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Meet Joe Peters, Prt 2: “When You’re Big In Japan”

Posted on May 13, 2010
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Meet Joe Peters, Prt 2: “When You’re Big In Japan”

Joe Peters shares more on an American’s adventure recruiting in Japan!


• Joe Peters, CEO of “I Search Worldwide, Japan”
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• Website:http://www.isearchworldwide.co.jp
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• Personal Causes: An orphanage in Tokyo
• Office/Cell Number: +81-3-5545-7803 (office); +81-90-6007-1000 (cell)
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INTERNATIONAL EDITION: Q&A with Joe Peters

Six Degrees: What languages are you fluent in?

English (Native); Japanese (High Business Level):

Six Degrees: How is Japanese culture a factor in the hiring practice different from other countries you recruit from?

Employers in Japan tend to look quite unfavorably on those who have moved too many times over the years – this indicates a lack of stability on the part of the candidate. Candidates may have very valid reasons, such as a company going out of business or a major restructuring, but many employers don’t feel those are “valid” reasons. While job-hopping isn’t good anywhere, it’s a special “taboo” area in Japan. Most employers also rely on the integrity of the candidates; candidates rarely falsify information on their CVs; and reference checks are not done as often as other countries.:

Six Degrees: Where is Japan ahead of the USA in certain recruitment tactics?

None that I’m aware of – recruiting in the USA has a longer history than recruiting in Japan.:

Six Degrees: What networking groups are available and influential within Japan as a whole and within your country in particular?

There are too many to name in this article. The various chambers of commerce, especially The American Chamber of Commerce, hold events quite often. The American Chamber, for example, has over 500 events per year where people can network while listening to a speaker deliver interesting information. We also have an active Tokyo Entrepreneurs Association; the Forum for Corporate Communications; Poken events, and many, many more. Tokyo may be one of the most “networking” friendly cities in the world.:

Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?


Lots of online – we make good use of this; not much locally for “live” training.:

Six Degrees: Do you recommend any specific books to gain a broader understanding of Japanese Culture?

Living In Japan; Dogs And Demons:

Six Degrees: How do government laws in Japan effect your ability to recruit?

JOE: To be licensed the regulations require that recruiting firms must be incorporated, have an office of at least a certain minimum size, and have a separate area for interview candidates. The Privacy Protection laws are also fairly stringent in Japan and we are required to ensure that our data is protected and secure. Firms must have separate licenses, and follow separate regulations, for permanent vs. temp-staff recruiting. The Privacy Protection law may be the most misunderstood regulation in Japan, which does hinder recruiters’ ability to do sourcing research.

Six Degrees: How is US recruitment culture (and overall) in YOUR COUNTRY different? How are they similar?”

JOE: From my discussions with US recruiters it seems to be quite similar. That may be due to the fact that many of the US firms are in Japan and the recruiting “culture” comes from the west

Six Degrees: Which recruitment software tools do you use in your day to day recruitment activities & do they translate effectively within all of the different countries where you recruit?

JOE: Our database is the most important tool we use and it runs in both Japanese and English (or other languages if needed).

Six Degrees: In terms of what is attractive to Japanese workers what do you feel drives them in their choice of employer?

JOE: The answer we hear most often when we ask what the candidates want from their next employer is “atmosphere” (friendly, open communication); “work-life balance” (many companies work quite late and people with families, especially with young children, want to be able to get home at a decent hour; and “location” (long commutes vs. short commutes). Money is usually pretty far down the list, but of course, it does play a strong factor.

Six Degrees: In Japan, how does the actual selection process proceed once a candidate has been identified and what role does a recruiter in Japan play in the process?

JOE: It’s pretty much the same as anywhere else: submit the candidate’s CV (we also write up an assessment); set up the first interview; next set of interview(s); offer and discussion; acceptance or decline; notice period (typically is one month); start.

Six Degrees: Is it acceptable, or common, in your Japanese culture to offer a referral fee for a successful hire to someone who recommended the candidate?

JOE: It’s not typical, but it is done. The amount may be fixed or a percentage of the fee.

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