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The New Finance Recruiter

Posted over 2 years ago by Charlie Robinson

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Rajev Tamilarason: Consultant at FocusCore Singapore.

Today we are meeting Rajev Tamilarason a Recruitment Consultant with FocusCore in Singapore.

Here are some new, valid, insights, conclusions and recommendations that apply to all organisations. It is important here to add, as a reminder, that today the pace of change in technology continues to get faster - there are now new types of business schools - there are new types of recruitment for  new types of business. There are new solutions that can benefit companies - often introduced by new joiners in a company.

The inventor of the light bulb is accredited to Thomas Edison in December 1879. But in the same year a William Joseph Hammer joined Edison as a laboratory assistant, to help the development of  the incandescent light bulb. Maybe he brought with him the solution? Hammer is accredited as the inventor of the world's first advertising sign using incandescent electric lights, and also the luminous Radium dial for watches and other instruments. New eyes can bring new ideas with solutions that work well. These are the conclusions we draw following our meeting with Rajev and why they warrant your focus on his comments here today. They may offer key solutions for your organisation today. 

1)  Do you have a specific area of focus and why did you choose recruitment as your career?

I am focussing on Finance and Accounting. This is my specialist area. For me there is a primary issue today for accountancy and audits and indeed for the smooth working of accounting. Not only is it the competences historically associated with bookkeeping but also the competences of communication  to convey information that is understood.  To convey the data on paper into words that people can understand, without the jargon. So staff and managers and Directors really comprehend what the figures mean. Equally important is the ability for the speaker to make informed recommendations, pertinent to the commercial or industrial sector in which the company or organisation is working.

I always realised that it was important for me to learn how to present clearly to people who are not in the accounting world. To make sure the details of accountancy have been understood and more importantly add to their understanding on how to grow the company's profits. 

Ever since my childhood I have shown an entrepreneurial ability. For example years ago I bought  video games wholesale and sold them to my school friends. Some people do not understand the principles of business. If you have the competence to explain something, then people realise that there is a benefit, they ask for and follow your advice. In my role now this means I can help candidates  advance their careers and companies increase their market share and profits.  Recruitment means helping both client companies and candidates, for me this role is a natural fit.

2) Do you have a geographic area for your work?

I am focussed on the Singapore market.  However, remember that Singapore is a strategic hub for all of Asia.  If you want to furnish Singapore with the best staff, you have to have job offers and candidates from across the area especially Singapore and Hong Kong - these two regions are the primary hubs if you want to reach the APAC and the Greater China areas.

3) Do you speak other languages?

Apart from English, I also speak Tamil, Mandarin and some Urdu and Arabic but that is less current for me now due to my office and clients being here, where these languages are seldom used. I am sure one needs to have regular conversations in a language to keep it current. But with the growth of trade here, who knows, these added languages may be a valuable asset for me as it means a wider range of candidates and companies can contact me.

4) What types of vacancies are your prime focus and do you see sector specialisation emerging?

Bookkeeping and Accountancy, has been largely the same, in terms of skillsets needed, across most sectors.  However, the tech industry is still in rapid expansion mode with many new opportunities.  FinTech is getting bigger every day.  New companies with a technical focus are opening up.

It is hard to feel the pulse of the technology sector as one strand can become obsolete over night. In this sector you need to get ahead of the curve.  Now, bookkeeping staff need to be more informed about the sector in which their company is working. For example, in the avionics sector, bookkeeping staff need to be informed on the technical aspects of aviation.  In the IT sector, bookkeeping staff should have some awareness of C++ and coding. This is key - people who have a technological edge will be valued more in these types of firms. 

5) For which job titles are you currently recruiting?

As far as job titles are concerned I focus currently on Manager, Assistant Manager, Finance Manager, roles. 

6) Why should a client company or a candidate consider FocusCore as their recruitment agency and can FocusCore provide both contract and interim staff?

In my view, the key difference with FocusCore is the level of integrity that is ever present here. I regret to say that sometimes this may not be present with some others in the field.  Our objective is to let the client company focus on their core business and we look after the recruitment.  I am really proud of the total integrity we have here. The payment model here for contract staff is different from many other agencies. For example with contract staff, we do not make any charges to the candidate, all fees are paid by the client company. The monetary valuation of the candidate is clearly stated to all parties so all know the payments. We are equally motivated and capable of searching for and providing contract or permanent staff and both areas are growing rapidly.

