My international recruitment career


Silvia Quirino joined Robert Walters in 2011, following almost five years of working in finance. After six years working in our São Paulo office, Silvia moved to the Philippines and worked in our Manila office for three years. In 2019, she relocated again, joining our Vietnam team in Ho Chi Minh City. We asked Silvia to share more about her Robert Walters career in three different countries.

Why did you decide to move internationally?

I was looking for new ways to challenge myself in my recruitment career when the CEO of Latin America Robert Walters recommended that I explore working at other Robert Walters offices overseas. Having worked in various offices himself, he encouraged me to look for a career abroad to gain a variety of experiences.

I loved the idea as recruitment work changes based on the market and the people and going overseas would help me expand my perspectives. 

What attracted you to working in the Philippines? 

I spoke with people from several different offices and they were all great, but the opportunity at Robert Walters Philippines really stood out me. I had heard that the economy in the Philippines was rapidly growing with an influx of multinational corporations and foreign companies and was excited by the number of learning opportunities available there.

What promoted your second move to Vietnam? 

I initially planned to return to Brazil after three years but I found that the move abroad taught me so much. I wanted to experience living in another country and so I started watching out for other opportunities within Robert Walters.

I’d heard that the commerce finance manager position in Robert Walters Vietnam had opened up and this sparked my interest. I’d fallen in love with the charming city on my personal travels and wanted to explore living there. I spoke with the country manager, Adrien Bizouard, who invited me to visit the office and learn more about the environment and culture. By the end of my trip, I knew that it was going to be a great fit for me. 

How did Robert Walters support your moves abroad?

The company was incredibly supportive during both my moves. I was given the opportunity to visit both countries and offices beforehand so I could make a more informed decision. In fact, my husband was invited to visit the Philippines with me as Toby Fowlston, the CEO of Robert Walters Asia Pacific, encouraged us to decide as a couple. With Ho Chi Minh, we’d visited before together, so it was a much easier decision for my husband.

I also received a lot of support both before and after my moves. The office managers helped me with my visa application as well as setting up a local bank account, telephone line and accommodations. 

How would you describe the culture in our Philippines and Vietnam offices? 

The local culture in the Philippines is really friendly and family-oriented and it’s no different at the office. The team is incredibly ambitious, and the members believe that strong teamwork is crucial to achieving success. There’s a lot of friendly competition between teams and it keeps motivation high, at the same time, the team is a family and helps each other grow by sharing information, feedback and encouragement.

I find the culture in Vietnam equally friendly, but conversations a more direct. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of adapting to the different styles of communication people have.

How did you find adapting to working in a different market?

Coming to South East Asia has opened my eyes to a different side of recruitment. Compared to Brazil, both the Philippines and Vietnam markets are much more candidate-driven and there is a shortage of skilled talent. I’ve learnt to really focus on understanding candidates’ personal and professional motivations in order to build strong relationships with them.  

What advice would you give to someone interested in making the move overseas? 

One thing that has really helped me throughout all the moves is finding my safe place – CrossFit, a global fitness programme. This is the one thing I always return to at the end of a hard day. It’s my home away from home and it gives me the fuel and courage to challenge myself every day. For someone looking to move overseas, finding your safe place – one that tied to a certain location – may just give you the additional confidence you need to make this change in your life.

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