When I rejected an offer for employment as engineering director represented by an executive search firm in 2001, the MD of that firm tried to recruit me to join their own team. Having grown up within a family of scientists, I naturally followed this career path and performed reasonably well. I won the Royal HK governor ’s invention award at the age of 26 and became the regional engineering director by the age of 33. The thought of becoming a headhunter had never occurred to me. However, I was touched by what he said: “If you were a headhunter, you can change people’s life in a good way. There are not many jobs you can impact people’s life so quickly and directly”. I discussed his offer with my husband Tony Dickel who was the owner of MRI franchiser in greater China at that time. He didn’t think it was good idea as I had never sold anything in my life; I was a very sincere, straightforward and principle driven person with great analytical skills, problem solving ability but had never put such traits to practice in the commercial world. I finally decided to accept the offer from this search firm simply because my darling husband said I could not make it. Unfortunately, when I disclosed the fact that my husband is Tony, the search firm withdrew their offer. Tony probably saw my potential and chose to support me on this endeavor. On Aug 1st, 2001, I took the job receiving one third of my previous salary along with a headstrong mood thinking “Hey, I am here now to change people’s life in good way!”
2001年，我拒绝了某猎头公司给我的一个工程总监的offer。不久之后，那个猎头公司的老总邀请我加入猎头行业。在此之前，我从来没有想过去从事猎头工作。我成长在一个科学家的家庭，所以很自然地走着这条路，而且颇有建树。26岁时，我就获得了皇家香港政府颁发的发明奖，33岁时，就成为了一家OEM的亚太地区工程总监。然而，那个老总的话打动了我，“如果你成为一个猎头，你可以快速和直接地改善人们的生活, 能做到如此的工作并不多。”我的丈夫Tony Dickel当时是MRI大中华区的特许经营人，我和他商量转做猎头的事，Tony觉得我这辈子从没卖过任何东西，我个性真诚、直接、讲原则，善于分析和解决问题，但从未从事过商务工作，所以他认为我不合适做猎头。或许是因为不想我亲爱的丈夫看轻我，我最后决定接受这份挑战。可惜当对方知道Tony是我丈夫--他们的竞争对手时，他们决定收回offer。 最终或许Tony屈服于我的决心，2001年8月1日，我拿着之前工作三分之一的薪水，带着“我来改善人们生活的”坚定信念加入了MRI。
After the initial excitement from a new challenge started to wear off, I began to recognize it was not what I thought. Tony warned me many times but I just ignored him as usual until it became unmistakable, I had gotten into the sales business. As an engineer, I had been trained to tell our internal customers what the potential problems are and people tended to believe what they heard. It was due to this approach to the industry, I suffered very badly. I had broken all MRI’s worst records; one example sending out 28 candidates’ profiles to a client and not even earning a single interview. After 5 months in the business, I was still unable to secure a placement. I had lost all my superiority and confidence, in sincerity, the only thing kept me in the business was the lack of desire to give my husband the satisfaction of being right.
At this point, I went in to survival mode. I dropped all my shortcuts and started what I label the scientific phase of my recruitment career. I had learnt that it is only with proper planning that a person can achieve the required level of activity needed when gathering the information we need to become “knowledge workers” and move closer towards becoming masters of the market. I made it my goal to work out the daily activities I had to achieve; making sure the plan for the next day was ready before leaving every day.
My typical daily activities at that time were：
- 9:00 – 9:15 Check the email and modify the plan
- 9.15 – 10:15 Present the candidate MAPPING
- 10:15 – 11.45 Client development
- 11.45 – 12.00 Return calls /Email
- 12.30 – 1.30 Lunch
- 1.30 – 2.00 Return calls/Reference Checking/Email
- 2:00 – 4:45 Candidate development
- 4.45 – 5:00 Return calls
- 5:00 – 5:30 Email
- 5:30 – 6:00 Plan
- 9:00 – 9:15 查邮件、调整计划
- 9.15 – 10:15 向客户介绍候选人搜寻进展
- 10:15 – 11.45 开发客户
- 11.45 – 12.00 回复电话和邮件
- 12.30 – 1.30 午餐
- 1.30 – 2.00 回复电话和邮件，做背景调查
- 2:00 – 4:45 搜寻候选人
- 4.45 – 5:00 回复电话
- 5:00 – 5:30 处理邮件
- 5:30 – 6:00 计划（第二天的工作）
I did spend more time to do research and learn industry during the evening time.
