Publication: Expat News
Recruiter Richard Mills
Joan J. Teotico
Richard Mills, chairman of Chalre Associates
Executive Search, has interviewed about 15,000 people over the past
15 years in his executive search and management consulting career and he
never gets tired of it.
"I meet and interview about a thousand people a
year. People are the most interesting and complicated creatures in the
universe," he says. "They are the best and the most difficult part of my job. It's
utterly fascinating to get to know them and try to figure them out."
Mills is from Canada where he grew up in a small
town outside Toronto. He graduated from the University of Waterloo, a
prominent technical post-secondary institution, with a degree in chemistry
although he never wanted to become a chemist.
He admits he didn't know what he wanted to be
when he was young. After college, he went from one job to another, working
in finance, owning a computer software company, and later working for
one of Canada's largest contract engineering firms as right-hand man of the
"I worked for a great guy who was as interested
at figuring out the world as I was," he recalls. "He let me get my hands
into every part of his business. In the end, I figured out I liked
From there, he didn't look back. He started
coming to Asia during the dotcom boom times when it was fashionable for
companies in North America to hire experienced engineers and relocate them.
One project he did in South Korea for IBM was reported on network television as the
largest technical recruiting venture in Korean history. Mills and one of his
Korean engineers were subsequently on the cover of ComputerWorld magazine.
"I really enjoyed international recruiting because it allowed me to meet so
many wonderful people across Asia," he says.
That all ended when terrorists struck in the US
on 9/11. Because he suddenly didn't have much to do, he took time out in the
Philippines with his Filipina wife. She talked him into helping her
recruitment company - but the catch was that she would be the boss and he
would be the employee. Surprisingly to him, it worked.
Mills' job at Chalre Associates involves
executive search and consulting engagements for companies across the
Asia-Pacific region, mainly finding candidates for senior management jobs
with multinational corporations. His typical day involves meeting
candidates, talking about their careers, and meeting clients to discuss the
nature of their business.
He enjoys his work, particularly meeting people
from a variety of industries such as in pharmaceutical, mining, information
technology, sales and banking to name a few. "I find it fascinating how
people with different interests and backgrounds still manage to work together
to build organizations," he says.
Asked what are the vital factors that employers
look for in jobseekers and candidates, Mills says it is important to get to
know people and what is important for them, knowing their basics skills and
background, and most of all, the "personal characteristics of a
"It's all about doing a lot of research, talking
to people who know them, getting to know what they are doing, what they have
done and what they want to do in the future," he adds.
Mills notes that his clients and candidates are
often the same people. "My clients today could become my candidates tomorrow
and vice versa. There is a 25 to 30 percent attrition rate for people at senior levels in most countries these days and the time it takes for them to
find a new job is from six to nine months.
Therefore it is important to think ahead about
what would be the best for the person's career. You can't think short-term.
If things go wrong, it is a disaster for everyone involved," he stresses.
He says the only drawback of his chosen
profession is that results can be hard to see.
If he had not become a recruiter, he would have
liked to be an engineer, because "you can see and touch what you helped
build and show it off to your mom. In executive search, you can't do that so
easily because clients need a lot of privacy for their senior positions."
Mills has two sons and the family is based in
the Philippines. He loves playing with his children and spending time with
the family. His Filipina wife Rebecca is president and founder of the
company and working with her is an achievement for him.
"We always wondered whether we could work
together and it is amazing to find out that we can. And despite challenges,
the Philippines is still a very good place to be and it is far better than
people give it credit for. We hope we are making a strong statement about
this by building our regional business from Manila and not elsewhere," he
In addition to recruiting for large
organizations, Mills plays a strong role in promoting the Philippines as a
place to do business. He is a frequent speaker at regional conferences and
his articles have been featured in international publications.
He is founder of the International ICT Awards, a
regional event that promotes the outsourcing sector in Philippines and which
has become one of the largest of its kind in Asia.
In the recruitment and human resources industry,
building relationships is vital, he believes. "Assume that every person you
deal with, you will know for the rest of your of your life. If you
disappoint someone, you can destroy the relationship, making it hard to gain
back. Be careful about overselling yourself. Ensure you deliver what you
promised and do more if you can."
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& Management Consulting:
Associates provides its Executive Search & Management
Consulting services throughout the Asia Pacific region. We are
proactive and well known in our sectors of focus. Regional
Managers use us to help bridge the gap between local environments and
the world-class requirements of multinational corporations.