Generalist seeks specialisation

I have been an HR generalist with an SME in Kuala Lumpur for three years and would like to now try a specialisation in recruitment - but my company does not have any roles in that space.

Dear Laurence, I have been a HR generalist with an SME in Kuala Lumpur for three years, since graduation, and would like to now try a specialisation. I particularly would like to work in recruitment. However, my company really only needs to hire four or five people per year. I like the work, my colleagues, and almost everything else about this job, but is it still time to move on?

This really depends on your personal level of ambition. On one hand, having a job you enjoy and colleagues that you get along with is important for your wellbeing. Don’t throw that away just for the sake of “trying out” a specialisation.

But if you are convinced that this is the way forward for your career, the truth is that building a specialisation in recruitment can only happen in another organisation – and it may indeed be time to move to a bigger pond.

If your ambitions lie somewhere in the middle, it is time to work closely with the person who does the recruitment or to start researching some best practice methods that you can implement with the small number of hires your organisation does make in a year. 

Laurence Smith is a board-level advisor to With 25 years of working experience in consulting and HR, his career has spanned across different industries and countries, including stints and projects with LG Electronics, GE Capital, McKinsey, the World Bank, and as Managing Director of Learning and Development for DBS Bank.

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