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Exclusive Interview with Hasnain Qazi, Region Head for Huxley MENA

UAE Huxley Team
UAE Huxley Team

Congratulations on your award-winning success. What differentiates Huxley from other recruitment firms?

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), it’s the sheer size, scale and volume of our operations that truly sets us apart. For instance, we have the largest headcount amongst all banking and technology search firms in MENA. Beyond that, we partner with more than 60% of all financial institutions in region. From a diversity perspective, we employ and empower women where recruitment was traditionally seen as a male dominated industry. In fact, almost 70% of our team are women. And lastly, our constant goal of improving our customers’ experience is evident through our Net Promoter Score (NPS) programme that allows our customers to be involved by rating our services. This has helped us to adapt our systems, processes and behaviours which we have since seen significant improvements in our overall NPS scores. Our team has consistently maintained one of the highest NPS scores globally by constantly improving the service we provide.

Hasnain Qazi
Hasnain Qazi

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the industry at the moment?

There are very high barriers to entry in this region. In particular, you need to get a true understanding on how to best manage visa processes, security clearances, nationality quotas, central bank approvals, relocation logistics, the differences between each of the countries within the MENA region amongst many others. For new entrants this can be very daunting; however, with over a decade of experience that we have having been here that long, this intelligence has now become our strength.

What types of companies do you work with?

We work on senior leadership roles as well as very niche or difficult-to-fill roles. And this is across all financial institutions, including private, government or semi government organisations that fall into any of the mentioned space. We also partner closely with change management and strategy consultancies as well as Fintech organisations. Beyond that, we work with a number of charities globally such as the African Science Academy and the Dubai Foundation For Women & Children. We are very proud of the work we do with them, the funds we raise and the impact we are able to positively drive.

Can you give us an example of how the process works from start to finish?

We usually work on a retained basis for highly committed and confidential roles. This is so that full due diligence is done to understand the history of the role, the scope of work, context in the organisation, the technical or even cultural requirements. This is followed by a process and time frame mapping so that the end-to-end delivery process is agreed to in advance by both parties, clearly laying out what each party’s commitments are.

What types of resources do you have available for clients?

We offer our flagship office in the DIFC in Dubai since confidential interview suites are sometimes required. In addition, we have a global network of offices around the world that are readily available such that our clients can get access to local and global contacts. On top of that, an additional portfolio of knowledge if needed. For retained search, all mandates are headed up by a dedicated project manager and research team. To round it up, we have state of the art reports, insights and analysis to improve the experience and results our customers can expect from us.

What are the benefits of your local and global presence?

We are able to tap into a huge passive market of global leaders that are not officially on the job market for confidentiality and image positioning reasons. We are able to do this swiftly and discretely due to our trusted relationships built over the years. Our database is also updated in real-time which means we can get access to candidates from anywhere around the world should the request come up.

How do you ensure clients have the best customer experience possible?

We are the only search firm in region to employ NPS which is similar to many Fortune 500 companies where it is used to measure, appraise, reward and improve our service with our customers. This makes Huxley a world class recruitment search firm in the industry, providing only the best-in-class service.

Your consultants are one of the keys to your success. How does Huxley invest in their employees?

More than 90% of our leadership team locally and globally are consultants that joined our graduate development programs or our internship programs. This demonstrates that we hire, train, empower, engage and develop our junior to mid-level staff, taking them on a journey to fast track their careers into management or leadership roles. We provide in-house training at all levels throughout the business and run leading diversity and women empowerment projects including Identity and Identify.

What is the working environment like at Huxley?

It may be perceived differently for different people; but a common denominator however would be ‘fast paced, exacting, fun and rewarding’.

What are your plans for further development?

We are almost at full capacity within our DIFC office. We plan to hire at least another 20 people in 2019 and will most likely have to look at additional office space to accommodate our growth. And this is a very exciting time for the company and our people.