Interviews with Multi-National Expatriate Executives in Japan eventually come around to Recruitment and the difficulty of hiring & retaining Excellent Japanese Employees. Small foreign businesses in Japan fair no better with less attractive resources. We’ve had various degrees of success bringing in Employees thru referrals, newspaper ads and direct solicitation when situations and opportunity present themselves.
Our batting average improved when we starting working with a Web Site Based Recruitment Firm called Career Cross. The Site Targets Bilingual Japanese Job Seekers and offers prospective employers the option to Post Advertisements and send direct interview offers to candidates listed in the extensive Career Cross Data Base.
Our recent advertisement for a Project Coordinator Position resulted in a record number of quality applications. Our experience confirms that difficult economic times are favoring employers in Japan. For the first time we had the luxury of interviewing candidates interested and motivated by our application rather than trying to sell a position by emailing offers for interviews to someone in the Career Cross Data Base. We ultimately faced the enviable problem of having to make the difficult selection from a talented and motivated group of people qualified for our employment short list.
Finding Career Cross was a major step in creating a model for successful searches for employees. Some other effective and time saving practices learned over the years when hiring in Japan include: telephone interviews to confirm English Ability, job specific translation tests that can be offered after a telephone interview and administered thru email, and finally face to face interviews conducted by both Japanese & English Speakers. As Professional Japanese is an acquired skill; an experienced interviewer is essential to determine a candidate’s ability to articulate in a formal business setting. At the end of the day, our Consulting Team admits that when selecting people, it’s often “better to be lucky than good.”
Our positive experience with the Career Cross Recruitment Web Site can be largely attributed to Mr. Justin Kay, the Senior Sales Representative who takes care of our account. His follow up and over the top assistance has made all the difference.
Mr. Kay agreed to survey his colleagues and some clients to assemble a Top 5 List of Considerations for Foreign Companies hiring Japanese Nationals. We hope you enjoy his perspective:
1. Focus on job content not language skills - The best Japanese professionals don't speak English and don't want to.
2. Inquire about how they were managed and how they were evaluated - Good workers had good managers. Bad workers usually had bad managers.
3. Give projects/assignments - See how they work, some Japanese are horrible at interviewing but great at working.
4. Have a detailed job description - Most companies don't. Make applying easy for candidates, as Japanese read carefully, have lots of input about the job.
5. If you are interviewing, and cannot speak completely fluent Japanese, have an interpreter, from an OUTSIDE company present - The interpreter's job is to interpret, not make judgments. Your "right hand man/woman" should be taking notes on answers not trying to bang out translation. Worst yet, they may not translate everything said!