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Singapore Recruiting & Hiring

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Singapore’s complex Employment Act covers all employees. While Singapore’s employment laws are easy to learn, you want to make sure that you are staying compliant so you don’t end up with a fine or lose talented candidates. You also need to follow the correct Singapore staffing and recruiting processes to find the right candidates for your open positions.

Recruiting in Singapore

As a melting pot of cultures, Singapore includes Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian communities. Singaporean Chinese form the majority of the population, but the cultural norms could change depending on who you’re talking to. We generally recommend tailoring your recruiting process and business culture to the person you’re dealing with so that you can follow the correct local customs.

Some of the common social norms that could impact Singapore recruiting include the following.

1. Food Restrictions

Your Malay candidates could be Muslim, which means you should avoid having any recruitment meetings on Fridays or during Ramadan. Never serve your candidates alcohol or pork, and keep in mind that most Indians avoid beef. Long lunches are not uncommon in the country, so block off a few hours to spend with your candidates.

2. Punctuality

Singaporeans emphasize punctuality and are normally on time for appointments. If you’re unexpectedly running late, make sure to call and let them know.

3. Business Gifts

It’s common to give a small business-related git to show thanks. If you have a great interview with a candidate, you may want to send them a pen with your company logo or another kind of corporate gift. All gifts should be wrapped, presented, and received with two hands, and the receiver will wait to open the gift until the presenter leaves.

4. Formal Introductions

When you’re holding a formal meeting, such as an interview, use the person’s title and family name followed by their personal name if they have a Chinese name. Western names should be introduced as their given name then family name. Malays and Indians also have various formal introduction customs, which you should research before starting a meeting.

5. Business Cards

Most meetings will involve exchanging business cards, and you must treat them with respect. If a candidate gives you their business card, receive it with both hands, then lay it in front of you on a table where people in the meeting are seated. Never write on the card, put it in your back pocket, or throw it in a folder, as these actions show disrespect.

The Recruitment Process in Singapore

The Ministry of Manpower has guidelines for fair staffing and recruiting practices. For example, you should always consider skills, experience, and ability to perform the job over age, race, gender, religion, family status, or disability. Make sure you let the job applicants understand the selection criteria, and update the requirements frequently to ensure that they’re relevant.

To avoid discrimination, don’t list any attributes such as age, gender, marital status, race, or religion in a job advertisement unless you can justify their necessity. Stick to questions relevant to the job requirements during interviews and tests, and ensure that you ask for personal data only for administrative purposes.

Common Recruitment Channels

There are several ways to handle staffing for your Singapore business, including:

  • Working with an employment agency or recruitment firm: While this approach can save you time, you should research the agency’s rates, policies, and permits.
  • Advertising in the newspaper: The Straits Times is a local publication with the highest circulation, and it’s a popular choice for classified advertisements. That said, consider the rates and your local audience before choosing this option.
  • Posting job advertisements online: Most candidates will look for regional positions online, while local positions are more likely to be in the newspaper.
  • Attending job or career fairs: More people are attending job fairs today, which will allow you to do on-the-spot interviews. These events are also a great avenue to hire for skill-based jobs.
  • Recruiting on campuses: Many universities will let you come to campus for interviews or recruitment talks if you want to hire graduates or post-graduates.

How to Hire Singapore Employees

Whether you decide to outsource Singapore hiring or do it yourself, it’s often beneficial to partner with a global PEO that can help you find talented candidates in your industry.

Singapore Employment Compliance

Singapore’s employment compliance — which covers working hours, rest days, annual leave, and holidays — is outlined in its Employment Act.

  • Working hours for employees should not exceed eight hours a day, or 12 hours for shift workers.
  • Employees cannot work more than 72 hours of overtime per month unless there is a specific exception from the Ministry of Manpower.
  • Workers are allowed one unpaid rest day a week, which is typically Sunday unless otherwise stated in an employment contract.
  • You can offer PTO to your employees under the Employment Act — typically seven days for those who worked more than three months.

Onboarding Hired Singapore Employees

Before you officially hire Singapore employees, it is best practice to draft an employment contract that outlines the details of the agreement between you and your future employee. Spell out vacation days, expected working hours, and any supplemental benefits you’ll offer.

Include the exact position and duties the employee will perform. You can also write a code of conduct and the terms of termination for the employee’s reference, which gives them clear expectations of the workplace culture.

Pros of Singapore Hiring Outsourcing

If you choose not to work with a Singapore hiring outsourcing company, you will end up responsible for recruiting potential candidates, drafting the employment contracts, and ensuring your compliance with Singapore’s Employment Act.

A global PEO such as Globalization Partners can take the stress off both the recruiting and managing processes. We help you find talented candidates that exude passion. After you decide to hire, we’ll help hire the employees that work for you so that you don’t have to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of establishing a subsidiary in Singapore.

If you want to know more about how to hire Singapore employees, then contact us today. We’ll help you add to your team by taking the risk off your shoulders and setting it on ours — always making sure you are meeting and exceeding every employment law.

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