Glints’ 9 Key Factors to Becoming One of the Fastest Growing Companies in Southeast Asia

Glints B2B Marketing Teardown

Glints is an online talent recruitment and career discovery platform with headquarters in Singapore – and it’s one of the fastest growing companies in Southeast Asia. 

Founded in 2015, the Singapore-based startup has grown at an annual compound rate of 209%.

Glints recently secured another $50m in funding (taking them to $80m in total funding) thanks to their stellar track record so far. Here’s a brief overview of their massive success:

  • 50,000+ companies have used Glints for hiring
  • Nearly 4,000,000 young professionals have used Glints for job searching
  • Ranked in top 20 of Nikkei-FT-Statista High-Growth Companies Asia-Pacific 2021 list
  • Ranked in top 10 of Straits Times’ fastest growing companies in Singapore in 2022

So how have they done it? 

We’ve been keeping a close eye on Glints’ growth. We’ve spent hours pouring over their marketing and listening to interviews and pieces on their company, and we’ve compiled 10 key factors that have led to their huge growth. 

The good news? You can replicate most of these in your own company. We’ve separated the factors into three sections covering Glints’ journey:

  1. Laying the Foundation: 3 business and marketing building blocks that laid the foundation for their success
  2. Digital Marketing Plays from the Glints Playbook: 4 marketing tactics and campaigns that have been critical to their growth
  3. Effective Business and Management Tactics: 3 business principles and leadership strategies that have been central throughout their journey 

Let’s dive in:

Part 1: Laying the Foundation

A Timely and Well-Planned Pivot

In the earliest days of Glints, it was just an internship matching platform – simply a matchmaking agency for interns and startups. This was the initial idea. 

glints website in 2016

But the Glints team quickly realised there was far more demand and a much bigger problem to be solved in full-on recruitment and placement. 

Rather than falling in love with their initial idea, they began talking to their target audiences and learned there was a much bigger problem out there. Employers needed help with more than internships. So they made the pivot.

“Fall more in love with the problem and the customer than you are with
your idea or proposed solution.” 

glints website in 2022

When you’re obsessed with the problem your target audience has, the solution will come. When you’re obsessed with your idea, you’re going to miss opportunities to improve your solution in order to better meet the needs of your customer. 

And when you’re obsessed with the problem and the needs of your customer, you’ll be ready to pivot when necessary to ensure you’re meeting those needs – and to ensure your company continues to grow.

Brilliant Positioning in a Market Gap

Once the Glints team nailed down the problem they wanted to solve, they needed a way to innovate and differentiate from similar job portals and platforms.

In 2015, there were two primary ways to recruit: 

  • You could hire a headhunter
  • You could post a job and pray the right person applies

But there was nothing in-between the two sides of the spectrum. So Glints positioned themselves right in the middle with both a portal and recruitment. They focus on getting quality candidates on board before the jobs are posted. 

This positioning tactic allowed them to stand out from the crowd and position themselves right in between two business models that were unlikely to give up much market share. 

Getting Specific with a Profitable Target Audience

Getting crystal clear on your target audience is vital. Everyone knows that. But what if that target audience doesn’t have much money? What if that audience isn’t profitable?

This is where the Glints team found themselves early on. They had a good solution targeting a well-defined audience… But that audience was college students. They didn’t have much money. 

“That was a painful lesson that we learned after a while was that students
did not have that much money to pay us, and our real customers –
after talking to a lot of customers and users – were actually the employers.”

The students who needed internships had a problem, but they didn’t have money. The team realised the employers seeking job candidates had a similar need – and they had money.

So Glints shifted their focus primarily to the employers.

Part II: Digital Marketing Plays from the Glints Playbook

A Prospecting Strategy that Landed Some Big Deals

As soon as Glints made their pivot and narrowed their target persona, they knew they needed to bring on some employers quickly. They did some cold calling and sat in a lot of meetings before realising if they could get meetings with employers who were already hiring (warm prospects), they could make much more efficient use of their time and improve their close rate.

