Executive Search in Japan

Your connection to the most talented professionals in Japan.

The benefits of Apex's executive search services

Make your ideal hire by headhunting passive candidates from industry leading companies

Make your ideal hire by headhunting passive candidates from industry-leading companies

When it comes to hiring, many managers face the same problem: They can't find qualified candidates. The perfect person for the job may not be actively looking for a new position or they may not even be aware that your company exists. That's where headhunting comes in. We are experts in headhunting passive, bilingual professionals from the world's most successful companies. With our award-winning executive search strategies and specializations across industries and functions, we are confident in our ability to help you hire transformational talent that exceeds your requirements.

Expedite your interview process by only meeting Japan's most talented candidates

Expedite your interview process by only meeting Japan's most talented candidates

In a candidate driven market, time spent reviewing CVs and interviewing potential candidates can be the difference between making a hire and losing out to the competition. At Apex, we understand the importance of time in the hiring process. That's why we only introduce CVs of the most qualified candidates for the role you're looking to fill. On average, we aim to introduce just 5 exceptional CVs for each role, versus 25 average CVs from other agencies.

Build a successful business by retaining the employees you hire

Build a successful business by retaining the employees you hire

Achieving long-term success as a business depends on your ability to retain the employees you hire. You make a significant investment in both time and money when onboarding new staff, so it's crucial to do everything you can to keep them with your company. We have a proven track record of placing candidates who stay employed past the first 90 days. In fact, 98.9% of the candidates we place are still with their respective companies after three months.

Request to hire the best talent in Japan.

Hire Talent

Are you looking to hire top talent in Japan?

What differentiates Apex from the competition is quality. Every candidate is evaluated alongside a 7-point checklist to determine if they will be a good fit for your role and company. This focus on quality over quantity has been the source of our growth and success. Contact us today to get started on your search.

Your connection to the most talented and qualified professionals in Japan

Executive search metrics for successfully placed candidates

  • Time to hire of placed candidates

    01

    Less than 20 days

    9.9%

    ​02

    20 - 39 days

    30.7%

    03

    40 - 59 days

    25.3%

    04

    60 - 79 days

    16.0%

    ​05

    80 - 99 days

    ​5.6%

    06

    More than 99​ days

    12.4%

  • Salary distribution of placed candidates

    01

    Less than ¥10,000,000

    41.6%

    ​02

    ¥10,000,000 - ¥14,999,999

    37.4%

    03

    ¥15,000,000 - ¥19,999,999

    14.6%

    04

    ¥20,000,000 - ¥24,999,999

    4.2%

    05

    ¥25,000,000 - ¥29,999,999

    0.9%

    06

    ​More than ¥29,999,999​

    1.3%

  • Age distribution of placed candidates

    01

    Less than 30 years old

    2.0%

    ​02

    30 - 34 years old

    8.3%

    03

    35-39 years old

    10.5%

    04

    40 - 44 years old

    21.5%

    05

    45 - 49 years old

    23.5%

    06​

    50 - 54 years old

    19.1%

    07

    More than 54 years old

    15.0%

Specialized hiring support across 10 industries

Visit our industry pages to learn more about our functional coverage.

  • Pharmaceutical
  • Legal & Compliance
  • Medical Device
  • Technology
  • Life Science & Diagnostics
  • Human Resources
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Supply Chain & Procurement
  • Consumer
  • Banking & Financial Services

Hiring service flow

  • 01

    Step 1. Kickoff meeting with Apex

    ※​We will assign a project lead who will serve as the main point of contact throughout the search process. The project lead will schedule a kickoff meeting with you to discuss the positions specifications, target companies, ideal candidates, search strategy, and timeline.

  • 02

    Step 2. Identify the target candidates for the roll

    ※​We will create a target list of ideal candidates that fit your specifications. This will be done through a combination of market research, database searches, and networking.

  • 03

    Meet with the target candidates

    ※​We will meet with the target candidates to get a better understanding of their skills, drive, and motivation. This will help us narrow down the candidate pool to the best possible match for your company.

  • 04

    Step 4. Facilitate the interview process

    ※​We will manage interview scheduling, provide regular feedback to confirm alignment with hiring needs, and continuously optimize results until an offer is signed.

  • 05

    Step 5. Offer negotiation

    ​※We will handle negotiations on behalf of you and the candidate to close the deal with a win-win outcome.

  • 06

    Step 6. Resignation

    ※​​We will provide consultation and support to newly hired candidate to ensure a smooth and certain resignation.

