Client Newsletter – March 2019

  • Client Newsletter – March 2019

    Client Newsletter – March 2019



    The Legal market has seen a consistent level of activity; this month has been particularly busy for retail, B2C and manufacturing sectors. Corporate governance is a big issue for many of our clients so we have been handling an increased number of compliance and regulatory positions, along with ‘regular’ corporate and commercial legal roles. We are noticing that some of our clients are beginning to rely on legal tech applications for some of their processes, but this has not affected the demand for in-house legal professionals.


    In Accounting and Finance, the market for changing jobs is very active, with various levels of recruitment. In particular, there are many financial planning roles at different levels open, especially in the medical and consumer goods industries. There are also many job offers at Japanese companies, and the need for English language skills is growing. For job seekers, it is very easy to find a new job and the hiring process itself is much shorter compared to last year.


    In Human Resources, currently, we are working on a number of exciting and internationally focused roles for our Japanese clients, to work as part of their Global HR Planning or Global HR Management teams and to support their overseas business and subsidiaries. There are still several very interesting searches at the Director level we are working on in the Internal & Corporate Communications / Employer Branding / Public Relations area – aimed at supporting human resources and talent acquisition. As always, there is a demand for strategic HR Generalists / Business Partners.


    The following are some examples of offers out this month:



    • US Pharmaceutical – Legal Specialist – 10M
    • Japanese Manufacturer – Legal Counsel – 14M
    • Global IT  – APAC Legal Counsel – 20M


    Accounting & Finance

    • European Retail Company – CFO – 16M
    • Luxury Company – Accounting Manager – 11M
    • Japanese Global Company – Accountant – 9M


    Human Resources/General Affairs

    • Major US Retail Company – Talent Acquisition Specialist – 7M
    • Japanese OEM Company – Human Resources Specialist – 6M
    • Major US Retail Company – HRBP Director – 8M


    Recruitment Focus

    Hiring For Soft Skills


    In discussions about recruitment we often hear about a skills gap, where there are not enough qualified candidates for particular roles. Usually, we think of ‘Hard’ skills such as technical knowledge and experience or academic and vocational qualifications, but of almost equal importance are the so-called soft skills. Soft skills are generally much harder to (a) identify in candidates and (b) teach if they are lacking. They can be described as ‘people’ or social skills and point to how someone will act in particular situations.


    They are becoming increasingly important in the collaborative workspace and, according to a survey conducted by Salesforce, 77% of hiring managers recognize soft skills as being as important as hard skills for employee success. In this month’s entry, we will look at some examples of what soft skills are, how to look for them in interviews and the importance they have in the hiring process. Firstly, it is useful to identify and look at some of the soft skills which many employers care about.


    Communication Skills – every role, even technical positions require effective communication, written and verbal. How well can the candidate express their ideas and instructions or persuade people to follow them?


    Interpersonal skills – of course, communication is not just a one-way activity and knowing how to interact with colleagues and stakeholders is vital. Being able to listen to and motivate others around you means the candidate can maximize productivity and get things done on time and according to plan. Collaboration is increasingly a part of any role, even for a sole contributor.


    Critical Thinking/Problem-solving – In this age, access to information is no challenge whatsoever, if anything there is an overload of data and the real skill lies in deciding what is relevant and how to best use it. This information can then be used to address problems and offer solutions. Critical thinking and the ability to apply information to practical solutions are crucial skills to have in any company.


    Project Management – In order to complete the problem-solving process projects often have to be started, results delivered on time and with the available resources. This skill is in high demand for almost all positions.


    Management Skill – This can be seen as a combination of all of the above skill areas – being able to communicate effectively, understand others points of view and then working with them to complete projects and solve problems will make a candidate indispensable to any strong organization.


    Of course, all of these qualities are highly desirable for any company but the difficulty comes in identifying them in applicants; there are no exams to take or qualifications for these kinds of skills. The best way to identify and recruit for soft skill is through specific questions and focused background checks.


    Asking behavioral and situational questions in the interview will show you the candidate’s past performance and give you the best indicators as to their future behavior.  Some examples of these types of questions are:


    • Describe a time when you have had to persuade colleagues to take a course of action they disagreed with
    • Give an example of a successful project you were involved with and what you contributed to it
    • Describe a time when you had to work with a colleague you personally did not like


    Naturally, you should follow up with further questions and have the candidate expand on their experience.


    When conducting a background check, you should focus your questions on specific aspects of a candidate’s experience which are relevant to the soft skills you require to be successful at your company.


    Client Focus – FedEx

    FedEx has grown since its establishment in 1973 to become one of the world’s most recognized organizations and they are relied on daily to deliver on their promises. They now have over 450,000 employees and are ranked as one of the top 100 Best Places to Work For in Fortune Magazine’s 2018 list.


    We have worked with FedEx for a number of years and have noticed they have a high rate of success in hiring their preferred candidates. There are a few reasons for this, the first of which is flexibility. FedEx understands that it is a very candidate-focused market and so people can come in and out of the process very quickly – candidates may decide not to move, choose another offer or accept a counteroffer for example. FedEx has always taken a flexible approach and been able to move quickly, changing their spec if need be and focusing on making the hire.


    Another reason has been a clear recruitment process, with the hiring manager an active member from the initial instruction to the closing stages. Having the agent, HR recruiting team and the hiring manager working together meant that a number of strong candidates could be selected and managed, so that if the preferred choice did not work out then there was always a back up option.


    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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