Chairman’s hands-on approach to recruiting the best talent

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Chairman’s hands-on approach to recruiting the best talent


Kim Seung-youn

Back in 2010, Hanwha Chairman Kim Seung-youn flew to the United States. His goal was not to seal a big contract, but to pitch the company in a recruitment fair for young talent.

While it is very rare for a chaebol tycoon to handle recruitment, the chairman’s involvement shows his emphasis on hiring quality talent.

“If there is anyone who can fulfill their full potential at Hanwha, [we] will ensure fair compensations and positions that match the passion,” the chairman said at Time Warner Center in New York.

Hanwha’s latest focus in the hiring process lies in job-related capabilities or relevant experience, instead of standardized test scores and training

Affiliates of the Hanwha Group were the first to remove the so-called aptitude test in 2013 that asks a wide range of questions in multiple choice formats.

Hanwha will also put less emphasis on scores in English proficiency tests or irrelevant experience such as involvement in college clubs, volunteer work and overseas language programs.

Instead, the group will evaluate candidates through interviews and camp trainings where they are asked to solve different problems.

The change is intended to free young people from paying vast sums to study for tests or certificates. It is widely believed that a relentless pursuit of higher scores on English tests like Toeic costs a lot in private tuition costs and also results in inflated scores that don’t always reflect good English skills.

After hiring employees, the Hanwha units are focused on supporting education for the workers at different levels.

For entry-level employees, the group established a program called the Global Talent Program where selected participants are sent to the group’s overseas offices for job training and education.

The participants first undergo three months of intensive job training and then go to Hanwha’s overseas operations. The operations are spread in different countries around the world, including the U.S., China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Germany and Iraq.

The workers will work at the overseas offices for up to two years.

The senior-level managers are given opportunities to study at prestigious overseas colleges to earn master’s or doctoral degrees or MBAs in their specialized fields.

The company covers all expenses for the entire period of study, including living expenses, tuition and alumni association fees.

On top of overseas expenses, the group also provides up to 20 million won in support to participants for fees on admissions tests and applications.

Not all senior managers are eligible for the support, however. The group selects senior employees with a proven track record of achievements at work.

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