I witnessed an unusual style of management and advised my friend according to the e-mail as follows:
Yesterday, I was at your office and saw your style of leadership. It reminded me of a newspaper report in which the boss (father) of a big company has a habit of scolding his staff. His son was made managing director and could not get along well with some senior staff who resigned. From what I read in the newspapers, I assumed that the father must have had scolded and shouted at the son in front of the staff, as this is his usual management practice. The son who is well qualified and experienced in working for other big companies had returned to his father's business. The son resigned immediately. "Scolding and shouting at staff" is an old management practice which is not well accepted by the younger generation in Singapore and in other countries, from what I know.
It is not going to help you be successful in business if you continue with a similar style of management I described above. I saw you intervening during your Operations Manager's interview with an applicant, "scolding" the applicant in front of everybody saying you prefer not to accept her as she would cause trouble later to the agency.
For that particular "too smart" applicant asking a lot of questions, I will consider her a good prospective employee. It is best for a prospective employee to ask many questions from the employment agent before getting a suitable employer. This means she will not want to keep changing employers and that is good for the employment agency too.
It is common for an applicant to ask for the highest salary especially when they have Master's degree and a few years of work experience. So they become time-consuming pests, taking up much of the employment agency's time during the interview qualification.
As to whether the "too smart" applicant will cause trouble to the agency later, I don't agree with you as we cannot foresee the future. If you do a good job and follow the laws of the Ministry Of Manpower, knowing what to do in the processes, there will be little trouble. I will say that a "too-smart" applicant, if well serviced will provide more good quality referrals to you as that is her circle of friends.
Referrals are what most business survive on in the long term. And what a business want is high quality clientele. As a vet, I will wish to have high quality clientele who ask me a lot of questions about her pet rather than one who wants the lowest price in town and a service that cause me to lose money.
As a start up, if you keep on "scolding" applicants and staff, you will find that your business will not grow as staff do not stay long and applicants prefer not to do business with your company. You can blame every staff who resigns as not good staff. But in the end, it is the quality of leadership that makes or breaks a business. And that means retaining experienced staff.
I hope this e-mail will not make you angry. Staff management is a big headache for all companies but you can't do a business without staff.