in Hong Kong and help employers find the right talent

Promising to be “fast and furious”, RecruitFirst from Singapore opened an office in Hong Kong in January 2017 with the goal to “place a candidate every minute, every day”.

“The brand was first set up four years ago in Singapore, and we built it up very quickly. It has become stable and profitable, so we decided it was a good time to expand it to an overseas market,” Aviel Sim, Consulting Director, said. “The Hong Kong market is very open, and very ideal for new companies to start up and run. Clients are very open to meeting us and testing us out.”

Although RecruitFirst is itself a young brand, it is part of the bigger network of the HRnetGroup, which has several brands under its wings. The most well-known among them is the 25 years old HRnetOne, which specialises in placing executive‑level candidates in a range of industries. In Hong Kong, where the brand has operated for 16 years, it is known for serving clients in retail and pharmaceutical industries.

For RecruitFirst, one of the main sources of business is placing candidates in temporary or contracting roles, with insurance and banking; retail and fast-moving consumer goods; as well as IT and telecommunications being the key sectors.

Sim explained that a relatively volatile global economic climate has prompted more companies to turn to contracting as a flexible way to control headcount based on changing needs, while candidates are also more open to accepting temporary roles.

“When you are talking about fixed-term contracting, the candidate is placed on our company’s payroll and we outsource them to the client,” he explained.
For permanent positions, roles handled by RecruitFirst range from entry level to managerial level. But Sim stressed that, in either case, it takes more than sheer luck to find the right candidate for a client.

“Clients really trust us in sending them candidates that are reliable and well managed. Time is invested in educating the candidate about the market situation, the nature of the company they are applying for and the nature of the role,” he said.

RecruitFirst also makes use of technology to help its work. It has recently launched its own mobile app that links the user to its candidate database. Job seekers can also use it to search for openings based on their aspirations.

The team at RecruitFirst makes frequent visits to local universities to get the word out about their company and to seek out new talent.

“In terms of academic training, the universities in Hong Kong definitely train students well,” he said. “Every week we meet a lot of good candidates and are very impressed by them.”

The HRnetGroup network has operations in eight countries and 10 cities across Asia Pacific, which enables RecruitFirst to place candidates around the region.

17.03.2017

Fast Facts

  • Set up in Singapore four years ago, and entered the Hong Kong market in January 2017
  • Taping the growing contracting work market as one of its main sources of business
  • Part of the HRnetGroup, which has operations in eight countries and 10 cities across Asia Pacific

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