60 seconds with a rising star: Jason Neo, South-Asia recruitment lead at QBE

Author Sean Tong 唐伯雄
December 13, 2018

In this interview, Jason Neo shares his passion for recruitment, his greatest career lesson to date, and what he likes most about working at QBE Asia Pacific. Jason heads up recruitment for South Asia and is based in Singapore. Along with his colleagues in the region, he supports all recruitment strategies and activities within the Asia Pacific Division for the insurance service.

What attracted you to a career in HR?

Having worked for a non-prof organisation previously where the core value is “People Matters” and being involved in counselling work, it’s inevitable that I would look for a role that evolves around “people” and the opportunity to impact and make a difference.

Why did you decide to specialise in recruitment?

I began my career in HR as a HR Business Partner and eventually found my passion and forte in recruitment. If you look at financial services in this increasingly commoditised world, the only thing that differentiates one company from another is the people. In recruitment, you play a tangible role in bringing in the right talent to the company and that’s where it all begins.

A recent survey found that nearly three quarters (74%) of employers are affected by a bad hire. Furthermore, it found the average cost of one bad hire is approximately SGD$20,000, but the average cost of losing a good hire is almost double that.

This is also a role that plays to my strengths of connecting groups of stakeholders to a positive outcome.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for recruitment?

There are two things:

  1. Hiring managers insisting they need the same skills as before. Our world is changing, and skills for today may not be relevant for future, what is therefore important to see is mindset and learning agility. Diversity in thinking is very important and can sometimes get missed out if we hire to the same prototypes.
  2. With digitisation and technology often being discussed, it’s vital for recruiters to know and deploy what’s available in the market without losing that human touch. I always view recruitment as an art & science combined function. There’s always data to back decisions but the human element must always be present.

What are the greatest lessons you have learnt in your career to date?

There’s nothing too big to tackle (with the right resources/ team) and there’s nothing too small you should not handle (with the right mindset).

What advice would you provide to graduates thinking about entering a career in HR?

Before embarking a career in HR, ask yourself if people matter. Regardless of your specialization, don’t ever lose sight of the passion for people that caused you to embark on the HR journey in the first place.  

What is the thing that you like the most about working at QBE?

The lack of bureaucracy and the chance to work across levels, most leaders are genuinely open to hearing new ideas and suggestions yet give us (as experts) the leeway to do our roles.  

I love being on the frontline and understanding how each decision impacts not just a singular business function or country, but learning more about different effects in the other divisions for each decision made.

I love the spirit of excellence the team carries #rampitup and how everyone across the region pulls their weight whenever required #together

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