The single most important thing in START-ups: Hiring!

The single most important thing in START-ups: Hiring!

What is the biggest challenge for start ups?

You would think it’s raising money, closing deals, doing sales or finding partners.

Wrong! It’s hiring people. I bet if you polled a bunch of startup founders the data would be very conclusive.

Below we want to share some of the discussions we had with start-up founders and CEOs around recruitment on our Leaders in Supply Chain Podcast.

In talking with Paul Srivorakul Co-Founder & Group CEO of aCommerce he said: “The most important thing in a startup, before pitching investors, is to be able to convince the top talent to join your business. Because your business model is interesting, it address a real need and has huge potential. They have the autonomy of working on existing products today, but they can also build new products and services of tomorrow with your company. That excites them.”

Recruiting is important at any firm.

In a startup it is vital.

When you have thousands of employees, you can still get by even when you hire a few people who don’t belong. At a startup you are lean. So every hire must count. One single bad hire can do huge damage.

Large firms have a product and employer brand that can attract applicants. Most startups have to work hard to get noticed. The branding, the story is not out there. External recruiters are sometimes reluctant in working with startups. On top of this, recruitment is more difficult because startups are targeting engineers and IT staff. Which are the second- and third-most difficult-to-fill jobs.

How to create a strong leadership culture: Ed Clarke Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Yojee was sharing with us on one of our podcasts: “We have taken a top down approach in building teams. So the question is: How do you take this business to 10x growth? Then we start with a technology manager and few inexperienced members in the team. This at the beginning. But then we need people who can scale the business fast. Who can build strong teams underneath them, and then break those team and ask them to lead their own teams. Top down approach and working with experienced people that can build the teams they lead. So this creates a cycle of leadership that leads the company to 10x growth. “

Create and develop your story!

Don’t rely only on job posts. You want to attract ‘fresh blood’? Get your story out there! Share it with the local media and on blogs. After finding a job offer, 64% of candidates said they research a company online and 37% said they will move on to another job offer if they can’t find information on the company. (Careerbuilder 2016)

You need a story inventory. Stories about your product, the way you manage it. Stories about the CEO and founders, about the people working there. About their success and failures. Start by identifying the factors that journalists and bloggers like to write about. Identify the common factors that writers and editors like to publish. Be open, be honest and authentic. People love this!

Social media, USE IT!

Take advantage of the contacts and networks of your employees. Spread your employer brand, recruiting, and job opening messages to thousands at a minimal cost. Focus on LinkedIn. It is the most powerful social media recruiting channel. It is a great channel to share your story!

Get your CEO to do recruitment

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are an excellent example. A startup firm using its CEO as their chief recruiter. Let’s face it. When people hear “CEO” they pay more attention.

Getting the CEO to speak and attend events will improve your recruiting contacts. It will boost your press coverage as well. You also have to train them on what to say and how to say it. It is mandatory that the CEO encompasses the energy and vision of the company. That’s how you attract great talent. Direct calls from your CEO or CTO can also be a powerful recruiting and closing tool. “You should never hire someone to work for you unless you would work for them”

Zuckerberg has shared this recruiting philosophy a couple of times. He told LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman on Masters of Scale: “If you’re building a big organization, it works many layers down,” he said. “If each person is only hiring people to work directly for them, that they would want to work for – then you’re probably going to get a pretty strong organization.”

Taking in consideration that 80–90% of talent say a positive or negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company. (LinkedIn, 2015 Talent Trends), it’s clear that interviewing is a vital process in the race to get the best talent.

GrabTaxi’s CEO, Anthony Tan reflects on the lessons learned: “We need top talent and to not spend money on advertising,” says Tan. “Hire people who are smarter than you and faster than you, while at the same time are humble and can take feedback.” Tan says if there’s one mistake he made building his company, it’s spending too much time with the investors and not enough with the employees. He says: “I, then, learned that our employees need the one-on-one time. They joined you – they deserve your time, and you need to spend time to align vision.” [from Techinasia]

What are you looking for when recruiting as a CEO/founder?

This is what Matthew Tillman CEO of Haven Inc told us when looking for his leadership team: “If I am recruiting a leader in the company, I want them to hire people better than they are. I want them to attract talent that’s better than they are. And have the ego to be able to help that person succeed. We hire that have a natural curiosity and take accountability seriously. The first 25 people that you have, set the tone for the whole company forever. “

Paul Srivorakul Co-Founder & Group CEO aCommerce: “For us is the matter of the passion and eagerness to learn. We tackle a lot of areas: marketing, retail, logistics. We attract talent because of the complexity of the model. When logistics people with supply chain background join our business they actually want to learn more – about distribution, about B2C retailing, B2B retailing all the way up to marketing. And the marketing guys also want to learn about logistics as well.”

