David Sweet

Managing Director

What is most gratifying about your role?

How exceptional is it that we get to impact individual lives.

Agency Industry Coverage

You name it, I’ve probably recruited it.

Company Culture/DNA

Our company thrives on our FocusMORE values:

Master’s of teamwork

Open and dedicated to self-development

Results driven: getting shit done

Exceptional customer service

Specialties / Skills


Career Path to Your Current Position

I graduated to be a high school teacher, but was working in the U.S. Government in HR and didn’t want to lose the salary, so moonlighted as a college professor. After 10 years in the government and having married a lovely Japanese woman, I moved over to Japan and landed my dream job as a high school teacher on JET for 1 year. From there, moved into recruitment.

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

I believe we have some of the best training in the industry. For a bit, I owned a training company that focused on training recruiters (also wrote a couple of books on the subject). That training and self-development expectation in our company is super important is why our consultants grow within our organization.

Also, I value working with people and for people. Because of that, I seldom work with companies or individuals who are transactional in nature.

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

Do they have the values that reflect our own company values. See FocusMORE above.

What has been your biggest career challenge?

In recruitment, Lehman shock was a rough one. At the time I was running a training company for a couple of years. After Lehman, no one wanted training, so I went bankrupt. In hindsight, however, I learned a great deal and I got back into recruiting. Though it was the most difficult recruitment environment I’ve ever tackled (even worse than the 2020 Pandemic year, I believe), it really helped me grow as a recruiter and manager.

What goals do you have for the coming year?

We look to grow 30%.

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

Some form of professional development in a university setting around executive search.

Achievement/s You`re Most Proud of

  • Running FocusCore for nearly 10 years.
  • Raising 2 fine sons
  • Running 7 marathons in 7 days to raise money for underprivileged kids

Most Memorable Placement Story

After all this time I have a few! There was one Head of Japan I placed where the client and candidate were about 15 million Yen different in terms of budget, but because both parties were willing to work together, we all could sit down and negotiate a fair package where everyone was a winner. To assist a client to hire top talent they thought outside of their budget felt really good.

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

I find that those companies who partner with their vendors and build long lasting relationships tend to be those that thrive longer.

Any Pet Peeves?

Lack of true hiring strategy by companies. In many companies, management gives the recruitment over to HR or talent acquisition without authority and so they tend to be reactive and administrative. HR or TA tend to lack the time or knowledge for a true strategy and so are reactive and administrative. It becomes a vicious cycle. It’s worth the time and money to sit down, put a proper strategy in place and follow the strategy, which is based on partnership and long-term relationships.

Hobbies: How do you decompress outside of the job?

I’m a runaholic and put in about 100 kilometers running per week. I write poetry, am a member of a couple of reading clubs, have a podcast, and just took up playing the ukulele which seems so addictive that it’s gobbling up all my extra time.

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

A writer.

Your last meal on earth, what would it be?


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

I’ve rolled around in 300,000 warm, freshly minted pennies.

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