Recruitment for Startups – 3 Reasons That You Should Use a Few Valued Partners

Recruitment in Japan can be expensive due to supply and demand of skilled, bilingual talent. The problem is supply – there aren’t enough skilled individuals (especially in technical functions or from high tech industries) that speak English. We work with several startups that are at similar stages – 2nd or 3rd round of investment, pre-IPO, with a solid product, technology, operations and customer service functions. Many of these firms are yet to fully invest in a talent management program or function that effectively utilises agency support to reduce their opportunity cost.

The opportunity cost is time, which is precious especially at the exec level – most of these firms are handling the bulk of talent acquisition tasks via founders and executive members who could benefit from restructuring their resources more effectively, trusting and empowering their agency partners (the ones that get it and are of value) and creating a consistent candidate experience which directly affects their brand image and perception in the market.

We came up with a list of 3 key reasons why using a recruitment partner effectively will help your startup business:

1) Valuable Partner vs Sourcing Tool?

For a strong recruitment agency partner their value goes far beyond sourcing and sending CVs. Some firms try and take over some or most of the recruitment process themselves. The results can be positive in certain situations, but it can also result in mis-management of candidate expectations, and losing out on top talent.

We have seen a trend in startups whereby they can stop communicating with agencies after the initial introduction at the sourcing stage and a number of bottlenecks emerge. You could break down the process into:



There is often an emotional connection with an interview process that may not always be healthy or logical, again a good partner can help mediate and adjust this balance.

2) Opportunity Cost

Time is the key here, time which could have been spent in driving revenue, user acquisition, operational excellence or product development. There are a lot of admin tasks associated with the process that are best outsourced. Investing time once with a valued partner early can save time later on, if you are taking on most of the process management yourself.

3) Poor Candidate Experience

A disorganised process can reflect poorly for a candidate. Whilst startups are scrappy and need talent that is not overly sensitive to ambiguity, sometimes the line of professionalism can be crossed. Japanese talent is particularly sensitive to this. A lack of preparation, missed interviews, change of interviewer, mistaken identity (yes this has happened). Lack of timely and quality feedback is another peeve which can create a negative impression on the company’s brand and reputation.

Our recommendation is that companies revise how efficiently they are utilising their resources, primarily their own time. If you find you spend a significant amount of time doing low level tasks, and / or key negotiation that can be effectively mediated then you may be able to transform your time gained into marginal value for your business.