In our Consultant Spotlight Q&A series, we take a magnifying glass to the day-to-day responsibilities, opportunities and challenges that our consultants experience while working at Kerry Consulting.
In this inaugural edition of the series, Yien Quek, Associate Director in Kerry Consulting’s Technology Practice, sits down to discuss the reasons why he joined the industry, the culture at Kerry Consulting and advice he would give new recruiters.
Yien Quek, Associate Director, Kerry Consulting’s Technology Practice
“Kerry Consulting is Singapore’s leading search and selection firm. I wanted to learn from the best recruiters in the market with more experience. The opportunity to learn from those with more experience was what I really wanted, and that was why I chose to work here.”
Q: What made you want to join the recruitment industry?
A: I was at a crossroads. I had been working in my job at the time for a while and was searching for something different. A friend of mine recommended the recruitment company at which she worked. I met with some of the leaders there and thought that I would like to try my hand at it, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
Q: What made you want to work at Kerry Consulting?
A: Kerry Consulting is Singapore’s leading search and selection firm. I wanted to learn and contribute among the best recruiters in the market. The opportunity to learn from those with significant experience was what I really wanted, and Kerry Consulting was the best place in which to do that.
Q: What is the culture like at Kerry Consulting?
A: Kerry Consulting has a “Q-Bash” event to celebrate the end of every quarter. Those events are always great. Last April, for example, we went on a boat trip around Singapore. There are worse ways to spend a Friday afternoon! It was evident from when I first joined that the consultancy understands the need for staff to come together to strengthen team bonds.
The people at Kerry are intensely focused compared to other recruitment firms. However, this is coupled with a very close-knit and understanding culture. Staff are extremely supportive of one another and if you ask for help you will receive it. Work-life balance is a priority for the consultancy and there are no unrealistic expectations set for staff.
“Some may see things like AI as be a threat to traditional recruitment, but I don’t believe this to be true. I think there is no replacement for human touch – for understanding and empathy – and we know through our years of experience that clients and candidates place a huge amount of emphasis on these qualities.”
Q: Could you briefly explain your daily responsibilities?
A: The role of a recruiter is rarely mundane. Some of my daily responsibilities are composed of engagement with candidates and clients through calls or meetings. I also have some administrative work like writeups to candidates and sending it on to clients. Organising the database, doing some marketing related work preparation like presentations and market reports are also some of my daily responsibilities. I also do more proactive work and train junior consultants in the Technology Practice. I find that every day is different at Kerry Consulting, and I enjoy the variety of work.
Q: Would you say that your personality and character fits being a recruiter?
A: I feel that every personality and character can become a recruiter, even though there are some personalities that will suit the career better. Many recruiters’ goals are universal and basic, so there isn’t really a set personality. Most importantly, a recruiter must have integrity, be genuine and show empathy.
Q: What are the biggest opportunities/challenges facing the recruitment industry right now?
A: I feel that technology is a double-edged sword. It is one of the biggest opportunities and challenges facing the recruitment industry now. We are not at the level where technology can fully replace recruiters at their jobs but there have been some incredible technological advancements in the industry lately. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting more sophisticated and is being fit into the recruitment process in many ways.
Some may see things like AI as be a threat to traditional recruitment, but I don’t believe this to be true. I think there is no replacement for human touch – for understanding and empathy – and we know through our years of experience that clients and candidates place a huge amount of emphasis on these qualities. I don’t think that AI will ever be able to fully replicate human intuition, and as such I don’t believe that the traditional recruitment model will ever fully change. It will morph and evolve, as it has done in the past, but it will not become something wholly different to what it is today.
Q: Do you collaborate with other recruiters or colleagues from different departments often?
A: Collaborating with other recruiters or colleagues depends on the needs of clients. It can also be an internal collaboration with the Technology team members. For example, if a colleague from the HR Practice has a client who is hiring for a niche technology position, we will work across the remit together.
Q: What advice would you give those eager to embark on a career in recruitment?
A: The underlying mindset is very important. Like other roles, to become successful, there are some things that one needs to sacrifice. Having a strong mentality helps, as the journey is not always going to be smooth. You need to prepare to roll with the punches and put in the hard work. If you do not know how to do something, be proactive in seeking the knowledge required. This is what will help you to grow. It is common for people to have setbacks along the way but know that your success is not forged solely by your wins. Mistakes are a part of the journey. If you make one, own it and move on because it will help you to become a better recruiter.