Digital Dreamers: Trufflepig Search
Sai Pradhan Managing Director
Tell us about Trufflepig Search
We specialise in communication functions, which means we find social media, digital media, PR and marketing people for companies. I brought it to Hong Kong about two years ago; it’s affiliated with a company in LA that has been doing this for 19 years now.
How do you find your candidates?
If it’s a Hong Kong position, there are four or five names I can name off the top of my head, mainly because I’m so ingrained with the social media community here.
Describe the ideal candidate.
The ideal candidate in Asia is someone who can speak multiple languages, so if it’s a position in China it would be a bit silly to go with someone who only speaks English. The placements I’ve done have been 90 percent expat, but I don’t want to classify because it’s such a blurry line.
Is the salary which clients offer here on par with other cities in the world?
Of course, but you need to take into account that people don’t pay so much tax here, so base salaries are a little lower. In general, social media jobs tend to be a bit overpaid, that’s what I have been finding; just a little more than your average PR job.
What percentage of companies have a solid working knowledge of social media?
I would say 40-60. Forty percent of people know what they want, and 60 percent need it. There is always a certain level of caution on social media rules, everywhere has moved on a bit quicker than in Hong Kong.
Why is that?
I think perhaps people based in Asia feel less need to educate themselves on it than their counterparts elsewhere.
How educated do you need to be to succeed?
I’ve seen a lot of people just take it upon themselves to become the digital or social media person within their company, but If you don’t understand whatever is applicable to your role, like brand messaging, then you’re going to be quite lost.
But isn’t it true that Hong Kong is far behind other world cities?
I think it’s true. I don’t want to place a huge emphasis on it because social media is changing. In Hong Kong more people are going to social networking events. It’s gone past the point where it was just an option for people to dabble in; every company now needs to make a decision on how many resources to allocate to it.
Do you have any words of encouragement for people considering a new career in digital or social media?
Go out and network. It’s not about who are the chattiest online; just because they are not talking 24-7 on Twitter doesn’t mean anything. But it doesn’t hurt to be online.
Can you think of any industries in Hong Kong who can benefit from your service because they’ve become stagnant?
Companies that are not consumer focused should look into this a little bit more, because I have come across many potential clients who do not know who within their massive company is doing social media.
We’ve heard the term ‘social media douche bags’ for people who call themselves experts but really only know one part of the equation. Do you know any douche bags?
Those types of people will always exist in new and trendy industries! Social media is particularly prone to them and it’s not that hard if you’re going to spend all your time on Twitter; but I don’t want to discount it completely because it’s time they are spending that you and I are not; just talking online, cooking up a storm, most of them have RSS feeds, posting tweets and so on. Some clients have a tendency to fall for it.