Member Focus - Cornerstone Recruitment

1. Could you give us an overview of your company?

Cornerstone Recruitment Japan was established in 2019 as a joint partnership between Cornerstone Global Partners, our co-founders (current Managing Directors) and with investment from a leading financial institution. We focus on placing bilingual candidates across a wide array of industries and job functions by leveraging our consultant’s expertise and networks. Cornerstone aims to be the recruitment partner of choice for our clients by offering access to top talent, market insights and strategies to help navigate the complex Japanese recruitment market. Last year we were awarded The Growth Company of the Year at the Tiara Recruitment Awards signifying our rapid growth. Our goal is to continue this growth over the coming years and to become one of the largest foreign recruitment companies in Tokyo.

2. How did your company first become involved in the IJCC?

I arrived in Japan in 2012 and have always been attracted to the Irish events and associations in Japan. After attending some IJCC events as a guest and from meeting other members through other avenues, I decided it would be great to officially get involved with the IJCC. We have supported many companies involved in the chamber and look to continue this relationship for the foreseeable future.

3. What do you like about Japan?

Japan has given me the opportunity to build a career in an industry that I am very passionate about. Helping companies identify and attract the right talent is more complex that some think and working in such a competitive market like Japan has helped me grow as a professional. Outside of work, Japan has many quirks which make it a great place to live such as being extremely safe to live, having 4 seasons (not sure how many we really have in Ireland), Tokto being the food capital of the world, easy of access to almost anything and anywhere in Japan (those trains and public transportations eh?!).

4. How has COVID-19 pandemic changed your business in a year?

While COVID has bought some challenges, we managed to make small changes and continued with our mission to grow. As a recruiter it is usually best practice to meet our candidates and clients face to face (or maybe I’m old fashioned), it adds a personal touch and builds trust. During the lockdown we had to switch to online meetings which actually was quite easy as we have the IT capabilities to work flexibly. It’s good to see that in recent months we have been able to get back to more F2F meetings. During the pandemic, most companies needed to adapt to recruiting and onboarding remotely. We partnered with small to medium size companies who had recruiting needs and had the resources to hire during the pandemic and were able to successful place suitable talent in our clients. The pandemic may have changed social and work norms but our mission to serve our clients with top talent that make a difference to their business remains the same.

5. What are challenges and difficulties about connecting bilingual professionals with companies in Japan?

There are quite a number of factors to keep in mind when hiring bilinguals here. Japan generally has a low level of English in comparison to other countries in Asia, combined with the fact that Japan is a candidate short market makes is very competitive. Japanese culture, especially with a preference for more of an in-direct communication style leads Japanese candidates to use recruitment agencies a lot more than other countries. Candidates are generally quite conservative and using a good recruitment agent will help navigate the tricky questions as well as iron out any hesitation the candidates may have. Having a clear recruitment plan (including timeline), being flexible for market conditions, understanding the candidates and having the ability to move fast will be key in connecting with bilingual talent.

6. What areas of growth do you see for your company (or sector) in the next 12 to 24 months?

Cornerstone will continue to hire in consultants in 2022. These recruiters will be spread across all functions with specific focus on IT, Life Sciences, Industrial, HR, Legal and Sales / Marketing. We do provide training for all levels of consultants and are on track to increase our middle management layer which will help us to grow to about 100 people over the next two years. Cornerstone consultants and myself are always interested in networking and will be open to connecting with anyone interested in the Japanese recruiting market.