Interview with a Candidate vol. 04: What were you focused on during your job search?

Since I was searching for a job in Kansai using CareerCross, if the conditions are too tight, the number of jobs will be limited, so I did not narrow down the conditions too much at first. I searched broadly, and narrowed down to find it later.

A candidate, who successfully found a job via CareerCross, told us about his job search!


Successful Candidate’s profile:

Previous job: Sales at an International Recruitment Company

Current position: Foreign-affiliated manufacturer personnel

Application: 1 company

Scout: 10 companies

Job change period: 2 weeks

Unofficial decision: 1 company

Career Cross: May I ask you what your previous job was like?

Successful candidate: My previous job was a foreign-affiliated job change agent focusing on positions in Sales for about three years.

I was in charge of trading companies and manufacturers mainly for dispatching employment. I am good at sales affairs and trade affairs.

I worked both as recruiters for companies, and also as career advisors for job seekers.

Career Cross: Was it difficult talking to both job seekers and companies?

Successful candidate: No, though I’m not really sure as I have no experience doing only one side, I think handling both sides was a good opportunity. I was often invited to visit client’s offices, and seeing them with my own eyes was very useful for giving potential candidates information about the attractiveness of a company.

Career Cross: I see. Did you use our site as an agent in your previous job?

Successful candidate: Yes, I did.

Career Cross: You said that you had been in the previous job for about three years, but did you have any experience prior to that?

Successful candidate: I have been working since I was 20 years old immediately after leaving a vocational school in order to work quickly and become independent. The first company was a trade affairs and forwarding company, and for about three years I worked in a general position and was in charge of customs clearance. This is the third company.

Career Cross : I see. You’ve used English in all your jobs, right?

Successful candidate : Yes, but I didn’t use English that much for the first company. Mostly, the job required knowledge of law, so I read contracts in English, but the only place to check was the date or signature. I left that job because I wanted to change to a sales role  that used a little more English.

Career Cross : As a recruiter, did you find that the job seekers were often Japanese and the companies were international?

Successful candidate : That’s right. However, since I was working at the Kansai office, there were quite a few people with a higher English proficiency compared to Tokyo. I meet people with TOEIC scores of 600-700, and those who do not have English proficiency.

For example, even if English skill wasn’t enough, if a candidate had some experience in system engineering or accounting,I could introduce some positions.

Career Cross : May I ask you about your current job?

Successful candidate : Currently, I am working as a HR manager at a foreign-affiliated manufacturer. I am in charge of recruiting in the Asia / Oceania / Africa area. Although I am in the trial period, I am planning to take charge of areas other than Japan such as Malaysia and Singapore from this month.

Career Cross : What made you decide to change jobs?

Successful candidate : The reason was that one of my senior colleagues, who was working for another international recruitment company, became my career role model.

He wanted to work in human resources after gaining experience as a major agent for three years. When I heard that he joined the company after telling them his career goal, I decided to think of a similar career.

In my case, I had set it as a condition because of my family’s circumstances, so my place of work was Kansai, and I was a company that was actively engaged in remote work, where I could hire foreign-affiliated companies. Based on that condition, I found this job.

The company had wanted to hire someone by July 1st, but by the time I found the job it was already September so I was able to start immediately.

Career Cross : I see that your job search period was only 2 weeks, which I thought was very short.. Did you apply for only one company?

Successful candidate : Well, I thought I’d try this company just once.

Career Cross : Did you decide where to change jobs based on your experience as a recruiter?

Successful candidate : Yes, that’s right.

Career Cross : With this new job, your annual income will increase significantly, so was this also a condition for changing jobs?

Successful candidate : Well, partly because of the influence of Corona, I didn’t get the salary that I would have received, so I was a little dissatisfied with the annual income of my previous job.

Career Cross : When deciding to change jobs, did you have any particular preference regarding which is better between international and domestic companies?

Successful candidate : I wanted to be in a foreign-affiliated company because I wanted to be able to use English in conversations even if I wasn’t fluent enough at a global company.

Career Cross : I see. Would you have settled for a domestic company that had the same level of English usage as an international one?

