As people's needs become more apparent than ever through the Internet, a variety of services have been developed to connect "supply" and "demand" in certain fields. To name a few – Airbnb, Tinder, Pairs, and KIDSLINE are some of many successful examples. Likewise, recruitment is also about connecting people’s needs in terms of jobs whether it’s permanent employment, contract employment, or outsourcing (freelancers and sole proprietors).
While the history of recruitment goes back to ancient times, it hasn’t been necessarily a huge industry in Japan. This is mainly because lifetime employment had traditionally been the mainstream way to acquire talent, meaning most companies would hire new graduates, and not many people thought much about changing jobs. Naturally, this led to little room for companies in Japan to practice mid-career hires in which recruitment agencies mainly focus on.
However, the job market has become more fluid and dynamic in recent years, and now has an increasing demand for recruitment agencies who specialise in finding the right talent, especially in this candidate short market in Japan. In this article, we will introduce what a recruitment agency does, and what benefits a recruitment agency can bring to organisations.
What is a recruitment agency? What do recruitment agencies do?
A recruitment agency is a company that provides a variety of support services that connect employers and job seekers. The scope of support provided varies from agency to agency, and the types of employment vary from full-time employees, to contract workers, temporary workers and freelancers.
Companies in Japan that are hiring can choose to post jobs on job portals or job boards to hire directly. However, this will only attract active job seekers in the market. Most of the time, companies would reach out to recruitment agencies to take advantage of the full recruitment solution they are able to provide. This includes the network that hiring companies can tap into, understanding of the talent landscape in Japan, any legal complexities, advice on talent strategies and many more.
As recruitment agencies will act as agents to both employers and job seekers, they will listen to the requirements and conditions that each party is looking for whether it’s in terms of hiring or changing jobs, before providing a solution which connects hiring companies and job seekers. In Japan, recruitment agencies are more commonly known as “job change agency” from a job seeker’s perspective but they basically provide the same service to both employers and job seekers.
Five reasons why companies should use recruitment agencies
Most Japanese companies of a certain size have a relatively large human resources department or a dedicated department for hiring new graduates. The criteria for new graduates are usually based on their "potential", whilst mid-career hiring is based on work experience and skills that can contribute to the company as soon as they join.
In mid-career hiring, hiring managers often have a higher authority than the human resources department since the job seeker will be joining the respective departments immediately. However, this also means that hiring managers will need to conduct these recruitment activities in addition to their day-to-day tasks. In such cases, partnering or consulting with a recruitment agency can help you hire the talent you need efficiently. This is especially vital if you’re hiring a specialist or niche role as recruitment agencies would have access to a network of specialist candidates that you can immediately tap into.
Below are five main reasons why you should use an agency for recruitment in Japan.
1. Efficient approach to the right talent
Although changing jobs is becoming a more common option in Japan, the percentage of people in the job market who are actively looking for a new job is still relatively low. This means that even if companies advertise their current job openings, it is very difficult to reach people who may not be looking for a new job. Coupled with a shortage of skilled and experienced talent in Japan, finding the right talent can be a very challenging task.
This is where an industry-specific recruitment agency can add value by approaching people with the specific skills and experience you are looking for. For instance, we leverage on our resources including our extensive candidate database, market mapping, global and local networks within the niche market, various tools for talent acquisition, as well as our knowledge and techniques accumulated through our business history, to approach outstanding talent even if they are not actively looking for a new job.
2. Save your time without pre-screening
It's great when your company advertises a position and receives a large number of applications. However, not all applicants will meet your requirements, and this means sifting through a large stack of resumes followed by the different stages of screening and interviewing to determine which candidates are the right fit for you. This can become more challenging as a large part of the interview process is now conducted remotely.
However, recruitment agencies with experience can support you in this whole process and save your time by pre-screening candidates who will most likely match your requirements and culture fit because they understand your organisation and the candidate’s motivations.
3. Smooth interview process management
Time is a very important factor in the hiring process. Whilst employers want to be as efficient as possible in their hiring process, it also consumes a lot of energy from candidates who may still be working full-time. Especially for much sought-after candidates, there are often multiple companies who may be interviewing them at the same time. It is therefore important that your hiring process is as efficient as possible as and it can make a big difference in whether they end up accepting your job offer.
Moreover, many candidates are reluctant to share specific information directly with hiring managers, such as how many other companies they are applying to and how far they are along the process or how fast the hiring process has been. But with a recruitment agency, candidates become more candid and may in fact be applying to multiple companies through a single recruiting agency which allows hiring managers to get a reliable grasp of how the selection process is going at other companies. Your workload can also be lightened in terms of practical matters such as arranging interview schedules, getting references and more.
4. Obtain candidates' honest opinions
In Japan where the talent shortage is becoming a common challenge for many companies, the key to successful recruitment is not solely deciding which candidate to make an offer to, but getting the right candidate to choose your company. And for good candidates, they often receive multiple offers in a short span of time. As such, you want to ensure you present the best features of your company from the get-go. This includes the strengths of your company, the benefits they can get from working with you and more.
By working with a recruiting agency, follow ups can be conducted with the candidate after each interview to provide honest feedback, but at the same time, get their thoughts on the interview and confirm if there may be any discrepancies or inadequacies in the communication between the two parties, so that we can achieve a clearer and more efficient hiring process. This is made easier with an objective third party such as a recruitment agency.
5. The stress-free job offer process
The ideal situation is for your candidates to accept your offer instantly. But in reality, there are many cases where it takes a long time for them to accept a job offer after it has been made, due to many conditions such as salary, counteroffers, or a comparison with other job offers they have received. It is natural for a candidate to accept the job offer with the best conditions presented, but a recruitment agency can support you in getting the best candidates because they understand the motivations of the candidate. They can advise the candidates as well as hiring managers in what is required to meet the needs of both parties.
How to choose the right recruitment agency for your company?
Each recruitment agency has its own strengths, depending on what your requirements may be. But if you are looking for highly skilled talent within the IT sector, whether for permanent employment, contract solution or for freelancers, Computer Futures can help. We have one of the largest recruitment teams in Japan focusing on IT sectors where each consultant is a specialist in their niche who understands your needs and can ensure a smooth and efficient recruitment process. We have access to a global candidate database of more than a million highly qualified candidates that is updated in real-time, which has also allowed us to place one candidate every 38 minutes globally.
More than 65% of the companies Computer Futures have helped are repeat customers, satisfied with the speed, accuracy and comprehensiveness of our support. We have also prepared a guide on how to improve your company's online branding, which is becoming increasingly important post pandemic, in addition to tips on how you can manage your recruitment process remotely.
If you have any questions or hiring needs, feel free to contact us using the form below.