humans of randstad


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Randstad provides an environment for fast career growth

Patricia Poicia LeeSenior Consultant, Account & Finance Team Team, Professionals Division

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Patricia was born in Malaysia, where she also received her higher education in communications, public relations and advertising. She has gone on to become a seasoned recruiter with seven years of experience serving clients across the APAC region. She joined Randstad Professionals' Finance and Accounting team as a Senior Consultant in 2023 after five years at Michael Page and two years as an in-house recruiter for the food service start-up CloudKitchen.

The path to recruitment excellence is often paved with a diverse background

▲Patricia in her previous role.

Before she joined Randstad, Patricia built her foundational skill set from a diverse career path. Born and raised in Malaysia, her first job after university was at a digital marketing firm called Innity in 2012. Working as an Account Manager and Business Development Executive at Innity is where she got her first exposure to some of the particular skills that would later make her the successful recruitment consultant she is today.


In fact, Patricia says it was her ability in stakeholder management and business development that first got her noticed by Michael Page Malaysia, who wanted to place her as a candidate with one of their clients looking for someone in the marketing industry. They were so impressed by her as a candidate that, as Patricia puts it, they “absorbed me as a recruiter.”


That transition from digital marketing to recruitment was tough at first,” she says. “They hired me and put me in a division that was recruiting for real estate related roles, and it was a market that I didn’t know. So, it was a very tough six months when I first joined, but I have no regrets. I was provided with great training and I was able to get promotions every six to 12 months.”


Patricia spent three years at Michael Page Malaysia before taking the opportunity to move to the Japan branch as part of their Finance and Accounting team, where she spent another two years.


By this point recruitment was in Patricia’s blood. After five years at Michael Page and quickly reaching the level of Senior Consultant, she took the opportunity to be an in-house recruiter at a food-delivery tech startup called CloudKitchens. “I was doing recruitment for roles all over the world,” Patricia says.


“It was a very interesting opportunity at that time, but the startup’s business got hit by the pandemic pretty hard, so I had to decide if I wanted to continue to work in Japan or maybe look for work in Singapore,” says Patricia. “ A friend of mine said, ‘Hey why don’t you consider working for Randsad?’”

You can go anywhere. Why Randstad?

▲Patricia at Randstad Akasaka office.

Senior Consultants in the recruitment world often have many agencies asking them to join their teams. The title is a signal to the market that the agent knows their stuff, and this was certainly true for Patricia. She had earned the right to choose what agency she wanted to represent.


With several other agencies talking to her about joining, Patricia says, “I saw a very good diversity of recruiters coming from different agencies at Randstad, most of them very seasoned. This piqued my interest at first.” She also mentioned that she liked the commission structure and lack of candidate ownership, saying she felt that she would be motivated to work hard in an environment where she could be well compensated for making high-volume or high-level placements.


“It's also about how the business is trying to grow,” she says. “In my interview, the manager of the division I was going to be under explained that their goal was to double their size. I mean, when you hear that a company has plans like that, you know there is so much progression available for you.”


Ultimately, Patricia took on the role of Senior Consultant in the Finance and Accounting division in May of 2023, and by all accounts, she has landed in the right spot for her career to continue to advance.


“The agents here know what they're doing and they come in and deliver,” she says. “I like that these experienced recruiters are empowered to do their best work. The environment is motivating to build a career here.”

A supportive culture where the sky's the limit

▲With her team members in the Account & Finance Team.

When you join a corporation, there is always a “fog of war” where it can be hard to see past all the new personalities, expectations and ways of doing things so that you can clearly see the company's values and opportunities for growth. However, Patricia says feeling supported and like there is potential has never been a problem at Randstad.


“I like that Randstad is trying to promote female leadership,” she says. “There is definitely a lot of room here for us girls to grow. As a female, I think that is a great selling point.”


She also says that the company’s openness and ability to notice talent makes her optimistic about the future. “I think Randstad offers you the potential to open many doors in your career, depending on what you want to do. After a long tenure on the finance and accounting team, inside the company I could go into training, I could go into in-house recruitment, I could even go to different countries. They are pretty open in terms of your personal motivations and your personal goals. So I think that's something that I really appreciate.”


It’s a great thing to know that you’re surrounded by experienced recruiters and that the company has a great framework in place for personal growth. It’s even better when those experienced agents and the nurturing management make themselves available to you to make sure you have all the information you need to take your recruitment activities to the next level.


“The most impressive thing about Randstand internally so far is the team culture.” says Patricia.


She has been able to start her career at Randstad quickly making strong placement numbers, and she attributes her success to this team oriented culture.


“I'm not just talking about my finance and accounting team, but office-wide, everyone is very helpful,” she says. “The first few months after joining I tried to get time to talk to a lot of top billers, directors, to learn a little bit more about the market because I have been out of agency recruitment doing in-house for some time. I wanted to understand who are the key clients to work with, what are the tips to work very closely with those clients. My colleagues have been great at sharing good info so I can be my best. Everyone also keeps our database clean and organized, which has helped me to deliver for my clients and my team a lot faster.”


