Starting out 10 years ago, admittedly with "zero" as the company stated, CTES Consulting has come a long way to be crowned as the recruitment agency with the best candidate experience in Singapore.

In the inaugural edition of the Asia Recruitment Awards, Singapore, where all entries were adjudicated by HR directors from top companies in Asia, silver in this category went to Xpand Group.

Bronze was shared between Royale Consultant Management and Aspire Singapore.

What impressed the judges about CTES Consulting was its investment in a new IT system, that made all administration paperless, enabling candidates to seamlessly keep track of the jobs they have applied for.

They can now also view tailored job openings at any time, as well as receive such alerts, with the website compatible to both mobiles and tablets. They are even sent birthday wishes on their special day.

With the first step towards this sytem undertaken in 2009 with a customised portal for candidates and recruiters, the implementation is ongoing, but has seen results through a "Candidate Care" approach.

For example, when three good candidates are profiled to a client who needs just one, the other two are kept warm by being actively promoted for the next two months to similar industries and client, post which they are sent out follow-up emails to ensure the connect isn't lost.

CTES Consulting's managing director, Christina Tin, affirmed belief in the importance of HR, which has enabled the team to mindfully build recruitment processes to support it.

She puts their approach down to the CTES model of Caring and Trusting relationships, and to provide Excellent and Sincere services to everyone.

"These are keys to lasting people relationships and business success. It is a maxim inseparable from our business operations," she says.

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Silver winner Xpand Group is proud to believe in a "Candidate First" approach that seeks to develop job seekers holistically, not just till placement, but even after they have joined a firm.

One of the ways it does this is to send them a congratulatory postcard and a box of cupcakes to share with their new colleagues on their first day, as have as sponsor a lunch once they have settled in.

Another touch point is ongoing feedback from its client (that is, the candidate's manager). These findings are worked through to address areas of growth using a performance management template.

The company's own selection process is so intensive that just 10% of those who apply become "Xpanders", setting out the Candidate First framework from day one, with "no excuses, no exceptions".

As a result, the company has seen continued year-on-year growth, and experience a permanent-job revenue increase of 45% in the past three years.

Comments Ian Tyler, group managing director at Xpand Group, "Our Candidate First model is something that each Xpander lives and breathes throughout our work every day and in each region we operate."

"This accolade serves as a significant milestone for us in that we are truly living up to our statements and delivering an exceptional experience to our key stakeholders in our candidate community. We are both humbled and extremely proud of this achievement."

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Royale Consultant Management's philosophy is to "turn tedious transition phases to memorable moments", which it does by adhering candidates' requirements at all times, be it on the best way to be contacted, or the preferred meeting area.

Prior to a scheduled interview, they are handed over an on-site interview packet with relevant company information, maps and detailed how-to-get-there, along with a set of practice interview questions.

The efforts invested shine through in the feedback from candidates, one of whom said he had a hard time filing his resignation, after having developed great relationships with his boss and placement consultant.

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On the other hand, Aspire took a multi-pronged approach recently to its candidate experience, with new branding principles, a social content strategy, and a new website guiding it.

In cumulative impact within each of these areas, the Singapore team has seen a 126% increase in fee income over the past 12 months, alongside higher levels of service to candidates.

Photos from the ceremony:

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