Safari - September 2006
Richard found his place in Japan with a one-way ticket
text : Yuko Harigae
Here’s a British man who, among the explosion of new online businesses, has found success with an online recruiting business focusing on bilingual professionals. He’s had a long and difficult journey since leaving his hometown and making it in a far away land called Japan, but has been able to enjoy the hard times along the way.
“I’ve even handed out tissues, just like Japanese.”
“Konnichiwa. Kyo wa ii tenki dane. (Hello. It’s a nice day today, isn’t it?)”. We were warmly greeted by Mr. Richard Bysouth. Having lived in Japan for a long time, he has no problem speaking everyday Japanese. But whether in English or Japanese, we felt we could understand him from his rich facial expressions.
He is the CEO of CC Consulting Co. Ltd., which operates the online recruiting service ‘CareerCross’. Founded in 2000, CareerCross provides job advertising space for gaishikei (foreign-capitalized) companies seeking talented bilingual professionals. These professionals can also use the site to store information such as their resume and job preferences. In short, it’s a fully interactive bilingual recruitment site.
Apart from being an astute business person, he is also a keen athlete and participates in marathons and triathlons. “I was unhealthy a few years ago, so I started training and lost 15 kg’s in 3 months. After that I started going to the gym and gradually raised my enthusiasm from marathons to triathlons. (laughing) I just love challenging situations!”
From his smiling face, it’s hard to imagine such a tough spirited man could exist inside Richard. It might be where we can find the reason for his success in making his business thrive in Japan.
A 15-year-old tough kid sets off on an odyssey around Europe
Richard’s parents divorced when he was young and he was brought up by his father and mother-in-law. Ever since then he’s had a strong sense of independence. He attended a high-level of school that most children from his hometown couldn’t enter, but when he was 15, he left the school and set off on a journey around Europe. “I was eager to see other countries and to be independent. I believed that I was smarter and stronger than anybody. So that’s why I decided to do what I believed rather than what other people told me. Well, I was fairly young at the time. (laughing)”
With a pocketful of cash and a one-way ticket, his first destination was Paris. He was heading nowhere in particular. Bored of one town, he moved to another by hitchhiking and made money by helping gypsies pick grapes to make wine. He sometimes had to survive only on bread and tuna provided for tramps at aid institutions. He also crept into people’s back gardens to sleep from time to time.
“I did physical work at construction sites, raised game to use for hunting, worked as a nurse and an actor (laughing). They were such hard days but enjoyable at the same time. I was always confident that I could handle anything that came my way. There is nothing more powerful than belief in yourself.”
Traveling all over Europe to places such as France, Spain, and the Channel Islands, he continued his journey for 6 years. Countless experiences along the way made him stronger and stronger.
After the 6 year journey, Richard went back to his hometown, but couldn’t settle down. He relied on some friends and moved to London where he held a steady job working in sales at a long-established clothing store. This was where he had his fateful encounter that changed his life forever.
“I fell in love with a Japanese girl who was staying in London to study English. She was my first love. I was absolutely crazy about her, so when she had to go back to Japan, I just said ‘I’m coming with you!’. I sold everything I owned at the time and bought a ticket to Japan. She was waiting for me at Narita airport. I was so relieved to see her there. I don’t know what I would have been like if she didn’t wait for me. (laughing) ”.
Gaijin In Japan
- A foreigner who built up his own stronghold in Japan -
Richard started living in Japan in 1990 and, after teaching English for a short time, opened up his own English language school. In 1992, two years after his arrival, he married his ‘first-love’ who had brought him to Japan. However, his father took ill, so Richard flew back to London with his wife. He started living in London again, and got a position at one of the largest tourism companies there, H.I.S.
He now recalls his decision to return; “After about four years in London, I happened to be looking at some magazines and saw lots of pictures of Tokyo. I took a long look at them, and made a decision to go back to Japan that night. I realized I wasn’t yet finished in Japan.”
For him, Japan was an “amazing country” and he knew that he would be someone special there. It was 1996 when he eventually stood on Japanese soil again. Richard recalls, “The first job I was given when I moved to H.I.S. Japan was to hand out pocket-tissues on the streets. Sometimes it would be minus 3 degrees, a freezing cold day. I didn’t necessarily enjoy it, but it was still a good chance for me to learn how Japanese companies operate and train employees.”
After having a son, Richard moved to a company in the recruitment industry. He believed that he was good at connecting people with other people just as he had been a good sales person. Another reason he moved to the industry was the promise he had made to his wife.
Richard’s wife had financially and mentally supported him since they started living together in London. He promised her that he would make lots of money and return her favor someday. He had a good feeling that the recruitment job would make his promise come true.
Richard’s ability and talent flourished in the recruiting business, and after just one year he was headhunted to become the CEO of a big British recruitment company. He was right about his feeling that he would stand out in this industry.
