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This interview was with www.searchfirms.co.kr in May 2003. Searchfirms.co.kr is a well known and influential portal site for searchfirms in Korea. Mr.Kim, CEO of NEXTSELECTION co.,ltd. was invited and have time with the editor discussing the business philosophy of NEXTSELECTION and various topics of searchfirm business in Korea.



Caricature of C.S.KimNice to meet you, Mr. Kim, we thank you for your interview.
Nice to meet you, too. I thank you for offering me this opportunity. I'll do my best to answer to your questions.

Could you briefly make an introduction about your company?
Next Selection Co. is a total Executive Search Consulting Firm specializing to assist 100% Foreign Owned Subsidiary Multinational Company and individuals from manager to CEO at the stage of searching activities and human resource development. As we regard Human Relationship based on Humanism as the most valuable asset, we've dedicated ourselves to fulfill our company's goal to upgrade our candidate's career with the best circumstances and conditions while successfully contributing to all of our clients.
We are specializing in the fields of Semiconductor Equipment and Tester (Memory, Digital, Linear), TFT LCD (Array, Module, Cell), Information Communication (Software, Transmission Equipment, Cable & Wireless), Consumer Products, Industrial Manufacturing, Luxury Brand, Cosmetics, IT, Chemical, Agro Chemical, Petrochemical, Visual MD in Retail Sales, Boutique, MD, Brand management, Product management, Finance & Accounting, Key Accounts management, Sales & Marketing, PR, Human Resources.

Is there any reason for starting a business in Human Resource Industry?
First of all, I really like to meet people. Especially, finding these people the most appropriate job makes me aware of the value of my work. I often seriously ask my candidates whether they've selected the most suitable job for themselves during the interview. Choosing an inappropriate position can maybe support your economical satisfaction, however it costs you another occasion to satisfy yourself. However a person's life can change if an appropriate job is provided. This is why I've decided to work in the Human Resource Industry.

Your way of placing candidates seems to be very unique.
Yes, Next Selection Co. first assesses whether the job concept and activity of our client match with our candidates. We seriously communicate with each other for several times about their quality and aptitude. This is one reason why our interviews need longer time. When the interview result indicates an exact match for the job duties, we revaluate our candidate's personal character and team work. After evaluating candidate's response and understanding his background, we finally enhance our reliability towards him and feel confidence about him. Our candidates start to rely on consultant as well and feel assured about the processing project. We train them what must, could and should be done while asking questions and providing with systematic interview method. It's sort of an interview tip. Our candidates, therefore, often seem to show stronger willingness than other candidates.

We usually recommend 1 to 2 candidates and produce less personal records. However, it is sufficient to satisfy for the Job Requirement. Our average success ratio is mostly high because we choose the right person ready for the position. If the client rejects our candidate's record, we request for a second interview, in case we are fully confident about our candidate. I consider this to be a true Executive Search Consultant.

Can you tell us about one of your memorable projects you've done?
There was a candidate who once came to my office with clothes fully soaked because of heavy rain. He was very depressed about the fact that he received no calls back even though he applied for twenty different companies. His English skill was excellent. We found a position as a purchasing manager in a consumption product company after an English interview was done. Three years later, he requested for another transfer as a manager. He is now recognized for his ability to manage several tasks.

There seemed to be less effort to officially inform others about yourself.
A true Executive Search Consultant never likes to show up on stage. An Executive Search Consultant must be responsible for confidentially maintaining business tasks and retain good relationship with other people. In our case, we ask our client not to reveal our presence to other even though they've been successfully transferred. We don't want this to be known to others at least for a year. This is a basic quality of a professional Executive Search Consultant.

What is your usual thought about Korean search industry?
A lot of search firms are recently being formed. Some people might regard this to be too much. However, I think that candidates with better capacities and qualities will have more changes to be picked up if there're more executive search firms in existence. Besides, fair competitions between firms will generate more opportunities. A qualified Consultant will survive but the rest will be removed from the market.