To illustrate the speed with which she has been able to achieve results, Patricia gave the example of her first placement at Randstad. She says, “The first role that I managed to close in Randstad was with a completely new client that the assistant directors had been in contact with for about six months, but there weren't any roles coming. On my second day on the job, I received roles from this client while still writing my orientation forms.”


With an open job in her hand and seven years of recruitment experience, she knew how to proceed. But finding one’s footing in a new agency with a new database, workflow and specific client-contract terms to master — all in the middle of new-joiner orientation — can obviously take some time for any recruiter, no matter the experience level.


Patricia says, “While the directors were pushing to get our service agreement signed with the new client, I started working on the roles straight away. I wanted to be able to deliver the short list within the first week. I managed to close the roles within five weeks. I don’t think I could have done it if the directors weren’t helping to close the terms as quickly as possible, and I could not have created a shortlist within a week if we do not have the resources and up to date database. So, that's the kind of collaboration I like. When everyone is working together to help make the business run smoothly, that helps me be very successful at my job.

Even a Senior Consultant faces challenges

“I have to say I am quite content with the team and work life I have now,” Patricia says, “But, if I have to point out a challenge, maybe the language barrier could definitely be one of them.”


Patricia is a multilingual consultant, having done recruitment in Malaysia in the early part of her career. She does not speak business-level Japanese however, and she says that sometimes effective communication can be difficult.


“I need to sometimes rely on my colleagues and team members to help me deal with clients or candidates who don’t speak English,” she says. “I think ultimately the long-term goal is I'll be able to speak Japanese, that would solve the problem. But for now, I think that the fact I can rely on my colleagues shows another benefit of being in a team environment like Randstad provides.”


She says that when she comes close to closing a deal in non-English situations, she appreciates her colleagues stepping in to help her work out the placement with both clients and candidates.


In one situation, she was working directly with the president of a large medical device company who could not speak English well. He tended to be able to understand her emails, and eventually she was able to set up a client meeting. She knew he would not be comfortable having the meeting in English, so she asked her manager to step in to conduct the meeting in Japanese. Later, when she was able to build a candidate pipeline for the role, she again needed colleagues' help to chase feedback."


Patricia says that when you face challenges in your recruitment career, “it's really about the team around you and the way they utilize the consultants’ skills.


“If I have a language barrier, I know I can still source a great candidate for the role, so it makes sense to help each other out,” she says. “We can close more deals. By doing this, we will still be able to have very good engagement with a client in terms of the service we agreed to give.”


She says that in the end, despite the occasional language barrier, she feels lucky that she works at an agency that can support the current skill set she has and use it to the team’s billing advantage.


“Japan has the highest agency fees across the world because it is a candidate short market,” she says. “So as long as you make sure your process is right and you find the right candidate, I'm sure that you can make money in Japan.”

What’s my motivation to succeed? Being known as the best

Within a month of joining the Randstad, Patricia received an award for being in line with the company's core values. When asked about how she accomplished this, she again spoke about the importance of a team culture.


“I think the reason why I got that award is because of the proactiveness I showed to build up relationships across teams,” says Patricia. “Within the first few weeks after joining, I had been passing a lot of leads to consultants, I think at least four to five jobs to different teams. I think being that proactive gave me visibility to the team managers from different departments. I think giving me the award was the managers trying to highlight that consultants in a team need to be a lot more proactive in cross team relationship building.”


The emphasis on relationship building reveals a deep motivation in Patricia. She wants to be known in her industry as someone who does it the right way, as a true professional. She says, “Being known as a very professional recruiter in the market is definitely one of the things that I am chasing for.”


“That's one of the things that I'm very proud of, to have that market presence where people think that Patricia is actually giving the most honest feedback, giving quality market information to help candidates make the right decisions for their career change. I think I want to establish that branding wherever I go. Even when I was working in a startup, I would tell my candidates right away, ‘If you don't like a startup company which comes with a lot of risk, don't join us.’ So it's about honesty. That's like my principle really, and it leads to my motivation.”


Do your job well, and reap the rewards


Recruitment is not for everyone. It’s fast paced with high pressure and high expectations. But the flip side of that is enjoying the fruits of your labor, and at Randstad, Patricia enjoys the fact that will be rewarded for hard work.


Beyond the obvious — a nice paycheck at the end of the quarter — Randstad provides a good work-life balance by giving consultants the space to work from anywhere, as long as they deliver what is expected of them.


“We’re a results driven company,” says Patricia, “and management empower the consultant to do their job". I could work from Hokkaido for two weeks if I wanted. Some of my colleagues are actually staying in Yamanashi, but they've been able to deliver their jobs. It is just about the lifestyle that you want to have, as long as you deliver. That's something that I really appreciate the most.”


It’s not all bonus checks and travel opportunities that fill out Randstad’s “extra benefits” list for Patricia. “I think that we have a lot of smart people in the office,” she says. “I think that's one of the big keys to motivation because you'll be working with these people a lot. Knowing that you have the people in the office to keep a happy and functioning environment really keeps you motivated, and when you're motivated is when you make money. Environment plays a very important role.”


Her final message to those who may be thinking of joining the Randstad family is to say, “If there is someone who has very clear goals and wants to be successful or be able to progress very fast in a company, Randstad is really one of the best places to help you achieve that.”