MCG& Founder Justin McGuire to lead expansion in APAC

Founder and CEO of MCG&, Justin Mcguire is set to lead the group’s expansion in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Founded in 2010, MCG& now consists of four companies across four countries; MCG&Co, which is a specialist recruitment business in the communications, digital and technology sectors globally, Kemistry, which focuses on HR, finance and operations, Hopscotch, a women’s career platform, and the newly launched Ampersand, which is a marketing and talent consultancy providing L&D, search, strategic advisory and M&A services in Dubai, London, Hong Kong and now Singapore.

Due to this growth and further expansion plans in the APAC region including a Shanghai office, McGuire is now leaving Dubai for Singapore.

The Dubai operations, which serve as the headquarters for the group, will continue to be led by Nick Clements, group COO and founder and CEO of Ampersand, Chris Quy, managing director of Ampersand and Rahman Risilia, EMEA managing director for MCG&Co and Kemistry.

“In 18 months, we have built the Asia business to become a significant player in the region. We already have two offices open (Hong Kong and Singapore) with a third set to open in 2019 when we will have team on the ground in Shanghai, and more planned to follow,” he says.

While McGuire’s decision to move makes strategic business sense, it’s not necessarily an easy one. “I arrived in Dubai nine years ago as a single guy who lost his job in the financial crisis and I am leaving Dubai nine years later with a beautiful young family, a successful group of companies and a hunger and passion to continue growing the business. The decision to leave Dubai was not an easy one for many emotional reasons, but having such a solid senior management team in place has made it possible. Strategically, for us, this is a logical decision to make.”

As the company focuses on growth in the APAC region, the MENA region has its own developments with six new hires in the Dubai office in the last six months with recruitment in the tech domain growing strongly. And although growth in the traditional agency-client base has been slow, McGuire expects it to pick up through 2018. “We’re big believers in the region and Dubai will always be our HQ and feel like my home,” he says.

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.

Rahman Risilia joins MCG Group

MCG Group has appointed Rahman Risilia to the role of Managing Director – MENA of its recruitment brands, MCG& Associates and Kemistry. With 16 years of experience in recruitment across the marketing, digital, communications, IT and sales sectors, Rahman has worked with Mackenzie Jones Middle East as Sales, Marketing, Digital Manager and most recently with Simply Digital ME as Director.  In his new role, he will work alongside the Global CEO of MCG Group, Justin McGuire and take full control of the Dubai office.

“MCG& Associates and Kemistry are reputable and global recruitment agencies and I’m thrilled to be joining at such an exciting and crucial time for the business,” says Rahman. “I am looking forward to working with the talented team and building on what is already an amazing brand, by implementing a proven service delivery model, customer engagement plan and to centre our place as the number one agency within the advertising, marketing and digital space.”

MCG Group makes key appointment

Digital and creative recruitment agency, MCG Group has appointed Nick Clements to the role of Chief Operating Officer. With over 25 years of experience, Nick previously worked with Ogilvy & Mather as Global Account Director and most recently with BPG Bates as Chief Executive Officer. In his new role, he will oversee the operations of MCG Group, which is made up of MCG Associates, Kemistry and Hopscotch and work across its Dubai, London and Hong Kong offices. Nick will also work on broadening the company’s services beyond recruitment to spearhead the launch of its new services, which includes executive search, procurement pitch, relationship management and M&A advisory.

“I’m delighted to be joining the MCG Group at such an exciting time and I look forward to helping build on existing strengths and create a talent consultancy with a range of services which really adds value to both agencies and clients,” says Nick Clement, COO, MCG Group.