Q&A With Anthony Astrera, New Recruitment Manager

By:
Sep 18, 2020

Welcome to our new blog series, Questions & Answers, here at SupportNinja. This series is dedicated to introducing new hires.

Q&A Session with Anthony

Anthony Astrera, New Recruitment Manager

1. Tell us a little about yourself. What are your interests?

I was born and raised in the UK and spent around 25 of my years of my life there. After I graduated with a computer science degree I never really saw myself being a computer programmer or anything like that. So I kind of fell into recruitment [and] I started off as the headhunter back 17 years ago. I worked for a few multinational recruitment firms for around five to six years before I made my way to Asia. [After some time in Singapore and Malaysia], I moved back to the Philippines full time. So I've been here in the Philippines now for the last seven years helping various BPO companies set up here.”

2. It sounds like you’ve worked in the Philippines and Southeast Asia for several companies. Did you have to manage remote teams and if so, can you tell us your strategy in how you do so successfully? Especially w/ COVID-19 involved.

“I've always been in a situation where I've managed global teams and I've worked in different provinces [here in the Philippines]. I managed the remote teams in Europe [and] a team in [Sofia], Bulgaria as well. And then I was [in the Philippines] for around two years managing Manila and provincial sites, as well as managing remote teams in Guadalajara and Mexico and in Belfast in Ireland as well. I think the key to success there is making sure that there's open two way communication between all parties involved.

It's really harder trying to manage remote teams as opposed to physical teams. You're not there physically to be able to see body language and stuff like that. But in time you get to learn [and] manage the way that [people] work. [It] actually gives you more flexibility and more exposure to be able to deal with people from different locations and [understand] their culture. For example, there's a really different [way of] managing in the Philippines. [I’ve] learned to adapt and [manage] people from the Philippines to Europe and to other Latin American places such as Mexico. You learn to adapt, you learn how to speak to different people from different races, languages and ethnical backgrounds.”

3. What qualities do you seek in a company and which ones did SupportNinja exhibit that made you want to join our team?

“I think that when we talk about core values, I've been around the block for quite some time now. I'm at a stage in my career where it's really all about culture for me and the people that [I] work with. At the end of the day, it's one of those situations where I'm really looking for an organization where there's a culture of caring. [At SupportNinja], I'm somewhere my ideas will be heard. 

[Another] one of the reasons why I joined SupportNinja is because there is a culture of no BS. That core value of BS is something that can lead us to the way that we grow ourselves as well as our team members. That culture of having hard but meaningful conversations means a lot especially to me. [SupportNinja is] not like the normal BPO you know. I've worked for global BPOs that have a lot of red tape [and] where your voice isn't heard.”

4. Although you haven’t been at SupportNinja very long, what are your hopes for this company? What are your goals and what are you looking to achieve in the next 3 to 6 months?

“I’m the type of person that loves to get things done, maybe a bit too impatient for my own good. Within the first week, I clearly established all of the projects and the things that I really wanted to do for the organization with one aim and goal in mind. And that was to be able to sustain growth from where we are to where we want to be in the next six to 12 months. There are certain process improvements that are underway [and there’s] a lot of training and upscaling that needs to be given within the team to provide them the tools to be able to keep up with the ramps or new clients that we're going to be bringing on board in the next few months. So what I did last week was start the initial conversations for SupportNinja to do their first ever virtual job fair. We are actually in the process of approving the collateral and the marketing material to be advertised online and through LinkedIn and other social media sites. We'll be running our first ever SupportNinja job fair [over a] three day [period].

I know there are a lot of other companies that are doing it, but I think we can make it a little bit more different, a little bit more special, we can get the [best] candidates here in Clark[, Philippines]. Without sharing too much information, we're going to try to keep it as, as interactive as possible and you know, really, really try to process as many candidates as we can.

Gone are the days of traditional recruitment or recruiting where people sit behind the computer and search source for candidates. I think it's put us at a disadvantage to a certain extent where we're not allowed to go out and see the students from universities or even go to malls and do job fairs and booths.”

5. What do you think the future of outsourcing will look like? Do you think it’ll change much between now and 5 years?

“I think there have been organizations that have really suffered from the whole situation. You know, a lot of companies have started tightening their budgets and pockets and [have decided] not to outsource to lower cost countries, such as the Philippines or India. However, I think from a cost perspective, it always makes sense to come to the Philippines because they're communication skills here are great, not perfect, but you know, far better than other countries out there. So communication is one [and] number two is the type of skill set required to be able to do an outsourcing job. So these two things, I think make it a no brainer for people to want to outsource their work here in the Philippines.

I don't necessarily see the growth stopping. I just need to be able to enable the organization to be able to withstand the growth. The things me and my team are doing now [will] help us sustain that growth in the upcoming months.”