With more professional Search Consultants, our society has more chances to improve in the future. I believe that this will also contribute to the development of our country and also no more employment fraud. (Since the candidate is not asked for any cost...)

I personally don't like the word "Head Hunter". It sounds like a very bad and immoral human being because of the word "Hunter". I strongly recommend using the word "Job Search Consultant" to improve the image of search firms. Because of the confidential properties of the Executive Search Business, it is difficult to operate a large scale of Search Firms. However, I do not understand why this type of Search Firms is formed nowadays. Once the open position is occupied, it takes two to three years or even more to have that position open. That means more competition between Search Firms. At least three to four Search Firms will have to face each other to compete. This is not an easy business. If it gets serious, four to five firms will have to compete for a position. The search firms will have no choice but to negotiate with the client firm about the fee. The fact that Search Business is a high profitable job is not true. Please refer to this fact. There are always positive and negative sides. I hope Executive Search Consultants consider this before making any decision. Those successful Executive Search Consultants shown in the front page are no more than two to tree percentage. It is not an easy task.

Is there any special reason for not taking resume not written in English?
No special reason actually. But because we only search for 100% Foreign Owned Company, we don't feel the need for taking resumes not written in English. One reason for accepting English written resume only might be that Korean written resume is usually written in terms of job title to better understand one's duty.
It takes a lot of skills to write an English resume. Therefore, we can presume a person's personality, English skill and even Computer skill through an English resume. The resume represents the person and at the same time becomes a standard to estimate their abilities.

You have a reputation for maintaining a good long relation with your candidates. Do you have any special policy for that?
We honestly try to get acquainted with our candidate. We operate a Channel Networking. If there's a demand from our client for a position, I proceed with one candidate whom I regard as the most suitable candidate for the requirement. At last, the candidates feel grateful for believing him. This is a result based on reliance. If the person in charge of personnel department changes, we can renegotiate with this person. However, a candidate never returns if gone with no satisfaction. Therefore, I regard relationship with our candidate as the most important thing.

While I search for a position, some candidates help me with the interview and reference request. They even demand for new candidates. This truly is my biggest wealth I possess. We share big hearts with great tolerance as all of my candidates have gone through difficult times just to get accepted with one page resume. This helps me to continue a long-term relationship with them. Can you believe that this is another reason for why most of my candidates quit the company within a year?

You seemed to have a lot of connection in the Searching Industry.
I have some connections, but I do not want to show it off. I get no benefit from revealing the process. It could be possible that one consultant I know becomes the party that replaces candidates to other firms and looks for vacant positions. That's why I am being very careful. It's a natural habit to keep confidentiality in this field. I hope you understand me.

Is there any thing you would like to say to candidates or personnel managers?
The personnel managers represent the company and influence the company's image an as well as reveal the corporate culture of the company. I can certainly tell whether the organization is well managed once I get in touch with the personnel manager. The Executive Search Firm and the client are interdependent. However, there are some firms who try to keep a dependent relationship. There are even some firms who give us an impression of calling an important government organization while contacting with the personnel department. It is very surprising to know that some foreign company's personnel managers have this kind of 19th century point of view inappropriate for a rational personnel manager. The foreign company does not welcome a commander style, too. You could become one of our candidates one day.
I want the personnel managers to give a fast feedback to our candidate after the interview is finished. A search service is a very difficult task to perform. There's no stable order for this kind of job. We face too much of unexpected situations before the fee is received in our bank account. I'm sure that other Search Firms do agree with this point.

The candidate should approach the salary negotiation with honest and substantial attitude. I've seen many candidates asking for unrealistic payment. The candidates should deal this negotiation rationally and according to the evaluation standard. Please try to listen to a professional.
Some candidates have difficulties to do an English interview. They should prepare more and improve their English skill.

I thank you for this interview once again.
I thank you too. Next Selection always feels responsible to search for efficient candidates for the right position. Thank you.




   
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