Category Archives: campus recruiting

Asia Grads Feel Impact of Economic Slow Down

The current economic downturn has hit hard on companies’ focus on graduate recruiting.  Corporations have reduced recruiting budget dramatically.  Layoffs, hiring freezes, and reduced work hours are among the remedies to stave off the downturn.  Some offers to new recruits have been retracted.  An area hit the hardest have been companies’ focus on campus recruiting.

Dearth of Students

In Asia’s two largest economies, China and India, we’ve seen a dramatic slow-down in campus recruiting.  A dearth of students are competing for jobs against millions of other graduates looking for jobs in an environment  where there are less jobs to go around.  The few companies present have seen a significant increase in applicants vying for the same jobs. Students unable to find jobs last year continue to compete for the current crop of jobs.

In China, graduates are competing for scarce jobs with reportedly some 6.1 million graduates.  The government is concern that prolonged unemployment will create frustration and unrest.  Students are asked to take on humble jobs, any jobs at all.

Indian MBA grads typically receive several offers in hand by the time they graduate.  It’s a stark contrast for this years batch of graduates.  Campus recruiting have dropped by more then 50% or more.

Plan B – Back to School

According to the Yale Daily News, the graduate schools are seeing an increase in admissions applications, driven by students looking for a leg up in — and shelter from — the deteriorating global economy.  Their international applications grew by 10% this year.

According to an Asia, Inc interview of Business School Deans and Program Directors, the impact of the financial crisis has impacted their recruitment and placement programs.  Applicants have gone up for top B-School programs.

  • NUS saw a record number of applications — at more than 5,800 for just about 200 places.
  • At Asia Institute of Management, their students continue to be hopeful for jobs in the banking and corporate finance, but they will be realistic and will cast their search wide to non-financial sectors such as telecommunications, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, consumer goods, IT and KPO.
  • Students at the Universiti Putra Malaysia hope that when they complete their studies, the economy should have picked up and the students should be ready for better positions with the MBA degree.

Ideas to Overcome the Job Search Barrier

This year will be a tough year for anyone looking for a job.  One has to work harder and smarter then the next person out there.

  • Leverage your social network.  Tap on Facebook or LinkedIn but, focus in on alumni and former colleagues you know.  Ask them for leads.
  • Send out a Tweet.  Twitter can help you get out the word fast.  It is even better if there is a link to a CV or a personal blog, so interested decisions makers can easily review your profile.
  • Blog about your passion.  Blogging is a excellent in communicating your passions and abilities to a target audience.  It can get your noticed by prospective employers.  If not, recruiters scouting the social media will be able to locate you.
  • Offline networking.  Finding a job is about meeting people.  Networking events, seminars, conferences are excellent ways to meet people directly.
Landing a job is difficult.  It takes time and persistence.  Building your online profile will increase your visibility and certainly makes you stand-out from the crowd.

Sourcing for Vietnamese Overseas Students: 7 Steps of Highly Effective Recruiting Practices

The number of Vietnamese students studying overseas has grown by 380% since 1999. The Open Doors 2007 Report, by the Institute of International Education (IIE), show that Vietnamese students enrollment in US colleges and universities have increased by nearly one-third to over 6,000. The British Council report that 1,700 UK visas were issued to Vietnamese students, a 24 percent increase from 2006. Australia, boasting the world’s largest Vietnamese student population, hosts approximately 8,000 students.

Interest by students in an overseas education has seen a parallel increase. Schools from European, North American, Asian countries have increased their recruiting presence in Vietnam to attract student enrollment. The IIE Open Door Report showed a 40% increase by US colleges and universities from 2006 levels.

News reports and surveys show that students studying overseas plan to seek jobs back home upon graduation. Improvement in social and economic trends has increased the opportunities for students to develop promising careers. Cultural traditions based strong family-ties is another pull-factor for students to return home.

All this is good news for enterprises, both domestic and foreign, doing business in Vietnam. Companies have longed complained of the shortage of talent to meet company requirements. Returning students bring a set of education background and experiences which are considered to be beneficial to the hiring organization. They can also bridge gaps in cultural understanding and language barriers in cross-cultural interactions.

Identifying Students
Companies in Vietnam are increasing their commitment to recruit and hire students with overseas education experience. However, identifying those students may not be as straight forward. Firstly, Vietnamese students are highly dispersed making it difficult to find a critical mass of cohorts. Secondly, once identified students may have high compensation and role expectations due to their unique circumstances with overseas exposure.

In this writing, I will explore avenues for identifying overseas Vietnamese students. The latter was covered in a previous blog.

Dispersed Students
Students tend to enroll in disciplines mirroring growing industries back in the home country. Majors of choice include majors such as marketing, finance – banking, IT (i.e., e-commerce, web development), and tourism and hotel administration. Many more are enrolled in English language courses.

If you have done any sort of recruiting for overseas Vietnamese students you’ll quickly notice that students are spread out far and wide. Countries of choice for studies include the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Germany and France. Not only are students dispersed around the world they are scattered throughout various college and university campus, without identifiable critical mass.

At times, recruiting for overseas Vietnamese students does feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But it’s a small world.