7) Do you have a wide selection of candidates and how long does a company need to wait to get their chosen candidate?

We always want to hear from more potential candidates.  FocusCore provides a number of services to candidates that help them on their career path.  This can happen quickly, for example if a client company comes to me and asks for an Audit Manager, we have a number of qualified candidates available. 

We also have contract staff available, if they need someone immediately although normally companies are able to wait. A new joiner needs some time to settle in and learn the processes of the company.  This is the norm for a new long term hire.  The settling in process is important for all types of reasons, not least in terms of gaining corporate legal compliance knowledge as well as the recognition of working in line with the company rules. It is equally important, say for staff in audit.  A vital requirement for a company is the audit, to check the figures.  These figures are the life blood of the company so it is important to find the right candidate and that this person can also present the information clearly. I shall come back to this point in a moment.

8) How do you find vacancies and how does FocusCore differ as seen by candidate and hiring companies?

We are in regular contact with firms and are aware of their evolution and developing needs.  When  we have identified a requirement we go and see the line manager and HR, but before hand we will have completed a lot of research to find the pieces in the jigsaw, so we can find the candidate that best fits their needs. We are certainly not a job web site that is just collecting CVs.  We work with the identification and verification of the candidate's hard and soft skills, to make sure the proposed candidate is a good fit for the hiring company.  For the benefit of both parties and to ensure a long term hire. 

We prepare selected candidates interview training. This is another example how  FocusCore is different. We know that we have a responsibility to both the candidate and the client company. The candidate is in effect representing us and our reputation, so we do all we can to assist the candidate in the stages before the interview. This will include briefing on the types of question they may be asked.  We will have spoken with the hiring company to understand in depth the person they are seeking. We of course also have a responsibility to the client company.  We are representing them, so we want to find a candidate with a personality that fits the company. We work to help both parties.

9) Do you see changing demands for the candidates and or changes in client companies?

When we are talking to CFOs and CTOs we recognise they are seeking staff with technical awareness.  My observations show that there is a blur now between the CFO and the CTO as they realise that candidates with the ability to spot advances in technology can bring an open and informed outlook on the value of technology for the business. The CFO is getting more technical savvy as technology is everywhere and is changing constantly.

In the tech space the smart CTO is often aware of a need in the market and spots a way to fix that need, and is ahead of the curve. Indentifying needs before customers start to demand the new solution. So if the head of audit is technically aware, the CFO has to be more tech savvy as the market is changing.

Tech upgrades are still shunned by some but there is so much untapped profit when these upgrades are not implemented.   An audit manager can make a leap forward when they identify technical advances that can streamline accounting. There are some recent outstanding advances. Technology is advancing in so many areas.  There are new ways to store the financial data of a company and huge leaps forward on how it is be graphically presented to Directors or staff in the company.

Let me drill down more on this.  Some firms try to save revenue by, for example, not upgrading a computer. This is an error. They should get that leap forward with new technology and CFOs are starting to see this important change. In the past these needs have not been presented very well. Streamlined accounting is now amazing and it has changed a lot since we all learnt about it at college. One example Xero Accounting Software & Online Bookkeeping. This provides all you need especially in the ways you can present the findings. Whether you use all the solutions is another question, but the templates are there to let you present financial results in many different ways.

There is much more I could explain that we focus on here, on the human aspect of recruitment.  We are so closely integrated in working with candidates and client companies.  We see the vacancy in the round, as all aspects of the vacancy are noted.

10) A human interactive process. 

We are not a web site to send CVs too but a totally integrated recruitment solution that focuses on the well being of the candidate and the client company - a human interactive process.

Sometimes candidates and some existing staff have been undervalued up to now. They may have been rated on their presentation skills. This leads to a different perception as to their value in their current role in the marketplace. But I can help them present better so their role aspirations can rise.

In Singapore experience is not necessarily the only key value. There is increasing value being placed on knowledge with new technology. Someone with awareness of new solutions is keenly sought. 

I also find that if you are seeking to place someone in a high level role you can find staff with say, five years experience. But someone with a degree, perhaps less experience but a broader education, can bring new ideas and have a bright future. They bring new ideas on processes and new solutions. It is not necessarily a matter of completing jobs in the old, traditional ways, but important to be an innovator in the finance department - to shed light on an old problem can pay dividends.