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10 Questions With Mohamed Farid, Managing Director, Middle East Talent Management

1 September, 2016

Can you tell me about your role?  

I’m responsible for running the CEB Talent Assessment business in the Middle East and North Africa.

ZZehra Zaidiehra Zaidi
Senior Marketing Communication Manager / CEBer since 2013




Can you tell me about your role?  

I’m responsible for running the CEB Talent Assessment business in the Middle East and North Africa. Based out of Dubai, I oversee a team of about 30 people. We help our clients with pre-hire and post-hire needs in 14 countries across the region. Because Saudi Arabia makes up 50 percent of our business, we are also planning on opening an office there, hopefully within the next six months.

You’ve been working at CEB for almost nine years – what keeps you here?  

The thing that I love about working here is the impact we have on people’s lives and their careers. When you are following up with a client after four or five years, and the company is performing really well, employees are happy and engaged, and turnover is decreasing, it makes you feel really good. It’s been really exciting to be a part of so many transformations. Another reason I stay is the diversity of our team. We have more than 14 nationalities represented on our team. East really meets West in Dubai, and we all learn from each other.

mohamed faridWhat five words best describe the CEB team in the Middle East?

1. Committed

2. Diverse

3. Drive

4. Innovative

5. Passionate

What’s it like doing business in the Middle East?

We celebrate lots of different national and religious holidays – Christmas, Ramadan, etc. That’s the beauty of being in Dubai. It’s the hub for our Middle East work, and it’s very diverse. Secondly, doing business here is very different because clients are very relationship-focused. They like to maintain long-term relationships with their account managers, so it takes time to build that. Clients also like to meet in person as much as possible, but we have to use technology like WebEx and Skype because it’s hard to get to clients that are all over the Middle East.

When hiring for your team, what do you look for?

The things I look for are: passion, commitment, and innovation. I also look for people who are passionate about human behavior and have a genuine interest in changing people’s lives. The journey is not going to be easy, so they need to be committed to the process. We have been extremely innovative in the Middle East over the past eight years, mostly because we have to be responsive to our clients’ needs.

GID 2016 - Group Picture

What advice would you give to someone just starting off in their career?

I would recommend assessing their abilities and taking stretch opportunities. Make sure you are actively networking with people in your industry. The more you network, the more you will learn. Learn as much as you can, and be passionate about what you do. I also recommend taking calculated risks, but also, don’t rush things! Things have a way of falling into place.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to travel. I also enjoy golfing and yachting. Being in the Arabian Gulf is great because we have the opportunity to go on great yachting trips.

Where’s the most interesting place you’ve traveled to recently?

My wife and I went to Blue Mountains in Ontario, Canada. It’s a very natural and serene environment.

If you could time-travel, what time period or place would you go to?

I’m Egyptian by birth but have been living in Dubai as an ex-Pat for many years. If I could go anywhere, I would travel back to ancient Egypt to see how they really built the pyramids! Nobody knows the answer, so I’d love to see that.

What are the three things you’d take to a deserted island with you?

I would take a fishing rod, matches/lighter, and a sleeping bag.

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