Erik Cheong Co-Founder & CMO of Park N Parcel: “We need hungry and driven individuals to be on our team. We don’t have the luxury of big budgets for senior executives. For example my customer service team they do marketing as well. If they are unsure we will allocate budget for them to do self learning. In our start-up we have multiple roles. Startup is different from corporate. Corporate you apply your expertise but in a startup you must do a lot of different things.”

“The best performers are 4X as productive as average performers.” (HBR, Making Star Teams Out of Star Players). If Harvard Business Review is right, then you must be all in as a leader when selecting your team.

Chang Wen Lai CEO at Ninja Van: “It is a lot about self- awareness. This is fantastic for people who want to learn because they know that they don’t know. The worst people are those who think they know everything. The second worst people are those who do not know that they don’t know everything. The people who we like to hire are the people who know that they have big gaps in their knowledge. These are the people who keep poking, keep learning, keep trying to improve themselves.”

Another interesting study: “80% of a business’s profits are generated by 20% of its workers.” (HBR, How to Keep A Players Productive). It is all about finding the stars and making sure they are driven to work hard for the company’s vision.

Talking about what CEOs look at when recruiting, let’s take a look at Brian Chesky’s (CEO of Airbnb) favorite interview questions: “If you had 10 years left to live, would you take this job?” Chesky explained that this interview questions can reveal how committed a candidate is. “Whatever you want to do in those last 10 years you should just do. I really want you to think about that, that was enough time for you to do something you really cared about and the answer doesn’t have to be this company,” added Chesky.

Final Thoughts

Imagine a startup like a sports team. Recruiting top talent the only way win. The competition is huge. The stakes are high. You need to keep your eye on the ball. A startup cannot grow without recruiting. And if it grows with mediocre people. You might as well throw in the towel.

Hiring great people means you spend less time on training and development. You focus more on creating value. Hire innovators. The value that they bring is priceless compared to the cost and time involved in recruiting.

You want to win the recruiting war? Then every employee of the startup from the CEO on down needs to adopt the role of a 24/7 continuous talent scout!

Want to stay updated with latest developments in our industry? Our Podcast is out! Stay tuned here – Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics:

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

About me:

I have been working in consulting and executive search roles for the last decade. My focus: helping clients get better results. And building strong teams in the process.

A fervent believer that people are the key in any business, I enjoy challenging assignments most. The ones that involve using a multitude of channels and tools to find the right senior executive to take our clients business to the next level.

I have lived and worked in several countries across the world. Being exposed to different countries and business realities has helped me mature into a rounded international business manager. And luckily over the years I have had the chance to work with and build great teams.

My focus is on end to end Supply Chain Executive Search: C-level, Vice President, General Management, Supply Chain leadership, Logistics leadership, Procurement leadership, Operations, Regional/Global Project Management appointments.

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Top 3 Skills Logistics Companies want to recruit in 2018

Top 3 Skills Logistics Companies want to recruit in 2018

The face of the typical logistics professional has morphed. This has resulted in the process of recruitment in the logistics and supply chain industries being more streamlined to identify innovative candidates who can speak the right mix of languages, with the right set of skills. In addition to logistics professionals, the increase in the need to recruit digital technology/ IT professionals is indisputable; their contribution is equally crucial to the safe and effective running of such large international businesses that are heavily dependent on data analytics and processing and other innovative advancements.

These shifts from tradition are direct results of the logistics industry having come a long way from being all about mechanics to lift goods, vessels to transport goods, and space to store goods. Being able to move items does not cut it anymore; clients need their items tomorrow, if not right now, and that to at lower cost. Virtually every existing industry has been put through pressure to work faster, safer and smarter since the rise of information technology and logistics is no exception.

In recent times and especially in 2018, we will again witness a plethora of changes. We discuss 3 such developments.


Individuals and businesses want their goods faster and more flexibly. End consumers often make their purchasing decisions based on how fast they can receive their items at low or better yet, no delivery cost. The manufacturing industry is producing more and more customised solutions, which is good for its customers but hard work for the logistics industry. Put all these push factors together, and logistics companies are squeezed in the same pressure cooker environment.

The demands are met though, by making maximum and intelligent use of technology; from data analytics, to automation, to the Internet of Things (IoT). Cost reduction is a crucial benefit to digitisation, along with improved efficiency, and the opportunity to make genuine breakthroughs in the way the industry works. New industry entrants are finding ways to carve out the more lucrative elements of the value chain by exploiting digital technology or ‘sharing’ business models, without being bogged down by heavy overhead. ‘Sharing’ is a big move for logistics now, from Uber-style approaches to last-mile delivery, to more formal JVs and partnerships at corporate level, the whole sector is redefining collaboration. These ventures are only possible with digitisation.

As a result, the need to recruit digital/IT experts is now high within the logistics sector. Recruitment of skills such as analytics and systematization, systems integration/ business solutions specialisation are required to manage complex IT projects and analyse system and infrastructure integration plans.

