2020 Reflections from NodeFlair


2020 brought on a whole new set of challenges for us at NodeFlair, beginning with the closing of borders when the pandemic first hit. As a business that was largely reliant on overseas talent then, we had to quickly regroup and reevaluate our entire business model. But through all the trials and tribulations of a difficult year, we’ve emerged stronger than before and we would like to take this opportunity to share them as a way of remembering 2020. 

1. If we were to summarise 2020 in 3 words, they would be:

Adapt, Growth and Gratitude. 

It was a painful process, which forced us to reflect and revisit some of our core fundamentals as a company. After a lot of soul-searching, we’re proud to say we’ve experienced a rebirth!

We’ve grown five times from the year before in the final quarter of 2020, AND managed to attract some top talents, like our new Country General Manager, King Chang to join us in our mission. 

King has more than a decade of experience as a recruiter and joined JAC Recruitment, where he became their biggest biller in just 6 months. He then relocated to Singapore to scale the MNC Division to unprecedented success. His most notable achievement is scaling Shopee in the region, where he contributed to a 300% year-on-year headcount growth. Welcome, King!

2. The COVID-19 Impact on NodeFlair and how we pivoted from there:

Previously, up to 90 per cent of our revenue came from placing overseas talents in Singapore, which became a cause of concern when international borders were shut. 

We did a couple of things immediately:

  • Cut costs. We identified areas where cost could be cut, which involved us shutting down certain departments (yes, that’s why we stopped pushing out content for a while!), and also taking pay cuts. 
  • Refocus on local talents and pivot operations. We adapted from being a marketplace platform to a digital recruitment firm enabled by technology instead. This enabled local talents to discover new jobs while securing dream opportunities.

NodeFlair's Website

  • Introduce friendlier rates for startups. We incentivise companies to hire during a period where people were being let go, by reducing our rates for them to hire at a lower cost, especially in our industry where demand for talents is highly competitive. 

3. Main takeaway from 2020 for us

A quote by Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel and one of the greatest businessmen in history, struck us deeply. He said, “Bad companies are destroyed by crises, good companies survive them, great companies are improved by them.” This thought carried us through 2020, where we were forced to adapt, or cease to exist. Having grown up to five times from the year before in the final quarter of 2020, demonstrated our ability to adapt, overcome, and rise above it as a company.

4. Memorable Moments in 2020

There were two moments in 2020 that we as founders will always remember.

The first was when we announced that we had to let go of some members of the team. Others who were unaffected by this bad news, came forward offering to have their salaries halved so that the company could afford to retain everyone. We were incredibly touched by their gesture. While many recruitment agencies struggle to handle internal politics and toxic work cultures, what we witnessed was empathy and compassion among team NodeFlair, which demonstrated to us just how special our culture at NodeFlair is. 

The second was reflecting on some of the people we lost as a result of the pandemic’s economic fallout. While we were busy fighting fires day in day out, we struggled to keep sight of the larger picture, which resulted in us losing some really talented individuals. It humbled us in the process, in rethinking about our leadership abilities and skills. 

5. If we could change anything in 2020, it would be:

Reflecting on our year, we would’ve worked harder to communicate our vision of developing a Tech Career SuperApp with the team, but given what an isolating, unpredictable year it’s been, we know we’ve done our best in that regard. Moving forward, we want to keep being a beacon of hope and inspiration to our employees, especially during tough times, and to keep dreaming big.

6. What can people expect from us in 2021?

A. Focusing on Tech Talents

NodeFlair's Talent Consultants with successful Talents #NodeFlairmily

Our mission has always been to help tech talents make smarter career decisions (yes, you!) 

In 2021, we continue to strive towards this by focusing on building a Tech Career SuperApp - a one-stop platform for tech talents to explore, research, secure and grow their tech careers.

The recruitment industry is a huge market, but unfortunately fragmented, saturated, and uninspiring. We want to change that. At NodeFlair, we want to ensure that you get to code at where you love, by empowering you to make smart career decisions for yourself. 

With that, we are proud to announce the first iteration of our Tech Career SuperApp!

B. Focusing on growing the NodeFlair team

We’re also still on the lookout for people with the passion and hunger in the world of tech (just like our new Country General Manager, King Chang) to join us on our mission in providing value and building the future. 

Here’s to an amazing 2021!

- From Ethan & Adrian, NodeFlair’s Founders.

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