Client Newsletter – August 2019

  • Client Newsletter – August 2019

    Client Newsletter – August 2019



    As expected for August, there has not been a lot of activity in the Legal market but things are starting to get busier. Law firm hiring has been picking up lately and other sectors such as technology (particularly AI), consulting and healthcare are also adding to or replacing their legal teams. We have many clients who are considering an IPO and requesting candidates with this experience and who can organize their legal function.


    From the candidate side, this is usually the busiest time of year as people come back from holidays and start to plan job changes for the next year and beyond. The Obon holiday period often gives candidates some time to discuss their careers with their families and they can then make some decisions about whether to move.


    August is the most peaceful period for those who are working in Accounting and Finance.

    Many candidates take this quiet time to think about their careers and potentially changing their jobs.  For the client-side, in the first half of August the number of job openings was very low but after Obon things have started to pick up again and we are seeing active recruitment in Japanese venture companies, particularly for internal audit and taxation roles.


    The following are some examples of offers out this month:




    • US Data Analytics – International Counsel – 12M
    • US Software Firm – Legal Manager – 9M
    • Luxury Brand Company – Head of Legal – 20M+


    Accounting & Finance


    • US Pharma – Head of Finance – 18M
    • European Pharma – Senior Accountant – 8M
    • Japanese Startup – CFO – 18M


    Recruitment Focus – AI in Recruitment

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently the hot topic in technology and companies and governments globally are devoting huge resources into developing technologies in areas such as machine learning, robotics, computer vision and natural linguistic programming. These will eventually take over many of the tasks humans do now, with the idea being that by automating everyday chores, we will be free to take on more creative and challenging assignments.


    Inevitably, AI will take a larger role in the recruiting process and we can see already it is increasingly used in some areas, but what does this mean and is there any substance in the fear that we, as human recruiters and HR professionals, will be replaced by robots?


    Firstly, what do we mean by AI as it relates to the recruitment process? For the most part, when we say AI in recruiting we are referring to Machine Learning (ML), i.e. the use of computer algorithms which automatically improve their performance through repeated use, or ‘experience’. Some examples of how these are used today are:


    Chatbots – by far the most widely used application of ML, chatbots handle many repetitive tasks such as initial candidate screening and contact, arranging calls and interviews by accessing recruiters’ schedules to arrange calls and interviews, managing candidate FAQs and even screening resumes, when combined with Natural Linguistic Programming (NLP)


    Resume Parsers – these tools are used to quickly store and analyze the data in candidate resumes. The software will pick out all information relevant to the job requirements and other parameters set by the recruiter i.e. experience, achievements, education and skills. This is a very complex task for computers to handle and needs complex rules and algorithms to ‘learn’ and improve results


    Video Interviews – mostly used for screening interviews, these applications can arrange the interview by integrating with your organization’s calendar and then carry out a video interview. During the interview, it can analyze the facial expressions and general attitude and emotions of the interviewee and assign a score based on what the recruiter deems most important.


    Where these applications can be of most help is with the mundane and labor-intensive tasks most recruiters wish to minimize. Especially for mass hiring situations, having a bot contact and screen hundreds of potential candidates, arrange interviews and provide initial assessments will reduce the time and energy spent and hopefully provide high-quality prospects, as long as the initial data is accurate. Also, response times for candidate inquiries, follow up and feedback will be greatly reduced, leading to increased satisfaction an improved candidate experience.


    Another benefit of using AI for recruiting is the removal of bias. AI-based software will not make an assessment based on ‘gut instinct’ or personal preferences or first impressions. This, in turn, should benefit diversity hiring, which has been shown to improve company performance.


    So it seems that using machine learning can help the recruitment process in many ways, but should we be worried we are about to be replaced? If recruiting were just a series of mundane, repetitive tasks, then yes recruiters could easily be replaced by super-intelligent chatbots. As we know though, it is far more complicated and subtle and the human touch is still irreplaceable for the following reasons:


    Influencing the process – AI will never be able to affect the hiring process or candidate to reflect the changing requirements for a hire. Often in the process, the original specs may change on either side as more information is collected about the availability of candidates in the market or about individual candidates themselves in the interview. If the original requirement is not realistic, then a bot would not be able to offer any advice or guidance.


    Selling the role – a bot will never be able to present and sell a role in the way a human recruiter can do. Its job is to match key points on resumes to job requirements but it will never be able to overcome objections or answer concerns sympathetically or understand the ‘human’ elements which go into deciding whether to apply for a job or accept an offer.


    Human relationships – obviously a bot will never be able to build trust with and empathize with candidates and clients and will never be able to use these relationships to help guide them through a process, or influence change in hiring requirements. Matching a specific candidate to abstract qualities such as culture or personality will also be beyond a computer program.


    Machine learning then can certainly help with much of the ‘heavy lifting’ in the recruitment process, removing bias, speeding up processes and increasing efficiency. Far from replacing the human recruiter though, AI merely leaves the time to focus on what is irreplaceable in the process, the understanding and empathy only a human touch can give.


    Recruitment 101 – Age is JUST a Number!

    September 16th sees the Respect for the Aged national holiday and, for Japan, it is increasingly relevant as Japan undergoes a long-term demographic trend to an older population. In 2006 Japan became the first country with more than 20% of the population aged 65 or over, and by 2050 it is projected to be over 35%.


    Clients we speak to are generally reluctant to hire candidates over 50, but this strategy could be harming organizations and, at a time when talent is in short supply, restricting the market still further.


    Rather than consigning them to the scrapheap, there are some compelling reasons to consider hiring a more senior candidate:


    More likely to stay for the longer term – compared to candidates in their 30s and 40s, who are more likely to move from one job to another after a few years, over 50s typically stay at least 4 years on average. The advantages for your organization’s stability and this ability to meet targets are obvious


    Self-awareness – compared with younger candidates who are still learning and finding out about their skills and talents, older candidates are much more aware of what they are good at and where they can add value. Their skills have already been tested over many years and, as long as there is a fit with your requirements, they can contribute immediately.


    Professionalism – given their long experience in the workplace and understanding of what has worked for them and what hasn’t, you could expect a more senior employee to provide a dram-free stay – they will know how to communicate with co-workers, understand basic expectations on conduct


    Mentors – once they have settled in a fully understand the culture and the company they can use their experience to help mentor younger colleagues and encourage a stable and professional approach.


    Realistic Expectations – more experienced candidate are less likely to be pushing for promotions or raises and will be realistic about their position. They will have seen and done most things already and so will likely be satisfied using their experience in the positions at which they joined.


    We provide a free consultation and training session to help clients improve recruitment activity and perfect their agency relations.
    For further information on this topic or any other recruitment-related questions, please contact 

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