Also, the term digital transformation is on a the agenda of many boards and CEOs and we expect the recruitment of such skills to be more and more in demand.

Blockchain Technology

With digitization come inevitable risks in security, and blockchain technology is here to help.

The appeal of blockchain technology is its ability to create decentralized and immutable ledgers; networks that have no single point of failure, are maintained by multiple parties and whose information cannot be hacked or corrupted. This increases the security and transparency of all information that is stored on a blockchain across the cycle of a transaction. All the entities in the chain agree that each transaction is valid in terms of payment, warehousing, transport and/or delivery.

Blockchain also can increase the tracking and transparency of the supply chain. Shippers can gain more visibility across their supply chain and communicate important information such as loads, geo-waypoints and basic compliance information with carriers. Similarly, carriers can continually post information about their capacity for shipping vehicles and lanes, promoting fairest pricing based on supply and demand. The transparency and efficiency provided by the blockchain benefits all parties by allocating resources in the most effective way without markups by brokers.

The Philippines’ Top 40 Trendy Startups of 2017

Corporations and consortia around the globe are starting to invest in and partner with blockchain startups that are building proofs of concept in order to test solutions prior to commercialization. Marine Transport International (MIT) is using the technology to record and store Verified Gross Mass (VGM) data. The company, which is part of BiTA (Block Chain in Transport Alliance) , is building a fully integrated supply chain management system that gives insight into each stage of the logistics process. In addition, the company aims to create a decentralized brokerage system. This will essentially be an open marketplace for shippers and carriers. The end goal: optimising cost and time for every shipment.

To be able to carry out such feats, a solid understanding of the principles around blockchain systems and strong software development or engineering skills are essential. Recruiting the experts is hard. Experience in a back-end developer role is sufficient foundation, along with at least fundamental knowledge on cryptography. However these skills are scarce and companies need to be prepared to invest in training and education.

E-Commerce Booming

Amazon Prime Now’s 2-hour delivery service is the sort of level we are currently being catered to as consumers. Whether we are a pampered lot or not is up for debate, but expecting to get what we want on-demand is becoming the norm.

Due to the well-spread availability of internet connection services, the ease of purchasing items with a few taps on your phone and the promise of cheap and quick shipping, e-commerce has become a dominant market disruptor in the retail economy. Its share of total retail sales which is currently at around 10% worldwide will only grow larger; there was an increase of 23.2% in 2017 compared to the previous year. An urgency exists for logistics providers to rise to new supply chain challenges so as to close the gap between current offering and consumer needs.

Most retail giants at the moment have a broad distribution strategy in which they can reach most of their customer base in two or three days. There is a need now to switch to having smaller, regional centres allocated to serve each area batch of customers, from which they can deliver on the same day. This also translates to purchasing less quantity each order of faster-moving inventory and using a more diffuse supply chain network.

The need to recruit competent, quick-thinking managers to run operations in an ecommerce focused way is more critical than ever to retailers and third party logistics companies both big and small. Companies want problem-solvers with commercial awareness, numeracy and a thirst to further boost their business and management skills.

It looks like the future is bright for logistics professionals and logistics companies that work smart, welcome innovation, and take advantage of new technologies to give themselves an edge over competitors in this dynamic industry.


Want to stay updated with latest developments in our industry? Our Podcast is out! Stay tuned here – Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics:

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

About me:

I have been working in consulting and executive search roles for the last decade. My focus: helping clients get better results. And building strong teams in the process.

A fervent believer that people are the key in any business, I enjoy challenging assignments most. The ones that involve using a multitude of channels and tools to find the right senior executive to take our clients business to the next level.

I have lived and worked in several countries across the world. Being exposed to different countries and business realities has helped me mature into a rounded international business manager. And luckily over the years I have had the chance to work with and build great teams.

My focus is on end to end Supply Chain Executive Search: C-level, Vice President, General Management, Supply Chain leadership, Logistics leadership, Procurement leadership, Operations, Regional/Global Project Management appointments.

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Stuck in your senior job? Here’s what to do.

Stuck in your senior job? Here’s what to do.

Getting stuck in your career is a huge risk. Avoid it at all cost!

If only things would be that easy.

Many people feel stranded in management roles. Your shiny title and good pay may make you feel safe, but you’re bored to tears and there’s impossible to move up. Or you’re a VP who reports to a terrible SVP. How should you progress in such a situation?

Network Network Network!

Start within your company. Remember the colleagues you don’t have the chance to talk to? Yes, the ones from other departments. Maybe similar seniority with you, for sure with a different network than you. New network, new opportunities.

Consider company volunteer days. Join an employee resource group. Start building relationships across the organization. This could lead to new projects or opportunities across teams at your company.

Getting out from behind your computer and meeting people is key. Do so in a setting that is going to respect your need for confidentiality and discretion as you engage in this process.