While taking care of many companies’ recruiting needs, he came to a conclusion; “many foreign-capitalized companies try advertising themselves to find qualified bilingual people, but they don’t know where to start, because currently there is no place for that. I will make a place where qualified people gather, and this will be a website.
“It should be a Japanese website that is easy to use and also provides jobseekers with free registration services.” These were the site’s main points and he worked like a Trojan. He initially used his wife’s and son’s names as well as his own to pretend not to be a one-man company, and founded “CareerCross”, a bilingual website providing online recruitment resources in September 2000. He got his company registered as C.C. Consulting Co. Ltd in the same year of December, hired his first employee, who would eventually become his right-hand man, and got the operation of CareerCross on track.
Currently, the number of monthly users is 160,000 with more than 150 clients. Those numbers show this company as a leader in the online recruitment business. Last June, they started “eBenkyo”, a portal website providing information on global qualifications and life style. His idea of creating a recruitment website focusing on bilingual professionals finally led to the fulfillment of his promise to his wife.
A tough boy roaming Europe finally established his own status in Japan. He calls himself, full of humor and confidence, “Gaijin-in-Japan”. “I know the good sides of both Japan and Western countries. That’s why I can combine them together to create something new. This is the advantage of being Gaijin-in Japan.”
Nikkei Career Magazine - August 2006
C.C. Consulting K.K.
President and CEO
Mr. Richard Bysouth
Founder of the bilingual recruitment website ‘CareerCross’. From England.
”I want people to take the initiative and openly embrace challenges”
‘Language skills’ were long considered the entry ticket to foreign-capitalized companies. This entrance has widened considerably. Richard Bysouth, who operates the bilingual recruitment website ‘CareerCross’, analyzes the situation: “For top managers English skills are essential, but in staff-level positions, where openings have increased in recent years, the work is carried out almost entirely in Japanese. For these jobs the English language hurdle is being lowered.”
“In foreign-capitalized companies, employees have to take the initiative and move things forward by themselves. For example if there is work you would like to do, but you don’t have the skills for it, then you can enroll in a school, and acquire these skills on your own initiative. Another example is job interviews. Many Japanese think that the interview is to answer questions from the hiring manager, but in foreign-capitalized companies, the interview is also perceived as an opportunity for the candidate to pro-actively ask questions and get to know the company.” (Mr. Bysouth)
Newsweek - 7, June 2006
However, there are also many experts who claim that the problem lies in the uniform approach to hiring and treatment of employees, which does not allow them to put their professional skills to full use.
Richard Bysouth, president of C.C. Consulting, a company running a bilingual recruitment website, says, "Compared to foreign-affiliated companies, who emphasize experience and skills gained outside of the company, the Japanese market for mid-career hiring is still immature."
Metropolis - 10, March 2006
JOIN IN THE RAPID EXPANSION OF THE ONLINE BILINGUAL CONTENT MARKET
BY NINA UCHIDA
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY. Established in September 2000, CC consulting KK is the parent company of a series of websites focused on the bilingual and English-speaking community in Japan. Our best-known product is CareerCross com, Japan’s premier bilingual online recruitment resource. We also have three fast-growing affiliated websites. Ebenkyo.com is an international lifestyle and career webzine for Japanese professionals providing information on themes like CPA licensing and MBA courses, as well as language study and study abroad schools. FocusJapan.com is a portal site for English speakers living and working in Japan. EigoPlaza.com is an English learning website offering free online lessons at all levels. We are also planning to release a new website this spring called Fitness Japan, a one-stop English resource for sports and fitness info.
WHAT TYPES OF POSITIONS ARE OPEN, AND WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS? We are a small but growing company that has become a market leader by staying loyal to our original principles of being focused, user-friendly, flexible and professional.
Virtually all of our current staff came through our own website.
As a result of our continued growth and new websites, we are urgently looking to fill a number of openings. These include positions in sales and business development, marketing, HR, content management and editors as well as freelance writers and contributors to help produce and source content for the community section of both our English and Japanese websites.
We are very open when it comes to hiring, equally concerned about personality and fit as we are about qualifications. Some relevant experience in essential, as is a base ability in both Japanese and English. Drive passion and a desire to make our company the best are highly regarded.
CAN YOU MENTION SALARIES AND BENEFITS? Having only lost one full-time staff in the five years since we started, we are confident that our benefits package and work environment are among the best in the business. We offer a competitive salary and a generous bonus and commission system wich assures all members of the company, no matter what position, benefit as the company does well, We are a close-knit and diverse team and offer the chance to develop your own skills and grow within the organization.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE. Due to the quality of our service, our deep market knowledge and desire to keep improving, CC Consulting has basically doubled each year since we formed, in terms of turnover, office space and staff. As the reach of the Internet continues to expand, as the need for qualified bilingual staff increases, and as Japan becomes more integrated into the world community, we are confident that this trend will continue and CC Consulting will be the domiant force int the field. www.careercross.com/en