A Promotion per Year
Amar Walia, Associate Vice President & Team Leader, Technology Practice
A Promotion per Year
Amar Walia, Associate Vice President & Team Leader, Technology Practice
Always open to talk, relaxed and positive – that’s how Amar describes himself.
“I smile as much as I can. I love being with friends. I am a family guy.”
There’s only one bad habit, Amar doesn’t seem to be able to get rid of. A habit that actually makes him perfect for his job as a Consultant in the Technology space.
“I am spending too much money on new tech gadgets. I really try to keep myself from buying the latest phone or watch, but I can’t help it (laughs). Back in India, I was famous for always having the latest models. After a new product release, people would immediately come up to me asking if they could try it assuming that I would have already gotten it.”
After spending his childhood in Iran, North India and in Great Britain where he built a business together with his parents, Amar went to Pune (India) where his sister was doing her MBA.
“My first job was a customer support role at the call center of a British bank. Since I had lived in the UK for a while, I had the accent down. It was a good and easy job for me.
But then after 2.5 years, the Bank got acquired and the call center closed. I needed to look for a new job which wasn’t difficult back then. The call center industry was booming since a lot of European and American companies were outsourcing their support functions to India.
Thanks to my skills and experience I got offers quickly but I felt that I wanted to do something different. That’s when a recruiter introduced me to a recruiting research company called Circa Systems (now Boyd & Moore Intelligence Center, BMIC). First, I was wondering why he would reach out to me since I had no experience in recruiting. He explained that this company was working with a Japanese consulting firm that was outsourcing their research and calling activities to them. That sounded close enough to what I’ve done before, so I decided to give it a shot and go for an interview.
My first impression was – well – a shock (laughs). It’s already 13 years ago but the memory is still very fresh. I remember this small office located in an old apartment building. It had only 2 rooms and people had their lunch in the hallway. I was used to work in a big call center with an office on the 14th floor of a fancy building. I called the agent to confirm the address because I couldn’t believe it. To be honest, I just wanted to leave on the spot and not even wait for the interview to start.
But then, I met with the management, two friendly foreign guys. They explained that they were expanding and that they would be moving into a better office soon. They also introduced the process to me telling me that I would need to learn a little bit of Japanese since most of the people I would be calling didn’t speak English.
All in all, it was a good conversation, but I wasn’t convinced at all. I asked for time to think about it. My friends told me not to take that job. It didn’t make sense to them. The other offers I had at hand provided a better salary and wouldn’t require learning Japanese. ‘Stick to what you’re good at’ is what they said. That sounded reasonable. But at the same I was thinking that I could always go back to what I was good at so why not spend a little bit of time on doing something new, something challenging.”
Amar took the job at Circa Systems (now BMIC) expecting to work there for not longer than 6 months and then go back to a more familiar call center position.
“My first day was a flop. I came into the office and no one was there. Apparently, the building was closed for maintenance and they had forgotten to let me know. I called the owner who told me they needed more time to get the new office ready. So, I went home again.
Together with me, 10 other people joined. And, over the next 6 months we grew to over 100 people who filled up the whole floor of the new office. I started to see the potential of the business and that I had made the right decision.”
The new job required Amar to not only learn a new process but also a new way of communication.
“Everybody who newly joined back then started as a researcher and then gradually progressed into a candidate development role. I spent only 2 days in research and got promoted to candidate development on my 3rd day. So, I had to learn very quickly how to talk to people. Now, we provide Japanese training for all new comers but back in the day I had to teach myself. I used Google and tapes senior colleagues had created to acquire some basic Japanese skills. It wasn’t easy but I really enjoyed speaking with Japanese candidates. They struggled with English and I struggled with Japanese. We were all in the same boat (laughs).”
Continuous learning and effort helped Amar be named ‘Caller of the Year’ already in his first year in the job.
“From there it was a slow but steady progression to where I am today.
After demonstrating my skills as a caller, I got appointed to help the Consultants in Japan find candidates to close their placements. I went through the whole process and supported almost every team. By doing so I learned a lot about the profession including the different positions and industries.
In my 3rd year at the company I figured that it was time to make a decision if I wanted to stay or leave. I looked around at domestic companies, but they seemed to work very differently. I felt that international recruiting was a better fit for me and that I wanted to try to become even better at it. In addition, I had seen some of my senior colleagues becoming Consultants and going to Japan. I knew that they were making good money and that this was a powerful career opportunity. This was a huge motivator for me. I thought to myself ‘if they could do it, I can too’. But I also knew that I needed to learn much more. I worked hard, started to mentor and teach people and finally got promoted to manager.”
After having demonstrated extensive knowledge of the business and strong leadership skills, Amar moved to Japan in 2015 as an Associate Consultant.
“Getting used to Japan was the biggest challenge. Especially my family struggled to adjust. My wife didn’t like eating out (laughs) and my daughter had to integrate herself in a new school. And, I myself had to start from scratch. While I had a manager title back in India, here in Japan I had to work my way up again.
It wasn’t easy but we made it. My wife’s now learning Japanese and she loves the culture and food. I am sometimes wondering if she’s still the same person (laughs).
Regarding myself, I got promoted every year – from Associate Consultant to Consultant to Senior Consultant and last year to Associate Vice President. I also ranked as the 3rd highest biller in my 2nd year and top biller of the quarter twice. I placed Country Managers and Directors and helped the hottest Tech IPO hire all of their staff in Japan.”
Amar is very proud of what he has achieved so far. And, grateful for the support he got throughout the years.
“We have a strong platform including a big candidate database that helps all Consultants get up to speed and close their deals quickly.
In addition to that, the team is just great. Everybody including the management is extremely supportive and accessible. And, there are a lot of former colleagues from India who are now working in Japan as Consultants. We know how it is to arrive here for the first time and we try to make everybody feel at home from the very beginning.
I want to see more colleagues from Pune coming over to Japan. It’s a fantastic learning opportunity. You get the chance to meet a lot of different people, nationalities and cultures. It might seem scary, but I’ve never seen anybody fail who came here from India. The BMIC is a fantastic school and prepares you well to be successful not only in Japan but wherever you want to go from here. “
The BMIC is always looking for talented and motivated people who enjoy communicating with a variety of people across the globe. If that sounds like you, check out our open positions!
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