Country Manager Japan
What is most gratifying about your role?
The opportunity to build and motivate the team, to see progress in each team member and to reach the set goals together. I still enjoy closing deals very much and providing a great service to my clients and candidates. It is a perfect balance between managing the business while staying connected with the customers.
Agency Industry Coverage
Financial Services, Insurance, Technology, Healthcare, Marketing Agencies, etc.
Our focus and motto is clear – we add value through providing exceptional client and candidate service and leveraging our trusted business relationships. Our experienced consultants share the same belief and goal, we trust one another’s decision and build success together. We believe in a flat and open structure where consultants can openly share ideas to improve our business. We like to think outside the box and be creative but also work hard to bring the best result.
Specialties / Skills
Team building, culture building, process improvement, higher-end contract recruitment (gyomu-itaku positions) across all industries.
Career Path to Your Current Position
I started in contract recruitment for the Financial Services sector and then moved on to cover Finance, Accounting, and IT contract positions across all industries. In 2016 I joined a UK-based recruitment firm as a first member to start a new business unit. In 2019 I started the William Select Japan office.
Tell us something unique about how you (your company) do your business
Our business started in a very unique and difficult environment… COVID19. We had to be extra creative to set up a what used to be people-facing business to a fully remote working environment, without losing the human touch. We’ve come to a point where everyone can work from anywhere, even outside of Tokyo. The best part is that our teamwork is still strong and engaged.
William Select is a part of a larger group and the backbone of our business is payroll outsourcing (under the i-Admin brand). We currently have around 800 clients in the APAC region and 5 physical offices. This enables us to recruit outside of Japan as well. We are truly a flexible working environment so long as an employee is committed to delivery. I expect us to be innovative, creative and progressive and adapt to any changing environment.
Attributes you typically look for in a candidate applying to your firm
Honesty, dedication and hard work. Ultimately we are looking for persons who are willing to provide bespoke service to our clients and build long-lasting relationships with their network.
What has been your biggest career challenge?
2020! Both on a personal billing level as well as managing the team remotely. The year behind us brought a lot of challenges and we are satisfied that we had 100% retention of all our team members without affecting anyone negatively on a personal level.
What goals do you have for the coming year?
We are looking to further grow in Japan and to start doing some fun things together, in person, when the pandemic is over. Our aim is to build a strong IT team, as well as to add people to our corporate functions team. Also we are hoping to start organizing our regional meetings again so if the travel situation changes we look forward to spend some time in our HK or Singapore offices.
Tell us one change you would be very happy to see happen related to recruitment in Japan
Would be great to change the image of the industry inside Japan. We need more people in recruitment who have the belief that it is possible to be a fair broker and a high biller.
Achievement/s You`re Most Proud of
Hiring and managing exceptional individuals, building two businesses from scratch, maintaining a very low staff turnover.
Most Memorable Placement Story
There have been quite a few. One of my first placements was placing a candidate from a permanent position into a contract position with the same company! She was well-off financially and loved the company but was thinking of leaving due to the amount of overtime work she had to put in. Needless to say HR was quite surprised to see the CV but once they heard the whole story the process went very smoothly.
I also had another candidate who after signing the offer letter informed me that the CV was a complete fake. Better not to talk much about that one. :-0
Any random thoughts you`d like to share about the Japan TA/Recruitment market?
It remains a unique market and a lot of companies have experienced it the hard way. Competition is good and it is important to maintain good relationships with your customers. It is easier to burn a bridge than to build one.
Any Pet Peeves?
The usual. String of hair in my meal, warm beer, rainy season!
Hobbies: How do you decompress outside of the job?
Cycling all across Japan in order to try beers from different prefectures has been working well for me.
If you hadn`t gone into recruitment what would you have been?
Probably I would have gone back home, finished my PhD, and stayed in Academia. How boring would that be!
Your last meal on earth, what would it be?
A full-on Serbian lunch, preferably made in Mom’s or Grandma’s kitchen — home baked bread, chicken soup, roast pork, rolled cabbage, cheese and cherry pie.
Tell us an unusual fact about yourself that your friends might not already know.
I hate getting out of bed if I don’t have a specific goal for that day!