Meet the hosts of Single Steps, Amos Tay and Anirudh Arvind. Join us as we speak about why we started this podcast, what we have learned from clients and candidates as an executive search firm and what we hope listeners can take away from Single Steps.
Sarah Anne 0:06
Hi. You’re listening to Single Steps, a podcast by Hatch Asia Consulting, inspired by Lao Tzu’s “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
My name is Sarah, and I’ll be your host for today’s episode. And we will be meeting Ani and Amos, two senior partners in Hatch Asia.
I’ll start by introducing myself. As I said, my name is Sarah. And I do digital marketing for Hatch Asia. I manage all social media accounts and marketing efforts on behalf of the company. I formerly was working with Ani and I reached out to work together on a project. And he mentioned there was an open position at Hatch. A few conversations later with Ani and Amos, here we are.
Anirudh Arvind 0:46
What a mistake. [Hmm?] What a mistake I have made.
Sarah Anne 0:50
I mean, please. It’s only been like, three months.
Anirudh Arvind 0:54
It’s a win for me. It’s a win for me, and us.
Sarah Anne 00:59
And so that has been my journey to Hatch. So, let’s turn it back to our guests and the reason why we started this podcast. Amos, please introduce yourself and tell us why you started this podcast.
Amos Tay 1:08
Oh, my name is Amos. I’ve always wanted to do something similar to a podcast or video. I’m always a video person, very visual. Podcast came to me in 2000 and, maybe 2018, when I was listening to a few episodes that were done by authors that were writing management books. And at that point in time, I felt it was it was pretty interesting not reading books but hearing them. And audio books became very popular. I then thought about why not having my own insights on what it is like to be a recruiter, how is it like to be helping people, and what are some of the difficulties that people are facing when they were looking for job. And that idea came in mind. I didn’t do it primarily because it was so busy with work.
And I met Ani. He joined in 2019. And we started talking about having podcasts, having how we can help people around our show, how we can enlighten people with our knowledge and not just not just for pure entertainment or networking. But, it’s really an opportunity for us, all for our listeners, to gain insight from us based on some of the expertise that we have, and also the knowledge that we can share to them. Then that’s how we started episode one.
Sarah Anne 2: 47
Ani, you want to jump in?
Anirudh Arvind 2:49
Yeah, well, I think just to kind of echo what Amos has said. It’s been an aligned vision of ours to kind of venture into this podcast to kind of share insights from all the wonderful leaders that we meet and we connect with. Only because we feel some of the conversations we’ve had with them have been extremely insightful on, you know, what does it mean to have an authentic leadership style? What does it mean to kind of drive successful innovation in a large enterprise? And the unfortunate part about that was sometimes, because we are speaking with them around, you know, careers, and succession plans and roles, we have that opportunity to kind of really interact with them and figure this out. And Amos and I just thought, hey, it was really interesting to kind of put this out there and kind of also then share that information and insight to everyone else we know that’s going to be on this podcast. And like Amos said, that’s kind of how we started speaking with you. And it’s good to know, we’re getting the show on the road. So yeah, and that’s the whole purpose behind it, right? So we can share insights. And everybody can hopefully learn something, unlearn something, and maybe even relearn a few things on this podcast.
Sarah Anne 3:57
Great. Nice. So that’s why we started the podcast. But I want to push it back to what you’ve learned from your clients. So, if there’s anything that you’ve learned from your client interactions, could you share maybe what you’ve learned and how you’ve built that into the business?
Anirudh Arvind 4:17
Sure. Amos, be careful what you say.
Amos Tay 4:22
I think, I’m not sure if I read my clients correctly. But I guess sometimes, having a new partner in the business gives you a different dimension, give you different perspective on what your client wants or what they need, and also building up new solution and upselling. A lot of time I see executive search business within the industry as just paper pushing from the very first start. I mean, since 2011 when I first started. And I don’t think it has changed.
Sarah Anne 4:54
Paper pushing as in resumes, right?
