Charley Yoshimura

HR Recruiting Specialist

What Do You Enjoy Most About Recruiting?

Getting to watch the teams I help to create grow in size and skill and provide value to the organization as a whole. Seeing teammates become close colleagues and friends that I helped bring together.

Years in Recruitment/ HR

2 Years (combination of Agency & TA)

Your Company’s Products and Services

Proxy Buying (ZenMarket), Subscription Box Service (ZenPop), E-Commerce Mall (ZenPlus), all focused on serving Japan lovers across the globe and Japan businesses wanting to reach a global market.

Your Company`s Target Market/s

B2C: All the World`s Japan Lovers / B2B: Japan Businesses Looking to Sell to Japan Lovers — Wherever They Are!

Specialties / Skills

  • Building & Leading International/Multilingual teams (most varied team was 8 nationalities and 3 languages)
  • Multilingual Interviewing (E & J)
  • Copywriting and Editing

Company Culture/DNA

From Japan to the World

We are a company of over 200 Japan lovers who have come together to provide an online market where Japanese goods can reach the rest of the world.

Career Path to Recruitment/Current Position

International sales team manager at a travel company to startup founding member and COO to internal HR recruiter.

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

Specifically in Japan, I think there is a huge amount of value placed on pedigree and because of that great candidates can slip through our hiring nets. Whether it is professional, educational or otherwise, globally minded companies need to recalibrate their mindsets to accept the realities of candidates who may have had professional careers in their home countries and then came to Japan. Although it wasn’t my path, I meet plenty of applicants who had a 3 or 4 year break in their careers to teach English or work in hotels only to be roundly blocked from the Japanese professional world because their work history is not a straight line.

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

Strong communication, and I don’t mean communication in the fun loving, can talk to anyone sense. Of course that is important, but a team is only as fast as its slowest member. If you can’t express yourself succinctly when it matters then you are going to slow everyone else down.

Achievement/s You`re Most Proud of

Receiving a Fulbright Fellowship and researching for a year at Kobe University

Most Memorable Placement/Hiring Story

My first placement back when I was in agency recruiting. After joining the company the candidate was having a really rough time as it was his first full time job in Japan. Things had gotten so bad the hiring manager was talking about terminating his contract and sending him packing. We spent 3 hours in a coffee shop talking about work in Japan, what was going on at work and how to fix it. Obviously it wasn’t easy, but he turned things around pretty spectacularly. The phone call I got from the hiring manager 2 months later telling me she wanted more employees like my candidate made me feel like a million bucks.

Any Pet Peeves? General and/or Recruitment/Management-related?

People who are so afraid to fail that they don’t even try and then act upset because their life or work isn’t turning out how they envisioned. People who don’t include any information in their applications: I don’t really care what you were called in your position, I care what you did.

General pet peeve — when people walk 4 across on the sidewalk!

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

I would like to see processes digitized and for people to bring some creativity to their resumes. Those A3 resume sheets can get pretty dull.

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

With Japanese demographic shifts and automation we are going to see a steady but inexorable change in the working culture here. More foreigners in offices and in the job markets and fewer and fewer positions in manual labor and service industries. As the on the ground recruiters and HR professionals of Japan we need to start preparing for these momentous shifts in culture and working life and lay the groundwork for the new form that the job market will take here.

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

Probably would have continued with my research on Japanese history.

Hobbies: How do you unwind outside of the job?

I read, play with my dog and go for 10 km walks around Osaka.

Your last meal on earth, what would it be?

A pot of my Dad’s secret recipe Sunday ragu on rigatoni shared with friends and family

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

I paint and have had 2 solo exhibitions of my ink paintings in Osaka.

Latest Manager

Charles AY Yoshimura (Charley)

Human Resources Recruiting Specialist

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Alex Lagata Jr.

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Sonia Totten Mayer

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Simon Jelfs


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Henry Seals

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Simon Cropper

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Tom Kiley

Vice-President & Director – Commerce Group

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Games Panprakrong

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