Tell us your story, how did you go from growing up in the Philippines to working in Shanghai?
I had just finished my Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management in 2007 when I received an acceptance letter for a scholarship program in Singapore that I had applied for. I was delighted as I had always wanted to pursue a culinary course and my dream was to be a chef. I was considering part-time work alongside this program so I asked my sister, who worked for an American company in their Shanghai office at the time, to take a look at my CV. Her manager also saw my CV and was interested in me since the company had a position available in their team. After a series of telephone and video interviews, I received an offer letter which was too good to turn down. I declined the scholarship program in the end and started my first full-time job as a Client Service Consultant for the biggest meetings and events management company in the U.S. I was sent to the United States for two months for formal training before starting in Shanghai and that’s how my journey in China started.
So same continent, but two very different cultures! How has this experience been an asset in your line of work?
Well, being an Asian helped to close the cultural gap between the two countries. Filipinos are pretty open when it comes to other cultures. We love blending in. The Philippines was colonised by several countries including Spain and the United States, so as a result, Filipinos have become very culturally diverse people. This sense of diversity really helps me to fit into any type of crowd I find myself in.
You play a central role at INS Global Consulting… Could you give a short summary of what you do?
Yes, my role at INS is integral. I’m in charge of Internal Recruitment as well as 360-degree Recruitment for INS clients. It’s essentially Human Resources and Sales all rolled into one.
What are the main recruitment challenges in China?
- Finding and attracting top executive talent – A lot of companies operating in China have difficulty finding highly skilled and top performing talent.
- High employee turnover – The average employee turnover rate for privately-owned companies in China is around 19%.
- Lack of qualifications – Only around 10% of Chinese candidates are qualified to work for foreign companies.
- Inaccurate CV data – Many applicants have discrepancies in their CVs and experiences.
How do you search for and identify key talent?
I strongly believe in the quote by Anthony Bourdain: “Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have”. Most candidates apply for jobs because they are qualified and have the necessary skills for the position. However, they sometimes forget that having a good character is just as important and I’m very particular when it comes to this. It’s a big factor when identifying and selecting talent that stands out.
What are the recruitment trends in the Chinese market today?
For over a decade, it has been standard practice for Chinese job applicants to search for work on third party sites such as 51Job or LiePin. On these sites, applicants can use a CV stored on their account to apply for hundreds of jobs within a matter of seconds, avoiding the need to create separate accounts on each employer’s website. Compared to other countries, popular multi-purpose messaging app WeChat has proved itself successful in sourcing talent in China. You can join recruitment groups with up to 500 members to post job adverts or view CVs, sometimes with the possibility of scheduling an interview on the same day. It plays a big role on the recruitment scene here and has facilitated the process since its release in 2011.
What does a typical day in the INS office look like for you?
My average day in the INS office usually starts with a cup of tea while checking my emails. I then look at CVs from potential candidates and get in contact with them on WeChat or LinkedIn to discuss a role I think would be suitable for them. I also tend to send a lot of emails or make phone calls to potential leads and existing clients to provide them with tailored recruitment solutions. In the afternoon, I conduct interviews either through WeChat, telephone, or around the city.