In a true networking environment, you can maintain your professionalism by offering assistance to others in a similar position. Sharing your story and talents is a big part of that. So is listening to others and helping them with contacts and connections where you are able.

Join industry associations, clubs and affinity groups. Reach out to colleagues and industry peers, with a goal to helping them as much as they help you.

Networking for the sake of networking is wasting the time of very busy people. Number one rule meeting valuable people is: show up. Number two rule is: be valuable.

Social Media. Give it the importance it deserves.

Use LinkedIn to post about innovation in your industry. Make your voice know on “hot” topics in your industry and around your seniority level. Talk about diversity, management principles, culture or anything that will ignite constructive conversations. Reply to comments and comment on other interesting posts. Make sure you target people you want to connect with.

Do this on a constant basis. People will notice.

Reach out to executives in other companies who can assist in your job search. Never cold ask for a favor. Provide value. Show you care, show you want to give back, then ask for the favor. This is a good way to make a contact that can help put your resume in front of someone that counts.

Talk to recruiters

Reach out to recruiters you trust. Confidentiality is key. Discretion is paramount. Recruiters have good networks and good understanding of the market. You can get valuable insights. To mention a few: skills expectations, salary level, best companies, industry trends.

Make sure you work with someone who understands your objectives. And also knows what makes your profile great. A good recruiter can help you get unstuck quite fast. Choose wisely.

Start learning new skills.

Clarify your career goals. Write them down in detail. Identify the your industry trends. What skills do you need to polish to get there? What skills do you need to learn from scratch? What skill can you learn that will bring added value in your current company?

Senior managers “suffer” from a peculiar type of condition. A lot of them think there is no urgent need to stay ahead of the skill curve. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Be the most skilled person in the room. Opportunities will rush towards you. Inside and outside your organization. Age tends to matter less when skill rises to the top.

Want to stay updates with latest developments in our industry? Our Podcast is out! Stay tuned here – Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics:

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

About me:

I have been working in consulting and executive search roles for the last decade. My focus: helping clients get better results. And building strong teams in the process.

A fervent believer that people are the key in any business, I enjoy challenging assignments most. The ones that involve using a multitude of channels and tools to find the right senior executive to take our clients business to the next level.

I have lived and worked in several countries across the world. Being exposed to different countries and business realities has helped me mature into a rounded international business manager. And luckily over the years I have had the chance to work with and build great teams.

My focus is on end to end Supply Chain Executive Search: C-level, Vice President, General Management, Supply Chain leadership, Logistics leadership, Procurement leadership, Operations, Regional/Global Project Management appointments.

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

7 tips on how to negotiate your salary

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

If you are like most people, you don’t like negotiating. But despite it being about as enjoyable as a crying baby on a flight, it’s also necessary. It is not the place where you want to screw up.

A mistake during the salary negotiation portion of your job interview, no matter the career level you are at – or worse, your failure to negotiate at all – could end up costing you thousands.

There are a variety of pitfalls along the way. Don’t fall into that or you could derail your chances of success.

Funnily enough the biggest mistake people make is actually not negotiating a salary at all. Most are just fearful that asking for more will make them look bad. But the interesting thing is that hiring managers almost always expect a candidate to negotiate. No matter where you are in your career, you always have room to ask for more, and hiring managers almost always have extra budget to accommodate those requests.

And here are the 7 most important points to take note of when you negotiate your salary.

1. Make sure you get it in writing

Always get the offer in writing. No exceptions.

Too many employees who were verbally promised one thing, never saw it materialized upon being hired. And without a written document to fall back on, it’s a messy case of your word against theirs.

Ink on paper – make sure you get it!

2. The first offer is just the starting point

Almost all companies expect you to negotiate.

Many people don’t pay attention to that. In fact, 43% of people we surveyed last year didn’t negotiate at all when offered a job, and 68% of those people later regretted it. So take their initial offer, think about it right there in the interview, and if the time is right, say thank you for the offer and counter with something more. Whether it’s salary, a bonus, health benefits, or vacation, ask for more.

The crucial element of negotiating salary is to remember that the person you’re negotiating with expects it. It’s a routine part of looking for a job, so try not to let your emotions make you soft on the negotiation. Don’t rush yourself, don’t simply accept the first number that’s offered, and come prepared with current research that backs up your requests.

After all, if you’ve got the offer you have the advantage of already knowing they want you. Leverage that in an intelligent and reasonable way.

3. It is not personal

This is one tough cookie.

What’s more personal than someone telling you what they think you’re worth? It makes sense. But at the end of the day, you need to remember it’s business. They’re looking for the best possible candidate they can afford. Their best return for the buck. If you are not their first choice, tough luck. Getting personally insulted during a salary negotiation will only lead to hard feelings. Good decisions are not made when emotions kick in. Too much room for error and missteps, so try to stay calm and even-keeled.

