Once the market challenger, Indeed Singapore has since grown exponentially since its first hires in 2014. We speak to the founding team members and new hires on what the last few years has looked like for the organization, as well as future plans on the sunny city-state.
What started as humble beginnings with just three employees on day one has now grown into a fully decked out organization of nearly 300 people, across both its tech and business functions.
Indeed first built its presence in Singapore with the corporate teams, out of a small office in June 2014.
Indeed started off in Singapore with a rented space out of a shared serviced office in the central business district and had just four employees on the payroll.
Shawn Teo, Indeed Singapore’s payroll manager, was one of the first few people to join the local team.
“I was certainly nervous stepping into a small temporary office with just furniture and being the fifth person on the team, but at the same time I was excited to be one of the first few to see the growth of Indeed,” he says.
Also exciting for Shawn was being able to fly out to Indeed’s Dublin office on his second week with Indeed for on-boarding and training, and managing to catch a glimpse of the St Patrick’s parade.
But once back in Singapore, Shawn’s focus moved to building out the team: “The biggest challenge then was finding the right candidates; other than just those with the right skills but also team and culture fit because we work as a whole.”
A few years later, Andrew McGlinchey, who was then leading Indeed’s product team in Tokyo, arrived in Singapore in 2017 to begin setting up the engineering centre.
In July 2017, Raj Mukherjee (at the time, Indeed’s global SVP of Product), Doug Gray (then Indeed’s global SVP of Engineering), and other senior executives were all in Singapore as the Senior Leadership Team fanned out across Asia for office visits.
Andrew had arranged visits to some local HR tech startups, and meetings with a liaison from the government’s Economic Development Board, a couple of bigger local tech employers, all to learn about their experiences in hiring and retaining tech talent in Singapore.
He even set up a presentation on ‘How to Hire Tech Talent’, but unfortunately, very few people showed up, despite a strong RSVP rate initially.
“We did a small friendly talk to them,” Andrew shares. “Among the hundreds of things we’d all learn over time: you have to chase and remind people to come to talks. The bigger lesson: setbacks and bumps are normal when you’re taking a risk on something new.”
He adds after a meeting between Raj and Doug with Indeed’s global SLT, it “made sense to build an engineering centre in Singapore”.
“We expected to be able to work well with Tokyo and Hyderabad, and to hire talent both locally and with employment passes,” Andrew says. “The good news was despite the attendance at that talk, everything else had indicated that Singapore is the real deal.”
Nidhi Pahwa, Indeed Singapore’s first tech recruiter, remembers her first few hires for the company.
“There were a lot of challenges since it was a new site for Indeed,” says Nidhi. “However, we had a strategy of searching for candidates from specific industries where we knew we would be able to find the level of talent we were looking for.”
Over the past seven years, Indeed Singapore’s tech office moved three times, and the sales office once, to accommodate the rapid growth both offices were experiencing.
However, the fast growth also meant one thing: growing pains.
Vlasto Chvojka, a director of software engineering, and Indeed Singapore’s 13th employee, says patience and teamwork was the key to overcoming challenges in those early days.
“I was really impressed by the people I worked with from day one, here in Singapore, as well as our visitors (from other offices),” Vlasto says.
“I’ve worked in some well known companies in the past, but people here are all different, spontaneous, and everyone is very authentic.”
Looking back, he recalls Indeed’s tech office then, on the second level of a WeWork. “It was kind of scruffy and full of teething issues, but also promised a great future!” he says.
On the business and operations side of the organization, Katie Birch, Senior Director of Sales for Singapore, says things were very different when she started in May 2017 to where they are now.
“When I was first approached by Indeed to launch and lead the commercial team in Singapore, I had not heard much about Indeed’s presence in the region,” she recalls.
“As I learned about the business on a global basis and more about the progress Indeed had made within Singapore to help people get jobs, I was incredibly connected to the company’s mission and values, and very motivated to contribute to the business.”
On Katie’s first day, she counted four departments represented by 24 people in a single, open plan room.
“Everyone had the same clear goal in mind… It was a very exciting time,” says Katie.
“As we hired the commercial and client success team, we were able to help more and more employers build their businesses. We focused on delivering leading data driven services and products, and committed to ensuring that achieving client goals was and would remain our priority.”
Indeed Singapore continued to grow its commercial and client success teams over the years, and have since had the privilege of supporting and building partnerships with thousands of clients not just in Singapore but also now Malaysia, Philippines and Hong Kong.
In March 2020, Katie hired top local commercial professionals to support more Singapore based and regional businesses.
A lot of her new hires joined Indeed just as the global senior leadership team announced all employees would commence working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now in April 2021, these team members are celebrating their first work anniversary at the same time as their first full year of remote working!
One of Katie’s team members, Rachel Khoo, a National Account Manager for Enterprise, was one of those employees.
She initially worked from her dining table, but thanks to the WFH stipend from Indeed, has managed to set up a dedicated working space in her living room.
“No doubt that I was super worried and uncertain of the remote onboarding process, but the Indeed team managed everything really well,” Rachel recalls.
“My laptop, together with all necessary equipment, was couriered to me prior to my start date for a seamless onboarding. A few weeks later, I also received a welcome package from the team!”
Now a year into her role, Rachel says the thing she’s still most excited about is the company’s mission of helping people get jobs.
“I also hope for us to be able to help even more people in Singapore get jobs, and be a platform they can rely on for opportunities and growth, from internships, to their first graduate job, to becoming a manager.”
Looking forward, Vlasto says he continues to see a bright future for Indeed Singapore.
“We still need to solve a number of problems; for example remote working may not be the ideal or best option for everyone,” he says.
“We also need to figure out how to exchange knowledge and build trust when we do not meet our colleagues on a frequent basis. These are hard but solvable problems. I believe solving them will open new doors and capabilities for Indeed’s growth and will be beneficial for Singapore as a hub in South East Asia.”
Indeed Singapore is hiring! To see all available roles, click here.