Investing in Relationship Building During the Hiring Process in Japan

In their venture into Japan, several massive international enterprises such as Walmart, Tesco, and  Vodafone have been forced to abandon their investments, whereas few – namely Costco and Amazon – have succeeded in establishing a lasting presence in the market. 


The difference between the two ventures is whether or not they were able to understand the underlying issues, or in other words, how Japan works.


During an interview with Globalization Partners, HCCR’s Executive Director Casey Able offered four pieces of advice that are sure to be the key to your resounding success in Japan. Here is the first piece in our series, “Winning in Japan”!

Building a successful international venture is heavily reliant on hiring top-tier local talent. 


In Japan, lifetime employment or sticking to one employer until retirement is fairly common. On average, Japanese employees remain in one job for around ten years while those in the U.S. stay for just over four years. Because Japanese candidates are less likely to job-hop, they have less experience with “selling” themselves and the interview process overall. 


Hence, it’s common to have a lengthy hiring process where employers build sustainable relationships with candidates, especially for mid-career to senior hires. 


“In a typical hiring process for regional heads, you may have up to five interviews. But what often happens for us here [in HCCR] is that you may also have another 50 to 100 percent additional meetings. So that’s two to five extra meetings just on the relationship side, outside of the formal process,” said Casey Abel, Executive Director at HCCR. 


But many international companies might underestimate the level of relationship building that’s critical when establishing trust with candidates. 


“I think it’s important to come to an understanding that you’re going to need to court, you’re going to need to spend time to allow candidates to let their guard down and open up and develop that relationship,” said Abel. 


“It’s something that most organizations, frankly, are not prepared to do. They get frustrated with the lead times, and they get frustrated with the amount of time they need to invest in the process. And that’s where a lot it actually goes wrong here,” continued Abel. 


Building trust over a lengthy process may seem taxing, but is a practice that is customary in Japan. Therefore, it is a process organizations cannot avoid on the road to success. Taking the time to court candidates is sure to set your company aside from competing international businesses, and ensure fruitful talent acquisition. 


This article is part 1 of our  “Winning in Japan” series, where we bring you 4 insider tips that every international company should know before entering the market.


To view the complete article here [link] to get ahead of the game or look out for next week’s article – “Partnerships / Don’t Go at It Alone.” 

Building a global team in Japan 


Hiring international talent can be a complicated process that involves an understanding of different languages, cultures, and regulations. 


As a management consulting firm with talent acquisition, talent marketing, organizational strategy, and digital transformation capabilities, HCCR can pave the road to your success by solving the most critical talent issues and achieving immediate impact. 


Our team understands that people are the core drivers of value creation within any organization. HCCR’s diverse team combines deep technical expertise, industry experience and the operational know-how to tackle your most critical talent needs.