4. Don’t Go Over the Fence with Counteroffers

Negotiating is good.. However, be aware of the fact that there is such a thing as negotiating too much.

They make you an offer and it’s low? No problem. It’s perfectly acceptable and even expected that you’d make a counteroffer of some kind. But try to avoid excessive back and forth. Pick the one or two most important aspects of the offer and focus on those. But after a drawn out negotiation concludes, try to avoid bringing up entirely new things when it’s thought to be settled. One too many trips to the well could end up burning bridges.

5. Don’t Talk Salary Too Soon

The hiring manager or HR wants to know what number is in your head. And although strategies vary on this depending on the person dispensing advice, I’ve always gone with the theory of getting them to throw out the first number.

First and foremost, talking about salary before they’ve made you the job offer is not wise. Try to make sure they really want you first before you start negotiating salary. Once they put out the first number, assuming it’s in the acceptable range, negotiate up from there while making sure you made your research. Make sure you have the offer because you know they want you and it strengthens your bargaining position.

6. Make Sure You Consider Non-salary Items

Contrary to popular belief, your base salary is not the only negotiable part of the process.

If your potential employer can’t do much about the base salary but you really want to work there, there are other options. Is there a signing bonus? Stock options? Relocation package? Or perhaps a week or two of extra vacation is worth a small decrease in base pay. The point is you have a lot you can negotiate in addition to your base salary, and you should tailor it to suit your needs.

7. Consider Your Employer’s Needs

It’s great to have self-confidence and totally necessary to advocate for yourself. Just try not to take things too far.

When you negotiate, you must put yourself in the hiring manager shoes. You can state your case without coming across as demanding. And if you’re going to negotiate that strongly, you need to remember negotiation is largely about compromise. Which is to say while you’re trying to get as much as you can, your employer is likely trying to keep within their budget. Keeping that mind will help you negotiate effectively without coming on too strong.

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Leave Your Job if…

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

It’s never easy to say stop. It’s never easy to get out into the unknown, and go for different professional challenge. Especially when you have a comfortable situation, when you know most of the variables at work. But sometimes, you need to take a leap of faith.

There may not be anything seriously wrong in your day-to-day work life. And yet, you still have  the feeling that something is off. The question now becomes: Do you take the risk? Do you try to find something new? Or continue at a comfortable job because it’s what you’re used to?

I have seen many smart and talented friends and colleagues who have stayed in just-OK jobs. If they decide to take the next step, they’ve been out of the job market for so long that they can’t even start to update their resume.Applying for jobs is even more difficult. Fear  eats away their edge and  the thought of re-entering a different job market make them uneasy.

If you find yourself in a tough spot, and ask question about your career and finding a new job, the following telltale signs may indicate that it’s time to take the leap.

1. You’re Living the Status Quo

You’ve been at the same company and position without any advancement for the past three years. It’s time to consider looking elsewhere. Even big corporations, where it take a bit of time to get an advancement, don’t need so much time to offer something better. If it didn’t happen, start thinking about your next steps outside of the company.

2. You’re miserable every morning. You dread going into work.

When you feel great on Friday afternoon and start to stress out on Sunday afternoon. Because you think about the work week ahead – that is the sign that  you need to change something asap! Get a new job and  let it excite you. Wake up and dive into a new week with high energy – not easy to achieve, but entirely possible with enough self awareness and hard work. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you.

3. You don’t get along with the people you work.

Of course, the first step is try to fix the issues with an open mind and heart. Open communication and feedback can solve most of the work related problems. Sometimes, it is not enough. When your personal values and the values of your boss or colleagues are divergent, there is no training that will make things better. Start looking for options.

4. Work stress is affecting your health.

Working in a company with an unhealthy culture will have a negative impact on you physically and mentally. If the stress level is constant. If stress is present both inside and outside work. You need to act quick. You’re burnt out. Work can be taxing for everyone, and we all occasionally feel weary after a long day at the office, but if your life is a chronic state of stress and exhaustion thanks to work, you’re probably suffering from job burnout.

Exhaustion from work can manifest themselves in a number of ways, from significant weight gain or loss and inconsistent sleep patterns to getting upset by every little thing that’s happening at work. When work starts affecting your health – it’s time to get out.

5. Your skills are not being tapped.

If you get yourself in a spot where management doesn’t acknowledge that you have more to offer. If you’ve been passed over for promotion, or attempts to take on more challenging assignments and failed. And didn’t get clear feedback from management on why, however, you are no longer getting the plum assignments, you are no longer asked to attend key meetings, or your proposals are met with silence or denial. These are signs that you should be looking for a new opportunity.

