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Bold Ambition

Published on Friday, 06 Dec 2013
Mark Enticott, Ambition’s managing director for Hong Kong, says the company will nurture recruitment consulting talent who can eventually take over the management reins.
Photo: Edward Wong

Recruitment firm Ambition expands its innovative training academy to attract and keep top talent for its own pipeline of future leaders

Recruitment consulting is a much specialised role, calling for a wide range of knowledge and experience. It is a great advantage if you have an in-depth understanding of an industry, but in addition, you should also know the recruitment process, proper client servicing and business development.

To organically develop successful talent that understands the brand, global recruitment firm Ambition set up the Ambition Academy, starting in Australia, its largest market.

“The objective behind it is to recruit and develop talent into excellent recruitment consultants, where we can ease them into the role by making sure that they receive the necessary training and knowledge in a structured way,” says Mark Enticott, Ambition’s Hong Kong managing director.

Singapore and Hong Kong have gradually introduced the Ambition Academy, organising one batch each in 2012. They are now planning three in 2014. This year, 11 people joined the company via the programme.

For the Hong Kong programme, Ambition hires English-speaking candidates, preferably those with a good command of Chinese, a university degree and up to five years of commercial experience in a range of industries.

“We really want to see people who are professional, articulate, passionate, driven and ambitious and can demonstrate success in their careers,” says Enticott. “Recruitment is also about building relationships with clients and candidates. Therefore, the applicant needs to impress us during our assessment centre and panel interviews.”

The six-week intensive programme is run by the Asia management team, with chief executive Guy Day taking special interest, and delivering personally, or via video conferencing, a session called Being Green, focusing on vision and strategy, and what it means to work for Ambition.

The classes cover each of the key areas of a recruitment role, including candidate interviews, business development, client meetings, negotiations, understanding the recruitment sector and time management.

After graduation, consultants are given a mentor. “It is very important to provide them with a lot of ongoing structure and guidance to ensure they are successful. Therefore, there is continual on-the-job coaching by their managers, and other training that takes place on a monthly basis,” Enticott says.

Potential academy consultants are placed in a team with the best fit, based on their experience, interests and the firm’s needs. Every graduating group gives feedback and suggestions on areas of improvement.

So far, the training has been a great success, Enticott says. In the Global Recruiter Asia-Pacific Awards, Ambition was commended for its programme, the clear structure and 360-degree approach offering candidates training preparing them for every aspect of their role.

“The Academy has been very successful for us. I believe that we need to grow our own talent. The goal of the academy is to develop these people into the future leaders of Ambition. Our first academy ran one year ago and those consultants have really developed and are extremely successful,” Enticott says.

Ambition believes in life-long learning, so training doesn’t stop with a successful graduation from the Ambition Academy. Apart from the on-the-job learning, there are monthly group sessions and structured training at certain points of a typical employee’s career. For those who wish to relocate and further their experience this way, the company also offers overseas training opportunities via internal transfers.


Mark Enticott details the skills Ambition Academy trainees need to succeed
The key ingredients “They must be driven, passionate, results-focused and commercially minded.”
Hardest part of the job “Recruitment is a sales role and it is important to remember that this can mean it will have periods of ups and downs. You need to be level-headed to deal with the range of issues that will happen.”
How freshly recruited consultants are prepared for jobs “Our structured training of theory, shadowing experienced consultants, role play and on-the-job coaching ensures our consultants are well prepared.”
Length of time to become a fully-fledged consultant “At the end of the Ambition Academy training, ‘graduates’ begin their role.”

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