33 Talent took home the gold trophy in the category of best new recruitment agency in Singapore, with Elliott Scott HR snapping up the silver, and Progression Search the bronze.
The winners were announced at the recent inaugural Asia Recruitment Awards, Singapore, where all entries were judged by a panel of HR directors from leading companies across Asia.
Launched in 2012, with a "mission to disrupt the world of recruitment", gold-winner 33 Talent's key challenge was to open offices in the saturated market of Singapore, while working in specialist sectors. Another challenge as a self-funded team was around the budget for advertising, marketing and branding.
After studying the market, 33 Talent stayed true to its theme of positive disruption to set things up from scratch. This included cloud-based IT systems accessible from anywhere, anytime. Staff work in a results-only work environment (ROWE), with "no meaningless KPIs and having to be in the office 9-5 to make results happen".
The team has also followed a strategy of working with innovative partners from day one, while using gamification and new recruitment technologies to engage candidates on its three key products.
Now as a three-year-old company, 33 Talent is in its second year of trading, having reached just over S$1m in revenue, assuring the judges that it offers something unique in a crowded recruitment market.
"33 Talent was started with a mission to disrupt the world of recruitment and provide something new," said managing director Kathryn Woof, on the win.
"Winning this award is a fantastic recognition that our clients, candidates and staff were looking for that too: big ideas and a great team to execute them in an award winning way!"
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Another impressive story came from silver-winner Elliott Scott HR, which was founded in Hong Kong in 2011, and the challenge lay in expanding to the comparatively more mature market of Singapore, and build brand recognition.
The first step was to set up a "very high standard of hiring"- looking for team members with specialised industry experience, regional knowledge, and the attitude to embody its mission.
Positive experience of clients from Hong Kong played a key role in setting things up, as the first few placements were a result of client referrals, which went hand-in-hand with the setting up of a physical office address.
Driving all of this was a fundamental shift from the traditional attitude towards candidates: "To us, they were not a statistic, but individuals, who we had the privilege of connecting the dots for in their careers."
The mission was clearly executed well, as within three months of launching, the Singapore team made its first placement. Since then, the business has grown considerably, with placements in over 50 companies and with repeat business from multiple clients, as well as an expansion in service offerings.
Commented Asia Pacific COO Emily Smith, "I’m incredibly proud of what Vincent (Romano, MD for Southeast Asia) and his Singapore team have achieved in recent months."
"It’s fantastic to get external recognition for their efforts and we look forward to continuing to set the benchmark for best practice HR recruitment across the region with our candidates and clients."
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The story of Progression Search also impressed the judges, which started out in 2012 with four consultants, a huge deck of name cards, a good understanding of technology, beliefs on how search can be done, and the Evernote application.
Along the way, the team implemented technology that helped search better for candidates, as well as an applicant tracking system, which saved valuable time for the consultants and also served up better search results.
"A unique, tailored and consistent level of service, experienced with each of our Progression consultants, is what we hope to continue to do well for our candidates," affirmed Josephine Chia, managing director of the firm.
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