Recruiting the Recruiter — How to Improve the Hiring Process

Jun 12 2020

Business owners and hiring managers know all too well that attracting the right candidates for the right positions is a crucial aspect of running a business, yet it can be rather tricky and highly challenging.

To help them better manage their hiring processes, many companies engage recruitment agencies to assess applicants and shortlist suitable candidates for different positions. But what are some of the common hiring challenges employers face, and how can they enlist the right recruitment agency to help them overcome these challenges?

Local pond and beyond

One of the challenges in the Singapore job market is that regardless of industry, a large number of potential candidates come from the same talent pool. While they may be academically qualified, there is a lack of diversity when it comes to work experience, therefore limiting employers’ options.

Local employers who are looking to overseas for talent face another set of challenges. In addition to work pass and permit applications, employers in Singapore must be mindful of the ratio of foreign staff they are legally allowed to hire. There are also different types of passes for different groups of foreign employees. These passes are generally valid for 12-24 months upon the first approval.

Newly effected MOM’s requirements

Effective from 1 May this year, the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) will raise the minimum monthly salary requirement for Employment Pass holders from S$3,600 to S$3,900, in a bid to be in line with the improved wages fresh graduates from local autonomous universities are receiving.

Furthermore, more experienced Employment Pass candidates will be expected to earn approximately twice the new minimum qualifying salary of S$3,900. This will help to maintain a level playing field for experienced PMETs or Professional, Managers, Executives and Technicians.

At the Budget 2020, DPM and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the S Pass sub-Dependency Ratio Ceiling (which restricts the number of SP a company can hire) will lower to 10 percent in the service industry in January 2021. For the remaining industries, it will reduce to 18 per cent in January 2021, and further lower to 15 per cent in January 2023.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in hiring foreign employees is to keep track and adhere to the strict regulations put in place. Moreover, greater scrutiny by MOM on the work pass applications recently can be daunting for employers who are unfamiliar with the processes.

Agency-client collaboration

Apart from employment regulations and job market trends, employers may also face challenges if their expectations are unrealistic: some want quality hires within a short period of time or are unwilling to match the asking salaries of potential employees.

At the same time, data is often not effectively used in the hiring process, making it more difficult to meet certain employer’s demands. This can be mitigated by data-driven recruitment, which uses statistics in the hiring process. This makes for a more cost-efficient, timely and effective hiring process, as it helps companies to better plan their budget, increase productivity and efficiency, and highlight and fix any problems in the hiring process.

The selection of key hiring metrics—such as cost-per-hire, time-to-hire, and candidate experience scores—is the first step to implement data-driven recruitment. Recruitment agencies can help companies kick start the hiring process by speaking to them about their priorities in hiring, what data they currently use, their main hiring challenges, and which areas of their hiring process lack data. From there, agencies can recommend the most efficient and effective way to collect data that meet their clients’ need.

Outsourced recommendation

At AccountStaff, we offer industry-specific recruitment service, which amalgamates social media and direct communication channels between candidates and hiring managers in order to access a wider talent pool.  Thanks to our CPA practice discipline, we are well-qualified to meet hiring needs in the finance and accounting sector.

We employ an effective KYC (“know your customer”) process that covers our clients’ identities, financial activities, and associated risks, which is legally required in compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) laws.

The terms of recruitment

Employers and recruitment agencies must come to a mutual understanding based on what the former requires and what the latter can provide. At the same time, it is important to establish whether the arrangement between both parties is transactional or relational.

While some employers may prefer to engage recruitment agencies for specific projects or contracts, others may want to use such services for all their companies’ hiring needs. A transactional arrangement is suitable for short-term, project-based hires, while a relationship-based one works for companies looking for long-term recruitment services.

Employers would do well by engaging recruitment agencies that can help streamline their hiring processes using an applicant tracking system (“ATS”) that covers accounting for budget, distributing job leads and recruitment channels and databases, and contacting candidates.

To maximise employment opportunities your business can offer to potential employees, as well as to optimise your recruitment process, contact us at for advisory services tailored to your business’ needs. 


The Stone Forest group of companies provides a comprehensive suite of business solutions to support your business growth in Singapore and globally.

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