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PART 2: Meet Rainer Jeske: “Going Global, A German Recruitment Expert in Japan”

Posted on August 21, 2008
Filed Under Global Staffing Perspectives, Interviews | Comments Off on PART 2: Meet Rainer Jeske: “Going Global, A German Recruitment Expert in Japan”

Rainer Jeske
President at CONNECTYOUK.K. / Tokyo
AIG Building Suite B1
1-1-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
Tel: +813-5288-5227
Fax: +813-5288-5353

Rainer Jeske conducts retainer and contingency executive and engineering specialist searches in Japan with a focus on leading IT, automotive and industrial vendors. His company, CONNECTYOU, is headquartered in the AIG Building in Marunouchi, right opposite the Imperial Palace and has a branch office in Shinagawa close to Sony. CONNECTYOU was founded in 2004. Rainer is a Co-Founder of the “Japan Information Technology Recruitment Association (JITRA).”


Six Degrees: Does your staffing organization DIRECT SOURCE from competitor companies to hire talent?

Rainer Jeske: Yes, I directly source from competitors to find candidates for my clients. The challenge is that most Japanese hesitate to move to a direct competitor since it would burn bridges with their previous employer. Keeping harmony and good relations is very important for them.

Six Degrees: Can you identify specific “How-To” obstacles of the countries you are responsible for, – particularly in terms of HOW EMPLOYMENT LAWS ARE FACTORS? Also, How do government laws affect your ability to recruit?

Rainer Jeske: As a recruiter, you need to have a government license. The Japanese government has implemented tight rules surrounding privacy policy and the handling of candidate information.

Six Degrees: How are US and European recruitment culture different? How are they similar?”

Rainer Jeske: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Japan, do as the Japanese do. One big difference is that most clients want Japanese-written applications consisting of a) work experience/resume b) personal background information of the candidate and c) self-appeal in Japanese.

Another difference is that most Japanese clients demand complete personal information such as age, marital status, nationality, visa status, etc. So whenever I talk to American’s about their resume, I often apologize asking very personal questions that would be illegal in the United States.

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?

Rainer Jeske: I am using Google and Linkedin.

Six Degrees: How many applicants do you estimate are hired from your corporate website as compared to how many are hired through referrals?

I am using Google and Linkedin. 25% or more hires come from referrals and zero from our homepage. Our strategy is proactive hunting of top-notch candidates rather than waiting for average candidates to apply through our homepage.

Six Degrees: WHERE ARE THE “MOST HIRES” collected from? (In terms of Quantity #)

30% referrals, 30% proactive scouting on networking events, 20% cold calling plus our own database and 10% from other recruiters.

Rainer Jeske: What is the source of your “LOWEST COST OF HIRES” – (least amount of invested resources for the easiest hires, regardless of quality)

Rainer Jeske: Referrals.

Six Degrees: Whether you are hiring IT engineers, accounting, – whatever talent you are seeking, – is your country’s CULTURE a factor in the RESPONSE RATE you get when sending an email requesting a CV versus calling the candidate directly at their work? Are they open/eager to sending their CV, are they more shy/cautious or even suspicious depending on the method you use to contact them?

Rainer Jeske: I cannot see a direct relationship between Japanese culture and response rate. That would be too simplistic. For an experienced recruiter the answer is case by case.

When targeting traditional Japanese companies e-mail is ineffective. Cold calling is my way of arranging a meeting and establishing a relationship.
When targeting multinationals with more westernized people, email is an alternative to cold calling.

Again, the tricky part is knowing when to use which method. IBM is a multinational, however very conservative and inside completely Japanese so that both email and cold calling maybe yielding no results. Personal introductions can be more effective in this case.

Six Degrees: What methods/resources produce the FASTEST amount of time in producing hires (what types of talent?)

B) What SPECIFIC TECHNOLOGY TOOLS do you use that produce FASTEST amount of time in producing hires. Please state the software, databases you use in detail.

Rainer Jeske: One of the fastest way of filling high-end positions is through candidate referrals. A lot of Japanese still prefer the old way of personal introductions and face-to-face meetings as the starting point of making meaningful career changes. Especially once you leave Tokyo and reach out for more rural areas, the quickest way is to leverage personal relations.

The Internet and SNS are becoming more and more important for recruiting in Japan, however, with regards to global sites such as Linkedin most of them are unknown because such sites are in English.
Linkedin Japan has about 43000 members as per beginning of July and a lot of the members are non-Japanese, including myself.
During an event organized by MIT alumni in Japan, about three out of eighty people raised hands when asked whether they know Facebook or Linkedin. This is Japan.

Six Degrees: Is it acceptable, or common, in your country’s culture to offer a referral fee for a successful hire to someone who recommended the candidate? Yes or No? What is the formula, method or basis for developing a money reward for a referral?

During my nine years, I have never paid money although I offered a reward to the referral giver. Japanese recommend someone when they think it is a good thing to do.

Six Degrees: Do you use blogs specific to each country’s talent within target industries/competing companies?

Rainer Jeske: I am not targeting blogs.

Six Degrees: What are the BEST JOB BOARDS ** SPECIFIC WEBSITES** to each of the countries you recruit for, BOTH overall and SPECIFIC TO each industry (For Example: IT, Finance, Marketing etc)

(You can review relevant job such as for reference.) List the websites with their links please.

Rainer Jeske: I am not using job boards for sourcing. Job boards are overcrowded by recruiters, yield poor results and are pretty expensive.

Six Degrees: Can you provide a list of SPECIFIC recommended/effective (not all) local newspapers AND ALL known major associations & conferences and industry-specific website portals *** BY COUNTRY ***

Rainer Jeske: I am doing high-end searches and never use printed media. I have not heard that recruiters use printed media as a good way to source candidates. That is why I do not want to recommend any of them.

Six Degrees: What Search Engines in addition to common ones like Google, do you use that are native to the countries you are responsible for? Please Detail with links.

Rainer Jeske: I am only using Google, both English and Japanese version. There maybe better local search engines around, though.

Six Degrees: Which 3rd party agency/ recruitment search firms have you successfully used and would recommend to others for the types of positions (IT, accounting etc) you recruit for?

Rainer Jeske: Recommending recruitment firms will frequently lead to disappointments for clients in Japan. That is because the quality of service a client receives is by and large determined by the quality of the recruiter serving the client.

Brands are meaningless. Let me explain. My advice to anyone is stop recommending recruiting firms (in Japan). Stop recommending brands. Start recommending individual recruiters. And most importantly, start recommending individual recruiters with strong specialization in their specific (IT) area, recruiters who speak fluent Japanese AND who actually carry out search assignments themselves.

KornFerry, for example, has experienced partners in Japan. However, they are getting unattractive split deals sourced in Silicon Valley that get handed to inexperienced researchers. It is said that only 50% of retainer searches in KornFerry Japan are completed.

KornFerry is a strong global brand. Could I recommend this brand? Or should I recommend certain individuals in certain IT areas who I know are going the extra mile until the job is done?


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