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Tips for Headhunters and Recruits in Indonesia

What Expats Should Know About Headhunting in Indonesia

Companies thrive on the back of good talent. Great teams of qualified and passionate employees will boost any company’s performance. This where a headhunter’s skills are desperately needed.

Headhunting differs among labour markets and requires that one understands the particular nuance of each country. Expats may need more time to study the environment and nature of headhunting. Here are a few tips to help expats hunt for talent in Indonesia.


  • Connection is everything

While trying out new potential recruits may be exciting, it is also important for headhunters to ask each other for recommendations.

It is no secret that Indonesians like to gossip. For this reason, headhunters may need to befriend locals to find great potential recruits. Ask someone in the same sector who they have recruited in the past.

According to, Indonesian headhunters often rely on word of mouth from satisfied clients. Hence, befriending local headhunters is crucial when it comes to finding them.


  • Compensation package

When recruiting local employees, expats should also bear in mind that most Indonesian workers value employers’ efforts to accommodate and facilitate.

To make successful deals with most locals, it might be better to clearly state job roles upfront. Additionally, never forget to also explain the benefits of being employed by the company.

Headhunting can be easier when you know how to sway potential recruits. If clients are keen to provide employees with health insurance, bonuses, commission or allowances, headhunters should mention the perks to convince the potential recruits.


  • Never forget to follow up

Often, headhunter calls are dismissed as a hoax or fraud. If headhunters want to convince potential recruits about the job offer, it is best to make follow-up calls or send emails even if they have not shown any interest in accepting the offers.


  • Portfolio over study major

According to, 67 percent of graduates in Indonesia work in roles that do not exactly align with their majors.

To align study majors and available positions may be important, however considering the statistics, it might be better to prioritize recruits’ portfolios over study majors.


  • Job titles are more important than job roles

As expat headhunters newly placed in recruitment agencies in Indonesia, it is best to know that job titles matter for Indonesians.

Headhunting is not only limited to upper level roles like senior executives or top professionals. Commercial agencies often hunt for entry level employees, including freshmen to junior management levels.

That said, to make successful hunt calls, headhunters often need to ‘polish’ job titles so potential recruits show more interest for the offers. Job titles are often used to boost social status or ranking among Indonesians.


  • Appeal as a bona fide headhunter

To tackle concerns headhunter communications are hoaxes or fraud, headhunters need to convince the potential recruits more.

It is crucial for headhunters to make follow-ups, however they may also prove an offer to be genuine by studying the positions, the industries and roles. The information and knowledge studied prior to hunting may be used as a means to show potential recruits you are genuinely interested and want them to fill available positions.


An Expat’s Guide to Being the Candidate in Indonesian Headhunters Search

Getting employment in Indonesia may not be as hard as it seems for locals, but for expats it is a different story. Expats need extra processes and documents in order to stay in Indonesia.

Not all companies are able to provide the proper facilitation and accommodations for expats so finding employment for them can be a little harder. Normally, large and multinational companies are more open to recruiting top-level expats.

For expats interested in working at larger companies in Indonesia, here are few tips about Indonesian headhunters and their recruit preferences:


  • Local talent is growing

Competitive salaries in Indonesia may be considered one of the reasons why hiring locals over expats is a better idea. However, improved education in the archipelago combined with the number of local citizens who return after their studies can threaten expats’ opportunities of being hired at multinational companies.

Aan Darmadi, a finance specialist at Frisian Flag Indonesia, said companies show more inclination towards local manpower.

“The number of expat directors and senior managers here has been reduced greatly, compared to two to three years ago,” Darmadi told The Jakarta Post.

With this in mind, expats need to understand the fierce competition.


  • Network, network, network

Networking is another fundamental thing to know when settling in Indonesia. To understand Indonesian culture is to acknowledge that networking can help you progress in your career.

Whether a headhunter or candidate, people are more inclined to recruit candidates that are backed with recommendations. Headhunters work in recruitment agencies or recruitment consultations, meaning that clients’ (employees) satisfactions are their top priority. They want to be extra sure candidates have great reputations which fit the available positions.


  • Be visible

Aside from networking, the visibility of candidates is also important. Candidates might need to expose themselves to the city’s social life.

Attending seminars sponsored by recruitment agencies, going to forums, or reading and sharing valuable news on social media can help you get recognition in public.


  • Exposure is beneficial

Most top-level companies who search for upper-level recruits prefer to hire candidates who are exposed to global markets.

Competition between locals and expats may increase, but competition among expats is just as tight. Employees are more likely to choose candidates who have lived in multiple countries as they are deemed to have a wider knowledge on global markets.


  • Pay attention to popular demand

Since there are several areas of knowledge not taught in the Indonesian education system, there is more room for expats to contribute. Conducting deeper research in these areas can help make a candidate invaluable.


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