How to Maximize your Tokyo Recruiter Relationship

By  Gregory Thomas  Aug 16, 2019

This article is a part of our subsection on recruitment in Japan and an article in our massive guide to jobs in Tokyo.

Recruiter Relationship - HR

This article is part of our large article series on everything you need to know about jobs in Tokyo.

For those looking to understand the basics of the Tokyo Recruiting industry or about the different firms and agencies in Tokyo you know where to click.

What does a good recruiter look like?

A good recruiter comes in all shapes and sizes along with experiences too. 

I feel they should be able to support and explain the following: 

1 : Industry knowledge: The recruiter can explain about potential roles in your chosen industry, knows about the trends and provides new information and companies coming into the market. 

2 : Salary trends: Understand about salary, compensation, market trends and future earning potential. 

3 : Client Introductions: Be able to introduce you to a variety of clients and positions. 

4 : Scheduling management/project and timeline management: Most recruiters will work with the client to arrange all interviews for you with the client along with working to your timeline to ensure that you are in the best position should you have multiple offers. 

5 : Salary negotiation: The recruiter will work with the client to ensure that this is mediated to a win-win situation between the client and yourself. 

6 : Career guidance and advice: Advice on how to get your ideal position, next career step and develop your true potential. Also provide advice on when not to rush a career change based on your situation. 

Some lesser known points are as follows. 

A : Hidden opportunities: Recruiters may know about non publicly disclosed positions and or information about upcoming roles. 

B : Connections to senior decision makers: They may also have direct connections to senior level staff at a hiring or executive level. This may make an introduction more smooth and provide a speedier process as you can be directly introduced to hiring managers thus skipping HR. 

C : Interview advice: Recruiters with strong knowledge of the client, company and hiring team can also coach you along about how to best approach the interview and promote yourself the best based on the characteristics and background of your interviewers.

D : Provides a long term relationship: Keeps in touch from time to time with market information and develops a stronger personal relationship. Acts as a confidant to ensuring you are up to date with the market and may even be able to support you with your own future hiring needs.

Recruiter Relationship - Work

Choosing your Tokyo Recruiter 

For your own personal benefit, getting a recruiter who can work, support and link you with the best information and opportunities should be a critical goal in choosing which recruiters or recruitment agency you want to work with. You are entrusting this person to support you to help change your life after all! 

I would recommend doing some research and meeting with around 4-5 recruiting firms who work within your industry of interest, get to know their style, network and recruiting team personally before moving forward with any next steps. 

If time permits a face to face meeting could help also in getting to know the recruiter on a personal level as well. Time is money to a recruiter, so if you know a recruiter is willing to give you face to face time to speak and meet this maybe an advantage in the long term. 

It would be good to see the rapport with recruiter along with some simple questions that can help you filter your chances of someone who will really support you.  

1 : How long have they had in recruiting? Years of experience, results and record with proposed clients. 

This may help you understand the level of performance and general capabilities of the recruiter

2 : How long has their firm been in the business? Location of clients, Key industries they work with along with what level and function of positions they cover.

Does the company have a network that matches your needs and is reputable

3 : How long have they worked with certain clients, who do they know in the client organization?

What is the relationship with the proposed client? Do they know anyone higher up that can give me an edge? 

4 : Can they explain to about the companies salary, location, commute, company culture/environment, diversity and staff backgrounds, hiring manager, job stability? 

Simply put do they understand the client they trying to approach you with. How is their market knowledge? 

5 : If they have had any experiences in dealing with people of a similar background to yourself and to what success. 

What is their record in success of people with my background?

6 : Why they feel the position is right for you? Getting a clear and logical explanation for why they feel you are right for the position. 

Does their explanation fully understand my career and is this something that matches my career interest? 

7 : Can I trust this person? Are they looking to support me or their own agenda? Do they make your feel comfortable with the speed of the process?

More subjective but at the end of the day this is a business decision, can you work with this person to get things done? 

