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A good candidate really has the ability to light up my day.

Digital, Social Media, Advertising

Nicole Ong, Practice Lead, Asia

As a child, Nicole dreamt of being a TV news anchor. But it was a TV commercial for the UOB Lady’s Card, and its empowering tagline “The Men Don’t Get It”, that convinced her to be in advertising. Nicole boasts a true advertising pedigree, with an extensive creative agency background (Publicis, BBH), digital and social media experience (We Are Social), even spending time on the client side at StarHub where she built an in-house specialist social media team from the ground up.

No child ever says they want to grow up to be a headhunter. It’s a role that appeals only to people with a deep love for the industry they’re trying to grow. Nicole just happens to be one of those people. Building a team was such an enjoyable experience for Nicole that it only seemed logical that she made it her career. She joined the James Kenneth Koh team in March 2018.

Having been in what she’s described as one dream job after the other, she now helps others find theirs. Being an ex-practitioner with a wide experience gives Nicole a unique insight into the business and the ability to see beyond the typical job description, adding great value to both clients and candidates alike. We’ve also taken advantage of this by having her run our Instagram profile.

Outside of the office, Nicole is a full time mum to a toddler and spends her waking hours immersing herself in phonics and nursery rhymes.

She’s always keen to talk to good candidates, and is always up for a (virtual) coffee or two.

If you’re wondering: Nicole applied for the Lady’s Card once she got her first job. She still feels powerful today.


“I had an amazing experience working with Nicole and the JKK team while building VaynerMedia APAC.”

Avery Akkineni, Head, VaynerMedia APAC

“Nicole’s obvious strength and advantage is her vast experience, having worked on both the client and agency side for many years.”

Eugenia Tan, Managing Director, GOODSTUPH

“It has been fantastic working with Nicole. She’s very sharp in understanding our needs and subsequently with her recommendations.”

Kenny Yap, General Manager of Social & PR, Havas Singapore

“Nicole was an insightful consultant who didn’t make me feel like I was just another candidate to close.”

Lim Wei Jian, Account Director, Mullen Lowe Singapore

“Working with Nicole has completely redefined what a headhunter means to me. She defies the stereotype of sales-driven recruiters, and instead comes with a keen, genuine interest in you – the candidate and your career.”

Shannon Elizabeth Wee, Brand Director, TBWA Singapore

People don’t know that I have a hitchhiker’s thumb on my right hand.

A job I’ve had that nobody knows about is being a flyer distributor for a day.

When I was 12, I wanted to be a TV news anchor.

In 10 years, I see myself 47 and fabulous!

I start my day by exchanging hugs and kisses with my 2 year old toddler.

My favourite time of day is in the evenings, where sometimes, mother nature surprises me with a cotton candy coloured sky.

My favourite JKK moment is teaming up again with Jasmine Eng, my very first boss in advertising!

To keep up with the industry, and stay current, I let my clients and candidates do all the talking. it’s amazing how much one can learn from a conversation!

My personal hero is my dad, who is the epitome of grit, tenacity and success through hard work and honesty.

My personal theme song is “Something In Me Was Dying” by Keane.

My drink of choice is red wine.

The best career advice I’ve ever received is to always do right by people.

The best interview advice I’ve ever given is to know your interviewer. It’s Communications 101, and it’s so much easier now with LinkedIn.

I’m currently reading 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan.

My favourite book is High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.

I think the post-Covid-19 hiring landscape will pick up eventually, with lots of companies who’ve resisted change in the past investing more in digital candidates.

The worst interview question is asking someone if they can work with people of a different race (true story!).

My pet peeve is when people don’t refill an empty toilet roll, or worse, if the orientation is in the “under” position.

If I wasn’t a headhunter, I would be running my own small business.

The biggest sign that a job isn’t suitable for a candidate is if the chemistry between the hiring manager and candidate isn’t right. Hard skills can be taught but you can’t force personality and cultural fit.

The top 3 things on my bucket list are watching a live NBA game, frolicking in a lavender field, and seeing Third Eye Blind live in concert.