To elaborate on what I call the ‘Scientific phase, in this phase you may not have strong industry knowledge and rich talent market knowhow,
- it is likely you would use transactional / “product Sale” ``approach
- You would feel it is all a numbers-game upon which you need to create and make as many “relevant” conversations and “Information gathering” sessions as possible. It could be very stressful…as you feel you are like a machine.
- You would feel you are not in control of the process, to not be in control of your self- confidence/competence. You are not sure about the “worth” of your service - You feel you are playing verbal ping pong with your clients /candidates.
- You tend to be “over-eager” to sell… have the tendency to put the “prescription” before the “diagnosis” , you have few anecdotes to share which would help to “position” yourself in conversation
- “Failure to plan” is the same as “Planning to Fail” at this stage.
With all the limitations at this phrase, I pressed on and managed to make my first placement within a month. Feeling on top of life, I was chastised though; I had been paid only USD 6,000 for a position worth USD 200,000 due to poor contract management. I learnt my lesson the hard way but, had secured my first placement.
For lots of recruiters who have not yet worked within a specific industry relevant to their practice, I believe you cannot proceed to the “transitional phase” without first passing through the ‘Scientific Phrase”. The good news is that if you approach the scientific phrase with an appropriate amount of energy, hunger, resourcefulness and desire to win without taking shortcuts, you will approach the transitional phrase within 9-12 months. This is much less time than it takes to become a knowledge worker in just about any other profession, yet what we do is just as valuable. At the same time, the financial return as a recruiter is great…
对于许多猎头来说，如果没有行业经验，“科学阶段”是必经之路。如果你有足够的精力、饥渴、灵活性、获胜的欲望、不走捷径的精神，你可以在9 到12个月内完成“科学阶段”的累积，进入“过渡阶段”。 花9到12个月成为一个“知识型员工”，要比其他任何一个职业花的时间要短得多，但别忘了我们做的事情和其他职业一样有价值，同时，作为猎头，收入回报巨大。
2003 was the third year I worked in recruitment. Due to the SARS, all the big billers in the banking and financial sector had suffered badly. As I was working in the industrial and manufacturing sector, I was not affected so much. Through perseverance and luck, I became the number 1 biller in MRI Asia Pacific; it was the first time an Asian had achieved such a feat. It felt wonderful being invited to the MRI annual top 200 biller conference in Hawaii. There, I noticed how new I still was. With many people billing over 1 million USD per annum, I listened to a crowd filled with an array of useful hints, tips and strategies. I felt it was time to take things to the next level.
At this phase, you would feel
- Your interest goes from survival to almost academic, expressing a hunger for extra knowledge. You start to build genuine relationship with your clients and candidates as a trusted advisor. You become skilled in probing for any issues both with the candidate and the client (as opposed to the verbal ping pong mentioned in the previous phase)
- You became more service minded. Able to stay very calm when pressed by a customer challenge; you find yourself looking for deeper partnerships instead of “deals”
- You start to develop your personal signature moving away from pre-scripted chats into a natural flow but always with a goal in mind.
- You should always have a call-plan listing the goals and objectives to be met.
- You can relate and understand the true needs of a customer and a candidate instead of what you believe they should be thinking anticipating any resistance or emotions along the way.
- The time spent on mandates should be shared equally with presenting good candidates to different clients. Free money starts to be won.
- You find out the cold calls made during the Scientific Phase, if properly conducted, start to become the basis for warm calls during the Transition.
- Plan is still the important element for your success
- 你渴望更多的知识，你的兴趣开始转向偏专业化的行业内情。你开始以一个值得信任的顾问的角色开始和客户以及候选人建立真诚的关系。你在和他们交谈时，能够很有技巧地对很多事情切中要点 （不同于“生存阶段”的乒乓球式的对话）；
- 当然， 你始终需要准备一个电话销售计划，并且把你的目标清楚地列出来；
- 此时，在“科学阶段”打的陌生拜访电话(cold call)如果处理得体就会变成“温暖”拜访电话；
With this approach, I maintained the position as one of the top 3 billers within the APAC region for 5 years since 2003. To this point, I had always been a sole biller as it made for a simple life with munificent financial gain. However, I began to feel unfulfilled, especially when I saw others suffering from the mistakes as I did before. I started to think what I could do to help them.
By the end of 2007, one of my colleagues had relocated to Hong Kong from China and two consultants in HK were given up by their managers, they asked me to be their leader. I accepted the challenge and ended up taking what has proven to be my best decision within MRI. I have learnt to become a very capable trainer, facilitator and coach. Through mutual respect and understanding, I had learnt as much from my team as they had learnt from me reinforcing my own leadership knowledge at every step. With a team built from orphans abandoned by others, we became the Number 1 billing team in 2008 in MRI Asia Pacific. All my team members became leading consultants within their own sectors. I began to notice how happy it made me when I saw others growing and recognized that, sometimes giving can bring tremendous joy when compared to taking. It triggered me to form the next phase of my career as both a recruiter and a leader.
