Belle works as a Recruitment Consultant in our Bangkok office. She was recently promoted to Senior Recruitment Consultant and celebrated her 2-year anniversary with LHC International in July.
To mark the occasion, we wanted to find out more about her career path, her daily responsibilities as a Recruitment Consultant, and her vision for the recruitment sector in Thailand.
Can you tell me about your career path?
I studied hospitality and tourism management at a Thai university. There are local and international programs in Thailand, and I did the international program. After that, I took different operational roles in the front office, as a guest service officer and reservation officer in hotels. I was also a waitress in England for a year.
Before joining LHC, I worked as a sales coordinator for an independent luxury boutique and design hotel in Phuket.
What is your daily work routine like? What do you do as a Recruitment Consultant?
At LHC Asia we’re still a small team of 8 people, but we continue to grow and are actively looking for new members to join our team. Therefore, we need to be in close communication with each other.
Every morning we hold a team meeting because I need to know what each consultant has on their daily agenda. We talk about ongoing projects and what follow-ups are needed with our clients and applicants to ensure that the recruitment processes are running as efficiently as possible.
As a recruitment consultant, I’m responsible for finding and interviewing candidates and following up with clients. I deal with existing clients and look for opportunities for acquiring a business with new clients. As I was recently promoted to Senior Consultant, I help to coach other team members, prepare their onboarding, and conduct training.
What do you like about recruitment?
Before I joined LHC, I honestly didn’t have a positive opinion about working as a recruiter. I didn’t know what recruiting was and I didn’t want to work in that field!
However, during my initial discussion with Victor about a new job at LHC, he explained to me in detail what it means to be a recruitment consultant. It turned out to be more challenging than simply the paper/administrative work and dealing with government regulations etc. that I’d imagined.
After a year with the firm, working on different projects and with different clients, I started to love the job.
I love recruitment because I get to interact with a lot of different people. Most of them are experienced professionals who’ve built successful careers for themselves. It’s great to get to know them and understand their way of thinking.
What we sell is our consultancy service, and that’s an intangible product. We don’t deliver just CVs to our clients. Our job is to understand our client’s expectations and needs. Then we select the candidates who have the appropriate skills and experience.
It’s enormously important to gain the trust of our clients and candidates. That’s why we spend a lot of time talking to them, meeting them, and getting to know them so that they know I’m reliable and serious about the projects and opportunities.
What are the biggest challenges for you and your company at the moment?
The challenges we face change and evolve. The challenges I faced in my first year are different from the ones I face today. Our team is growing, and we must do a balancing act to foster team cohesion while providing quality service to our clients and applicants.
Can you tell me more about the Thai recruitment market?
Recruitment agencies and their services aren’t yet as widespread or well-known as in Europe, especially within the hospitality industry.
A number of candidates are not used to working with recruitment agencies. We need to gain their trust because it is necessary to ask them also personal questions, for example, information such as career objectives, family background, and salary expectations. These can be rather tricky and sensitive questions for Thai people to answer. But the same questions are important so we can understand who they are, what they want from their career, and what kind of job they are looking for.
When we meet with our clients, many of the conversations are about educating them on what a recruitment agency is and how our consultants can help them with their recruitment process.
In Thailand, it is still common just to post vacancies on job boards on websites. In my opinion, this approach works well for some jobs, while other roles require a more individual and tailored approach to achieve a successful outcome. You need a more thorough process than just writing and searching for candidates based on a few key bullet points.
So, I see great potential for our business to grow in Thailand and the market has a lot to offer.
Is there a talent shortage and a skills gap in Thailand?
Since the pandemic, there is a talent shortage and a skills gap. Many hospitality professionals left the industry during the pandemic. Some have returned to their provinces and home regions, others have found opportunities in other sectors, and others have started their own businesses.
The hunt for the best candidates continues, and everyone is searching for a smaller pool of suitable candidates, while more and more hotels and resorts are opening.
What solution can you think of to combat the current skills shortage in Thailand?
I believe that there needs to be a continuous process of cooperation between the government that promotes tourism and the hospitality industry, the educational institutions that train and nurture future talent, and the companies themselves to provide a stable working environment and attractive career opportunities.
Connections within the industry are crucial. We focus on reaching out to people and connecting them, which ultimately leads to opportunities for both parties. For example, we recently placed several candidates with prestigious hotel brands who’d never worked in the hospitality industry before. So, for us, it’s all about understanding the clients and their needs and knowing the candidates well. This approach is a sustainable way to address the talent shortage in the hospitality industry.
Do companies in Thailand prefer to hire local professionals or foreign candidates?
There’s a tendency to hire local talent, especially at the middle management level. However, some niche skills always require an international background – native speakers are probably the most common. For senior management positions, however, there’s no trend – experience, skills, knowledge, etc. are still the most important, regardless of nationality.
THAI HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
LHC Asia specialises in the hospitality industry. What positions are most in demand from your clients at the moment?
Digital marketing positions. During the pandemic, businesses have been actively expanding and refining their online presence. Much of the traditional “offline” communication, which was done through sales calls, participation in trade and consumer fairs, etc., shifted to online channels. We’re convinced that this shift will continue and foresee growing importance for marketing and communication with a stronger focus on the digital environment.
Other areas in demand are chefs, such as head chefs, and also revenue management positions.
How can LHC help companies with these challenges?
We specialise in the hospitality industry and have excellent connections at the higher levels of companies in Thailand and worldwide. And our contacts are very important to our clients.
According to our client’s feedback, the candidate profiles we present are different from those they normally receive through the usual market channels. Clients are enthusiastic about the accuracy of the skills and experience of the candidates we send them. We put a lot of emphasis on getting the job interview right so that we understand the job and can conduct a perfect candidate research.
We save time by not having to sift through lots of CVs but simply focusing on a meaningful shortlist. When we present candidates, we’ve already spoken to them and analysed their profiles. However, the recruitment process is longer and more complicated than presenting a shortlist of candidates. We also act as a coordinator between clients and candidates until the process is completed.
As a consulting agency, we help our clients make their recruitment process smoother and more effective. I also have to add that Victor is always there for our clients and takes care of sensitive or complicated parts of the recruitment process.
To contact Belle and her team, you can write to her by clicking here.