6. You’re not Learning

If your learning curve has flattened out or you’re really not feeling challenged, this may signal a need to move on. You may not be learning something new every day on the job, but you should be improving upon your core skills and picking up new ones. Of course, your responsibility is to do your best and be proactive. Ask to be involved in new projects. Sign up for challenging side projects or for interesting trainings and seminars. If these possibilities don’t exist at your current job, it’s a sign that the company is not serious about investing career development.

If you are bored and stagnating at your job and not learning anything new, it might be time to leave.

7. There is constant Restructuring

If your company is regularly announcing a restructuring or shuffling management around. It indicates leadership issues or a shaky strategic direction. We had a candidate that told us he had 3 different bosses in the last 16 months – a clear sign of trouble. Restructuring can bring good news. It can provide opportunities to step up. But more often than not, they signal strategic trouble for the company. Your personal career development needs will not be the company’s first priority. Your progress will inevitably be impacted.

8. You do not want your boss’s job.

Do you ever imagine being in your boss’s shoes?  If the answer is no, you need to think hard about what’s next. Not aiming for your boss’s role is a sign that you might not be in the right place for long term happiness. I know a few people who come to us and say that they love their job but they are afraid of getting a promotion because they would hate to be in their director’s shoes. It’s too much stress. If you can’t look up to your boss, who else are you aspiring to be?

Next steps.

Once you realize it might be time to leave your job, you’ll first want to set goals for yourself detailing what you are looking for in terms of responsibilities, company culture, compensation, and benefits. Create a clear plan with a timeline for yourself of finding another opportunity and making your exit. Make sure you quit with grace. You will need to have a successful transition and knowledge transfer. You owe it to yourself to be professional. Your brand is your most important asset. Remember the golden rule of never burning bridges. In today’s world, the business community is well connected and people talk with each other, seeking recommendations before hiring people. Make a point to always take the high road.

And finally, don’t let emotions get in the way. Always be rational. Look at it from a business perspective. Is there good reason to leave? Do I have the financial, career-building or emotional return on investment for such a move? If you feel happy with the answer, go for it with all you energy.

Many of us spend over 40 hours per week at our jobs. It is more than important to regularly evaluate your career situation. Even if you’re perfectly happy at your current job. It doesn’t matter. Make it a habit to check in with yourself at least twice a year. It is a good opportunity to review your accomplishments and update your resume. You will also have a better grasp on the market conditions in your industry. Always be open to opportunities.

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

5 Steps on How to Get Promoted

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

May it be executive level, or people in the middle management level, we sometimes do have discussions with our candidates around this topic. As sometimes, even if a bit counter-intuitive to our role as search partners, the best advice for the candidate is to stay with the current company and try to grow within.

That being said, promotions usually don’t come overnight. It’s a process which involves more than just being good at your job. Of course, being good still matters. But if no one sees you being good at your job, you’re not going to get that promotion. If people see you, but they have trouble remembering your name, you’re not going to get it either.

Getting a promotion requires you to hone your social skills as well as professional skills. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires you to have the right attitude. And mostly, you can sum up everything you can sum it up in five steps.

1. Do a Great Job!

No way getting around this one – you need to be good at your job. Companies which let people who are not good at their jobs advance are not companies where you want to work. So you better be good. And you better have a high tolerance for clichés, because the next one will be something you should be repeating to yourself every day on your way to work. Ready? Here it goes:

“I have to give 110% today.”

The point is that you have to over-perform. You have to find a way to do your job either faster or better. Or both. But you need to give more than you’re expected, and you need to be doing it consistently.

2. Be Visible

You know that old Zen koan which asks you if a tree falls in the wood, and no one’s there to hear it, has the three indeed fallen? Right, so, don’t let yourself be like that tree. All the good work you’re doing is worth next to nothing to you if people don’t know who you are.

You’ll read a lot of advice telling you that you need to make your own brand in order to advance in your company. It’s sound advice, at least some of the time. Even though it sounds like one of those business-speak phrases people should never use. But it boils down to developing a good reputation within a company, and that’s not a phrase. That’s important, and it starts with people knowing who you are.

3. Build Lots of Relationships Within the Organization

This one goes hand in hand with increasing your visibility. It helps tremendously to have friends in high places, right? Especially when you know you’re good at what you do, and there’s a new spot open you’d be perfect for. So, being friendly with your boss, your boss’s boss, and your boss’s boss’s boss would be great.

But it doesn’t always work that way. People will get promotions while you’re building towards yours. People who you think have no influence over your path through the company’s hierarchy might be able to help. You never know how having a good relationship with someone can benefit your position in the company. So, if being at the very least nice to people around you isn’t already on your list of promotion-related priorities, get it in there. Close to the top.

4. Always Be Ready to Learn

If there’s one thing that makes a winning attitude, it has to be an openness to learning new things. This is true in all spheres of your life, not only the professional sphere. You should never be afraid of trying new things, and you should never miss a chance to learn something new.

