5 Tips for Recruiting in Southeast Asia

Building the performing team you want to succeed in Asia starts with getting the right people for your unique needs. Here are 5 Tips for Recruiting in Southeast Asia.

1. Job titles

Job titles play a crucial role in the Southeast Asian business cultures and carry a symbolic status. Be aware that job titles might be differently used as in your home country so you will need to rely on meticulous candidate and CV screening for experience and relevant skills.

On the other hand, if you experience problems filling a position, have a look at the job title first, which might keep the right candidates from applying.

2. Advertising on Job Portals

LinkedIn is the largest professional social network in Southeast Asia and the number one platform to find jobs and candidates. Besides LinkedIn, there are several online job portals very popular in the region:

  • Jobstreet is popular for entry level and middle management roles in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.
  • JobsDB is where you should advertise for middle and top management positions across Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
  • Asian Online Job Portals by countries.

3. Working with Recruitment/Executive Search Companies

It might be uncommon in other countries to get a call from a head hunter, but it is common practice in Southeast Asia to outsource your HR needs to a recruitment company, especially for more senior and complex roles, but also in sectors encountering manpower shortages.

Recruitment companies can support with market knowledge and where to find talents to fit your company culture best. In this candidate-driven market, recruitment companies proactively engage your selected candidates and keep the communication channels open until the contract is signed. As Southeast Asia is a conglomerate of different cultures, it is helpful to have recruiters who can advise on differences in for example interview and application behaviours and gauge if the candidate is a good fit for your organisation. All recruiters at Timeo-Performance for instance are intercultural trained and certified.

Do you want to get the right people?
Our certified recruitment team is ready to assist you with your recruitment needs in Asia.
→ Tell us about your needs.

4. Salary Negotiation

The question about your last-drawn salary is often quoted as the most hated interview question by job seekers. While in Europe this question will only be asked in the last round of interviews, it is quite different in Southeast Asia. Salary and benefits will be discussed at the end of the first interview and a range of the expected salary is often included in the CV.

5. Retention

As the job market in Southeast Asia is in favor of candidates, it is easier for employees in Southeast Asia to change jobs as elsewhere. There is also a seasonal element to consider as you will experience a surge in job movements around February/March after bonus payments.

As anywhere else in the world, employers who engage and take care of their employees will have a higher retention rate. The latest 2018 Global Employee Engagement Trends Study gives valuable insights about the best engagement opportunities per region.


Isabelle Larche

Managing Director, Recruitment & Executive Search at Timeo-Performance

Isabelle is a Human Performance expert, with over 10 years of professional recruitment experience, and 15 years of Business Management Consulting experience. Isabelle is the Vice President of the French Chamber of Commerce and Trade Counsellor (Singapore Chapter) to the French Embassy.

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