正好那个时候（2007年年底），我的一个同事从大陆转到了香港，两个香港公司的顾问因为他们的老板被开除而面临被“放弃”的危险。他们三个人一起邀请我带他们。于是，我接受了带领团队的挑战，从三人团队开始了我猎头管理者的生涯。 现在看来这是我在MRI所做的最好的决定。我开始学习成为一个能干的管理人、培训者、引导者、教练。通过我和我的团队的相互尊重和理解，我们互相学习到了许多东西，我也脚踏实地增强了我的领导力知识。就这样，这个由“孤儿”们组成的团队成为了2008年亚太区业绩第一的团队，我的每个队员都成为了他们所在工业领域的领先者。我开始体会到当我看到别人成长时我是多么的快乐；我意识到有时候给予比索取能获得更多的快乐。这个时候我也开启了身兼猎头和领导者的新的阶段 – 艺术阶段。
Artistic Phase – Market Mastery and a leader!
- You have good self-awareness – able to be yourself and be honest about your own strengths and weaknesses and Knowing your activity ratios. You are hungry for feedback (from bosses, peers, subordinates, clients and candidates) and begin to build a team.
- You have learnt self-regulation and discipline in order to cultivate yourself and your team’s emotional balance. You no longer worry about the results as you know if you have done what you could, you can let the result flow as matters were out of your control. You don’t worry about what you take because; you know that when you give, the return will come sometime, someday.
- You are in control – you have options allowing you to work based on high fee assignments only; Customers and candidates include you in the process as you are seen to be vital for success.
- You make the numbers work for you. There is little need to fight the numbers as you know how to maximise profit per unit of time and how to leverage resources. You actively solicit training, coaching and mentoring and actively coach, mentor and train others – involved and engaged.
- You have become the expert of the market you operated, you are thinking of givingbenefits to the clients and candidates before yourself. You are a “trusted advisor” to both parties. Expert at providing tailored proposals with options and explaining service levels in a way to get the right result.
- Clients bring you in at an EARLY STAGE within the cycle and you become the custodian (or at least informant) of the client’s employer brand!
- You build a team and aid the development of others becoming not just a thought leader in your practise.
In 2008, to be able to support my team, peers, clients and candidates in a more systematic manner, I started my journey to learn executive coaching, leadership development and facilitation. I became certified as a coach and facilitator in 2010. One of my coaching specialties is on boarding coaching. We all know how much support a person needs during their career transition period. Through coaching, I help candidates to remove the uncertainties and accelerate their on boarding transformation. It is a great value added service for client, candidate and us as well.
After nearly 12 year’s career operating within the executive search business, I have been through these three phases in a roundabout fashion a few times. Within today’s dynamic market, you are not able to stay at the artistic phase all the time no matter how good you are, it is highly probable at some point, you will need to go back to the transitional phase or even scientific phrase if needs be. You have to keep watching your cheese and improving yourself all the time. As a matter of fact, the more knowledge you have, the more unknowns become apparent around you.
At this stage of my life, my passion is helping and supporting people’s positive change and if possible raise the level of professionalism within our amazing industry. We recently partnered with a team that has built the largest single-site and most successful search firm in the United States to build a recruitment training institute. This is not just the best practises from a single trainer; this is not just one big biller’s favourite techniques. The team at Next Level provides an effective blueprint for operating at peak performance; join in with hundreds of search firm owners and thousands of recruiters who have taken the proactive step to take their businesses to the Next Level. We hope to support the development of recruiters’ in China as well.
如今，我热衷于支持和帮助人们的成长，尤其是帮助猎头从业人员进一步提高专业度。 最近，新履程和美国的一个团队合建了一个猎头培训机构：新履程学院（Next level Institute www.nlinstitute.com ），我们的合作方在美国是单一运作点中最大、近十年来最成功的猎头公司。新履程提供的不是一个培训师的服务，也不是某个大猎的个人成功技巧的分享。新履程结合了数百个公司、数千个猎头将他们的业务带到新的里程碑的经验之精华，我们为客户提供一份能有效达到高业绩的蓝图。我们希望借此为中国本土猎头公司的成长出一份力。
I still remember the vision that attracted me to the executive search business in the first space “we change people’s lives in good ways”. It is very honourable job, and yes, not many jobs could impact the life of people as much as we do. Let’s continue this life time learning journey and make the people’s life more beautiful because of us.