A pioneer of principled headhunting

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The JCCI Leadership Team (L-R): Mario A. Biscocho, SVP & managing director, Executive Search & Selection Division; Grace C. Sorongon, SVP & managing director, Professional Staffers Division; Carol V. Dominguez, president & CEO; Rita M. Estella, VP, Staffbuilders Asia; and Cesar A. Averia, president & CEO, EDI-Staffbuilders International, Inc..

By Bjorn Biel M. Beltran

As the pioneer of executive search and selection in the Philippines, John Clements Consultants, Inc. (JCCI) has been through it all.

In the 43 years since its founding in 1974, JCCI has weathered the country’s economic downturns and helped it prosper during its good years. Now, the company has become known as one of the best and most highly regarded recruitment firms in the Philippines, successfully expanding its operations to Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, as well as garnering awards and recognition for its excellence.

This is due in no small part, according to Mario A. Biscocho, JCCI senior vice-president and managing director of the company’s Executive Search and Selection Division, to its unflinching and unwavering commitment to ethics and professionalism.

“They say in headhunting, you’re only as good as the last executive search that you have handled,” Mr. Biscocho told BusinessWorld in an interview. “We’ve been handling executive searches for the last 43 years, so we’re probably doing something right.”

“We [at JCCI] have placed thousands of executives who, in their own right, have been instrumental in their respective companies’ growth and successes. Put together the contributions of these leaders, and it’s probably our own way of contributing to nation-building,” he added.

Executive search, otherwise known as headhunting, is a specialized recruitment service which organizations pay to seek out and recruit highly qualified candidates for senior-level and executive jobs. Over the decades, Mr. Biscocho said, JCCI has refined the process to a discipline.

“We’re very thorough in our delivery if you see the steps we take in every engagement. It has become a discipline we have learned and have been doing through the years. Professionalism and integrity in the way we conduct our business is something big for us. We don’t do shortcuts,” he added.

The company’s constant effort towards the meticulous training and principled development of new leaders is the core of its business. With its partnership with Harvard Business Publishing, the corporate learning arm of Harvard Business School in the United States, JCCI markets and delivers Harvard programs here in the Philippines and Asia, giving the company’s own employees the opportunity to take classes to improve.

This reservoir of training material is a huge advantage, considering the range of services that the company offers. While JCCI considers its Executive Search and Selection Division as its flagship business, the company also offers outsourcing and staff augmentation for clients. Other lines of business include a training business and recruitment services for executive, professional, large-scale levels and international positions. All of these equip the company with the adequate capabilities for growth even in the face of challenging times now or in the future.

However, as a member of the Philippine Association of Executive Search Professionals Inc. (PAESPI), an organization formed to help uphold quality standards for executive search firms while curbing malpractices in the recruitment industry, JCCI sees its growth as secondary to a nobler mission.

“We believe we’ve invested in this executive search industry. We’d like to protect it in the sense that it is not prostituted, that players don’t cut corners, that they follow ethics and professionalism. That’s a common advocacy that we have [in PAESPI],” Mr. Biscocho said.

“We’d like to see the industry thriving in the future imbued by ethics and professionalism; that people, individuals and professionals can really draw their careers from this industry. And in the process of doing that, we strongly believe that in our small way, we are able to help individuals, families, communities, and a tiny bit of the country. We are passionate about that mission,” he added.