Margaret Joy Bonilla
What I do
Recruitment Manager
Where I'm based
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About Me
Supporting people to shine their own way
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About Me

How would you describe your current role to a HR outsider?

I head out the large-scale hiring for operations, specifically Executive Partners.

What is a common misconception about the work you do?

That we give our applicants a hard time on purpose - quite the opposite! I believe that handholding your applicants during the recruitment process does them a disservice and sets them up for failure. It's a requirement for recruiters to be supportive and to root for their applicants but letting them shine in their own way allows them to thrive in the long-term.

How did you get started in your HR career?

Right after graduation, I took on an entry-level job as a recruiter for a BPO company. Worked in various industries across different HR facets ever since, and eventually climbed my way up the corporate ladder.

Describe the most impactful HR project you've personally worked on.

My forte is in building teams for startups. When I joined Athena, I was employee #30 and the only person in the recruitment team. I've since developed and grew the team to a whopping 38 headcount for recruitment alone, and a total of 1500+ employees for the whole company.

What is one HR/future of work trend or change you're not convinced will work for SEA startups?

Not necessarily as something that will NOT work but something that we as a collective should NOT tolerate. At Athena, we screen our clients diligently. We spend time on discovery calls with them, prep them for an onboarding call with their Executive Partner (Executive Assistant), and make sure that the partnership is beneficial for both parties. The mindset of "the customer/client is always right" is such an outdated way of thinking. As a company, we need to reevaluate how we do business since our bread and butter relies on BOTH our clients AND employees. We need to balance what's best for our clients and employees and make sure our way of doing business protects both parties.

What is one HR/future of work trend or change that you hope to see more of at SEA startups?

Usage of AI! I know it can be daunting at first but if you learn to leverage AI tools like, otter,ai, humanloop, etc. it will make your life so much easier!

What is your favourite HR resource that you would recommend to this community

One big thing that helped us in the earlier stages of Athena was the podcast that I ran with one of my recruiters. We held it weekly and invited guests from different departments to speak on different topics that would be of interest to potential applicants. It raised engagement and made us more visible on social media as well as fostered healthy collaborations with other departments.

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