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  • We continue to live in an unstable world.  The global pandemic is far from over.  Trade wars, culture wars, and real wars come and go.  Economies shrink, economies grow.
    Through all of this, however, one thing is constant: it is a candidate short market.  Certainly here in Japan.  And most certainly for any important role, and anything senior and/or niche.
    The US is going through the ‘Great Resignation’.  Entire industries in many countries – especially hospitality and airlines – are struggling to hire enough people, and businesses continue to shut down as a result.  As recruiters here in Tokyo, we are inundated with search requests from clients.  So, so many companies and law firms want to hire but they are struggling to find enough people or good enough people.
    And yet, one question that candidates continue to be asked by companies with which they interview is “Why are you interested in us?”.
    Fair enough, it’s a valid question, completely understandable.  It’s a question that I have always asked when interviewing people to join our business (although not usually so directly to try to avoid receiving a canned, template answer).  Most employers want to hire people who want to work for that company.
    However, if a candidate does not have a ‘good enough’ answer – maybe they simply need a job, or they are attracted by the compensation, or they don’t have passion for said business but they are open to it – I (now) think it is rash to reject them for it.  I was not always so forgiving but I have had to change with the times and market forces.
    It remains a candidate short market – in Tokyo, for sure, and probably in many markets globally – and employees would help themselves by not shutting the door too quickly on candidates, especially those with the skills and experience that the employer wants, just because the person may have a great reason for wanting to join a company other than that she wants/needs a job, and she is qualified for the role.  Or he may simply be meeting with the company, not because he even needs to make a job change but because he is curious and/or open to listening.
    Sure, that may mean the employer needs to do a little more selling to persuade the person to join, or the employer may need to take a chance on a candidate who doesn’t appear 100% passionate about the employer’s business.  However, if that candidate can solve a short-term problem caused by an open position, and you then have the opportunity every day to sell them on the benefits of working for your business long-term, why not cut them a little slack and take the risk?
    We all want to find people who are perfect for our open roles and who are dying to work for our businesses.  Those people are extremely rare, if not impossible to find (if someone is perfect for a particular role, she is probably aiming for a more senior role or a different challenge; such is the mindset of high performers).  Let’s take a few more leaps of faith, cut people a little slack, put on our selling caps, and recognize that the market remains candidate short and highly competitive.  None of us can change that but we can do our best to try to navigate it and make hires.

    Posted by 

    Paul Cochrane

    Private Practice, Compliance, In-house Corporate

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