The career stories of our team members inspire us, showcasing the dedication and strategies that fuel their success in recruitment.
Today, we sit down with Robert Warner, Associate Director for the Asia-Pacific region, to explore his remarkable journey from a sales role to a leadership position in the maritime sector. Robert demonstrates how leadership is done right, steering unique challenges, and reaping the rewards of his role. He offers advice for aspiring recruitment leaders, demonstrating the path to progression and excellence in leadership.

Robert Warner - Associate Director of Asia-Pacific

How did you get into recruitment, and can you tell me about your career journey so far to Associate Director at Faststream Recruitment Pte?

“I previously worked in a Sales role within HR/L&D services and craved something more fast-paced. Recruitment is definitely that. I started in recruitment at a specialist contract technology agency start-up, which grew incredibly rapidly. I learned a lot during this time. My next role was with a much larger, global recruitment generalist, where I was responsible for managing complex Recruitment Process Outsource programmes. This is where I began to learn leadership and management skills, alongside working with very senior stakeholders of our clients. I joined Faststream in September 2023 to manage our Marine team in Asia, as I was interested in returning to a true market specialist and learning more about the fascinating Shipping and Maritime sector.”

Can you give a brief overview of what you cover in the Marine Market?

“We cover a wide range of clients that provide products and services to the shipping industry, including OEMs, Marine Technology/SaaS, Logistics/Freight Forwarders, Legal, P&I Clubs/Insurance, Classification Societies, ESG, Port Agency, Shipbuilding, and Yards. Each of the team members specialises in a small selection of the above areas, and my focus is senior recruitment across Marine Technology, Legal, P&I, and Insurance.”

What does your role as Associate Director for Faststream Marine, Singapore look like day to day?

“Most days include meeting with stakeholders from clients across the industry, discussing trends, talent, their business goals, and how this contributes to their recruitment plans. I also meet with mid-senior job seekers in the sector to discuss job opportunities. Tailoring both recruitment proposals and candidate headhunting and shortlisting also takes up a lot of time. One of my favourite parts of my day is discussing challenging and complex recruitment situations with the team and helping them find solutions.”

What do you enjoy most in your role?

“While helping clients achieve their business goals by hiring top-quality talent is incredibly fulfilling, my true passion lies in assisting my team with solving challenging recruitment assignments and delivering best-in-class recruitment services to both clients and candidates.”

What are the biggest challenges in your role/industry currently?

“In Singapore, attracting enough young and diverse talent has been a challenge for over four years and continues to prove difficult. Investment from clients into ESG and decarbonisation is helping, as it provides the sense of purpose that younger generations expect from their careers. However, a gap still exists. In Southeast Asia, many companies are investing in and expanding growth, leading to a shortage of high-quality sales talent, particularly in shipbuilding and logistics.”

How would you describe the culture at Faststream?

“We have an amazing team in both Singapore and the UK, full of talented recruitment professionals who strive to provide an exemplary experience when collaborating with us. Additionally, we help each other a lot by sharing knowledge and advice across the various teams. This open and supportive approach is one of our keys to success.”

How do you drive ‘continuous learning & improvement’ within your team?

“Firstly, by creating an environment where we do not expect everyone to know everything, it is okay to fail and learn—in fact, it is a must, especially for me. My team members are experts within the sub-sectors they work in because of the number of people they speak to daily. This, combined with advice, support, and constant constructive feedback loops, drives us to learn.”

Our company vision is to be the most ‘recognised, respected and successful’ recruitment business in our industry. What are some of the ways you work to achieve this?

“Our role in the industry is to understand the business goals and challenges our clients are facing, as well as the core motivations of our job seekers. We can only be successful if we align the objectives of both parties and provide a fantastic experience to both along the way. I believe that if we focus our energy here as trusted advisors, success will come naturally.”

What does being a ‘trusted advisor’ mean in your business, and can you share one of your success stories with us?

“Being a ‘trusted advisor’ means being a strategic partner to clients and candidates, working together to create solutions to business goals and challenges. I recently had the pleasure of assisting a client in making their first hire in Singapore, a Senior Sales Director. They needed an advisor to help them navigate the decisions involved in making a first hire in Singapore, as well as complex labour laws. The candidate selected is incredibly entrepreneurial and a great natural fit for this rapidly growing company.”

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become a recruitment leader?

“Your performance and output are important and will remain so for a long time. However, your ability to lead a team to achieve their goals together is how you will be defined in your future leadership position. Taking time to try different approaches to managing with empathy and thinking about your team’s personalities and how to motivate them is key.”

If Robert's story has inspired you and you're interested in taking on a leadership role similar to his, we have a new internal vacancy for an Associate Director in APAC. Please contact Max Nicholas, Senior Internal Recruiter, for more details or click here to apply.

If you're interested in a career with Faststream, please get in touch by filling out the form below.

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