In our first episode, we discuss trends and challenges related to the highly competitive field of recruitment and the critical role that hiring managers play. Our guest is Parichat Haehnen, a recruitment and start-up advisor based in Germany.
This transcript has been edited for clarity and cohesion.
Lydia: Good Afternoon Parichat. It’s nice to see you here.
Thanks for joining us in All-In Recruitment, it’s a real pleasure to have you and thank you for taking time off to join us today.
A warm welcome to you.
Parichat: Thank you.
It’s very nice to meet you today Lydia and thanks for having me.
Lydia: We’ve seen your profile, and you’ve had a career spanning nearly 2 decades in various roles.
Let’s start a little bit with your background.
You’ve led teams in-house and also in consultancy right? Parichat Haehnen and Partners in your base of Dusseldorf, Germany.
That’s a pretty impressive track record.
You’ve worked in different countries as well: Thailand, where you were based for 10 years, Singapore and now Germany.
Perhaps you can start by telling us something more about your background.
What do you do today? As a start-up advisor and business coach.
Parichat: I started my career in a hospitality role and from that it developed to a different type of role.
I was working for a hotel and then later it led me to working in a hotel for handling online reservations and for a leading international company.
I had started as an account manager which is the commercial aspect and talking to hotel partners.
From there, I grew and developed my career within the company.
My last role was as the country head of Thailand and other countries in South-East Asia such as Vietnam: Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. As a head of those countries, I basically lead the commercial team. That’s why hiring people and recruiting has become one of my core strengths.
Besides travel, hotel management and revenue management which is only one part of my role, the other part is hiring, training, leading and coaching people. For this role, I initially started as the first person from Thailand.
You can imagine, I was recruiting everybody and building the team up from scratch.
That’s why I find it really important for the business leader to be interested in hiring and recruitment. It is a part of the core businesses, especially now where most businesses are tech focused.
Getting the right people and recruitment for the company is important.
I have developed these skills: hiring people, finding the talent, training them and coaching them.
It's been more than 10 years that I've been into recruitment and I found that having the right talent is so important.
After I left Thailand and moved to Germany because of family reasons, the pandemic forced people to stay home which gave an opportunity for new kinds of work and business. I became interested in business coaching through my network. From that, I got to lead and coach many executives. From being a business coach, I expanded to recruitment where I applied my digital skills to set up a recruitment strategy, and working with the digital department; that’s how I’ve gotten into this field.
2 years have passed since I built my services up.
I am now focusing on recruitment. I’ve teamed up with a few people here in Germany and I have also extended my services towards start-ups because start-ups are growing here in Europe.
I use my skills and expertise to work with the founders of start-ups. Most of my customers are still at the beginning stages of their start-ups such as SEED start-ups and CRA start-ups.
It has been slightly more than 2 years that i’ve lived in Germany and that’s how I found myself in recruitment and as a start-up advisor.
Lydia: That’s excellent!
Also, the start up scene is really vibrant today and there is an emphasis on the kinds of talent that need to be in the start-up because your value to a start-up becomes immediately visible.
You spent a couple of years coaching, working with founders and also being a business coach. Tell us about some of the experiences you’ve had in a start-up environment navigating the pandemic in terms of recruitment.
Parichat: With the trend of growth of start-ups and the pandemic, I can see that recruitment is done mostly by leveraging the digital sphere such as different types of social media and different types of platforms.
There is also recruitment done by using performance marketing.
More budget is spent on recruiting not only via traditional ways such as the portals, job websites or the company website but now you can see there is a lot of advertising done on Facebook where many companies advertise and hire people.
Employee branding has become really strong. The applicant is able to see the company’s culture and how the office looks even before they reach the interview stage. This is really new.
Many companies have started to use video mediums to record and post how their working day looks like.
I think it goes with the pandemic that the digital sphere has become more relevant as well as the growth of start-ups.
Lydia: One thing you said that was really interesting was the use of performance marketing in recruitment.
Could you maybe elaborate on that?
Parichat: What I mean is the investment done from recruitment into the market that can be measured such as using social media.
In the past, those kinds of marketing tools would be applied for products. When a company wants to sell a product, they would invest in those kinds of channels.
However, now human resources or recruitment have spent that budget to attract talents. We use the phrase “trying to get talents from the living room”.
These talents are not really looking for a job but the advertisements do pop up. Interestingly, some will also use short questionnaires or games to engage talents which does keep on happening.
Lydia: That’s interesting.
I like how you said that you have to get the talent from their living room because you and I are both sitting in our living rooms at this point.
