"We think face to face communication with clients and candidates is important. All consultants are en world brand ambassadors."
Recruitment Business Leader Interview: Craig Saphin
Craig Saphin, President of En World.
Recruiter Asia will be running a number of interviews with some of the biggest influencers and business leaders within the recruitment industry across Asia and the world.
We are delighted to have a Craig Saphin, President of EnWorld in the hot seat this month giving us a unique insight into EnWorld but also in to some of the attraction and retention issues faced with the industry.
Craig Saphin Bio:
President, en world Group, President and Representative Director, en world Japan K.K., and Director, en-japan inc.
Craig Saphin joined en world in 2007. Craig has overall responsibility for all permanent and contract recruitment as President for en world group.
Prior to en world, Craig Saphin gained extensive Sales and Marketing experience in Asia Paciﬁc with roles as EFI Japan as President and Senior Director of APAC as well as 9 years experience at Fuji Xerox in Australia and Japan. Craig Saphin holds an MBA from the University of New South Wales.
A ﬁtness enthusiast, Craig hails from Australia and moved to Japan for the 2nd time in 2000 with his wife. In the community Craig is the chair of the Japan based charity, TELL, and a member of the ANZCCJ executive committee.
Recruiter Asia: How did you get started in recruitment?
Craig Saphin: After working and living in Asia for 20 years and working in the IT industry for more than 15 years I was ready for a change. The founder of Wall Street Associates in Japan asked me to join as the Sales Director and to help him evolve WSA to be a scalable, client focused recruiting business. I accepted the challenge and continue to have a great time as we grow the en world brand in Asia.
Recruiter Asia: How has the market changed?
Craig Saphin: In Japan, partly because of a change in the political administration, people in Japan are hopeful about economic and employment trends and measures. Hiring has remained strong with MNCs and Japanese companies looking to expand overseas. There is a shortage of talent in Japan qualified to work in such organisations.
In Singapore, we foresee no significant growth in any specific sector in 2013. In the financial industry, demand continues to diminish. The situation in other sectors is neither good nor bad. Because of soaring labor costs, companies in neighboring countries are tending to relocate manufacturing operations to Indonesia, a conveniently located production base with labor costs lower than those in Thailand and Malaysia. Automotive, manufacturing, electronics, and textile companies are especially eager to relocate to Indonesia.
In Korea, We expect the situation to remain difficult for the engineering-construction and the financial industries, whereas demand can be expected to maintain certain levels in the automotive, oil-and-gas, chemicals, steel, and materiel industries. We expect demand to be strong in the IT and telecommunications industries. Significant growth is anticipated in smartphone-related industries, a Korean strength, especially as more countries adopt LTE (high-speed data communication). Markets related to high-resolution panels for smart TVs and tablets are one of the fields in which demand for personnel can be expected to grow.
In Australia, the economy has been difficult because of a slowing in the mining sector, the upcoming election and increasing levels of unemployment. However, there are positive signs and talent in consumer market, life sciences and infrastructure are still in hot demand.
In Hong Kong, there continues to be a shake out in the financial and other sectors. However, the HK government is very business friendly and Hong Kong’s role as a regional hub and also springboard into China continues to gain momentum. Demand for talent that can operate in a regional function in almost any sector is hotly contested.
Recruiter Asia: What do you see as the biggest challenge you face in the recruitment market today?
Craig Saphin: We are expanding our business rapidly. During last 1 year, we opened new offices in Korea and conducted M&A with Calibrate in Australia and also Navigos Group in Vietnam. Our challenge is to keep our corporate culture and maintain consultant’s service of quality. In our case, fortunately 50% of the candidates we present to clients came from our own database and these are mostly from referral. We will maintain our own database and the % of referrals. This is one of the aspects that allows us to give our clients a high level of service quality. That is the key factor allowing us to win among competitors.
Recruiter Asia: What’s your attitude to recruitment?
Craig Saphin: We have clear target: mid-career recruiter for managerial roles in all regions. We think face to face communication with clients and candidates is important. All consultants are en world brand ambassadors. en world has great staff and a lot have been with the company for many years. For new en world employees we utilize the in-house training team to put them through a detailed training program and this continues through their career at en world. Our goal is to provide border less service across APAC region using team work. Communication and working as one team over boarders to deliver best results for our MNC’s clients is a high priority.
Recruiter Asia: How do you go about hiring the best talent?
Craig Saphin: We spend a lot of time hand picking every person who joins us. It is a comprehensive process called Top grading, a well proven recruiting & retention method used by a lot of the top U.S. companies. It can take 2 to 3 hours for an interview. We are looking for people with en world values and a clear idea of what their biggest successes and failures have been through their career. We think this is a good use of time because hiring and retaining “A” players is a key driver for any business which is growing. Once we hire our “A” players, we spend time training them. We have three full-time trainers for that purpose.
Recruiter Asia: What are the challenges around retention and how do you best deal with them?
Craig Saphin: Since we introduced Top grading method in 2006, our job turnover rate dramatically decreased. In addition, we employ a transparent performance reward system. We have a structured promotion program, allowing you to choose the speed and direction of your own career growth. The more you contribute, the more your professional rewards will grow. We regularly communicate company direction and results and recognize achievements. When you hire “A” players they appreciate being able to operate in a strategic context rather than in isolation.
Recruiter Asia: How do you measure the success of your team and lateral hires?
Craig Saphin: We set up a clear KPI for every major sales activity. Then, we have structured own database so that we can track our sales activity immediately even hour by hour using our unique data base system.
Recruiter Asia: What excited you about the next few years ahead?
Craig Saphin: We have plans to expand our business more in the Asia Pacific. Throughout APAC there is a talent shortage and the demand for talent from MNCs and local companies is very high. Over the next 10 years countries like China, India and, Indonesia will grow rapidly and the demand for talent with it. We want to be in a position to help our clients be successful and grow their businesses wherever they decide to set up in Asia.
Recruiter Asia: What’s your view on the Asian Recruitment Market?
Craig Saphin: There are a lot of emerging markets in the Asia Pacific for us to introduce mid-level people to MNCs. Countries like Vietnam and India have very young and well educated people who are hungry to succeed and do well. The future in APAC is very bright indeed. Those offering high levels of service with local market information and well trained staff will do very well.
Recruiter Asia: What is your favourite quote / motto?
Craig Saphin: “Always treat others how you want to be treated.”
Recruiter Asia: If you weren’t working in recruitment you would be?
Craig Saphin: Running a small business somewhere in Asia.
Thank you to Craig and his insight on the en world hiring processes and challenges of today. Please feel free to comment below and if you want to feature on “Recruitment Business Leaders Interview” then please get in contact with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come tell us your story on Asia’s number one recruitment magazine.
Team Recruiter Asia.