They needed to find companies who were hiring, get ahold of the right people’s contact information, and outreach effectively to get meetings.

1. Find Warm Prospects

Where could they find employers who they could be sure were looking to hire?

Job boards.

job board website

But instead of manually compiling lists from each job board out there, they automated the process using a tool called to scrape job boards. They were then able to give these vetted lists of warm prospects to a business development representative, saving everyone time and improving their close rate.

Indeed companies

2. Collect Email Addresses

So they had the company who was hiring, but they didn’t have emails for the right people in the company’s HR department. They needed one more step in their process to connect the dots.

They decided to utilise to collect email addresses for the right touchpoint. Hunter helps you find professional email addresses in seconds – you just input a company name or URL and it will pull all known email addresses at the company. 

If you utilise their Google Sheets Add-On, you can have Hunter pull email addresses for a list – like Glints was able to do. email collection

3. Outreach Emails

The last step was outreach emails. Glints needed to send effective emails that would lead to booked meetings. These emails needed to work. They couldn’t really afford not to. They focused on doing a few things in these emails:

  • Using a catchy – but not spammy – subject line (“Can We Help You Improve Your Hiring Process?”)
  • Leading with a compliment (“Congratulations on being listed on [Website]’s top 10 list”)
  • Using a short and simple CTA (“I’d love to hear a little more about your hiring process to see if we might be able to help you out. Just reply to this email if you’d be willing to hop on a 15 minute call sometime in the next few weeks.”)

This prospecting strategy and process allowed them to quickly and efficiently get in touch with warm prospects – saving their sales and marketing teams a lot of time and resources in the early days. It also got them meetings with a lot of big companies which helped them gain serious traction early on.

How to Prospect Like Glints

  1. Ask yourself, “What activities might my best customers already be engaging in?” For example, if you have a software that integrates with WordPress for quicker exports, all of your potential customers will be using WordPress.
  2. Is there a list of these companies somewhere on the web? In our example, sites like pull softwares different company’s websites use.
  3. Scrape the list. You can use, Bright Data, or Zen Scrape.

Launching a Career Forum to Get Job Prospects into Ecosystem

After seeing some success, the Glints team realised that not every candidate for a job is looking for jobs. At any given time, only about 10% of the candidates in the job market are actively searching for a new job. 

How could they get these people into their ecosystem?

They brainstormed and decided to build a community to help young people get practical advice on finding a job, exploring different career paths, and succeeding in their current roles. Oswald describes it as a “Quora for careers.” 

glints career forum

This took Glints from being merely a job portal (only relevant to job seekers) to a career discovery platform (relevant to anyone wanting to succeed in their career). 

The platform alone ranks on search engines for over 1 million keywords and drives over 5 million visitors each month.

glints keyword rankings

How to Build a Community for Your Audience Like Glints

  1. Is there a topic or subtopics related to your business that lots of people have questions about and want to discuss with others?
  2. If so, consider building a small community like a Facebook Channel or Slack group to test the idea. Utilise your network and social ads to get people to join.
  3. If you see some success, consider putting some more time, energy, and money behind it to incorporate it into your website as a well-moderated community forum similar to Glints.
  4. Add content generated by your marketing team to keep the experience truly valuable for the members.

Valuable, Big Data Lead Magnets that Actually Resonate

Whitepaper lead magnets have been around for quite some time, and are becoming stale for some. Glints wanted to tap into inbound marketing with lead magnets, but wondered how they could cut through the noise and promote something their target market would actually find valuable?

They decided to partner with Monk’s Hill Ventures (MHV) to put together a deep dive report on salary trends across Southeast Asia. 

What’s brilliant about this marketing campaign is the content appeals to both sets of Glints’ target audience: employers and those looking for jobs.

