Recruitment agency executive Lhorlan Laurel, popularly known as El, certainly gets around. Originally from the Philippines, El has worked in Abu Dhabi, Thailand and now finds himself heading up operations for Monroe Consulting Group Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City. Journalist Michelle Thompson sat down with El for a look at his career, keys to the rapid growth of Monroe Consulting Group throughout the Asia-Pacific and a look at the recruitment industry in Vietnam.
Michelle: You are originally from the Philippines. How did you come to be working in executive recruitment in Bangkok, Thailand?
El: Before coming to Thailand, I was in the executive recruitment business in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, for five years. It was a fantastic place to learn about headhunting and executive recruitment. Almost 80 percent of the population is expatriate, with locals making up 20 percent of the total. For headhunters like myself, I was working for a recruitment agency, targeting locals. The recruitment of locals was difficult due to a gap in skills and the availability of talent in the market. However, I have a passion for sales and that helped me as my career in executive recruitment grew, and recruitment is now also a passion. I am convinced that employing the best executive recruitment agency is the best way to headhunt employees for any business. The stars really aligned and my first job in Thailand was with Monroe Consulting Group.
Michelle: You have had great success with Monroe Thailand, working your way up to be the deputy managing director, a job that includes overseeing the company’s operations in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. What have been some of the keys to your achievements?
El: Monroe Consulting Group has a great business model that has allowed the company to grow throughout the Asia-Pacific rapidly. The business model is complex but at its core it really focuses on people. The company nurtures talent to ensure the company has the very best executive recruitment consultants in all of the countries in which it operates. At Monroe, time is allotted each week for training, no matter what level you are, either online or with our in-house trainer, and the mentoring is superb. If you look throughout the company, many of our Managing Directors or Deputy Directors started off with the company as junior headhunters. I have been with Monroe for eight years, for example, and I am still developing and will continue to do so while I remain at the company. Monroe has put in place the system and I am happy to have utilised this to its full potential. And I am happy to say it hasn’t just been hard work; executive recruitment is a fun and exciting industry and the company really places an emphasis on creating the perfect work-life balance for its employees.
Michelle: How does the executive recruitment industry in Vietnam compare to the industry in Thailand?
El: The executive recruitment business in Thailand is definitely more mature and competitive. Vietnam is rapidly developing and is one of the fastest emerging markets in Southeast Asia. This gives Monroe Vietnam a great opportunity to be part of this growth. The Vietnamese government has been proactive in attracting foreign investment throughout the country, leading to more multinational companies and jobs. The economy grew by more than 7 percent, the fastest rate in a decade, in 2018 on the back of growth in exports, domestic demand, manufacturing and foreign investment. Monroe Vietnam is partnering with many multinational and Vietnamese companies to headhunt the talent these businesses need to continue to grow.
Michelle: So, like you say, it is a great opportunity for Monroe?
El: Absolutely! Monroe’s executive recruitment consultants have detailed knowledge about their respective industries and know how to headhunt hard-to-find talent using the company’s 12-step recruitment methodology.
Michelle: Monroe has established itself as one of the leading executive recruitment companies in not only Ho Chi Minh City but throughout the Southeast Asian country. How can you improve on the implementation of Monroe’s recruitment processes?
El: The prime goal of Monroe Vietnam is educating our potential clients about what they should expect from an executive search agency. In addition to our internal processes and strong and respected brand, our clients really like our straight-forward, honest approach and how we act as their ambassadors. Our clients and candidates also know that we have their best interests at heart.
Michelle: What else sets you apart from your competitors?
El: Besides being a global award-winning recruitment agency, we are a premium executive search agency. I know it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between one recruitment agency and another as many claims to work to a high standard when this is simply not true. Unlike many of our competitors, however, our recruitment consultants are home grown and trained, as previously mentioned. Our direct search and headhunting services including mapping out our client’s sector and parameters, preparing a shortlist and completing a detailed search to bring our client’s the hidden gems.
Michelle: Monroe Vietnam is now seeking new trainee-level executive recruitment consultants up to Managers, is that correct? Why should they join a headhunting company, and specifically Monroe?
El: Our slogan, ‘Fun, money, and doing something that matters’ sums up why they should join Monroe.