Successful candidate : Well, in the end I think the atmosphere is also important. Some friends quit because the atmosphere doesn’t suit them at long-established domestic companies, although they can use English there. Since my high school was an international environment that originated in England, many of my friends from the same high school prefer an international work environment.

Career Cross : I agree that the atmosphere is important in addition to the language. Do you use English on a daily basis in your job now?

Successful candidate : There are not so many foreigners in the company, but foreigners who do not speak Japanese are the top of the department, so I use English. My direct boss is an Indian living in Malaysia.

In my current job, I send scout emails to Japanese people living in Japan and have an interview first, so the percentage of people who use Japanese is inevitably higher.

Career Cross : Your direct boss is a foreigner. Do you have the opportunity to go to the headquarters in Europe?

Successful candidate : There aren’t any opportunities  now, but once I gain experience, I think I will get the chance to go to the head office on a yearly basis.

Malaysia is the center of the whole team, so my boss says that I should definitely come to Malaysia once the pandemic is over.

Career Cross : By the way, where did you learn English?

Successful candidate : In my early teens, I was in the United States from the fifth grade of elementary school to the graduation of junior high school.

Career Cross : It feels like you can handle both cultures of Japan and the United States.

Successful candidate : Yes. I used to go to the US every year for a month or at least a few weeks. I have no experience working in the United States, so I would be less confident in that situation, but I do have experience as an intern.

Career Cross : Do you have a desire to be stationed overseas?

Successful candidate : Actually, I used to work in the education sector for about two years. I had wanted to go abroad and work in that sector but I found that it’s not a very large industry, so I opted for a more generic company.

I wanted to do a job in a general company so that I could understand the movement of money, and in the end I found the job was interesting and I thought that it was more suitable for me. Of course, I would like to take on the challenge if I have the opportunity to go abroad while working for a company in Japan.

Career Cross : I see. By the way, was the school in the United States you entered a regular American school? Did you speak English before enrolling?

Successful candidate : No, I was attending a regular school, but as I could not speak English well, I went to a cram school for 2 months before I left for the U.S. for a preparation. Once I started school in the U.S., there was an additional English class called ESL (English as a Second Language) class in the afternoon for children who couldn’t speak English that I attended for a year.

Career Cross : Did you have any problems with English a year later?

Successful career changers: They say that after one year, your ears will become accustomed and you will be able to understand what people are saying. After the second year you should be able to convey your intentions. That seemed to be true for me, and I was able to graduate from ESL in about two years.

Career Cross : So you’re almost native speaker, right?

Successful candidate : That’s right. But since I was only there until junior high school, my vocabulary is still a little restricted. Thankfully, I don’t usually need to use difficult words when speaking in a business setting. Even after returning to Japan, I made an effort to take TOEIC and Eiken Level 1.

My younger brother also uses CareerCross, but he was 5 years old when he went to America, so learning Japanese was a challenge for him. I think my sister is really bilingual and good at both languages. My younger brother is really good at English, he talks with my sister in English.

Career Cross : Sounds like a global family. I heard that you first registered for CareerCross before you got your current job. What made you want to be registered at that time? How did you find out about Career Cross?

Successful candidate : I think I found CareerCross by searching the internet for the word ‘bilingual job’.

At first, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a foreign company, I just wanted to  work using English. When I was looking for a job for the first time, I wanted to work as a bilingual secretary and there was a job in a shared office. I think I registered after I started my career change activities in earnest.

Career Cross : I see. May I ask if you have any expectations for Career Cross when you register? 

Successful candidate : I wanted to work in Kansai, so I registered for a job that uses English frequently in the Kansai area.

Career Cross : How was it when you actually used it? Do you have the impression that you had a decent job using English in the Kansai area?

Successful candidate : Recruitment for fully remote work was one of my search conditions. It was useful because there were many jobs with WFH. Since I was searching for a job in Kansai, if the conditions are too tight, the number of jobs will be limited, so I did not narrow down the conditions too much at first. I searched broadly, and narrowed down to find it later.

Career Cross : Thank you.

Thoughts after the interview

This was the first time for her to change jobs through a job site. The key is not to narrow down the conditions too much at first, but to search broadly and narrow down later. Also, I think it was good to actively read the company information on the site to collect information.