The post-Chinese New Year period is the busiest time for headhunters in Singapore and Hong Kong.
If you want to get on their radar in advance – so they find your profile when vacancies crop up – you should take action in the next few weeks.
Here’s how to get Asian headhunters to seek you out this bonus season.
Join online industry groups
Headhunters spend about a third of their time trawling through networking websites, says Hubert Tam, managing partner at search firm Sirius Partners in Hong Kong. “If you want to make it easier for us to find you, join online groups in Asia that are specific to your industry or job function. We often visit these to seek experienced candidates.”
Perk up your profile
If your online profile only states your job title – this is surprisingly common for senior bankers –headhunters may overlook you, says Stanley Teo, a director at Profile Search and Selection in Singapore. “For example, when I’m wanting a financial-institutions M&A specialist, there might be 200 to 300 such people. But if your job description is just a single line, I probably won’t have time to follow up. At least three lines explaining what you actually do would make me much more interested.”
Don’t overlook your alumni
While many bankers are good at milking their networks via friends, family and former colleagues, they often overlook university alumni, says Fabrice Desmarescaux, managing partner, Southeast Asia at Eric Salmon & Partners. “Join alumni groups and track down people who are now employees of the banks you want to work for.”
Don’t spray your CV
You chance of getting headhunted could be ruined by annoying potential employers through over-using mass-market recruiters. “Asia is awash with weaker candidates who are using recruiters to heavily market their resumes,” says Nick Wells, managing partner at search firm Newton Chase. “You don’t want your CV ending up on the same bank’s desk from three difference sources. This happens a lot.”
Come to conferences
Singapore and Hong Kong host a plethora of financial-service conferences every year. As well as your industry peers, headhunters will often be there to scope out potential candidates. “It’s a challenging market in Asia, with more candidates than jobs, so you must be extremely proactive in networking at industry events,” says headhunter Nick Hughes.
But don’t mention money
Don’t say anything to headhunters at conferences that will stop them contacting you in the future. The biggest turnoff, according to Hughes, is mentioning compensation during an initial conversation. “We’re instead looking for signs that you’re interesting in a long-term commitment to a role.”
Only do the above if you’re experienced
Headhunters will only seek you out if you are mid to senior level. “We are neither outplacement agents nor charities. Never forget that we work for clients, not for candidates,” says Desmarescaux.
Appear open to middle-office moves
Banks in Asia are still short of risk and compliance talent and headhunters are casting a wide net to find candidates in these sectors. If you’re looking for a career change into a governance function, make sure your online profile highlights any regulatory projects you’ve taken part in during your current job, says Desmarescaux.
Image credit: Sezeryadigar, Getty