business

Tight labor market leading to unsavory recruitment tactics in Japan

33 Comments
By Masahito Ono

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33 Comments
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I just realised, they don’t care if you have no interest in working for them even disgruntled they still want you? What kind of company wants unhappy workers from the start?

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Instead of raising pay to stay competitive, they are resorting to age old harassment, the only approach they know. They must be giving a great impression of working there before people even start. Hope the young people of this generation are better at resisting these dirty tactics and teaching the miserable corporates a lesson.

13 ( +25 / -12 )

The recruitment officer questioned her for nearly half an hour over whether she had "lied" in committing to the company and if she understood what the pledge meant.

‘I’m betting the company is the one lying, she got a better offer, up your company game not insult, threaten her or anyone for declining to work for a below life balance company. People are not batteries for company use. If your not an attractive company to work for…mmmm work on that, not those that chose a better option.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

Japan's commercial practice of "one-shot" mass recruitment is outdated and counter-productive on business. Under the rule, popular and best candidates are fresh university graduates, and until recently men were preferred. If you skip job-hunting by year, or delay the graduation (or delay college entry), your values in the labor market would automatically fall.

Some firms still hate and avoid "old" applicants. They seem to deny the diversity of candidates' profiles. Now it sounds silly when they lament the shortage of good candidates; they actually ignore certain groups of people whom they (mis) believe are unfit.

Many talents and contributors are once drop-outs; I mean, they are only slightly different from the average in cohort. For instance, they go around the world right after graduation or pursue something non-professional instead of sending a resume to a position. Japan's recruitment process prohibits all them at entry levels.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Nothing new here. This has been going on for decades. I've had a few similar experiences when applying to English teaching jobs, including public Boards if Education.

I love how most people in Japan are honest in Japan. Like losing a wallet or a phone and getting it back, no problem. But when it comes to the work place, I've found Japanese people, especially employers, to be the most dishonest and shady group of people I've encountered in my life. Not all but generally, that's been my experience.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Why would you recruit someone in June, to “agree” to work from March or April? That’s a horrible system.

If you hire in June, employ them from June.

Not to mention like others said, up the pay and benefits if you want to attract more workers.

Obviously if a fresh graduate gets a better offer between June and April, they would take it.

The entire idea of waiting till only March or April is so outdated, the companies are only hurting themselves. And they also have to now compete with international companies on top of other domestic ones.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

The recruitment officer questioned her for nearly half an hour over whether she had "lied" in committing to the company and if she understood what the pledge meant.

A pledge!? Seriously? Its not an oath of enlistment into the military, or some blood-right passage whereby your first-born will be taken away for failure to comply - its an at-will job offer that can be declined or terminated at any time by either side. Besides, this behavior that recruiters loath so much was directly created by themselves in the first place when the employment situation was in their favor. Perhaps folks will learn that not everyone enjoys eating sour-lime pie.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Laughing in someone's face and walking out of the room is not a widespread strong suit in Japan.

5 ( +18 / -13 )

Japanese companies are notorious for a few things: One, low salaries compared with America and other advanced countries. Long working hours as in office body warmers, slow decision making, treating staff like slaves, and the list goes on. So why would anyone want to work for an old antiquated system of slavery? These young grads are intelligent unlike a decade or so ago and they are choosing which company to work at while the recruiters want to dictate their decision making. Recruiters really need to understand that no one trust a recruiter anymore.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The examples mentioned were already happening from before, the current situation just made them worse. Fortunately these days information spreads very easily and those companies are frequently outed by the recruits when pressured illegally and this seriously backfires making those companies extremely unpopular.

Another related problem is when recruits use agencies to apply for them, because those agencies can also exert undue pressure on the candidates to force them into jobs in order to collect their fee.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I assume the recruitment officers have a quota to reach and they are under pressure from their companies. I don't know if I should blame their bosses or them for taking the job in the first place.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What kind of company wants unhappy workers from the start?

Companies here do everything in their power to make their workers unhappy after they start, so to them early worker misery is no loss.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Tight labor market leading to more unsavory recruitment tactics in Japan

Just fixed the headline. Recruiters are cheats and liars. Most should be in jail.

