Andrew Zee: Advocating People-Focused Leadership In Talent Space

Andrew Zee: Advocating People-Focused Leadership In Talent Space

Andrew Zee, Director – Head of Singapore

Andrew Zee

Director – Head of Singapore

From groundbreaking entrepreneurs to business trailblazers, leaders produced by NTU have made their mark in various fields, leaving a lasting impact on society. But what’s the university’s secret to producing some of the most influential and accomplished alumni leaders in Singapore?

It is perhaps the rigorous academic programs and the emphasis on practical, real-world learning experiences, and a lot more that has equipped its graduates with the skills and confidence needed to succeed in today's rapidly changing world. Among the honorees is Andrew Zee, Director and Head of Selby Jennings, Singapore, a global financial services specialist talent partner with the Phaidon International group. In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights Asia, Andrew shares about his journey with NTU, Selby Jennings and his approach to leadership.

Give a brief account about your professional journey with Selby Jennings.

For the past six and a half years, I have been on a journey with Selby Jennings, and it has been nothing short of remarkable. As a consultant, I have achieved several milestones, and each year has brought new challenges and opportunities for growth.

During my journey so far with Selby Jennings, it has allowed me to develop my skills and client servicing abilities, enabling myself and my team to contribute significantly to the business and help clients source their next talent. It takes resilience and grit to improve every day, be self-aware and learn from mistakes so that we can hold ourselves to a high-performance benchmark. Selby Jennings has provided me with the three things that matter the most to me - challenge, reward, and satisfaction. It's been an incredible journey so far, and I believe that the journey is not over yet, and I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities that the future holds.

Which are the times that you found the lessons, learnt from NTU, beneficial in your journey?

I am a graduate of Sport Science and Management from NTU. Looking back, one of the most important lessons I learned was the value of teamwork, collaboration, and leadership. In the sports management side of things, we were exposed to various hands-on experiences that allowed us to work effectively as a team. When I entered the corporate world, specifically in a talent partner role, I learned the importance of being collaborativeyet competitive. The project work and teamwork activities we did in school allowed me to build rapport, hone my leadership skills, and improve my presentation skills. The two international exchanges I went on – one in the US and another in Taiwan - provided me with a unique perspective of how people from different countries view the world and do things. It broadened my horizons and gave me a deeper understanding of cultural differences, which is essential when performing in a go-getting setting. All of these experiences have been instrumental in shaping me into the person I am today.

What are the growth factors you look into to ensure the objectives are met?

One of the most important factors is our team of consultants who are the backbone of our organization. We invest heavily in learning and development programs, mentoring initiatives, and additional training to help them grow in their careers and take on new challenges. By providing them with a clear career path and supporting their development, we ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the objectives that we set for the business.

Focus Is On Continuous Growth & Improvement Both For Myself & The People In The Business

Another key factor is our focus on data-driven decision-making. This helps us to stay ahead of the curve and to pivot quickly when necessary to meet our goals. We also prioritize building strong relationships with our clients and stakeholders. This means listening closely to their needs and concerns, providing them with exceptional service, and developing customized solutions that meet their specific requirements. By doing so, we are able to build trust and loyalty with our clients, which in turn helps us to achieve our business objectives.

What are the methods you have suggested for the team to draw key insights from the market?

To obtain valuable insights from the market, we train our team to focus on building strong relationships with mid to senior level and above candidates and clients. One of the primary methods we use is to teach them how to become excellent listeners and how to be more assertive when discussing job briefs, opportunities, and organizational roles with both candidates and clients. Being a good listener helps our consultants ask more relevant and in-depth questions, which ultimately leads to a better understanding of both parties' needs. This is crucial because our goal is to be seen as a partner for both candidates and clients in moving toward their desired career or business expansion goals. We emphasize the importance of being clear on our objectives, which is to build a partnership and good rapport with candidates and clients.

What is the future destination you are heading towards?

In terms of my professional journey, I see myself striving to become an even more accountable, responsible, and inspiring leader who can effectively scale the business. I aspire to be someone that our clients and employees can depend on for insights, referrals, and market knowledge. Ultimately, our goal is to become the best talent partner in the financial services hiring market. To achieve this, we need to continue improving and learning from the best practices globally. Personally, I aim to help the business scale regionally by gaining more exposure and learning from other offices, much like the experiences I had while working with my company. This will allow us to align ourselves globally and keep improving our services.

Andrew Zee, Director – Head of Singapore, Selby Jennings

Beyond his professional achievements, Andrew was also the captain of the NTU basketball team and remains an avid player to this day. He is also an avid reader of self-help and management books, with Rise and Grind by Daymond John being one of his favorites. When he travels, Japan is his top destination, and he enjoys sampling the country's delicious cuisine.

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