Attitude & Adaptability: What Keeps Her on the Fast Lane
Do you know what keeps you driven in your position at work? Are you feeling jaded and increasingly drained? Oftentimes we may find ourselves pondering the question: “Am I in the right job fit?”, especially if we’ve been in the same line for some time.
We speak with Claire, Senior Consultant at FP, Strategic Consultant focusing on Traditional & Alternative Investment Funds. Having worked in the US in UNICEF and other roles, she found her passion for recruitment, and especially in Asia. Find out what are her motivating factors are, and her daily challenges, for those hoping to enter the recruitment space!
- Tell us more about yourself. Did you ever expect yourself to be a recruitment consultant?
Since the start of my career, I’ve always been in the recruitment field. After graduating with my Masters, there were some interesting opportunities in San Francisco, but I decided that it was better to come back to Asia and stay true to my personal self. I felt that it was where I would get to pursue what I enjoyed most.
I find that I am always inspired by knowledge and intellect, and at the same time, stimulated by human interactions. Naturally, ever since I start off with recruitment, I have not found any better job that suits my personality so well. I am truly curious about what people do and how specific industries are navigating and moving on both micro and macro levels.
Furthermore, my job gives me opportunities to speak to different people on different echelons, and this frequent exposure helps to challenge my knowledge every day. As a bonus, I make many friends along the way!
- Describe your typical work day as a senior consultant. Which sectors do you cover specifically?
For me, I’d break it down this way:
- 40% – communication with clients and candidates
- Communication plays an important role in understanding the needs and good fit of my clients and candidates.
- 30% – project delivery
- Subsequently, we’ll bring this information into delivering the outcomes that are desired
- 30% market updates and internal strategic planning
- Finally, the rest of the day would be spent keeping up-to-date with current market events and how to position ourselves to be ahead of future changes
- Have you ever been afraid on the job?
The people I have had the chance to work with have been very welcoming and helpful – my colleagues, clients and candidates, and I’m very grateful! I had some initial fears, but they were all appeased within no time. With them, it has been a breeze!
- Was the road to be a Senior Consultant tough? What were some challenges you’ve faced, if any?
I’ve encountered multiple challenges on various projects along the journey. To pin down the challenge with one word, it would be SPEED. I often find myself studying a new market or segment and expanding my network in that particular field in an extremely short amount of time.
I find that this challenges me to be able to catch as much information as necessary to effectively understand and establish connections, which has been getting better each time! Learning more is not a challenge, but it is the pace that spurs me to grow in knowledge and be exposed to new things at a very steep learning curve.
- Considering all the candidates you’ve met thus far, what personal attributes do you think clients look out for?
With my own discretions, there are several attributes that are important for the desired candidate in any openings.
Cognitive Intelligence: This is not about how high your IQ is or if you’ve graduated at the top 1% of your cohort in university – but more about how well and quickly you respond when exposed to new knowledge or an unfamiliar environment.
Ability to do the job: This is, of course, important. We should not and cannot expect an IT developer to perform neurosurgery. Certain qualifications and competencies are expected especially for more technical roles, and some of it just comes with experience.
Leadership: This is not so much on whether you are holding a full-time leadership position such as becoming your school chess club or country. It’s about serving as the best leader in the time of crisis and needs – the willingness to step in, offer your expertise and to lead at a time when you are the best leader and to step out once the task is finished. It’s all about relinquishing power.
Attitude: This is the most important quality I’ve found. It is always better to have someone who is pleasant and easy to work with on a day-to-day basis.
- Considering all the clients you’ve met thus far, what do you think draws a candidate to accepting an offered role?
I realise nowadays, candidates not only emphasise heavily on just tangible benefits such as salary and health benefits but they also highly value the indirect benefits (which are not always expressed upfront in a job offer). To name a few, we could talk about growth potential, availability of training, direct manager’s appreciations of staff efforts, workplace recognition etc.
These are becoming increasingly important in today’s changing workforce, where millennials have a diversity of options and are not tied down by location or industry!
If clients would like to understand how candidates are comparing or assessing them, these would be some additional perspectives that could be considered.
- With targets that need to be met, how do you keep yourself motivated?
The market by itself makes me motivated. I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy the recruitment space very much because of the diverse learning opportunities and people interactions which keep me interested and engaged. I’m extremely grateful to be involved in much of the decision-making with clients and candidates, as well as learn a lot about the specific industries.
I believe that every role has its value and if we have the right attitude, we each stand to gain much, even intangibles such as growth in knowledge, skills, character or even just in making new connections!
- What was the biggest challenge you faced when you were on the job? Are there any kind of unique challenges?
Again, speed! I’d say most projects are very differentiated, and they offer their own unique challenges. Since I enjoy this diversity, then the main challenge for me would be taking them on simultaneously or completing them within a shorter span of time.
- Is there time for life outside of work?
Definitely! I’m a person who stands for work-life balance and it is actually an important element that keeps me in the recruitment space! (contrary to popular belief!).
That said since I like to read up and learn about new things and besides, it helps that this job already keeps me reading up some interesting projects and economic news.
Outside of work, I normally spend time recharging myself, such as through painting or travelling, when time and weather allows for it.
- What advice would you give to someone who wishes to be a consultant?
You must be highly self-motivated!
This is because the nature of your work is completely flexible and you have the autonomy to manage your own schedule, yet there are also targets to hit, and impacts to achieve.
Your personality would also play a big part in being a recruitment consultant. For example, it would be good to ask yourself these questions:
Do you enjoy working with people?
What meaning do you find in connecting clients and candidates?
How do you find working in a role that has diverse things to learn about?