OK, the question we put out to Japan`s recruitment community, both Talent Acquisition and Agency Professionals, is what would you do differently if given the chance to go back in time and re-train yourself in recruitment? What would you tell your younger self to focus on or prioritize more? We got such a great response — if you are a younger professional, then you need to read this because there is a ton of good stuff here! And if you`re experienced? You`ve probably forgotten half of it so you should still read it.
This is Part 1 and focuses on the replies we received from in-house TA Professionals, many of whom also have worked within agencies (and stay-tuned for our Community Tips LI posts we will be putting up periodically so make sure to link up with us).
Understanding the Importance of Company Culture
Will Foley | Executive Recruiter (x-Agency) |
The thing that sticks out the most to me is the importance of asking and understanding the client’s company culture. I remember it was on the list of questions to ask during business development calls/visits, but much more weight and importance was given to other questions such as “What hard skills and experiences are needed?, Do you have a JD?, Which companies would you like to see candidates from?”
I would love to go back in time and ask more questions around soft skills, company culture, and how the clients see their industry/companies evolving in the future.
While these questions are certainly important, I would love to go back in time and ask more questions around soft skills, company culture, and how the clients see their industry/companies evolving in the future.
Learn to Drive Change & Transformation
Anonymous | TA Manager (x-Agency)
I think the most important and also one of the most difficult skillsets for HR (not just TA but also including TA) is driving change/transformation in the organization.
Negotiations, industry focus, interviewing, closing, etc., are all important practical skills but these are basics that everyone, whether early or later in their career will continue to need to execute well.
The ability to demonstrate leadership to achieve change process for the better is one of the truly valuable and more rare added value skills an HR person can have.
I think for my younger self I would have challenged myself to attempt to create and seize more opportunities to push process change in the organizations I worked for. You don’t always have access to such projects or potential projects whenever you want and each one will be uniquely different. But I think the ability to demonstrate leadership to achieve change process for the better is one of the truly valuable and more rare added value skills an HR person can have and you don’t see many people in the field embody that capability very often.
More Empathy Would Have Improved My Cold Calling
Joey Langley | TA Professional (x-Agency) |
I wish someone had told me that maybe that person had just gotten yelled at by their boss, was having a bad day, or was actually in a bad mood because they hated their current job. Bingo!
I started my career in agency recruitment the way many others do – by cold-calling candidates all day. I think many see this as agency recruitment’s “trial by fire” to see who will survive as a recruiter, and manage to book enough candidate meetings by the end of the week.
I wish I had learned earlier on to be more empathetic to the potential candidates I was calling. I was so worried about getting yelled at by a busy salesperson, that I would l take it personally when it happened, and hesitate before dialing the next number. I wish someone had told me that maybe that person had just gotten yelled at by their boss, was having a bad day, or was actually in a bad mood because they hated their current job. Bingo!
Talk Less, Listen More
Chris Larimore | TA Professional |
I guess the thing I would tell my younger self (and still remind myself today) is to talk less and listen more. I get caught up in explaining the role / offer to make sure I am setting expectations appropriately and giving a fair assessment of requirements that I don’t always listen as much as I should, ask as many questions as I can, OR learn as much about the candidate as I need to.
Let Candidates talk beyond the information needed stage and get them to tell you more non-interview-related information.
Give a candidate a chance to make “a second impression” even in the interview stage and see if that fits in well with your first impression or not. Do this by letting them talk beyond the information needed stage and get them to tell you more non-interview-related information. Sometimes they overcome their nerves and show a bit more of their true capability at logic and communication, and other times the sheen wears off and they show some of their faults and lack of spontaneity, etc.
I Would Have Strengthened My LI Profile & Been More Personable
Alex Lagata Jr. | HR Manager (x-Agency) |
1. I would have strengthened my LinkedIn profile, spent more time connecting with the right people from the very beginning, and kept my profile active.
The world of recruiting in Tokyo or Japan in general is relatively small and you will cross paths with the same people over and over again. At the end of the day, whether you are in an agency, RPO, or in-house, you will thank your LinkedIn profile if you have many connections.
Your Candidates (or Clients) remember how you treated them more than they remember the role you discussed with them.
2. I also would have been as personable as possible from early on. Your Candidates (or Clients) remember how you treated them more than they remember the role you discussed with them. When I first started, I was hesitant to go beyond the script or the process when talking to candidates or clients. Now having Agency, RPO, and In-house experience, I can see that this matters to clients and candidates. Japan is a market full of loyal employees and moving/switching jobs is not as common as other countries — for them to speak to you casually regarding their plans or fears in changing jobs, you need to establish that trust first by going above and beyond the script.
Work On Communicating More Effectively
Anonymous | Senior Technical Recruiter (x-Agency)
That is an interesting question! Maybe learning how to communicate in a way that opens up the true feelings of people? It would be helpful for candidate communication, team management, negotiating with stakeholders, and more — and it would be a great help especially when people are younger.
(I would have) learned how to communicate in a way that opens up true feelings of people.
I am currently reading about non-violent communication, and that kind of knowledge or awareness would have been helpful — even now, I think it`s very helpful for me!
More Market Knowledge, Better Pitch
Anonymous | TA Professional (x-Agency)
I’d spend more time developing a clear and appealing pitch for my company to attract candidates. I would also focus more on the recruitment process and develop my market knowledge which helps to be a more effective recruiter.
Move to Japan Earlier!
Anonymous | APAC TA Lead (x-Agency)
I`d have told myself to move to Japan in 2006 instead of 2015!
Keep Up With Tech & Analytics
Anonymous | APAC TA Lead
2 things: learn more technology as well as data analytics, both of which have become increasingly important in the job we do.
Be Proactive, Think Long-Term with HR BP
I Would Have Improved My Reporting
Anonymous | Senior TA Professional (x-Agency)
I would have concentrated on improving the reporting experience to clients by giving more details on how the search was going: how many candidates I approached based on the info I got from the client, how many replied, and how many CVs I sent as a result.
I would have concentrated on improving the reporting experience to clients by giving more details on how the search was going.
That would have given me a better client relationship than any other agency recruiter, and would have helped the client understand that sometimes their requirements are too high.
Now I am in TA, so I wish agency recruiters would let me know that info.
As usual we’d like to thank all those who generously took time to speak with us.
Coming soon: responses from Agency-side Consultants in Part 2 of this series. It’s great and you will definitely want to check it out.
Readers, if you have other article ideas, please contact us, we’d love to hear from you. And before you leave, take a second to follow us on LinkedIn.
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- Japan TAs: If You Could Re-Live Your First Year of RecruitingJune 26, 2021
- 4 Steps to Becoming an Effective RecruiterMay 29, 2021
- Finding the Recruitment Agency that Fits YOUApril 27, 2021
- Types of Agency Commission Schemes in JapanApril 27, 2021