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Careers in the Professional Service Industry -Advice from a Recruiter

​What are some common mistakes that hurt a candidate’s chances of being hired? What is generally the most important factor that weighs into hiring decisions in the professional services industry? What advice would you offer to someone looking to change jobs in this industry? In order to navigate these questions and others, we sat down with a member of our Professional Services team, Claire Anderson. Here’s what she had to say:

What kinds of positions does the professional services team cover?

Our team recruits for staff who would typically known as the “Back Office”, such as Accounting and Finance, Human Resources, and Executive Assistants. These are the positions behind the scenes that keep a company running. I personally specialize in the Human Resources industry.

Are there any current market trend that are affecting the way companies are hiring?

At the moment, most organizations have more open positions than they have candidates applying to work there.  Between Japan’s aging workforce and the upcoming Olympic Games, there are not enough skilled candidates to fill these roles. As a result, we’ve seen many back office employees moving across into new industries that they have never worked in before. 

What are companies looking for in a candidate?

Companies are seeking out young and energetic candidates. They want employees that will stay in their organization for years to come, and who have a drive for their work.  As well as this, the need for bilingual candidates has risen as companies are being more globalized.

Have you seen any common mistakes that candidates make that hurt their changes of getting hired?

Not enough flexibility is one of the most common reasons a candidate does not begin in a new position. Being inflexible at the interviewing stage with location, time, day, starting period, can put employers off as they want to see your passion for their company.  If a potential employer doesn’t think you’re willing to meet with them they will be less likely to make an offer. 

In your experience, have you noticed a most important factor in whether or not a candidate gets hired?

One of the most important factors for whether or not a candidate gets hired is whether, at the interview stage, they are able to clearly explain their past experience and how it will add value to the company. Candidates should always be prepared to discuss their own experiences and think about how they can add value to the company in this position. 

What should a candidate expect to be asked tin an interview?

Interviewers commonly ask candidates to define the responsibilities of the position in which they are applying for. They want to make sure the candidate has a strong understanding of the role, how it relates to the business, and how someone can exceed expectations in this position.

How can a candidate differentiate themselves from other applicants?

Candidates can make themselves stand out by displaying high energy and confidence in their interviews. It is also important for candidates to communicate their passion for the company they are applying to and what they do. Companies want employees that are excited about their jobs and what the company accomplishes.

What is the most important piece of advice you would give to someone looking to change jobs?

I would say the most important thing for a candidate to do is to research the company they are applying to. It is essential for them to be aware of what the company does, what they value, and have a general idea of their culture. I then recommend that candidates present their knowledge of this into their answers during an interview.

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