#1) High School Alumni
Companies with a strategic vision in tapping into overseas student talent begin their recruiting efforts at the earliest stage possible. Top high-schools in Vietnam have a very high percentage of their graduates getting accepted to prestigious colleges and universities abroad.
The Hanoi-Amsterdam High School Alumni Study Abroad Club has a website of locations of their students who are studying aboard.

#2) Social Networks
I mentioned earlier that students are highly dispersed. A great channel to connect with students is with social network sites.
• There is an extensive network of Vietnamese student groups on the social networking site, Facebook. A quick search through Facebook Groups, you’ll find:
o Le Hong Phong High School. These are connections of former students from this top-tier high school.
o Sinh Vien Vietnam-UK. This is a group of students associated with studying in the UK.

#3) Student/Information Exchange
Students have been organizing themselves for mutual benefit for university enrollment and career development purposes.
Viet Abroader is a student-organized group aimed at providing information, guidance and network to Vietnamese students for admissions and scholarship for U.S university admissions. The group has organized Career Conferences in Ho Chi Minh City during the summer for students networking opportunities with multi-national companies.
Association of Overseas Vietnamese Students (OVS) also a student group is aimed at providing the overseas student population with internship and related career planning opportunities.
Melbourne Overseas Vietnamese Student Association (MOVSA) is a student group comprised of Vietnamese students currently studying in Melbourne, Australia.
ACT Vietnamese Overseas Student Association is another Australian-based organization that gathers all Vietnamese students at all the education institutes in Canberra.
Vietnamese Students Association in United Kingdom is aimed at assisting Vietnamese students in the UK in a wide range of activities including career and job search.
Sinh Vien Vietnam is a forum for students exchanging information on various topics related to their overseas studies.

#4) Governmental Agencies
Various governmental-based agencies have formed associations with primary objective of providing education and study abroad information to students. These organizations are interested in sharing career related information for their students. Leveraging on these agencies may prove beneficial in networking with students and alumni with overseas education experience.
British Council (UK-based)
International Institute of Education (US-based)
Vietnam Education Foundation (US-based)
Study Australia (Australia-based)

#5) Alumni Associations
Alumni groups are the obvious groups to connect with for students already having graduated.
UK Alumni Vietnam (UKAV) is a student alumni group comprising of Vietnamese students who have studied in the UK. The website states there here are around 850 members. Search the member registry for contacts.
Vietnamese Graduate from Australia Club (VGCA) is another network of Vietnamese alumni from Australian universities and colleges and currently has over 3,500 members of five chapters in all regions of Vietnam.

#6) Campus News and Student Profiles
Schools may post articles and highlight top students on school or department websites. Do a good search on Google and other search engines for such profiles. Below are two examples:
• University of Melbourne in Australia has a website profiling their international students:
• The University of Illinois Urbane Champagne has an article posted highlighting their successful enrollment of Vietnam Education Foundation scholarship students.

#7) In Vietnam’s Own Backyard
Education institutions providing top-rate education are increasing in Vietnam. These schools provide a learning experience at international standards.
Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) has been enrolling Vietnamese students for the past decade. Their students are well trained and are required to pass stringent entrance requirements. This school trains graduate students only.
• University of Hawaii, Shidler College of Business has partnered with the Hanoi School of Business, and most recently, the Vietnam International University to deliver its first-rate Executive MBA program that will train, guide, and prepare Vietnam’s top executives. Students enrolled are full-time executives and most are sponsored by their company.
Royale Melborne Institute of Technology (RMIT), an Australian based school, has been providing undergraduate leading to bachelor degrees in Vietnam. They are the only licensed private undergraduate program with dedicated campus facilities in Ho Chi Minh City.

Developing A Long-Term Outlook
Having a long-term outlook is vital to recruiting efforts. Final-year students may want to work in their host countries for a few years, to gain work experience, before returning home.

Companies can leverage internship programs as an additional component in their recruiting efforts to attract and recruit students. Leading companies are sponsoring events including Proctor & Gamble and Unilever.  Leveraging on the relationship companies can keep track of students and eventually attract students to work full-time upon their return to the home country.

Hopefully, what I have been able to accomplish here is to provide insight into strategies and tactics in recruiting overseas Vietnamese students. Corporate recruiters will need to fine turn specific approaches to meet company objectives.

Seafood Challenge for College Hires

I made a bet with my boss today that our Vietnam recruiting team will beat college graduate hiring targets before the end of the year. This all started with a corporate goal where the company aims to recruit and hire grads in the Q4 period, during the optimum campus recruiting timeframe. In the past, we’ve dragged recruiting out until the last minute.

We are winding down to the last few weeks of the year and the Asia region has about 46% more grads to hire. Without getting into specific the hiring plan detail, we have a bit more to go. Our boss is cautiously optimistic yet reserved if the we can hit our hiring goals.

To make a long story short, I challenged his “lack of confidence” in the Vietnam team to pull it off, meet our hiring goals. In email exchange, one message led to another, and we placed a bet for a Seafood dinner if we make targets. This will be easy.

I extended the challenge to the team for a seafood dinner if we hit our goals by next week. It was great. Everyone got into the excitement and we all came up with the slogan “Singapore Seafood Challenge for RCGs.”

Seafood Challenge for RCGs