The Culture Fit Factor

Ruby Benitez is the Managing Director of RGF Executive Search Philippines.  As I spoke to her, I was impressed with how she was tasked to head the Philippine operations of Japan’s largest recruiting and information service company and one of the world’s largest HR services firms at a young age.  She started her career as a pioneer employee in a local executive search firm as Consulting Director running all functional areas except Banking and Finance and has been in the executive search industry for more than 15 years.

RGF Executive Search Philippines was formerly known as Bo Le Associates Philippines. In 2016, they rebranded to RGF (Recruit Global Family) following Bo Le’s Associates affiliation to Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd.   Currently, RGF operates in 26 cities in 11 countries across Asia. They are a trusted recruitment firm by American, European and Asian multinationals, Fortune 500 companies and large Philippine conglomerates and Ruby spoke to me on some key undertakings for the Philippine operations.


As a firm that caters to both start-ups, local & international corporations, what strategies do you use to attract the kind of talent you require?

RGF applies a tightly focused and systematic search process to guide us to identify the best executive candidate for our client’s needs.  In summary, the key steps are:

  1. Requirement Definition
  2. Candidate Screening
  3. Candidate Final Selection

There has to be a very in-depth understanding of the role, our client’s company and other idiosyncrasies which are essential in order to find the right fit for the clients’ requirement.


Aside from competency requirements, why are the client’s idiosyncrasies considered in defining the type of talent you would like to recruit?

We have to see if there is a Culture Fit.  Culture Fit is an element that can make or break the hiring decision. Key competencies are a given to executive candidates, meaning they should possess all those, however, if they are not assessed as culture fit, clients would have second thoughts of hiring them and eventually, clients end up not hiring. Therefore, this is an important part of our candidate’s screening process.  As previously mentioned, our client’s company and other idiosyncrasies should be well taken into consideration.


In a nutshell, can you tell me how your present talent acquisition strategy differs for different job types

Talent acquisition strategies are different for each job types.  For example, there could be a different strategy for different generations.  While we use the same methodologies say for ‘millennial’ candidates, we approach them differently.  There is also a different strategy that will be dependent on the actual career opportunity that we present to them and as I said, the profile of our clients.


In the Philippine setting, do you pursue the strategy of having a diverse workforce?

In the Philippines, this is something uncommon.  There is so much talent here. In our counterparts in the region such as Singapore and Vietnam, they apply work diversity due to lack of local talent in the executive search industry.


What techniques do you use to get the right candidates and competing for talent to ensure that you are competitive?

It all goes back to our methodology – Requirement Definition, Candidate Screening, Final Selection.  That, coupled with the search tools that we use such as: social media, our own database and professional network.   We use this even in hiring our own people. In addition, we have defined SLA’s with the clients which is an important part in ensuring competitiveness without compromising ethics and integrity.


Do you consider a company’s brand in talent acquisition?

Company Brand is always on top of the list.  An essential part of our role as Headhunters/Consultants, is to entice candidates to explore in our client’s organizations.  But we go beyond our client’s brand because we also need to deeply understand our client’s growth plans, employee value proposition, culture, among others.

Social media also has an influence in recruitment strategies.  In the past, it was not relevant at all but in today’s world, it is very instrumental. An enterprise must be present in social media to be perceived as a credible employment option.


How much of data analytics do you use to acquire the best talents in terms of quality?

We currently don’t subscribe to any company that generates data analytics. We do our own research internally.  One of our services is talent market mapping.


Do you approach passive candidates?     

Most of the time, candidates we approach are actually passive. Because, in the end, clients end up hiring them because they’re the “right fit”. It’s admittedly a challenge because they are happily and gainfully employed and there must be a compelling reason why they should move. So as headhunters, we “sell” or create the opportunity to them. Hence, the reason why we closely partner with our clients.   Either way, passive or active candidates, there will always be a challenge.  At the end of the day, our role is to help our clients find that “right fit” which is really important to our clients’ operations.


What do you consider in-demand positions and how do you go about maintaining a talent pool for these positions?

IT across programming languages, HR Business Partners, Sales and Marketing, Retail and Digital Marketing professionals, Relationship Managers, Multi-Lingual positions are currently in demand here in the Philippines.  We do target selection interview to assess behavioral, job fit, culture fit and motivational fit on candidates aside from screening the key skill sets/job competencies that client requires. Given this, we are able to make a shortlist based from a long list of candidates.  We also partner with a third-party provider whose expertise is doing online competency-based exam if client requests for it.


What do you see as the emerging trends in talent acquisition?

In terms of search tools, there are a lot now on social media unlike the olden days, however, one has to be strategic and creative.  New positions have also evolved triggered by the globalization and digitalization in corporations.


What do you see as the most challenging part of talent acquisition in the Philippines?

Finding talents that are very rare. Too rare that they have been hired outside the Philippines. Hence, enticing them to come back is another challenge. Candidates (regardless if active or passive) have job offers left and right. Ethics in the Executive Search industry and increasing number of alpractices that have been committed against client firms and executive candidates by unethical search providers.  Integrity, Respect, Accountability & Quality are our core values, in fact, RGF Executive Search Philippines is a member firm of PAESPI (Philippine Association of Executive Search Professionals). PAESPI is committed to the highest ethical standards, accountability, transparency and professionalism. It is an industry association with an advocacy of helping to professionalize executive search firms by educating both clients and candidate while curbing malpractices in the industry.

This article was also featured in Employfy. Read it here.

Courtesy of Employfy.