Client Newsletter – July 2018

  • Client Newsletter – July 2018

    Client Newsletter – July 2018

    Recruitment Market Update

    Our picture this month captures a classic summer scene from Japan of people in yukata enjoying the matsuri. Japan is experiencing a severe summer this year, and there are record temperatures occurring around the world; we hope everyone stays safe in the heat and enjoys their summer vacation. Traditionally the market slows down a lot during this period but we are ready to assist with any needs that come up in August.


    The Legal market continues to show a healthy number of positions, with recruitment driven at the moment through replacements and new companies establishing operations in Japan. A range of companies in sectors from manufacturing, to IT and real estate are seeking candidates at all levels, with strong demand for qualified lawyers as usual.


    Logistics/Supply Chain activity has been very high through July including apparel, consumer goods, food & beverage, and medical industries. The demand for mid-level procurement and logistics professionals has continued to increase with a noticeable reduction in the search for senior-level positions. We expect this trend will continue through Q3.


    Accounting and Finance has been active up until now. All candidates, junior to senior, have become more selective and prefer companies which offer extra benefits or flexibility and they are choosing to wait for better offers. Large global pharmaceutical companies tend to look for young and highly-qualified candidates who can move up into leadership positions. In fashion & luxury, there is demand for Finance Manager and Director candidates. Many manufacturing companies are looking for accounting candidates with industry experience.


    Several roles at the senior/manager level in Human Resources have come on to the job market – both in the business partner function as well as in more general human resources operations.


    There is also currently a very strong demand for experienced recruiters/talent acquisition specialists across a wide variety of industry areas. Hiring for human resources operations, including payroll and compensation & benefits (C&B), remains active. The following are samples of recent offers:


    • European Automotive – Head of Legal – 15M
    • Global Consumer Goods – Legal Manager – 12M
    • Japanese IT Venture – Legal Counsel – 8M


    Accounting & Finance

    • Global Publishing – Senior Accountant – 7M
    • Supply Chain – Accounting Manager – 11M
    • European Luxury – FP&A Director – 16M


    Logistics & Supply Chain

    • Bio-pharma – Logistics Senior Specialist – 6M
    • Cosmetics – Supply Chain Assistant Manager – 8M
    • Chemical – Procurement – 7M


    Human Resources/General Affairs

    • International Conglomerate – Talent Management & Acquisition Specialist – 7M
    • Medical Device Company – HR Manager at – 10M
    • Luxury Fashion Brand – HR Assistant – 5M



    Recruitment Focus

    Positive Candidate Experience

    Japan’s recruitment market is an increasingly competitive place, with the best skill sets very difficult to find and strong candidates fielding numerous offers.

    The most successful companies focus on attracting and engaging the best talent for their organisation and generating a positive candidate experience is crucial in achieving this. We will look this month at what is meant by a positive candidate experience and why it is so important in today’s marketplace, and how internal and external recruiters can work together to achieve this.


    The basics of a positive candidate experience relate to clear, open and consistent communication, at each step of the recruitment process. When this happens, it is highly likely the candidate will think more positively of the opportunity and the company as a whole.


    Specifically, the right experience for a candidate will usually include:


    Clear explanation of the recruitment process

    For example, how many interviews, who they will be meeting, any paper or online tests, in English or Japanese and whether they will be face to face or by Skype/video conference.


    Pleasant and smooth interview experience

    This will include informative interviews with stimulating and useful questions, meeting with well-prepared interviewers who are enthusiastic about their company.


    Timely feedback

    This is the #1 cause of a negative experience for candidates when they don’t hear back from their applications or interviews. It also presents the best opportunity to exceed expectations; by providing quick feedback on how they performed in their interviews, whether they are successful or not, it will leave a great impression and make the candidate feel good about your company. From our experience, every candidate wants to know how they did in the interview, good or bad, so they can understand the requirements better or improve their own performance in the future. Leaving them waiting is guaranteed to create a negative feeling.


    Clearly defined onboarding process

    Regular contact with the candidate after they have accepted an offer is often overlooked but plays a vital part in the process of a candidate transitioning into an employee and colleague.


    What are the benefits for your company and why is it so important in today’s market? The benefits of having a clear and streamlined process are wide-ranging. You will be able to select from a wider range of candidates and compete for the top talent in the market.  We see this very often; if a company can engage with a candidate on a personal and professional level, and leave a positive impression, then they will be much more likely to choose this company and become a productive and successful employee. Also, a positive candidate experience will reduce the focus on the compensation package and make the offer process much smoother, reduce significantly reducing or eliminating rejected offers.



    Client Focus – Life Fitness

    Our focus this month falls on Life Fitness, the US fitness equipment company (and largest health machine manufacturer worldwide). Established for over 45 years and currently holding 12 manufacturing sites globally, they distribute to over 120 markets worldwide. We have worked with them through their expansion in Japan.


    Life Fitness has been operating in Japan for close to 20 years and in the last 5 years has seen significant growth in the market. The health & fitness market was profitable, but relatively static, for the first 15 years but more recently has seen a spike in activity with a large number of gyms opening. Under the direction of a new CEO, Life Fitness Japan adjusted their marketing strategy and used their industry positioning to take advantage and grow quickly – their back office almost doubled during 2017!


    Life Fitness has been successful in their hiring because of, perhaps appropriately for a fitness company, their flexibility. From the start of each search process, Life Fitness takes an open and collaborative approach. While they do have particular specifications for every job and clear needs, they are ready to adapt on some of the less critical points depending on what is available in their target market. With many companies these days chasing the same type of candidates this willingness to adjust has meant that they have been able to secure quality candidates ahead of their competitors. This has been crucial for a company with such an aggressive expansion plan.


    To set the condition for the search Life Fitness gets input on the market conditions and, with the agent, sets the expectations for what a strong candidate will look like. Taking a collaborative approach, they decide together on what is essential for the role and what is preferred or less critical – at the same time as consulting on what kind of salary such candidates might expect.


    During the interview process, this approach continues and we receive clear instructions of what to expect from each interview, who the candidate will be meeting and what kind of questions are likely to come up. Added to direct and prompt feedback on the interviews throughout it has enabled them to secure strong candidates overlooked by companies with a less flexible approach.



    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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