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Coming full circle: Gabriel Nam's journey at PageGroup
Gabriel Nam is a Director at Michael Page Hong Kong, managing the sales, marketing, digital and education practices across different sectors. He is a proud PageGroup returnee: he worked in a Top 5 executive search firm as a researcher before first joining PageGroup. He then worked for PageGroup for over 4 years before leaving to explore the other side in an in-house talent acquisition role. After two years there, he made his way back. Here are his thoughts on PageGroup culture, being a returnee and its effect on his personal and professional development.
1. Having worked for different companies throughout your career, what would you say about PageGroup culture?
If I am to summarise PageGroup culture with one word, I will say “bold” – in the sense that staff are generally willing to take up challenges and step up, while management is also willing to give chances to young individuals to shine and even fail. Other companies will tend to be a bit more cautious about that or will tend to judge someone only on years of experience (which is important, but should not be the only factor).
2. Why did you decide to return to PageGroup?
No job or company is perfect and each has its pros and cons, so I feel that PageGroup fits my current stage of life as I still have the hunger and curiosity to know more about the business world while I also want to build or achieve something – with reasonable reward. Here when you do well, you are praised and when you do badly, you will get feedback that can be hard to take at times. However, at least you feel that what you have done has an impact, rather than going unnoticed. Of course, working within a powerful platform like PageGroup with a reliable and sensible bunch of people is also important for me.
3. How has PageGroup shaped your professional development?
This can be viewed from two perspectives: career development and personal development.
For career development, PageGroup is always proud of its “fast track career progression”. When I compare my own PageGroup career progression with the outside world and other companies, I am quite satisfied with my opportunities for progression throughout the years.
For personal development, I noticed the subtle change in terms of my overall approach, mentality and confidence level with the vast exposure offered. Back to the initial point, PageGroup provides opportunities for people to explore and allows staff to experience certain degrees of failure: this can be valuable on-the-job learning and development.
Externally this brand name and platform allows me to meet lots of smart and talented professionals. I get inspired by them in terms of business sense, industry knowledge and leadership style. I also feel that I have learned to try to be more positive by enjoying what I do and adjusting the lens through which I see setbacks and other matters that may seem negative on the surface.
4. What did you miss the most about PageGroup?
Noise. I have never worked in such a noisy environment before except at PageGroup!
After working outside, I learned to appreciate this idea of “organic growth”. In the past, I always heard the big guys talking about the concept, but did not quite understand what it meant. Then, after moving in-house, I witnessed a lot of cases where companies would look to external candidates, rather than internal ones to fill middle to senior level vacancies. PageGroup is usually the opposite – we groom internal people first.
Moreover when managing others, this “organic growth” means that I am managing people of a similar wavelength, as we almost all go through same training and tests before moving up the ranks. While everyone is unique and different, at least we adhere to certain standards, principles and practice which makes my job easier.
5. Now that you are back in the role of Director here, what are you most excited about?
I came back to PageGroup because I like the diverse elements of this job. Being Director allows me to make a material impact (billing), but also lead multiple teams in different stages of growth with a decent team size. The job variety, day-to-day excitement (drama!), interaction with my fellow colleagues, as well as staying close with the market all excite me!
6. What will be your advice to people that are planning to pursue a career in recruitment?
In my first year at PageGroup, a Managing Director pulled me aside and said there were three keys to success in recruitment: “Persistence, persistence, persistence”.
After working in recruitment for so long and witnessing so many people’s success or failure, I quite concur with his statement.
7. What are your thoughts in terms of trends and changes within the Hong Kong work force and what are the skills sets more sought after when it comes to being a recruiter?
I believe that with all the advanced tools like apps, mobile phone and internet, the flow of information will only become faster and more direct between candidates and clients. As recruiters, our key edge and selling point is the exchange of information, so it is critical for consultants to stay on top of acquiring, storing, managing and using information and knowledge.
If you’re ready to join PageGroup in Hong Kong, see more here at Join PageGroup.