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JacksonGrant Special Projects: Management Trainee Recruitment

When clients are faced with a unique HR challenge that requires special expertise, it’s my job to find a solution.

Recently, one of our most important clients needed help finding talented young professionals for their management trainee programme. It was a big assignment, and a difficult one: we were asked to find 100 promising trainees with management potential – and we had only two months to do it.

A High-Priority Project, for a High-Profile Client

The client is a global food retailer and wholesale F&B distributor, a household brand recognised around the world. JacksonGrant enjoys a very close and trusted relationship with this client. We have an exclusive agreement to do all their recruiting in Thailand. Because this is such a valuable client, I was feeling the pressure to succeed!

First Step: Build A Talent Pool

The client wanted management trainee candidates under 26 years old, with a university education. They could be based anywhere in Thailand. To be considered, candidates must be able to work upcountry and be willing to travel up to six days per week.

I assigned five junior JacksonGrant recruiters to work on this project as a team. We started our search by looking for recent graduates with no more than four years of experience. We had to identify candidates with clear management potential.

Casting a Wide Net

My team started gathering resumes for the talent pool with an intensive social media search, using apps like LinkedIn, JobsDB, JobtopGun, and JobThai. We posted advertisements, and pulled resumes from electronic databases.

Soon we had a pile of CVs from 2,000 candidates. To narrow it down, we spoke personally to everyone on the list. Each recruiter on my team made 50 phone calls per day for an entire week. After these preliminary interviews, 1,200 candidates made it through to the testing phase of the selection process.

Testing & Evaluation

Before management trainee candidates could be interviewed by the client, they must first pass an online aptitude test and a psychological profile evaluation.

We needed to find trainees who met the client’s criteria for technical knowledge and education. Successful candidates also needed to fit a certain psychological profile, because the trainees would be groomed for management positions in the future.

Our client needed us to identify young people who would be likely to stay with the company for the long-term, to make it worth the significant investment in their training and development. Only 30 percent of the 1,200 candidates passed the aptitude test and psychological evaluation. Around 400 trainee candidates made it though to the client interview stage of the process.


Now we had a short list of 400 candidates who met the client’s management training programme criteria. These short-listed candidates were invited to the client’s HR assessment centre. They spent a day participating in group sessions and work project simulations, to evaluate their problem-solving abilities and leadership potential, and observe how they work as a team.

The trainee candidates who passed the client’s HR assessment made it to the final cut: the client interview. The client’s HR team and senior management conducted final interviews to identify the best leaders, who also possess entrepreneurship qualities, and the right attitude to fit in with the company’s culture. The final decisions were made by senior management.

Mission Accomplished

I was really proud to lead my team through this project to a successful conclusion. It was a big challenge, with high stakes. We spent two months working very closely together on this project; my team is more close-knit and efficient now. It was great experience for my junior recruiters.

Evaluating who will be a prospective long-term employee, with management potential is rigorous and time-consuming. The selection process was very tough, and extremely thorough. Only the most dedicated, patient, determined candidates made it to the final cut. It was not easy to find candidates who could pass the initial screening, so we had to continually widen the scope of our search.

It is super-challenging to find the right psychological profile for a management trainee; because in today’s workplace, young people are not necessarily looking to stay at the same job for five-to-ten years, especially early in their careers. That was probably the most difficult part of this recruitment project.

The successful candidates are now working with the company, training for a six-month trial period. If they are successful, they will be offered a full-time contract of employment. The management trainees start from zero, and work their way up, getting to know all the different roles that they will one day oversee as managers and executives.

Job Satisfaction

Our big client is happy with their trainees. We’ve received feedback that our candidates were of high quality, and they are doing well in their probationary period of training. They plan to continue this programme every year, with management trainees needed for logistics, engineering, and supply chain divisions. In fact, we’re already identifying candidates for the next management trainee programme. If you, or someone you know is interested, you may apply here or

Does your company have a recruitment challenge that is too big for your internal HR department to handle on their own? Let’s talk about how outsourcing your recruitment needs to JacksonGrant can be a win-win for everyone involved. Please feel free to me here or email me at