They compiled a huge guide (nearly 40 pages) that includes compensation averages for different roles, a discussion on the impact of COVID-19, and interviews with a number of founders on building teams and culture.

whitepaper content

They then ran ads across a few different platforms to drive downloads.

glints linkedin ad

What’s one problem that often comes with lead magnet campaigns? Lots of unqualified new leads. 

To help sift through the downloaders and determine who might be primed for a sales call, Glints added a crucial question to the lead form:

glints lead form

This saved their SDR’s tons of time on employers who weren’t yet in need of their services. This campaign was hugely successful for them, and helped them continue to grow even amidst the COVID pandemic.

How to Create Awesome Lead Magnets Like Glints:

  • They performed a real study with a large sample size. They conducted a survey with over 175 companies and pulled over 1,000 data points from Glints’ database.
  • They added their own well-thought insight to supplement the data.
  • They followed that up with founder interviews from some of the companies featured. This is another layer of added value that you couldn’t find anywhere else on the web.

Part III: Effective Business and Management Tactics

Dealing Effectively with Setback

If your business is seeing success and fast growth, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll hit a setback at some point. Some companies run into big roadblocks, and some run into small ones. Your company’s success is largely dependent on how the leadership team handles that setback.

Glints was no different. In 2017, the Glints founders broke up. 

Somewhere around 10% of co-founders end their relationship within a year of starting a business and an additional 45% breakup within four years. (Source)

So how did Oswald and the remaining team handle the breakup and next steps? Oswald highlights a few key pointers in a recent blog post:

  • Move fast & decisively. “Once it was clear that it was better for the company that 1 of the founders step down to make room for more growth, we quickly had the dreaded conversation maturely, and informed our shareholders for their inputs and advice. By opening up quickly and honestly, we were able to tap on their experiences to avoid making the same mistakes.”
  • Use both the heart and the head. “We would not have come so far if not for each other, and decided that we work on the separation agreement with the principle of fairness. Making sure that at the end of the day, we can look each other in the eye and confidently say with our hearts we have been fair to each other.”
  • Focus on the big vision. “At the end of the day, what matters is the company mission and vision. We realised we have built something greater than any one individual, and did our best to make sure that the company will continue to succeed with or without any of us.”

Regardless of the setback, approaching it thoughtfully and with the big picture vision in mind will always minimise the impact.

Building a Team of Leaders

Very few companies succeed with only one real leader and a team of followers. The best companies raise their floors by creating a team of leaders.

Oswald shared a sentiment he relies on when creating a culture of viral leadership: “Unlock, don’t motivate.”

Many leaders see motivation as their number one duty.

“Instead of motivating our employees, we unblock them. Our fundamental assumption isn’t that they need motivation, but they already are (otherwise, they won’t be here), and all they need is some support in clearing the path.”

If you’re struggling to create a culture of ownership and leadership, consider getting out of the way and giving your people some more autonomy. Most will rise to the occasion.

Moving (Literally) into A New Market

A few years ago, Glints realised the Singapore market was a little too small for their growth ambitions. They decided to expand into Indonesia – a huge market very close to Singapore.

Early on, Oswald would travel to Indonesia once every few months and have weekly calls with their country manager in between visits, but it just wasn’t working.

“It was only until we decided, ‘Okay. This can’t go on anymore. We got to move there ourselves.’ So we picked up our bags, got an apartment in Indonesia. And the cadence went from weekly calls to just daily and even hourly iterations. And that’s what made a huge difference for the business and the business started to take off.

Being on the ground helps you keep a closer eye on operations, better advise country leadership, and get a better understanding of the culture.

Oswald attributes his move to Indonesia one of the biggest factors in their growth.

Grow Like Glints

Theirs is a story of solving a big problem for their target audience, pivoting at the right time, intelligent positioning, and a handful of effective marketing strategies.

Very few companies have grown like Glints. We won’t pretend you’ll see the exact same growth by implementing some of these strategies and tactics. But we do hope they stir your creativity and provide insight that will help your business take its next step.

*This article has been compiled based on public interviews and research on data available to the public. Glints has not endorsed this article in any way.

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