Amos Tay 4:58
Yeah, resume pushing, pushing it. And how do we then, in return, correct this approach of just pushing papers? A lot of people will say, “Ah, it’s exceptional service. That’s the, it’s how we assess. It’s about how we market.” And with information now, by and large, easily accessible by everyone. For example, you have LinkedIn. The database is there for you to scrap. Then, how do you— how do you then define the levels of service? Is it because of the speed, is it because it’s accuracy based on what the client wants? But how do you then know that based on this Candidate 1-2-3, for example, the first one is better than the second, than the third? That’s always my question. And that’s the reason why I’ve been wanting to push and say, “Let’s go for the— let’s look at assessment space. Let’s look at the science behind that we’ll be supporting the art of what we do, how good we do”, right? And, that’s where we say, then we can push this level up. But by doing so, we will then change the dynamic of recruitment, change the dynamic of how recruiters work. So I’m not too sure if Ani share the same sentiment. He’s nodding his head.
Anirudh Arvind 6:22
I think Amos says a couple of valid points. I think in terms of being founders, there’s a couple of things, right? We can be directional founders, we can be founder that are, you know, focused on delegation and inclusiveness. We can be extremely authoritarian in our ways. And I think, kudos to Amos, I guess, for wanting to see the bigger picture. Because, I think, in order for this to work, everybody needed to kind of see how they’re going to play a role in this journey. And I think that would mean structuring some of the control, taking away some of the control. But at the same point of time, ensuring that the control was well established across the organization. And I think that’s what’s made Hatch Asia a very, very nimble organization.
And I think from my interactions with clients, I’ve realized that, especially this year, where everyone’s kind of struggling with, “How do I make a quality decision at the right pace?” And that’s been unique for us as well, because we’ve never been faced with this pandemic, right? We’ve, we have no idea; there’s no manual. There’s nothing to look at to kind of say, “This is the operating model. This is the structure.” So, no. We just had to kind of, you know, get our heads in. We had to sit down and say, “How are we going to weather the storm? How are we going to work with clients in a way whereby we’re not just going to be, you know, focused on price?” We’re going to be focused on the value and how you can take advantage of the market in terms of a talent perspective. So what we learned from clients was how they are, you know, re-shifting their models; how they are pivoting; what approach they’re taking; the innovation which allows them to, you know, create new digital realms of business; or, reach new customers segment or interact with their customers differently. I think that’s really what we’ve learned, right? Be attentive, listen, look at how you can duplicate some models, because there’s some good models out there. And just be transparent, communicate, right? I think that’s been fantastic learning for us. And we’ve— a lot of that we learn from our interactions with clients… and people like you and the rest of the partners within the organization.
Sarah Anne 8:34
Right. So on that same note, how do you actually engage your candidates and what have you learned from them? Because you definitely have several learnings from client. But in your day-to-day with candidates, how is that been a learning curve for you guys?
Amos Tay 8:53
I mean, for me, I feel that I’ve not done anything different since I first started. If I could have done things better, I would say that I want to talk to every candidate that writes in. But, virtually it’s not possible. What I’ve learned is to build different communication channel and feedback to them. Even giving them a simple reply that we have received their applications just speak so much about our program or our progress, right? Because what we want is to be more engaging with our candidate, our talent pool. And I feel that if they have made an effort to write in to us, we have to make an effort to at least send an appreciation that we have received. I think it’s a very small gesture where a lot of people are failing in this step, in the communication and the feedback. I learned a lot from them primarily because they are in the industry. They are still in the industry and I learn a lot of current trends. I learn a lot about current events that they are facing on them. And I also learned their struggles. I also learned about some of the incidents. And I think there are so many to share that we can literally run podcast every week to just share about their stories, you know, their journey, their stories, and how has it been so far, how have— maybe some of them are even struggling to look for opportunity because of various different reasons.
So I think I’ve, over the last years since I first became a recruiter in 2011, I’ve learned so much more just by engaging with candidates. And a lot of them became friends that we are still in touch with. Ani?
