Alex Fujino

Managing Director

What is most gratifying about your role?

Seeing the younger members hitting their first targets and making their first bonuses and then seeing them mature beyond just financial success but into professional, reliable colleagues and leaders

Agency Industry Coverage

10+ years in Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and CRO industries. Started in industrial and construction sectors.

Company Culture/DNA

We have a fast-paced outbound calling/sales culture but with a friendly, teamwork orientated approach. Our consultants like working here at the office as it’s an inclusive, welcoming place to be. We have zero-tolerance for negativity / toxicity.

We celebrate in each other`s successes and support one another, especially when one of us has lost a deal or is having a tough day.

Specialties / Skills

  • Possessing a refined balance between knowing what is possible to deliver on and when to say it’s not going to be possible.
  • Strong sense for identifying and hiring potential superstar recruiters.
  • Being honest and straight forward with colleagues.
  • Giving great customer service and being very reliable. I have never been late for a meeting

Career Path to Your Current Position

I started my career at 22 in London and was with my first company for around 18months before deciding to move to Japan. My first role here was with a larger Japanese firm which I joined in the summer of 2008 just after Lehman Brothers collapsed. I worked there until the end of 2009 before joining Pacific Associates Limited as a founding member in 2010. I helped grow that company to 50+ people where I became a partner and the top revenue producer until its acquisition by a private equity firm at the end of 2016 at which point I was bought out of my equity ownership which I re-invested into setting up Atikus Consulting K.K.

Tell us something unique about how you (your company) do your business

90% of our team are fully bi-lingual in English and Japanese so we switch languages depending on the needs of the clients and candidates.

Attributes you typically look for in a candidate applying to your firm

Grit.

I say this to everyone I interview, recruitment has low barriers to entry but high barriers to success. It’s the GRIT as well as the hard work that gets you to success

What has been your biggest career challenge?

Moving from being the top revenue producer at my previous company to giving that up and to focus on running and building Atikus Consulting. They are different jobs so that was a big step outside of my comfort zone.

What goals do you have for the coming year?

Getting the Atikus Consulting brand more widely known in the market to scale and strengthen the business. After 4 years, I know we have built something special here at our company and I believe that can be scaled without losing our strong culture and teamwork.

Tell us one change you would be very happy to see happen related to recruitment in Japan

I have always seen a lot of emphasis on the age of the candidate here in Japan. Hiring managers and companies tend to have an age cap and this really shrinks the options for companies. There are a lot of good candidates out there who might be older but are still adaptable to new working environments and roles. Some more flexibility would be welcome and necessary.

Achievement/s You`re Most Proud of

  • Starting Atikus Consulting at the age of 33 and managing to grow it to a 20 member team within 3 years.
  • Having a 90% retention rate after nearly 4 years of business.
  • Previously billing 100MJPY in one year including 44MJPY in one quarter

Most Memorable Placement Story

I cold-called a new client who gave me a role to work on. I quickly sent over a profile for someone who was a good match and the client called me as he was opening the resume to go through the profile together. He started by saying “the profile looks good, great matching experience, hang on… how old is this guy?” I told him his age and the client said “he’s going to be the oldest guy in the office”. My reply was “well someone has to be”. He agreed to the interview and gave the candidate a job offer on the spot.

Any random thoughts you`d like to share about the Japan TA/Recruitment market?

Recruitment here in Japan is tougher than I remember it being in London where I first started. The fees are higher but the service you provide also needs to be at a higher level to reflect that. Recruiters who are in this job to make quick cash might at first obtain this but in the long run, this is not sustainable. Only recruiters that respect their profession and approach it with passion, will last and be more successful.

Any Pet Peeves?

  • As an employer, job hoppers. It’s hard to assess if you’re a good recruiter or not if you have been through several companies. This track record usually tells me you’re not.
  • As a recruiter, dishonesty from candidates. We are only here to help them find their next career opportunity and can only be effective if we know the full picture of their situation.

Hobbies: How do you decompress outside of the job?

I used to play in a band with my business partner, Jon. That had to take a back seat as I had 2 kids since 2017 so unwinding now is getting home and being a dad, it’s a lot of fun.

If you hadn`t gone into recruitment what would you have been?

Playing bass guitar in Atikus (the band I played in back in the UK), which is evidently where the company name came from.

Your last meal on earth, what would it be?

Indian curry (ideally an all you can eat buffet, to buy me more time…)

Tell us an unusual fact about yourself that your friends might not already know.

I witnessed a serious crime when I was about 11 years old and had to give a witness statement and take part in a line-up, I managed to pick the right guy out.

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