It is interesting to see how the point of view has changed so much that you’re actually entering a candidate’s or a person’s private space and trying to appeal to them.
Employee branding as you said is also very key right now and most people are looking for a sense of purpose which brings me to the whole phenomenon of “The Great Resignation” or as some people like to call it “The Great Attrition”.
It's caught on quickly in the past couple of years. We’ve seen so many people moving from one job to another, voluntarily leaving their jobs and choosing what they want to spend their time on.
In terms of the recruitment industry, what might be the pro’s and con’s of this?
Do you see a wider talent pool?
Is there a more cross functional talent pool?
Where’s the industry?
Parichat: In these years, the effect of the pandemic has changed recruiting and talents.
Now employees feel they can work from home and deliver great quality work.
People have found that they don’t want to spend time commuting anymore because it is time that is unproductive.
Most of this is true.
Imagine in Bangkok or Malaysia where people commute a lot. That time would have been productive for the company. It’s the same here in Europe.
I think there are pros and there is a trend of employees looking for flexibility and hybrid work.
There are some downsides with working from home because not everyone has homes they can work from.
Many young employees live in small apartments or don’t have the right working tools or working equipment. They would prefer to work in the office more when they need to complete important tasks. There are proper desks and screens to work and I think that’s the current situation.
Companies that give employees the choice to work wherever they want to as long as it works best for them have trust and a good system to review performance which is the way forward.
It’s not an easy task for organizations to decide on how to continue with this.
Maybe for young organizations it’s easier to hybridize, but for some organizations that have many people and machinery involved, it would still require people to work in the office.
Lydia: You mentioned something about the similarities between what’s happening in different parts of the world.
It can be the same phenomenon. People are looking for hybrid work in Asia similar to in Europe.
Let’s look at some of the developments in your region, where you’re based right now.
You’ve had experience looking into the talent. You’ve had first-hand experience working with founders to devise the strategy.
Where do you think in post-pandemic, as everyone is in their recovery phase right now is Europe headed?
What should recruiters be looking out for in the next year or two perhaps in terms of trends?
Parichat: In terms of trends, I think the job of the recruiters will actually become very challenging. The talent will become very short because of the growth of start-ups and tech companies.
Many companies will become more competitive to attract talents.
For recruiters, the job will become more challenging.
Therefore, I think the recruiter would have to use more tools to do a better job.
That starts from building the right channels and managing the whole process to get the right talents. That really is a big task for the recruitment team.
Lydia: You brought up a very important point which is the usage of more tools in the recruitment process itself and transitioning that form a manual based work process towards automation.
In that sense..
What impact do you think these technologies or tools would have on the recruitment process in your country?
Parichat: I think the work for recruiting has become much more complex…
And as we were just discussing the dynamic and change of the talents and how to find the right talents has become more complex.
The fact is..
Recruiters are still dealing with a lot of manual work: spending a lot of time trying to go here and there, and a lot of time trying to discuss and trying to understand the role requirements.
A lot of time is lost doing many things which means that the recruiter does not have time to spend on finding the right talents.
Therefore it is important for the recruiter to use the tools. Tools starting from advertising the role by leveraging the digital sphere. Using tools to manage CV’s through the entire recruitment process.
I think this is a must with the current digital world and that will help recruiting to become more efficient and successful.
Lydia: Tools certainly come in handy.
You see more and more people adopting tools such as the application system like ours at Manatal.
On that note, many of the companies especially in the start-up scene are all tech companies.
In fact, all companies today have to be tech companies in some format.
What would you say might be the top three challenges that tech recruitment faces today?
Parichat: I think number one would be the recruitment time.
The time in which the vacancy is identified to the time the role is filled.
I have also seen the trend of hiring time has become longer which is worrying.
In the past, you would recruit for one role, you received the CV and the applicant goes for one or two interviews and they get the job.
Nowadays, there are a few interviews plus an assessment so that means internally the recruiter has to deal with many stakeholders and a longer process which means more work for everyone.
It is also not competitive. The applicant could lose interest.
In addition to that, there is also the trend of having a few assessments before the work starts and that adds to the hiring time where the average hiring time becomes longer.
The second challenge is the amount of administrative work that the recruiting team or headhunter has to do.
They need to manage internally and externally: working with external recruiters.
It is a task that is a burden on a recruiter on top of finding the right talent.
The last challenge is how to find the right talent.
How to attract the right talent at the right time and right moment?
Which tools to use?
How to promote the company?
How to build the talent pipeline?
