Jun 21, 2018

Working with recruiting agents in Japan

Recruiting agents are very common in Japan. I assume most of you have seen an advert for a recruiting company on the train already.

What is a recruiting agent or headhunter?

An agent basically is someone who is paid by a company, that is looking to fill a position, to find suitable candidates. 

As a job seeker, an agent can help you find a new position when you are looking for one. When you have a LinkedIn profile it sometimes happens that agents contact you with positions that might be interesting even though you weren't actively looking for anything. 

When you are looking actively you can also register at agencies so that they will contact you everytime a suitable position comes up. 

Usage of agents is completely free for the job seeker, but the employer pays a fee for every candidate they hire. 

How to register?

Registering at a recruiting agency is pretty easy. Most of the time you fill out an online form on their website and upload your CV. They will follow by e-mail or call you. Then you meet one of the agents, either at their office or a cafe and have a short talk, where you tell them about your strengths and experiences and what kind of job you are looking for.

When the agent comes up with positions that might be interesting for you they will contact you and you can decide whether to apply or not. If you would like to know more they can also answer your questions about the job advert.

How to apply?

When you decide to apply, all you have to do is tell the agent. They will handle all the application process for you and will also schedule interviews in case you are invited. Some agents even provide helpful information before the interview e. g. information about the interviewers or questions that these interviewers usually ask. Others just send you a standard sheet with interview questions you can find with a simple google search.

Working with recruiting agents in Japan photo

After an interview, you provide feedback to the agent and they give you the feedback of the company, which in rare cases even actually is helpful, but most of the time it is just something like, another candidate was better suited for the job.

The issue with agents

The main issue with agents is that their salary depends on how many of their candidates got hired and the annual salary of hired candidates. Usually, the agent fee is about a third of the annual salary of the candidate so obviously, the agent is more interested in finding jobs for candidates with high salaries.

Therefore if you don't belong in that category you will be a low priority client for the agent, they will cancel meetings last minute, not answer your e-mails and ignore your calls.

I have worked with several agents until now but it never led to any good results. Have you tried recruiting agents before?



Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/