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My Recruitment Dream

1 Jun 12:00 by Vinay Sajnani
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And just like that, it’s been 10 years…

10 years of growth. 10 years of recruitment. 10 years at Argyll Scott.


Nearly 11 years ago, when I first thought of venturing out of working at a trading business, recruitment was always the first in my mind. Wanting to follow in the footsteps of my sister, I began by reaching out to various reputable firms in Hong Kong as I thought that’s usually the way to go: join a big firm, since they’re always hiring, and you’ll make it big. I was against the idea of going on job portals and submitting my CV as I didn’t want my application to drown amongst hundreds of others coming in weekly at these companies. I decided to be more proactive to differentiate myself because that’s what companies like – right? I started seeing more results, landed some interviews, a few final rounds with some, and even a verbal offer at one… but their plans changed. Why? I was too green. I was told I needed to have at least a year’s experience before joining them. A reason I heard one too many times. My recruitment dream was fading…


One of the key aspects of being a Recruiter is having to deal with rejection. Dealing with this was new, it was before I even got to experience life as a recruiter… so I changed my search strategy! In the end, I succumbed to the pressure and went searching on job portals. Saw an ad from a recruitment firm, clicked “apply” and followed up with an email to the hiring manager. It was at Argyll Scott. Two weeks later, there I was. Officially hire number 3 of the APAC business. My recruitment dream began…


Starting off as an Associate and making my way to a Consultant soon after, I worked with the Accounting & Finance and Sales & Marketing teams closely in my first 3 years. I helped to grow our database, speaking to hundreds of candidates every month, and assisting in placements, until headhunting became my bread and butter. I realised recruitment was much more than just “placing a candidate” or “filling a job”... after all, our vision is “Changing the way the world thinks about recruitment” - it definitely changed my views on it. From forging relationships, networking, to gaining market knowledge, building that trust (one of our values) is what defines how well you know your space and the industry overall.


It was my turn to step up and join the newly created Property & Construction team, and work under a Manager who was already well known in that space – she was someone I learnt a lot from, and I remember telling her I wanted to make this “my turf” since the A&F and S&M teams were complete. I began venturing out and learning the ins and outs of the space, facing various challenges, and as a result, I found a niche that I made mine – Retail Projects. It was something unheard of when I first started, and little did I know that there were a couple of other firms that specialised in hiring within that space too! Speaking to more candidates in that space made me love my job even more, and I knew deep down I was going to excel in it. My first placement for the P&C team was a Senior Store Planning Manager, based in China. Soon after, came my 2nd and 3rd in a span of 4 weeks. My recruitment dream was getting bigger…


Business development is part of our everyday lives as a Recruiter and what I enjoy the most, but I was afraid of putting it into practice back then. Despite facing rejections with candidates on the daily, rejections from clients were on a whole different level. To get over this, I went back to basics. Using my strength on the candidate side and having a profile ready to be discussed, I went out once again in the world of business development. I was talking to Directors, Heads of businesses, various line managers, HRs, whoever! My confidence was growing.


Not only that, but all I’ve acquired came in handy when I was planning my wedding! From offer management and contract negotiation to managing expectations, I utilised the skills I learnt as a recruiter and saved a lot of money! My wife and family were impressed. Extra brownie points for me.  


As time went on, I acted as a mentor to the more junior members of the staff, sharing my experience and knowledge while guiding them to their success. After a few years, I felt ready to step up and become part of the management team. I waited and waited, until that chance came in early 2019. I remember it was the first week back to work in 2019, the entire office gathered into the boardroom that Friday afternoon to do our 2018 review, and I had no clue what was coming. As soon as we were seated, boom – “Vinay has been promoted to Managing Executive!”. What? Who? Really? My heart sank. I was speechless. It was like winning the Oscars, without knowing you’re even nominated. My efforts were recognised. I even shed a few tears! My recruitment dream became a reality…


Being in a management position was like finding myself in a new role all over again, despite being the longest-serving member of the business. Luckily, with the support of current Managers and Directors in Hong Kong and across the region, I was ready to take on this challenge. I learnt a lot from them, and the learning process as a Manager goes on every day. Thinking more commercially, keeping up your team’s morale, becoming a solution provider not just to your clients and candidates, but for your colleagues too – becoming part of the management team meant stepping up considerably. I was ready. It was a good first year as a Manager.


Come 2020 and it’s the biggest challenge yet, with Covid-19 sending shockwaves across different markets. Finally returning to the office after working from home (the new norm) for nearly 2 months was like riding an emotional rollercoaster. There was happiness – reuniting with my colleagues. There was fear – the unknown in terms of market conditions. It was the weekend before coming back when I faced a personal challenge of mine, one that I’ve never faced before – Anxiety. Everyone goes through stress, some show it, and some can overcome it – I was the latter… until now. The fear took over me. For the first time, I was questioning my every move – a bit like chess, looking at outcomes left, right and centre, but afraid to make the next move. What if I fail? What should I do next? I had to talk it out. I did. And now I am taking it a step at a time, going back to basics.


The biggest lesson during these last few months has been learning to adjust my mindset – to work smarter, and more importantly not to give up. It’s the can-do attitude I have been embedded with over time at Argyll Scott that will eventually help me succeed even further with clients and candidates. After 10 years, I’m back to specialising in the Accounting & Finance space, along with Supply Chain and Retail Projects. I have been reconnecting with people I haven’t spoken to in years. There have been more positives in the last few weeks, the market picking up slowly, and we must capitalise! The show goes on. My recruitment dream never gives up…


People often wonder why I’ve stayed at the same firm for 10 years when many others worked for multiple firms in the same timeframe. My answer is simple – growth. Being in the business from day one and seeing how I’ve personally grown alongside the company made me want to stick around and see where the journey would take us. Looking back, everything still feels much like a dream, a great dream. I wonder what tomorrow brings. My recruitment dream goes on…


And just like that, it’s been 10 years…

On to the next 10.