Hiring the right talent is always a challenge for any organisation. Often times, candidates applying for a job often try to show their best side, not their true side, during interviews. Some even submit their forged documents (education and experience certificates, etc.), without getting noticed. Honesty is on short supply.

But many companies have managed to tackle such challenges with the help of technology and rely on referrals to discover potential employees.

How does Ninja Van, with a strong 31,000-member workforce, address such challenges?

In this interview with e27, Imran Bustamam, Regional Head of Human Resources describes the end-to-end recruitment process at Singapore-based company, a leading logistics-tech company backed by the likes of Monk’s Hill, Golden Gate and B Capital.


Hiring/recruiting people is one of the most challenging parts for any company. How does Ninja Van tackle this problem?

Most of the challenges faced by Ninja Van are typical of most companies. Employees today have much higher expectations when it comes to what a “good” employer should offer in terms of the employee experience.

At the same time, attracting good talent has never been more competitive, and a talent attraction strategy focused heavily on incentives alone (e.g. flexible work hours, external training courses for staff development, pantry benefits, etc) is not enough to drive candidates’ interest in a company.

We recognise that these trends are not just passing fads and are likely to have a long-lasting impact on hiring practices for all companies. Our team is progressively evolving our approach towards employee engagement and experience in order to be an employer of choice.

On top of that, we are looking at different ways to align with candidates on what we can provide as an employer to meet their career aspirations.

How do you discover talent? What are the different media/platforms that Ninja Van uses to discover talent? Do you incentivise employees referrals?

Ninja Van uses various platforms to engage and discover talent. We are actively involved in campus activities, such as hosting career talks and partnering with university career centres. These collaborations provide us with the opportunity to meet prospective candidates and gain insights into job leads, and other valuable information.

Also Read: How Vietnam’s e-commerce firm Tiki manages to keep employee churn rate healthy

Active recruitment for us means generating applications from candidates who are not actively looking for a new role but are potentially a good fit for the open positions we have.

So this active partnership with tertiary institutions also helps us build relationships with a wide network of graduates, enabling us to keep a pulse on when these potential hires, or their friends, are looking for jobs.

We also pay close attention to employer branding activities by highlighting our achievements as a company, our involvement and partnership with external stakeholders and sharing employees’ experiences on our LinkedIn page.

Additionally, we also connect with individuals on LinkedIn and utilise job search platforms such as JobStreet to advertise the open positions we are hoping to fill.

Our employee referral programme, ‘Ninja Get Ninja’ also helps with capturing candidate leads, encouraging our existing employees to tap into their own networks to refer potential candidates that would be suitable hires for the roles we are trying to fill.

Do you conduct a background-check of your new hires/potential candidates before onboarding? Do you also verify the social media accounts of your candidates?

We conduct background checks on candidates on a case-by-case basis. For instance, reference checks are used to learn more about a candidate’s strengths and limitations to best support them if he/she is offered a job with Ninja Van.

This process helps our talent acquisition (TA) team assess if the applicant has the right skill set for the job, especially for those applying for a more senior position. This is crucial as hiring good performers will add to Ninja Van’s established talent community, which eventually contributes to the company’s success.

Once you discover the talent, what is the next step? How many interview rounds are there?

Our TA team wears many hats in their role — they interview, advise and also serve as brand champions, to name a few.

Ninja Van places a heavy emphasis on culture fit and uses the company values to guide employees on the behaviour that is expected of them at work.

Once we identify a potential candidate, our TA team reaches out to him/her for the first round of phone screenings. If a candidate is successful, we then proceed to schedule an in-person interview with the hiring manager.

Depending on the role, shortlisted candidates might have to undergo several rounds of interviews as it helps hiring managers to ensure that the candidate is interested in the work, motivated and a good fit for our company culture.

Depending on the type of job, pre-hire assessments such as problem-solving tests might be given to review how candidates tackle selected scenarios they might face in the role, which would help hiring managers better understand where the candidate would fit and their ability to perform tasks.

If the candidate successfully makes it to the final round, he/she usually meets members of the team face-to-face in a culture fit interview.

Also Read: Breaking down the hiring process for early-stage founders : team or product first?

For senior positions, there is typically an interview with a member of the senior management team.

Can you share details about the on-boarding process? What is the probation period for employees? How many employees are currently working for you?

We strongly believe new hires need to get acquainted with Ninja Van in order for them to be able to contribute meaningfully to the company.

With a headcount of more than 31,000 employees regionally, every employee is briefed on our core values at Ninja Van — “Lean Towards Action”, “Learn and Improve”, and “Deliver on Promises” — as they shape the way they go about their work.

The employee journey starts when an offer is made, with our TA team briefing new hires on what to expect as part of the on-boarding process. On their first day at Ninja Van, new employees attend an orientation session before reporting to their respective departments. Managers assigned to each new hire will act as their mentor and help them understand Ninja Van’s business and goals.

New employees are also required to attend an induction programme which provides them with an opportunity to meet and interact with other new hires through a series of team-building exercises and icebreakers.

On top of that, all new hires are strongly encouraged to attend our ‘operations immersion; programme that gives employees a first-hand experience of Ninja Van’s parcel delivery process — from sorting, delivery to parcel recovery in our warehouses.

Having this holistic understanding of the business helps employees understand how their roles support the company’s larger operational process and foster a better understanding of the challenges faced by their colleagues on-the-ground.

What is the average employee churn rate at the company? What measures has Ninja Van taken to retain talent?

Ninja Van believes in its employees’ growth and focuses on ensuring that our employees are constantly learning and improving. As such, employees have training and development opportunities to help them further their skills and create opportunities for professional development at Ninja Van.

How do you deal with document forging by your employees? What if any of your staffers are found to have forged their education/experience certificates?

The HR team conducts a check of an employee’s educational certificates and professional documents before an he/she joins the company.

Also Read: Why it is now essential to encourage diversity and empower women in fintech

As part of our policy, an employment offer will be rescinded in the event there are discrepancies in the authenticity of the documentation required as part of the hiring process. Ninja Van has a zero-tolerance policy on the lack of integrity.

Can you also share the details of Ninja Van’s leave policy, maternity/paternity leave, etc.?

At Ninja Van, we give employees the responsibility to manage their personal time and the time spent on their work.

All permanent employees at Ninja Van are entitled to the ‘paid-time-off’ programme, where they are allowed to manage the number of days of leave they require.

Image Credit: Ninja Van

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