HR Recruitment in Thailand: Lessons from the Trenches
Peter Fitzroy, Managing Director of Metamorph, has been in recruitment for more than 15 years. Over his career, he’s placed more than 700 people, and his experience includes Thai SMEs and PLCs as well as multinationals working in the APAC region.
Here he talks about the lessons he’s learned – and how businesses can improve their approach to HR recruitment.
Q: What’s your top advice for HR and hiring managers struggling to fill roles and boost retention?
You have to get processes right, and the devil is in the detail. Anyone can get hold of a dozen CVs and sit through hours of interviews and make a hire. But that’s not how you hire someone who will be a long-term asset. And, ultimately, retention increases when you get a strategic fit to begin with.
This means interrogating every aspect of hiring, so you have something systematic in place. From designing the job spec to interviewing and assessing candidates – it should be based on the process and systems, not gut feel.
This approach guarantees better results. I’m proud to have achieved a 91% stick rate on senior-level appointments (candidates still in place 12 months later).
Q: Can you give an example of what a best-practice process looks like?
Here’s an example from an executive search for a multi-billion dollar chemical company. The role was based in Bangkok but had responsibility across APAC, the Middle East and India. We approached the search systematically, mapping out 200 candidates worldwide. We narrowed that down to 60 and interviewed 20.
Based on extensive data analysis, we identified 6 key performance capabilities for the role. Then, for the interviews, we created a weighted scorecard for those capabilities. This meant the shortlist was an evidence-based, unbiased assessment rather than instinct.
Q: Why does Metamorph focus on HR recruitment specifically?
Having spent more than a decade in Thailand, I’ve worked for some of the biggest generalist recruiters in the country. Based on my experience in a range of sectors, it became increasingly clear that HR is the most important function in a business today.
You always hear leaders say: “People are our most important asset” – which means the function that manages people must be the most important. But companies don’t always empower HR the way they should, which means there’s an opportunity to make a big difference as a recruitment partner.
Also, I think it’s a super exciting time to be in HR. Thinking back to when I first starting recruiting HR Managers in Thailand, the paradigm has shifted massively. Technology has changed the game and put HR in the spotlight. Leaders are starting to realise what HR can really do for them. Exciting times!
Q: How do you see HR evolving?
Kornferry did some fascinating research, which showed that next-gen CEOs are more similar to next-gen CHROs than they are to any other function. The CHRO is going to become a more common path to CEO, which is a very good thing for businesses.
It’s quite possible we won’t have the term “HR” in the future, it will be “People and Performance” or something like that. We’re already seeing changes along these lines in the US. What’s guaranteed is that the role of HR and the work it does will change - and will become completely focussed on people, their development and their wellbeing. Everything else will be automated, and it will be common to see data scientists and marketing specialists in a “HR department”.
As a result, HR is poised to play an increasingly strategic role. And there will be a lot of HR fads along the way. Current buzzwords like AI and gamification will have their place, but they’ll be means to an end. And that end is understanding what the future of work looks like for the business. Thanks to technology, it will be easier than ever before for HR to become value creators and future leaders.
Q: What resources would you recommend for HR leaders looking to get ahead of the curve?
I’m active on LinkedIn posting articles from HR-specific experts, so people can connect with me for regular insight. Other resources are the Gartner CHRO Global Leadership Board, the 21st Century HR podcast and McKinsey’s Talent Wins book.
Another good place to start is the paper The Future of Work: How Global HR Trends Impact Business in Thailand.
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