How does BVM differentiate itself from other executive search firms in Asia Pacific?
The competition out there is tough. Just to be in the executive search league you have to be pretty good. I would think that we have an added dimension to many of our colleagues in the industry. There are those who start their career in recruitment and work their way up over time; and there are those professionals who switch mid-career from their specialty. Not always, but often, the first kind of person is limited in their industry knowledge, not truly understanding the goals and business environment of the client. The second, not always, but often, has an excellent understanding of their former discipline but lacks a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of executive placement, and sometimes is not able to accurately assess the suitability of a candidate.
Recognizing this, Simon and I decided to form the BVM team.
So, that would be your forte?
Exactly right; each of us has diverse experience in industry as well as executive search, and each of us has satisfied long-term clients to bring to the table.
What is your industry experience and how does it translate into an asset for BVM?
While with the chemical division of PPG Industries as Technical Service Manager I led the drive to attain the QS9000 quality standard. I was also in charge of business development for Asia and South America. In these roles I came to understand the sales and market development of a global entity as well as the complex process of implementing new standards into a large, and diversified group.
With Colgate-Palmolive I was a senior research scientist in charge of new product R&D. For this I needed to understand the entire process of how a product goes from concept to supermarket shelves, and work with all levels of the company to get the product into homes in record time.
Simon, on the other hand, began his career in procurement, where one must look for maximum value for the company. He also led a feasibility study team to evaluate a group’s potential investment strategy in Hong Kong and China. These gave him great insight into corporate spending practices, as well as long-term investment strategy.
Simon then worked for Essar Steel as a marketing officer as well as in large-scale acquisition negotiations. Working with raw materials gave him an insider’s knowledge of the supply chain, manufacturing lead-time, and the differences in timing between industries.
We each have practical corporate experience and understand the needs of these clients, not just their recruitment requirements.
Does being multi-disciplined really help that much?
Certainly it does. We each have practical corporate experience and understand the needs of these clients, not just their recruitment requirements, but their organizational structure, business strategy and business environment as well. Understanding the medium and long-term goals of our clients, particularly in regards to their industry and the dynamic marketplace, enables us to provide a placement that fits the immediate and long-term requirements of an organisation at a particular point in its life cycle.
So, yes, we definitely have a head start advantage.
How can you be so confident in comprehending and understanding each unique situation?
Addressing an assignment right requires three things;
First is to listen pro-actively. We ask many precise questions and it generally requires many people at all levels of an organization to answer them accurately. Those answers are the keys to really being attuned to the client’s needs.
Second is, by asking questions, listening, and giving and receiving feedback over the course of the assignment, we create an interactive rather than a reactive environment.
Third, it is about being able to read into the interpersonal channel. We are in a people business after all! There is much more in talking to someone than reading a job description or a resume.
The level of interaction in which we engage for each and every assignment, gives us great confidence in being able to put all the parts in harmony.