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Recommendation for quality headhunters for Biz Development?

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nburge
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Recommendation for quality headhunters for Biz Development?

Postby nburge » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 12:30 pm

My wife joined me here in Singapore, and has now got her Dependents Pass sorted. However she is struggling to get a job (or even an interview).

The one meeting she did have was with Michael Page, who wanted to hire her to work with them (she turned it down as she doesn't want to move into recruitment, plus has heard bad things about their work methods). The other headhunters have not responded to her applications, which seems either sloppy on their part or indicative of a wider issue with the jobs she's applying for.

She's worked for about 4 years in Business Development across a wide range of industries. Most recently in the Construction/Architectural design and planning sector. She's got a strong track record of performance in any of the jobs she's done, and was easy to place in her last two roles. In the UK her OTE was equivalent to ~100k SGD per annum but she's since worked in Cambodia at a higher position level (although obviously lower salary as that's a developing country).

I've read a lot of the recommendations here (going to the American Association etc) and the salary range above is probably unrealistic, but she's getting quite frustrated getting no replies from the jobs she's applying to.

Can anyone help and point her toward a more useful headhunter, or give any ideas about how to find something suitable for her experience here in Singapore?

Thanks.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 1:36 pm

You actually used useful & headhunter in the same sentence! :o

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Postby richie303 » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 2:08 pm

Business development for construction? Like working for Sub contractors approaching main contractors that kind of thing?

I have to agree with SMS, the point of the comment (although highly amusing) is that maybe she is not aiming in the right direction, maybe she should be contacting the companies that she would wish to work for directly? Headhunters are pretty much as good as useless in this country, i personally know a number of them in my industry and none of them have been of any use to me at all!

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Postby nburge » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 4:08 pm

She used to work for a architectural design and project management company. When organisations needed something build (hotel, port, bridge... whatever) they would look for an architect to design it and manage the project -> she was the business development lead to open the door and close the business. It's not my sector at all, so I'm struggling to help her (most of my contacts in Finance).

I got placed out here by an excellent headhunter, but he was UK based. From her early experience here I have to say the guys in Singapore are useless. They don't seem to have any desire to show any initiative whatsoever, often not even calling her up to discuss roles etc.

She's started to apply directly to various organisations out here, but I had felt that a good headhunter can save her a lot of time and hassle. Maybe they're nonexistent out here...

Perhaps someone in the relevant industry (or indeed another industry that has demand for Business Development) can point us to a headhunter overseas who specialises in placing people out here?

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Postby BillyB » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 4:27 pm

She wants to stay in the architectural industry?

As some of the above posters mentioned, better to approach companies directly.

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Postby nburge » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 4:36 pm

Thanks Billy. I thought that industry would be booming here (the place seems constantly full of construction) so it could be a good option. But she's sold other things before (legal compliance solutions to businesses etc) so it's really finding the right role in Business Development she's interested in rather than the solution or product she's selling.

If applying direct to some of those companies is the best route, I'll tell her to forget about headhunters and focus her attention there instead.

Cheers.

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Postby BillyB » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 4:42 pm

nburge wrote:Thanks Billy. I thought that industry would be booming here (the place seems constantly full of construction) so it could be a good option. But she's sold other things before (legal compliance solutions to businesses etc) so it's really finding the right role in Business Development she's interested in rather than the solution or product she's selling.

If applying direct to some of those companies is the best route, I'll tell her to forget about headhunters and focus her attention there instead.

Cheers.


I think you may have answered the question why she isn't getting much back. She sounds a bit of a generalist without a clear focus or direction - Asia Bus Dev tends to be centered around specific value add. Contacts and previous relationships in a certain industry go a long way over here.

Narrow things down to her preferred industry and make sure the CV supports this. Don't forget, you're competing with a lot of sales people in Asia - most of whom will have connections all over the place giving them an advantage (but are subsequently useless salespeople nonetheless!!).

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Postby nburge » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 5:16 pm

I hear you. I work in Business Development myself and know that the focus here is on who you know rather than what you know (although it doesn't always lead to any good results).

Her focus to start off with was toward roles and positions that were relevant, but having heard nothing back from headhunters and got limited response from companies I think she's thrown the net as wide as possible.

Would door knocking work a little better than using the internet? It seems use of the internet here is rather backward (by comparison to the UK) and that people value face-to-face far more than we would in the west. I suggested that she turn up at the office of some headhunters and offer to buy them a coffee in return for a conversation about current opportunities...

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Postby ksl » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 8:45 pm

Foe my 2 cents, I would say Singapore is prioritizing business development through networking since 2009. Their focus is on helping 1000 enterprises through the EDP over a 3 year period, as Singapore depends on the exports of all industries. IE have roped in 9 associations one of which is the Association of SME's. If you have the qualifications you can also register as an expert in your own right! Though you have to qualify through some sort of exam.

I did a 16 week full time Danish Export course for degree holders back in 1989. It was based on the Danish Chamber of commerce and Trade Mission curriculum as it was also state sponsored.

After looking at the course Singapore is offering, it's almost identical though the practical experience must be paid for by the companies wanting overseas development as the whole export courses are arranged by banks and the universities understanding the grant system in Singapore and application is also part of the courses which take 12 weeks in Singapore.

Were in Denmark the business overseas development of exports project was sponsored by government to attract those with practical export experience or graduates to get qualified.

Singapore is actually a close knit networking country so it can pay dividends to attend all the seminars on business development as the grants system also needs to be fully understood.

My 2 cents would be to approach the associations you are interested in to start networking your abilities. Business development is such a general term, and most consultants have their own special niche's of experience, so networking within the industry is probably the only way forward.

Singapore specialises in the import of labour and talent for most projects that are done in Singapore, so breaking into this close knit community may take some networking time.

Expanding in the local market is also done through networking. We have participated in restructuring and developing new business the last 7 years in the local market through networking overseas and import & distribution locally.

For more information you may wish to get acquainted with IE http://www.iesingapore.gov.sg/ for overseas business development, local development is also done through Spring http://www.spring.gov.sg/Pages/Homepage.aspx to be employed as a business developer maybe more difficult in Singapore, than local communities overseas due to the lack of creative and qualified talent to move forward hence the use of government contacts and agencies..

Setting up Business development independently in Singapore consists of the local legal obligations as well as the international ones, banks maybe employers of business development officers. My speciality would be the European market in which we will eventually go for.
Last edited by ksl on Wed, 19 Oct 2011 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby nburge » Wed, 19 Oct 2011 10:00 pm

Thanks ksl, that's an interesting option and I'll pass that on to my wife. Often it's just about knowing where to look, and this seems like a good path.


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