Anirudh Arvind 10:55
Yeah, I think I think Amos kind of hit the nail on the head there by saying that we’ve always been, I guess, more focused on that relationship than anything else. I think people need to understand the executive search business is a business of relationships and interests. Everybody has an interest to accelerate their careers. And everybody has an interest to find the right team members for them to do well, have a good time at work, and at the same point of time have nourishing careers and stories that they can share, which they’re proud of right? But this year’s been a little different. This year, things have changed. Senior leaders have lost jobs. Graduates are finding it hard to get into employment. Mid-level managers are unsure if they want to have their next job, or if they’re gonna have their job next month. Which means it requires a different approach from us. And that’s an approach of empathy, right? It’s an approach of understanding: Hey, how’s it going? What’s happening on your end? How are you holding up? And some of those conversations with clients and candidates have been absolutely phenomenal in terms of, just kind of looking at how priorities have changed for some of these leaders, you know, they’re really talking about how they can add value now. It’s above and beyond stretching the dollar and seeing what the organization could do to make money. We’re talking about purpose. We’re talking about, you know, looking at sustainability at the board level. And it’s been really insightful to kind of understand the industry and organizational resilience from the candidates’ perspective, because they are the individuals driving it right? So for us, from that perspective, it’s been phenomenal. It’s also been a lot of ups and downs. You know, working with them to kind of handle the downs. Sometimes it’s just, you know, for us, there could be some candidates that we know where we’re not working with them on any searches, or we’re not representing them for any roles. But, you know, they come to us and sort of say, “Hey Ani, I’ve got this on my plate, what do you think I should do?” Or, “Hey Amos, I’ve got this on my plate, how do you think I should handle this situation?” And we go have a coffee with them, hear them out, and give them the best advice we can. But more than anything else, we lend them an ear, right? Because I think that’s really what they need. And that’s it. I think that’s this business. This business has got a lot of things going for it. So, I think that’s really what we’re trying to do in terms of learning from candidates and kind of lending an ear, I guess.
Sarah Anne 13:31
Right. So, on that note, let’s wrap things up. If there’s one thing that you want listeners to take away from this podcast, what would it be?
Amos Tay 13:37
I think this episode gives them a very good overview on us who will be hosting and who will be guiding them through the episodes, understand us at a deeper level, why we are doing this, not just for commercial reasons. And at the same time, allow them to understand that we are just like them. We had our struggles; we started like them as well. And to me, it’s never smooth sailing, if you ask me. The journey was ever changing; the landscapes’ ever changing. And I also faced challenges along the way. But don’t give up. Because as long as you’re willing to pivot, as long as you’re willing to change the way that you look at things, or change the way that you do things, there are always opportunities out there. You just have to practice patience and resilience. And it’s something that I hope everybody that’s listening to this episode will take away from us, knowing that any start would always faces the ups and the downs.
Anirudh Arvind 14:49
Yeah, I think similar to Amos, I think everyone that’s listening and everyone that’s going to be part of this, this podcast moving forward, is we want to share a lot of insights with you guys, right? It’s more than just careers and individuals. It’s about understanding yourself. It’s about figuring out how best you can do things, what are the new ways of doing things. You know, kind of also shaking that thing, saying, “I know best.” Sometimes you can learn from so many different people. And like we said, we’ve got so many generations in the workplace today. So how we learning from everyone, you know, how we kind of bringing all opinions to the table, all perspectives to the table, and what we are doing in terms of utilizing that for decision-making? So, I think there’s gonna be a lot of interesting things that we’re going to talk about. And the best part is we’re going to be speaking to leaders that have actually done this and, and they’re in fantastic careers. And like Amos has said, they’ve gone through ups, they’ve gone through downs. They’ve made the best of the downs. And they’ve sometimes mucked up the ups or even made the best of the ups. And, you know, going through that journey with them will be phenomenal, I think. And that’s what we want to do, right? We want to build a culture of learning. We want to build a culture of experimentation. And hopefully, we can learn through others’ mistakes. And that’s really what we want to do, right? So that’s what I would hope everyone would get out of this podcast. And obviously, if they have different things that they want to share with us, then they also can because then we might be able to reroute this in the areas that they want to have more information around. So yeah, that’s really what we’re looking forward to.
Sarah Anne 16:22
Right. So, basically a learning platform for all the listeners.
Anirudh Arvind 16:26
Absolutely, that’s it. Yeah, long story short. Thank you very much.
Sarah Anne 16:31
Yeah. So, thank you for doing this. You guys have now met the hosts of Single Steps. So, thank you for listening. We hope this podcast can help in your learning journeys. Check us out on LinkedIn page, Hatch Asia Consulting. Till next time. Keep growing.
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