How to keep them interested and get back to them when there is a right role for them?
Those kinds of challenges are what is happening right now.
Lydia: Those are very pertinent points.
What would you say might be a work around that?
Using technological tools would be one.
How should recruiters work around that?
Parichat: I think recruiters have to try to find the tools that will help them.
Nowadays, there are many tools and steps such as hiring.
Finding the right digital tools will save a lot of time and improve efficiency.
This would be my advice to make the best out of recruiting.
Lydia: Talent is everywhere, especially in the tech scene.
They may not necessarily be in the same location so more companies are looking for international talent.
With hybrid work and hyper connectivity, how should recruiters be thinking about hiring the right talent internationally?
Parichat: Besides getting the right talent, it would be to acquire knowledge on how to integrate the new international talent into the company.
That kind of skill is something the recruiter can work on to get more international talent for a company.
Lydia: That’s from a recruiters perspective.
There’s so much we spoke about that a recruiter should in terms of getting the right candidate, steps into, its…
Let’s talk about the hiring manager in this instance.
In your experience, what might be the role of the hiring manager in making sure the right candidate gets through and stays?
Any best practices you’d like to share?
Parichat: I really love this question because I come from both sides.
Now I deal with recruitment much more and the talent directly.
However, I was a hiring manager for more than 10 years.
Nowadays, the role of the hiring manager and the role of the recruiter seem to be a little bit different in many companies, especially big companies.
However, what I’d like to emphasize is that the success and ownership of the hiring should be with the hiring manager because the hiring manager knows what type of person is needed in the team. They know the business.
The hiring manager plays a big role in hiring. It is not only just the recruiter or the advertisements.
The hiring manager should take full credit.
I could share some tips which are that the hiring manager should be looking around the market and building their own pipeline.
No one can build a better talent pipeline than the hiring manager.
What that means is that, as a hiring manager you would have your network and meet people.
You will get to go on networking events or see how people work.
You will know already that this talent will be good for the company and keep an eye on that person before there is a role.
A good hiring manager will have a pipeline already, at least a few roles. We don't expect them to fill ten roles by having a network already. But a few is a fair expectation.
That is one thing, which is to take ownership.
The second thing is the hiring manager needs to work closely with the recruiter.
It is a priority for the recruiter to be available as much as possible. They need to be buddies in order to make things happen.
Be very helpful as much as possible.
Lydia: It’s very much a collaborative process and one that is very proactive on both sides.
I really liked how you said that the hiring manager is the one who really knows what we’re looking for.
You go out there and make sure that you are also doing a bit of sourcing.
You’ve got your own pipeline that helps the recruiters job because at the end of the day you want to build something.
We’ve spoken about your great insights into the recruitment space today.
You’ve spent some years there looking at both sides as a hiring manager as well as someone who is with people who are hiring actively.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in recruitment today?
Parichat: Advice that I would like to give would be to nail down your own expertise as a recruiter, which areas match with your expertise.
If you come from the service sector or hospitality or medical, understand your own expertise and competencies and build it up with team members. If you could partner with someone that would be great.
That would help to get things started off quickly.
The second thing would be to try to find your niche.
What type of company would you like to serve?
If you want to create your own business, then in which area?
Understand a little bit about marketing because you also need to market yourself as a recruitment service.
Finally, have great customer service.
Customers in this case could be your candidates, and have great customer service relations with them.
Another would be the hiring companies you’re working with.
Having a good relationship with them will be one of the keys to help start the business.
Thank you so much for those pieces of advice.
Even people who are not from the recruitment industry, or people who are not actively recruiting but are serving within those organizations understand what the backhand processes might be and how intricate the coordination is when it comes to actually getting a talent through the door.
Thank you so much, Parichat.
I wish we could speak longer but we have to wrap this up.
It's been a great pleasure having you on this show.
Thanks for making the time.
I’m sure our viewers and listeners would like to know more about you and your company.
Where can they find you? Which channels can they search?
Parichat: They can find me on Linkedin, just search Parichrt Haehnen.
That’s my Linkedin Profile and from there you can also see my Linkedin Page: Parichat Haehnen and Partners.
I’m happy to help if you just send me a message.
Thanks Lydia for your time.
It’s been a pleasure to share my insight with you.
All the best with your startup advisory consultancy and the coaching that you do for businesses, I'm sure it will take off.
We’ve been speaking with Parichat Haehnen who is the consultant at Parichat & Haehnen in Germany.
Do look out for our future podcasts at All-In recruitment and stay tuned for our next video.