Looking for FinTech Talent Around the World with Emilia Chen

On our latest episode of Business Beyond Borders, we sit down with Emilia Chen, founder of Polygon Search, a global FinTech headhunting firm focused on fintech recruitment, with more than 400,000 candidates across Asia and the US.

Prior to founding her own firm, Emilia was a senior consultant at Michael Page, where she successfully developed new business by building strong relationships and generating referrals to secure contracts with family offices, tier one investment banks, and hedge funds.

*The responses provided here have been rephrased for brevity and clarity. For the exact answers and a comprehensive understanding, we strongly recommend watching the full video podcast or tuning into the audio podcast.

Q: Could you tell us about your career journey leading up to Polygon Search and what sets the firm apart in the fintech recruitment landscape?

A: Polygon Search is a prominent headhunting firm specializing in fintech recruitment, with a focus on personalized services for both clients and candidates. What sets us apart is our commitment to understanding the unique needs of our clients, providing full-function services that go beyond traditional recruitment. Our goal is to build lasting relationships based on trust.

My career journey began at Taipei Universiade, where I managed sports sponsorships and recruitments. The experience sparked my interest in recruitment and sponsorships. Initially considering a career in sports agency, I chose to join People Search, a headhunting firm, to gain professional recruitment skills. I found the field intriguing, and the potential for success led me to start my career as a recruiter. Working with venture capitals, private equities, and family offices, I realized the importance of trust in this industry. Establishing Polygon Search allows me to provide comprehensive services tailored to the diverse needs of my clients. From finding engineers to finance professionals and investment associates, having my own firm eliminates limitations, enabling me to offer a wide range of services.

Q: In the current fintech landscape, what global trends have you observed, particularly in response to the impact of COVID-19?

A: The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a shift in the fintech industry. Companies are moving away from Hong Kong, with Singapore as a popular choice. However, rising costs in Singapore have prompted a trend of companies seeking remote candidates. Taiwan has emerged as a favorable pool for talent due to bilingualism (Mandarin and English) and competitive salaries. This trend reflects a broader move towards remote work and global talent acquisition.

Q: How crucial is bilingualism or multilingualism for candidates seeking roles in the fintech industry, and how does it impact their market exposure?

A: Bilingualism is a significant advantage, especially when dealing with clients in regions like Hong Kong or Singapore. Many recruiters lack confidence in English, providing an opportunity for differentiation. Being bilingual allows precise and efficient communication, broadening market exposure in the region or globally.

Q: From the candidate's perspective, is there an increasing demand for bilingual or multilingual candidates in the fintech industry?

A: Absolutely. Many fintech companies, even if based in places like Taiwan, require bilingual candidates. The team members or owners often do not speak Mandarin, making English proficiency a basic requirement. It's crucial for efficient communication within the team.

Q: In the current job market, what are the trending job vacancies in the fintech industry, and what new roles do you foresee emerging in the next six to twelve months?

A: Communication-focused roles like developer relations and ecosystem growth are gaining importance. Fintech companies are rapidly changing, emphasizing the need for effective communication. Looking ahead, the trend is likely to continue, and roles related to Web3 technologies might become more prominent.

Q: Besides language proficiency, how do you work with clients to provide effective recruitment services and address their hiring needs?

A: I provide clients with a salary report for Taiwan, showcasing the market standards. I highlight the salary differences for candidates who can and cannot speak English, emphasizing the impact of language proficiency on salary structures. This upfront information helps set expectations and facilitates the recruitment process.

Q: What are the essential skill sets and qualities candidates should possess in today's job market, particularly in the fintech industry?

A: Beyond technical skills, mindset matters. Integrity, flexibility, and self-discipline are crucial. With the rise of remote jobs, the ability to manage time effectively and adapt to new trends is essential. Integrity is particularly important due to the prevalence of scams in industries like Web3.

Q: Could you share examples of scams in the fintech industry, particularly in Web3, and how companies and candidates can protect themselves?

A: There have been instances of fake CVs with impressive credentials that turn out to be entirely fabricated. Vigilance in reference checks and finding trustworthy sources is crucial when hiring remote candidates. Ensuring authenticity is a key consideration in a world where scams are prevalent.

Q: For young professionals entering the fintech industry, what advice would you give them?

A: Invest in gaining practical understanding, especially in areas like Web3, by putting some money into crypto. Sharing personal experiences related to investments during interviews can set candidates apart. It's a valuable approach when candidates might lack extensive industry experience.

This podcast is brought to you by Bluente.

Bluente is the world’s first business language services platform. We built a document translation tool where you get your translated documents in less than 2 minutes, retaining the same format of your file. Try it now at https://web.bluente.com/translate/tool/. We also we teach business languages (CN, ID, EN, ES) tailored for professionals through our mobile and web app. Find out more here: https://app.bluente.com/home/.

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