Recruiter Relationship - Employees

Recruitment Secret: No relationship is exclusive

If you feel you develop a strong connection with one recruiter specifically you can see if he works with other clients mentioned by other recruiters. Generally, clients in japan do work with multiple agencies so the chances of something overlapping are high.

Just make sure that you are only introduced by the firm you want to represent you (I’ll explain later below). Outside of a retained search , there is no such thing as exclusivity that means you must work with the recruiter that introduces you an opportunity. You have the power and the choice to move forward with the recruiter that you want to work with!

Don’t rush the process

Consequences can be real

Naturally their is a sense of urgency in a stressful situation like changing a job, many people want to leave their current position as soon as possible. One common mistake that many job changers that I am seen is that they seem to send their resume without haste to as many clients and apply to as many positions as possible. 

However, with many recruiters and many applications for many positions, there is always a potential risk of rushing the process and this is where a mismatch in application from candidate to client can occur. After all recruiters job is to find candidates for their clients, so they want to see and meet people who will be relevant to their needs. 

In some cases, I have seen people agreeing to just applying to any position that comes their way in hopes of getting a hit. Sometimes in their haste they end up being introduced for roles and positions that were not in their capabilities or considered suitable for by the client. No big deal right?

Be careful what you apply for!

You may feel that you can just apply again should you get a negative application result. The truth is many companies nowadays have much tighter application laws to prevent multiple applications and introductions. Some companies will even decline a second application within set time frames even if it is for a different position or group. 

As many recruitments’ firms are also contracted by the client, candidate ownership may also exist meaning that you need to work with that agent for the same company in the future for upwards of 1 year. 

I have heard of cases of people not being allowed to apply to a position, due to their profile already being introduced by another recruiter sometimes with or without their consent. Imagine losing out on a dream job due to some mismanagement due to a under pressure/ untrustworthy recruiter? This is quite common and does happen from time to time. 

Recruiter Secrets: Manage your interview processes

Secret tips 3

In any job search, I recommend tracking the jobs you have applied too what agency/agent supported you and also the result and outcome. Trust me when you are introduced many companies and by many people in possible many different industries it can get confusing. Furthermore, make sure to give written permission in email about any application that you move forward with. A paper trail after all can help with any messy issues down the line. 

An example may look like this:

Company Name



Application status

Company A

Assistant marketing 

Recruiter A 

First interview 

Company B

Marketing manager 

Recruiter B

Do not apply 

Company C


Recruiter C

Sent resume

Recruiter Relationship - Ladder

A win win outcome for everyone!

Finally, the ultimate Elephant in the room is that at the end of the day recruiters make money when people join their clients. Ultimately, recruiting is a high stakes sales job with sometimes upwards of 10’s millions of yen on the line.

Sometimes people maybe dealing with 3-4 different recruiters and 3-4 different offers all at the same time, telling them to join their client making it an immensely stressful situation. A career change is no easy decision after all. 

When the situation comes down to it, at the end of the day it is your decision to choose to join a client or not. Take your time and review each case carefully so you can make the best decision for yourself, your career and your family.

A recruiters job is to at the end of the day manage the process of bringing you successfully to the client. Sometimes for whatever reason things do not workout and honestly speaking we deal with rejecting everyday. 

Should you be in case where are feel an opportunity is not right for you, you have full permission to say no in any stage of the process. I am sure a good recruiter will understand and be able to move on. In this case you can possible avoid messy situations and continue to have a great relationship going forward with that recruiter. 

Final thoughts

My ultimate goal in sharing this article was to bring light and clarity in how the recruiting industry works and how you as a candidate can best benefit from the system here in Japan.

I hope that I was able to show that the world of recruiting has of course many positives in helping your career growth and development! I also hope that I have been able to help a future job hunter a little bit easier so that you can be more prepared in your next career ambitions and challenges! Help us help you and there will be win win situations for all. 

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