In The Hot Seat – Rahman Risilia

We chat with Rahman Risilia, Managing Director at MCG& and Kemisry HR, who talks about his current role and offers his thoughts on the media recruitment industry in the Middle East…

Name: Rahman Risilia

Current job title: Managing Director, MCG& and Kemistry HR

When did you first arrive in Dubai?


What were your first impressions of the media recruitment industry in the Middle East?

Vibrant, fast and financially strong.

Has your opinion changed much?

Yes unfortunately. The industry is facing challenging times with global market conditions and the likes of Facebook and co. disrupting the market.

Tell us about your current role…

I see myself as a hands-on Managing Director. Still very involved in day-to-day recruitment, driving the growth of the brands (MCG&, Kemistry HR, Hopscotch and Ampersand) into different industries and strengthening our position as the leading agency within marketing, communications, PR, digital and Technology.

What challenges do you face?

We could be here all day! Managing candidates’ expectations when relocating from abroad and consulting with clients on how best to run a recruitment process, stands out for me.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I do love it when we’re able to truly work with a client to determine exactly what they need through strategic meetings and fulfill the requirement. I must also say, seeing the progression and development of our consultants over time is extremely satisfying.

Are social platforms enough to source talent in the Middle East?

They’re definitely a good starting point. The levels of engagement on these platforms will determine how successful they can be. Not many recruitment agencies truly understand why and how to use them. LinkedIn recently named MCG& the most socially engaged staffing agency in the Middle East.

How effective is online recruitment advertising compared to traditional advertising for talent acquisition in the Middle East?

It’s hard to compare the two as their target audiences are different. Traditional advertising still receives a massive number of applicants but that doesn’t necessarily mean the quality is better.

What are candidates looking for?

Digital jobseekers want to work for innovative businesses that value the ability of digital to improve customer experience. They are not as focused on an organisation’s brand but want to know the details of the projects, the future for digital and what they can learn in a particular role.

What advice would you give employers?

Speed to market and realistic salaries remain the keys to success. However, throughout 2017 we found many employers were not meeting the candidates’ salary expectations, thus employers must act quickly and provide a positive recruitment process experience if they are to secure their ideal candidates.

What is the most common CV faux pas that you see today?

The big one that stands out to me is when a candidate’s CV doesn’t match their LinkedIn profile. That’s a red flag.

How important is a candidate’s online footprint when job seeking?

Now more than ever, the candidates’ online footprint is as important as their CV. You now see employers looking people up on LinkedIn, FB, Instagram and so on before the first interview stage. It’s a regular topic of conversation in our industry. You wouldn’t believe the horror stories I could tell.

Describe yourself in five words…

Ambitious, determined, obsessive, compulsive and focused.

Who inspires you?

My wife. Yes, I know it’s cheesy but she truly does. A mother of two, qualified Sleep Scientist reinventing herself as a Social Media Manager. A big thank you to Hopscotch ME for their support. Plus, she puts up with me…

What’s your most overused saying?

Where are the doughnuts?

Five things you can’t live without?

I have two. Faith and family. Everything else is manageable.

What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your career?

Can I say joining MCG? The entire journey has been exciting. It has had its ups and downs but never a dull moment.

If you could have one work wish granted, what would it be?

To be given the power of a photographic memory.

What’s your favourite form of media?

TV wins that one hands down.

If you weren’t in your current role what would you be doing?

Running an advertising agency would have been the alternative, but being a football pundit would be nice.

How do you see the quality of candidates changing in the coming years?

Digital, Digital, Digital.