Executive recruitment company Monroe Consulting Group is continuing its growth in emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region with the launch of new operations in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The international award-winning recruitment company is excited about prospects in one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing economies, increasing foreign direct investment and a burgeoning recruitment industry. Newly appointed Monroe Consulting Group Vietnam Managing Director Ngan Huynh sat down with journalist Cameron Bates to discuss her experience as a business management and human resources executive, the recruitment industry and what Monroe can provide job candidates and client companies in Vietnam.
Cameron Bates: It is an exciting time for Monroe Consulting Group with the launch of recruitment operations in Vietnam. Please tell us about your background?
Monroe Consulting Group Vietnam Managing Director Ngan Huynh: In short, I am a business-management professional with more than a decade’s experience in client service, operations and human resources, including talent acquisition, development and training. In addition, I have a history in fast-moving consumer goods, retail and human resources consulting. I began my career with international hypermarket company Metro Cash and Carry Vietnam in roles that included training design and development and as assistant to the HR director. I then moved to one of the world’s leading providers of recruitment services and HR solutions, as a human resources consultant and internal HR manager for almost three years. After a spell as operations director with Masan Consumer, one of Vietnam's largest diversified FMCG companies, I returned to my previous company as operations manager, before promotion to ‘business manager, outsourcing (office) and HR solutions’.
I understand this was a start-up operation at that time. That must have been challenging yet provided a great opportunity to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in?
Yes. I can say that Vietnam was one of the only countries that the company built from the ground up; in other countries it typically acquired other companies. At that time I was internal human resources manager in charge of hiring people, establishing internal processes and procedures, training, company HR policy, and government registration, which is a time consuming process [laughs]. The year I spent with Masan Consumer in a range of project-management functions was also rewarding and successful. One of the most memorable was a transformational-change project that involved implementing reforms to meet stringent multinational standards. This was across the organisation, from the corporate level to its manufacturing operations. Most recently, since mid-2015, after maternity leave, I was business manager in charge of, not just operations, but everything end-to-end: sales, profit and loss and the human resources outsourcing consultancy, which includes multiple areas such as recruitment.
It certainly looks as though you aren’t afraid to take on a challenge. It that one of the reasons you decided to join Monroe Consulting Group Vietnam?
In part, but to be absolutely honest, I loved Monroe’s business model. The executive recruitment company has successful operations throughout the Asia-Pacific and has won multiple international awards that reflect this. I am both a recruitment professional and a business professional, and as a business professional I love the very smart business model behind this success. I am very excited. Everything is in place that will allow me to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact in recruitment and executive search in Vietnam. The system is neat, simple and effective and I can apply this immediately. It’s a very good foundation from which to grow.
Are there any particular areas that stand out? Given you history in training and development, I would wager that this would be one such area?
Yes, absolutely. Monroe invests in its people and that comes through clearly in the quality of its recruitment consultants. Well educated, outgoing young professionals, often with international exposure, undergo continuous training using Monroe’s sophisticated online training course, supplemented with instruction by Monroe’s dedicated in-house trainer, a strong mentoring system and performance monitoring. The system also ensures that hard-working, successful recruitment consultants can advance their careers rapidly on merit, rather than on the basis of seniority or ethnic or gender identity. Consultants can quickly become senior consultants, assistant division heads and so on, right up to country managing director level. Two current managing directors started off as recruitment consultants. But this is the tip of the ice-berg. Monroe has superior internal business mechanisms that place an emphasis on customer satisfaction, both at the candidate and client company level. And they are always fine-tuning their model. The company is currently rolling out new customer-relationship management software from Vincere, for example. Vincere is a global recruitment company HQ-ed in Asia with a huge development centre in Vietnam. We aim to work very closely with the information technology sector in Vietnam, so that is a positive start.
Monroe focuses on five key areas of recruitment, namely Technology, Consumer Goods, Industry, Health and Professional, which covers banking, finance and insurance. You just mentioned Technology, which of these other sectors do you see as having the greatest potential in Vietnam?
The executive recruitment business in Vietnam in general is very young, immature. If you asked a person 15 years ago, very few would know what recruitment, executive search or head-hunting was. Today, if you asked me to list the Top 10 recruitment companies in Vietnam I could provide about six names, which includes multinational, joint-venture or local firms. When you consider that there are more than 10 million people in Ho Chi Minh City alone, with that population expected to rise to 14 million by 2025, the potential of our industry is huge. In terms of specific areas, Technology is obviously key, along with Industrial, including manufacturing. These are areas in which we are particularly strong and see great potential, along with consumer goods, I have a background in retail, and financial services. Technology is important on a number of levels, it is not just about information technology but extends to E-commerce and lifestyle, including retail such as online shopping, travel, transportation and so on. Given the growth in these key areas the demand for executives and technical staff, Monroe certainly has a major part to play in companies sourcing the best talent to help drive growth.
You mentioned before what you like about Monroe from a personal viewpoint. What do you think is it about the company that attracts so many leading national and multinational clients seeking its executive recruitment services?
Monroe Consulting group has a proven record in emerging markets in Southeast Asia and we expect that this will continue in Vietnam. We are very specialised; we know how to place people with companies in emerging markets, we are successful and we are experts at finding experts. Our divisions are specialised and our recruitment consultants pride themselves on their respective industry knowledge and are best placed to provide the very best advice to job candidates and client companies. We conduct regular internal reviews and surveys after each placement and our service satisfaction ratings remain consistently high. Candidates and companies trust us and business is growing. This is of upmost importance to us.