2 ( +18 / -16 )

...the companies aggressively attempting to hold these recruits to legally nonbinding agreements and then haranguing them to the point of harassment if they indicate an intention to back out.

Jeez. At least wait until they start working there before starting in with the power harassment.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Intense competition among Japanese companies trying to recruit new graduates has led some to engage in drastic and unprofessional tactics in a desperate attempt to lock in students who previously made informal commitments but have begun to waver.

The "free market" principles of supply and demand affect the market for people's labor.

Japan Inc.- Let's don't consider offering higher wages. Let's try fraud and dishonesty!

1 ( +17 / -16 )

You live and learn. If you don't want to work for a company, why would the company care unless you're coming with some exemplary skill that would be of benefit to them

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The recruitment officer questioned her for nearly half an hour over whether she had "lied" in committing to the company and if she understood what the pledge meant.

She was probably being polite to the person which doesn’t deserve any of it. When I was changing my job I had a call with recruiter where I explained that I am going to reject their offer and they wished me a good luck, not BS like from that recruiter. Good for the girl, she dodged a bullet.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

capitalism at its best,greed and people exploitation.

Call it what you want, but it is not free market capitalism.

Free market capitalism is where both sides see benefit in an exchange and agree to partake in it.

Clearly here this is not the case, with pressure being applied to try to make people stick to a poor deal - whereas free market capitalism says that you can always go to a competitor offering something better.

There are hints of anti-free market behaviors seen here, and it’s an area where the government ought take a look (usually government is the cause of problems, but it does have a role in ensuring a competitive market environment… if Japan does not have one that is a failure of government though)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tight labor market leading to unsavory recruitment tactics in Japan:

There is no necessity for young or would-be graduates to commit themselves to such less-than-desirable recruitment. After all, if there is labor shortage of skilled professionals, they can always wait & choose.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

How do they know they will pass and graduate?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not happy about any of this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The recruitment officer questioned her for nearly half an hour over whether she had "lied" in committing to the company and if she understood what the pledge meant.

This sounds like a job offer in North Korea…

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

capitalism at its best,greed and people exploitation.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

They're seriously trying to thresten and chain people before they join the company? I'm sure that'll project a great image of the company's culture and motivate prospective candidates to sign up....

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

she received an informal job offer and submitted a written pledge in March at the retailer's request that she would not seek employment at other companies.But since then, she received an informal job offer from a company she prefers and she informed the retailer of her intention to decline its offer.

The recruitment officer questioned her for nearly half an hour over whether she had "lied" in committing to the company and if she understood what the pledge meant.

"Questioned for half an hour" never too early to introduce work harassment in Japan to new recruits.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Why is Japan so backwards in so many crucial areas!? It's as if there is some sort of twisted enjoyment in being inept

A lovely combination of superiority complex coupled with being allergic to change. They're still stuck in the 80s Bubble Period and have ignorantly refused to move with the times, resulting in outdated practices and mentality. Then there's their lack of digitizing their...well everything really. Japan's economy has been stagnant for years and at the rate they're going, it's going to come to a grinding halt and shrivel up.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

"The recruitment officer questioned her for nearly half an hour over whether she had "lied" in committing to the company and if she understood what the pledge meant."

Why did she even bother talking to the recruiter after informing the company of her decision? Just a simple, "Thank you for your offer but I've decided to go somewhere else." Hang up or walk out. Done.

That the government protects employers in harassment cases and not those being harassed is no surprise at all, though.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I don’t see robots complaining.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

This isn't a new problem though. There's always been high competition for new grads in Japan.

I remember back in 2015 when I joined my first company as a shinsotsu, one of my douki at the time told me a similar story about how one company he declined a job offer from after accepting it, were guilt tripping him. Luckily, he was a kikokushijo, so he didn't give into the pressure.

Japan Inc.- Let's don't consider offering higher wages. Let's try fraud and dishonesty!

It's not necessarily about raising wages in the case of new recruit hiring. At the time of application, all the salaries are usually publicized to the students, so they know exactly how much they will be making at each company. It's more a matter of joining a company in an industry they really like.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Recruitment has always been unsavory in Japan.

Now there's more competition that's all

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

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