First Hire in Japan? Don’t Panic

September 6, 2022|Job Market

It’s hardly a secret that hiring / recruitment in Japan is just as unique as the local culture, and very much in contrast to how things are done in the rest of the world. This of course means there’s going to be pitfalls and challenges, but also opportunities and advantages.

In this column, I’d like to shed some light on how to be most effective when you make your first hire in Japan or plan to take your team to the next level.

Acknowledge differences

There are many examples of companies rushing into Japan with a recruitment approach that worked well for years in other countries but not here. Sure, some companies get lucky from time to time, but, unfortunately, more often than not those efforts end in failure and disappointment, and lead to frustration. So, what are those differences? —

– Candidate-centered market (vs. Client-centered). On-spec, quality Japanese professionals will hardly ever apply to a job posting, even if they are interested in it. Talent in Japan will start with a list of questions about the company and the job even before they’re willing to speak with you. There are generally dozens of similar companies/agencies reaching out to them daily with the exact same opportunities. Why wouldn’t these candidates be choosy?

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