Alex Lagata Jr.

Human Resources Manager for Japan and Indonesia

Rinna Co. Limited|

What is most gratifying about your role?

Seeing new hires smile on their first day and being at the receiving end of a lot of “thank yous” for guiding them to realize the role they will enjoy. Isn’t that what being in Human Resources all about? Helping candidates realize their dream jobs and assisting them in achieving it so they can live their dream lives.

Years in Recruitment/ HR

8 Years (combination of Agency, RPO, TA and HR Operations)

Your Company’s Products and Services

Planning, Research, Development, Operations, and Sales of Artificial Intelligence Services

Your Company`s Target Market/s

Both B2B and B2C, we aim to lead the innovation of the A.I. industry in Japan and soon, the world!

Specialties / Skills

It’s been a while since I have thought about this. First would definitely be Talent Acquisition focusing on candidate engagement. I believe that the HR process should always be candidate-centric. We always need to keep in mind that it is the candidate’s skills and impact that we need and not the other way around. I always tell my team that the way to measure success in hiring is if candidates join us not because of the salary, benefits, or title, but because they can pinpoint what impact or contribution they can make to the A.I. industry through rinna and that their career plans align with rinna’s vision.

Second would be Project Management. Planning, Executing, and Completing an annual hiring plan is always enjoyable to me.

Finally, it would be strengthening the company brand via recruitment. I enjoy thinking of ways to engage with candidates using visual materials, videos, and presentations that will leave an impression in their minds. I know that HR is the first contact candidates have with a company so it is important that the process is seamless, reliable, and effective.

Company Culture/DNA

Diversity, Trust, and Equality (we believe in Conway’s Law)

Tell us something unique about how you (or your company) operate

I love keeping things casual. Although I do not speak for everyone, I think that talking to a candidate casually lets them relax and provide more valuable information. I do not believe in the very formal style of interviews and we try to make sure candidates who apply to rinna are able to express themselves freely throughout the entire recruitment process.

Career Path to Recruitment/Current Position

Prior to my current role, I had experience working in RPO and agencies in both a startup and in a big company. Each sector gave me valuable experience and key learnings. RPO taught me the value of being a trustworthy partner not only to clients or internal stakeholders, but to candidates as well. Agencies taught me how to prioritize targets and find ways to succeed on your current task while maintaining your integrity and upholding the company image well. It was a fun experience and I am happy that I can still learn new things from my peers and team every day.

What has been your biggest career challenge/s?

Working with hiring processes across different countries. Japan is very unique in their hiring schedule and it does not work the same way for other countries. It is always a challenge to think of a recruitment plan that will work for all countries. It always needs to be catered to specifically!

What are the biggest issues/challenges for enterprises when it comes to hiring globally?

A challenge will be accommodating different cultures. I am happy that rinna embraces diversity and we actually believe that people from different cultures, when put together, creates a product so unique that works for EVERYONE. What I learned to implement to address this challenge is to not create an “ideal” candidate for a role. Trying to create an ideal already establishes limits and prevents you from exploring skills that you did not know is needed in the role you are hoping to fill. A JD should act as a guide in what the role’s responsibilities are but what background should a candidate come from should not be limited.

What is the most important attribute you typically look for in a candidate when hiring for your team/company?

Their “drive”. I will always prefer a candidate whose passion and motivation about the open role is so strong that you see it in their eyes, hear it in the way they speak, and feel it in their actions. Not everyone comes from the same background and that in itself creates gaps in experience and skills so I try to carefully see what candidates can do with what they were provided with/experienced. I believe this is what “Equal Opportunity” is all about.

Achievement/s You`re Most Proud of

I always tell myself to be grateful for any achievement I receive however big or small. More than the awards, I feel most fulfilled to see that I was able to quadruple our company size in a span of 3 months (it is still continuing to grow as we speak).

Most Memorable Placement/Hiring Story

I remember hiring someone who on their first day thanked me because he said that this role had him move back to Tokyo together with his family (his role had him relocate suddenly and he lived in a different prefecture from his wife), and that his life became more convenient. His smile was genuine!

Any Pet Peeves?

I will take this as an opportunity to advise applicants: Please quantify your content in your CVs. “facilitated MANY events” and “hired A LOT of candidates” isn’t nearly as impactful as “facilitated 50 events” and “hired 100 candidates”. Don’t be afraid to put numbers on it! Being picked for an interview on a resume that is precise shows you that the company you applied for is a great fit for you.

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

The formal clothes for applicants! I wish to see them in the attire they would most identify with (of course still appropriate for meetings). I am tired of seeing all black suits for men and women during hiring periods. I hope to see their personality more!

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

Definitely that Japan’s University Recruiting is unique! It happens very early compared to the rest of the world. You need to prepare for a hiring cycle of almost 2 years to have them join as Full Time Employees. It is fun to establish long relationships with candidates!

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

A graphic illustrator. I like to draw!

Hobbies: How do you unwind outside of the job?

I play a lot of games! I play VR, console, and mobile games as well as watch a lot of comedy shows on Netflix. I am a proud geek!

Your last meal on earth, what would it be?

My mom’s Sinigang. It’s a popular Filipino dish!

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

I was in the top 16 of the Japan Table Tennis players (boys division) when I was in Junior High.

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