Building a Career in CPE Recruitment – Employee Stories

To learn more on the current Construction, Property and Engineering (CPE) job market, we recently chatted with Tony Chan, Manager for CPE Recruitment at Links International. Tony has over 15 years of experience in the CPE industry, and he shares his insights and predictions for the industry, his own career journey, and some advice for those considering a career in CPE.

How long have you been in the CPE industry for? What has your journey been like so far?

Tony shared that in his 15 years of recruitment experience, he has specialised in Property & Real Estate, Construction & Engineering, and Architectural Design. He said, “I started off as an apprentice, and one of the earliest projects I got to be involved with was the Hong Kong airport. 6 years ago, I started managing teams – it’s been a privilege to inspire others to achieve their own goals, as well as the company’s.”

Why did you join Links – what made you want to develop your career here?

“I was in search of a company that provides a variety of multiple HR solutions to clients. At the same, I was looking for an environment that empowers employees– I believe Links can provide me with all of these,” he said.

How do you think CPE will be in the next few years? What is promising about it, and do you believe it has potential to grow rapidly?

Tony explained that during Covid-19, the industry slowed down and many projects in the construction industry were halted. However, in the last 12 months, the pace has picked up swiftly. He explains that property developers will always make it their main goal to complete projects, so the energy that the market once had has returned now that we live in a post-pandemic era.

Tony also added that Hong Kong will see a range of exciting construction developments crop up in the next decade – private and public projects, both residential & commercial, as well as government projects such as the MTR line extensions. Many of these projects will even extend into the Greater Bay Area (GBA). In short, Tony believes that CPE is a booming sector.

What do CPE hires need to know when looking for opportunities in 2023?

Tony explains that the supply of talent is short in the construction industry as developers are being pressed to complete developments that are running behind schedule due to the fifth wave of the pandemic in Hong Kong – resulting in the need for additional manpower. As this is now a candidate-driven market, professionals that are switching jobs can expect a salary increase.

His advice for candidates who are looking for careers in CPE is to be more focused on selecting jobs through a company’s project portfolio instead of high salaries alone. He adds that this is a great way for candidates to build their own portfolios as they go.

What would you say your management style is like? How do you best handle your team?

“My management style is to be more of a coach rather than a boss. I often tell my team that I’m here to help, guide and inspire them to do better in the CPE desk. This desk requires a lot of headhunting skills and proactiveness, so I frequently coach my team on how to better represent our client profiles to candidates, how to encourage candidates seeking for a career change, and how to provide market insights.”, says Tony.

What’s the best way, in your opinion, to have a strong team and how do you keep the morale high?

Tony explained that to remain strong, it’s important for teams to have a clear objective and direction, so that they always remain motivated. He also believes in having flexibility with no micromanaging, while also ensuring his team members are on track so everyone can meet their milestones.

Tony says he focuses on quality over quantity and builds team spirit by encouraging them to share their candidate profiles and market insights.

What’s been the most interesting part of your career so far?

“Having my own team to work with has been the most fulfilling part of my career – I consider it a great achievement to be able to guide others. I’m honoured that I get the chance to lead, but more than that, I enjoy working with like-minded, motivated individuals.” Tony told us.

What other advice, if any, would you give to those looking for a career in CPE recruitment?

Tony’s advice for those seeking a career in CPE recruitment would be to utilise available candidate sourcing technology and to keep up with any developments. “Join CPE-related events so that you can network with candidates outside of the job board. When working with clients, familiarise yourself with the type of projects – whether they are long term or short term, and what their specifications are – so that you’ll know how to sell to candidates better.”

“You have to think outside the box in order to be successful,” he concludes.

Are you looking to join an organisation that can bring out the best skills in you through ample career growth opportunities? We’re hiring, so come be a part of our fast-growing team made up of talented individuals! Apply here or send your CV directly to Czarina Tam at