Criterion Asia – The leading HR services firm in Thailand
We speak to recruitment businesses from around the world every day and today we’re making a pit-stop in Bangkok to speak to one of our favorite customers…read on for an exclusive interview with Yves Gaboriault, Managing Director to learn more about the company, his advice for new recruitment firms and the business challenges for a recruitment company growing in the City of Angels.
Vincere: What makes Criterion Asia special?
Yves Gaboriault: Our experience and expertise in IT from our Partners and team of consultants is what makes us different….
For example, the person leading the IT team is Matthew Zavadil. He has over 25+ years’ experience working in Accenture – he was managing the business and has an extensive network of people in the Thailand IT industry.
We don’t classify ourselves as industry experts, we delve deeper into the functional areas and have a specialized team of consultants who used to work in their respective functional area of expertise – they are focused on building their talent pools around one functional expertise instead of having to do everything.
Vincere: What’s the vision for the company? Any plans for the future?
Yves: This year is a year of transformation for Criterion Asia – we rebranded the company, hired new people and upgraded out IT infrastructure and systems.
We started by implementing Vincere which we like very much as we really wanted to give the right tools for our consultants to do their job in the most efficient and effective way possible.
We also just finished a company rebrand campaign last month, and launched a brand-new website which has become increasingly important for recruitment businesses. We want candidates to come directly to our own job board instead of relying on external job boards. The next step for us is to plan a marketing campaign for launch in late 2017 and early 2018.
Usually, Q4 for recruitment is a bit slow as companies aren’t looking to hire people at the end of the year. This is good timing as it’s a chance for us to plan our marketing initiative and let the market now that we’re active, we’re here in Thailand and we have the right people to help you.
Next year, part of the plan would be to renovate the office here and give it a facelift. The goal is to make the office an even more attractive work environment. That’s part of the whole process as we’re looking to attract higher caliber consultants to join our team.
Vincere: Tell us more about the recruitment landscape in Thailand – how does it compare to other places in Asia?
Yves: The recruitment industry in Thailand is an extremely challenging market to be in, unlike other places like say, Singapore where the government limits the number of recruitment licenses. Just in Bangkok alone, there are already more than 400+ licenses for recruitment companies – it’s very competitive.
What we indeed to do is leverage on social media to reach as many passive candidates as possible. Facebook in Thailand has one of the highest penetration rate in the world – there are about 67m people in Thailand and there are 46m registered Facebook users. We want to try to use these tools to maximize exposure and get them to visit our website and deposit their resumes.
Vincere: What are the unique challenges you face recruiting in developing countries?
Yves: One of the challenges I’m facing is very much like what our clients are facing – and that is retaining people. There are a lot of recruitment companies and even more new entrants joining the recruitment space – people tend to jump ship easily for a higher base salary.
I have also noticed that the local people here are slightly more risk-averse, and they are not really comfortable with the concept of being paid based on performance. It’s interesting to note that they are seeking a high base compensation versus a package like higher commission + low base, which can be challenging for us as it is not very aligned to what we’re trying to do with the business. The concept of the base salary being used as a draw on commission is not very well understood by the locals
Vincere: What kind of advice would you give to someone wanting to start a recruitment firm in Thailand?
Yves: I would definitely do due diligence before hiring someone. We do that for our clients but we tend to forget to do it when we hire our own people. It’s important to get some references before bringing any consultants on board, and understand how this person was performing in his previous role. After all, recruitment is very much a sales job – you’re selling to clients and you’re selling to candidates. So it’s all about achieving the results. People may behave well during interviews but the real questions is whether they can close the deals.
Vincere: How important is a recruitment software in managing a recruitment business like Criterion Asia?
Yves: The way I see it, it’s absolutely essential. Many of our clients are using some form of recruitment software to do their own recruitment so it’s all about speed. You need to be fast and faster than the competition. You need to have access to an active pool of candidates in the most efficient way possible.