When confronted with things that are currently beyond the breadth of your knowledge, don’t say “I don’t know that.” Ask how much time do you have to learn it. It’s a very simple idea that will not only help you get the new position you want – it will actually help you thrive when you get there. So above anything else, be open to new things and excited by learning. And don’t be afraid to show your excitement.

5. Be Honest and Accountable

If you do something go, take credit for it. It’s as simple as that. Don’t say it’s a team effort it wasn’t. On the other hand, if something was a team effort, make sure you pass the credit along to all the people involved. Never let people take credit for your work, and never take credit for anyone else’s work. Be honest, and play fair.

This also counts when things go bad. Don’t shift the blame around for something you did wrong, and don’t let anyone blame you for their own mistakes. Be accountable, and don’t get overwhelmed by your mistakes. Acknowledge them, and immediately start looking for a way to fix them. People make mistakes. If you want to be promotable, you need to know what to do when you make yours. And what you need to do is start working on a fix as soon as possible.

But in the meantime, do let us know your thoughts – is there something else that should be included on the list above?

Some of my past articles on  Linkedin:

Executives, Shut Up more during the Interview!

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

It feels nice to be on the top of a headhunter’s list of an executive position, doesn’t it?

It’s what you deserve, after all – you’ve been doing your work diligently. You’ve met expectations and exceeded them. You’ve made things happen. You had results. You feel like you belong in the 2% of applicants who get to the interview phase.

And naturally, when you get to a meeting with a hiring manager, you have stories to tell. You want them to be smitten by your experience. You want them to see that you’re the best person for the job, the ONLY person they should consider to fill the position.

So you talk. You make sure that nothing you think should be mentioned slips your mind. You give the hiring manager a hundred and one reasons to remember you when the time comes to make the choice.

But they don’t. You don’t get the call saying that you’re the new COO at Company Ltd. And you’re left wondering why.

Here’s the most common reason why: You probably TALKED too much! And did not ASK them enough questions!

Being a person who is in the position to be approached by a hiring manager for an executive position, there are some things you should be aware of. The most significant one is that businesses, at least the good ones, do not use the services of hiring managers to find people for whom they will tailor-make a position. When businesses are looking for new executives, they have a clear agenda. They have a need, and you’re the person they think might fulfill it. That’s what hiring managers are looking for, and that’s what you need to be.

A solution!

The single most important thing you need to do during the interview is to make sure you come off as a solution for the hiring company’s problems. And for that:

  1. You need to find out what are the hiring company’s problems are
  2. Demonstrate your experience, personality and skills are the answer to their problems

Revisit the Basics of Interviewing

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that you don’t necessarily have to know why the company is looking for a new executive. Maybe the old one retired. Maybe he was fired. Maybe he got promoted to another position. Maybe the company is branching. In some cases, the hiring manager might volunteer that information. In other cases, you might get a vague explanation such as “the company is thinking about taking a new direction.” Or even worse, you might get some meaningless phrases in business-speak thrown at you.

That’s why it’s important that you do your homework before the interview. The interview 101 you knew by heart when you were looking for your first job mentioned it. It’s still relevant – you need to find out as much as you can about the company and why they are looking for a new executive as you can before facing a hiring manager. You can look into the specifics, but you can also become familiar with the recruitment trends in your industry. That will greatly increase your chances to becoming an answer to the question they will never ask directly.

If You Haven’t Done Your Homework, Pay Close Attention!

But if you’re not able to do all of that digging, listening and asking questions at the interview could do the trick. So, when the hiring manager asks you something, don’t see that as an opportunity to boast with all of your accomplishments. They know them. They’ve done their homework. Give them an answer to the question they asked, nothing more, nothing less. If you don’t understand something about their questions, or you think they could provide you with information which could help you give them a better answer, ask them. And listen to their answer.


It’s paramount that you and the hiring manager stay on the same page during the whole interview. Some positions, for example, can be held in different kinds of industries. You might have experience working in different industries. You might even be targeted because of your cross-industry experience, as this is one of the tactics advised to employ to get quality talent and facilitate much needed change.

But when a hiring manager comes knocking, make sure you use the same language they are using. Don’t speak about your accomplishments in a tech company if they’re looking to hire someone who worked in the financial sector. Speak about your experiences in the financial sector, even if your most recent employment was in a tech company.

Keep in mind – an interview is not the place for you to display your magnificent ego. It’s not a place where you will have your praises sung. It’s a place where you go to become a solution for a problem. You don’t have to be the best in your field. You have to be what the person in front of you is looking for.

Some of my other articles on Linkedin:

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Future of Recruitment in the Logistics Industry in 2016

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

What is the future of Logistics in Asia? Is the industry slowing down or is there still room to grow? What type of skillsets are in high demand? And what new focus areas does HR need to address to attract the right talent?
With a network of 5 offices covering Asia Pacific, our team at Morgan Philips asked some of the industry experts and leaders for their feedback. These interactions combined with in-depth market research have allowed us to draw 5 trends that will shape recruitment in the industry in 2016.

