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Obsessed with Talents

Posted November 30, 2014 by in CEO Updates

Mr. Chong Chee Wah
Founder & CEO

Dear Readers,

I must admit I have an “A-Team” in our company. I am extremely proud of our team. Every single one of our team members is a unique talent. It is not easy to join our company as we have a very stringent hiring process. In fact, we hired so slowly that sometimes we have to KIV projects as we do not have enough resources. It is not a situation that companies would like to be but from our management team, our decision is clear – we hire A-Team, we will hire right, not fast.

I believe for any company to be successful, it is not really the product but it is the talent inside the company that makes the company successful. It is the talent that will adapt to the situations and it is the talent that will innovate new ways and new approaches to a problem. At the end of the day, I know very clearly in my mind – talent is the main asset of our company.

I have spent the month of Nov opening up recruitment. It is tough work and it is actually the most important work for any leader of a company. Prowling through LinkedIn, sending endless numbers of invites to potential candidates, and explaining our company and hoping to entice them into a conversation with me to start things off. I do this every month since I founded the company.

Friends often asked why don’t I get headhunters? No doubt the headhunters are professionals and can probably get the job done much faster. I have used headhunters in my other companies with success. I do not doubt the efficiency of headhunters. But in TreeBox, I want to make sure that everyone that we recruit is a talent with a common vision that is aligned to our company. This is the difficult part.

How can I find talents that come from a very diverse background, with extremely different experiences and skill sets, yet converging them into a common goal/vision and then enticing them to come onboard with us? This is the million-dollar question that may leaders need to grapple with. There are also an endless amount of reading materials from experts, academia, entrepreneurs on their own views and responses to this question. No doubt. But I have to figure out this myself.

I don’t think I have arrived at any answer at this stage. I am still very much “work-in-progress”. But looking back at my hires, again, one common thread that surface – I put myself in their shoe.

Most of the potential candidates that I have spoken to are doing very well in their current positions. They are not ones who are actively looking around. They are successful talents. I often put myself in their shoe. When a stranger comes up and arranges for a coffee, to offer new opportunities that are beyond what “I” am currently doing, “I” would be interested to hear things out. “I” would like to know what is the skills that “I” may have that can make an impact on the company. “I” would like to know what is installed for me, what can “I” learn along the way and what is the culture and whether it suits “me”. Having these questions in mind, I was able to have an authentic conversation with potential candidates. Yes, not all will want to take the opportunity to move. In fact, the success rates are low. But I certainly managed to convince a few talents to come on board.

I suppose I don’t have the answer yet to that million dollar question but I certainly feel that having an authentic conversation is the best way to start the relationship building. Even if I don’t manage to convince the candidate, I would still have made a friend in the process. Why not?


With best regards
Chee Wah