#1. Consolidation impacts the job market

In the 3PL world, the last 12 months have brought about significant acquisitions. FedEx bought over TNT, Japan Post purchased Toll, DSV took over UTI, XPO acquired Con-way logistics. And the list is expected to continue over the next months and years. In the process, a number of top executives from the acquired company have left or are expected to leave, having sometimes a ripple effect in the management pool.

Moreover, some of the bigger supply chain regional organizations are increasingly looking into adding more contractual staff instead of full time employees. And moving some of the resources from regional HQs like Singapore or Hong Kong closer to the manufacturing hubs, mostly in countries like Thailand, China or increasingly Vietnam. Especially for consumer, electronics, hi-tech and even healthcare sectors.

As a result of these movements, the job market will see a pool of highly qualified and competent candidates become available. And facing the to find a suitable role that can fit their credentials in the same geographical area.

#2. Localization of the workforce

Localization will continue to be a focus throughout 2016 and organizations are trying as much as possible to find local residents to fill key positions. More and more expat contracts have been reduced in an attempt by companies to cut their costs and balance internal equity.

In Singapore for example, as the Ministry of Manpower has taken steps to restrict foreigners, employers find it harder to take on new staff from overseas and an increasing number of visa renewals are being turned down.

Even in emerging economies like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines or Indonesia the first priority is to find local talent that can drive the business growth. Even if that means looking for them outside of the Asian continent.

In this context, Morgan Philips has been approached by 3 companies in the last 6 months to scout for local talents working in US and Europe to return home. And fill the skills gap in the job market.

#3. New technologies, specific skill sets and talent gap

Disruptive technologies such as 3D printing, advanced robotics, big data analytics, the Internet of Things (IOT) and supply chain operating networks are revolutionizing the way organizations run their supply chain. Deloitte forecasted that by 2020, 70% of companies will use advances such as predictive analytics and wearable technology in their supply chains. This shift will have a profound impact on the roles and skill sets required in the future. Companies will need candidates who bring a holistic understanding of business, IT systems and analytics to effectively integrate the emerging technologies and add value to their supply chain.

Moreover, economic developments across Asia have seen a lot of development in contract logistics and consolidated distribution centers. Let’s just look at Singapore where modern warehouses have mushroomed in the last years. DB Schenker, DHL, Kuehne Nagel, SDV, Toll, YCH, are only a few of the companies who have already built or are building mega hubs. All these facilities come with a higher and higher degree of automation. Which means highly critical skills demanded in the market are automation and industrial talent, as well as solution design experts.

Healthcare logistics skills are also quickly getting in high demand too. Especially in cold chain development, the lack of talent is wide. And this spreads across the region, in countries with a history of healthcare, like Korea, Japan, Singapore, but also emerging countries like Thailand or China.

#4. Focus on employer branding

The supply chain and logistics profession is confronted with an image that’s sometimes less than ideal. Work in warehouses, on ships or in trucks and trains tends to be associated with unpleasant working conditions and a less than attractive career path.

In 2016 and years to come, HR leaders will have to look at implementing new initiatives to make their organizations’ brand known in the market. And find attractive ways to capture the interest of the industry’s most talented individuals. Whilst usually the correlation to the business is hard to count in dollars and cents, more and more, a powerful employer brand will be crucial to attracting the best people to develop the business.

#5. Build a talent pipeline

In China, where the sector is developing fast, today there are 284 universities offering logistics management. 58 of them launched logistics labs where students get to know the advancing state of technology in logistics, such as: forklifts, high-rack stackers, high-bay racks, pick by light or pick by voice or RFID.

A couple of year ago, DHL and The Logistics Institute – Asia Pacific of the National University of Singapore (NUS) established the S$3 million Sustainable Supply Chain Centre of Asia Pacific (SSCCAP). It is the region’s first best-practice hub and intellectual property engine to drive sustainable supply chain development in the Asia Pacific region.

Companies like Apple, Heineken and Infineon have very strong internship programs designed to engage the young talent early and identify the next supply chain leaders.

This is key to building a healthy talent pipeline needed to sustain the growth most companies are experiencing in Asia.


We expect 2016 to bring about interesting market dynamics.
Companies have to learn to adapt faster to market changes, embrace technology to stay relevant and invest long term in their brand to stand out to ever more demanding candidates.

Candidates need to be prepared to face the reality that the supply chain world is in a phase of consolidation, be flexible to embrace new technologies and ready to shift gears. And if necessary countries.

The world is spinning faster than ten years ago. He, who adjusts his future competences to this reality, will also have most to gain.

What are thoughts be on the topic? Would welcome your feedback and opinions in the comments below.

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!