  • 07

    Step 7. Ongoing Assistance

    ※​We will be available for ongoing assistance to both you and the hired candidate to ensure a successful transition and onboarding process.

  • Hiring options and cost structure

    Retained search

    A retained search is where you retain Apex to conduct the search. This includes market mapping, candidate search, candidate selection, and onboarding assistance. We typically use a team of consultants, project managers, and researchers to conduct this entire process. The search is commonly structured in a 3 tiered goalpost framework but can be customized to fit your particular search requirements and needs. Following each of these 3 goalposts, we will invoice you roughly 1/3 of the agreed-upon rate.

    Types of searches most ideal for a retained search

    • Searches for C-level or high-level stakeholders within the organization (e.g. CEO, Production Site Head, Head of Sales, Country Manager)

    • Highly specialized searches in niche markets (eg. Medical Doctors placed into Pharmaceutical companies, searches targeting the direct competitors’ executives)

    • High level of confidentiality is needed (eg. Replacement of executive, various negative outcomes if search becomes public)

    • Searches where partial or full market mapping is necessary in order to make a hiring decision

    • Stakeholder(s) need full visibility and trackable accountability on all aspects of the search activities and results

  • Hiring options and cost structure

    Exclusive contingency search

    An exclusive contingency search combines many of the service levels of a retained search, but similar to a contingency search, the fee is only paid to Apex after we successfully introduce a candidate who joins your company. There is only one invoice and it is sent on the candidate’s first day of employment. Similar to a retained search, the search will be carried out exclusively by Apex. This exclusivity can range in duration and is set at the start of the search agreement. These searches typically are not advertised on our website, job boards, and social media, but some exceptions may apply.

    Types of searches most ideal for exclusive contingency search

    • Management-level or above role that is new to the market but the client does not want all of the market to know about the search

    • Search demands ‘Quality’ over ‘Quantity’: Advanced level of partnership between client and search firm. Search firm assures screening candidates to the highest quality standards and only introduces profiles of on-target professionals to client

    • Confidential searches or those still within the planning stages

  • Hiring options and cost structure

    Contingency search

    A contingency search covers a broad range of searches but has one universal meaning: The fee is only paid to Apex after we successfully introduce a candidate who joins your company. There is only one invoice and it is sent on the candidate’s first day of employment. These searches might simultaneously be advertised on our website, job boards, and social media.

    Types of searches most ideal for contingency search

    • Non-confidential roles where speed is key and access to broad market range and many applicants will be necessary

    • Client has internal HR or applicant screening team to review applicants and manage search firms

    • Typically used most in non-management-level roles

Shape

Hear from our client partners

  • We appreciate the good and timely consulting support from the best Apex consultant, especially their specific selection of good candidates according to our job description requirements and requests.

    Manager, Life Science Company
  • ​The consultants with Apex are well-recognized recruitment professionals in Japan. Their many years of in-depth experience, together with their integrity and prudent approach, make them ideal recruiters when you need to find the right candidate.

    General Counsel, European Financial Instituiton

Frequently asked questions

Q1. How soon can we start the executive search process?

A. We can start the search immediately once we have confirmed the role you are hiring for. Contracts can be negotiated during the search process to reduce potential delays in hiring your ideal candidate.

Q2. How long does it take to complete an executive search?

A. We have a successful track record of completing most searches within 2 to 4 months. Of course, the length of the search will vary greatly depending on industry, function, role, confidentiality, seniority level, urgency, and search type requested.

Q3. How many candidates do you provide career consultation services to?

A. Apex actively provides career consultation services to more than 35,000 of Japan's most talented professionals.

Q4. Do you provide Japan market entry support?

A. Yes, we has supported global brands and startups with market entry to Japan for over 12 years. Our team will guide you through the complexities of making your first key hire, formally establishing your business, and arranging all necessary functions essential to operating successfully in Japan.

Q5.How involved will you be in the interview process?

A. We will manage interview scheduling between both parties to ensure everything goes smoothly and milestones are met. Throughout the interview process we will manage interview scheduling, provide regular feedback to confirm alignment with hiring needs, and continuously optimize results until an offer is signed.

Q6. What are the different search options Apex offers?

A. Apex mainly offers 3 search options: Contingency search, exclusive contingency search, and retained search. The best option will vary greatly depending on the confidentiality, seniority level, and urgency of the role. For this reason, we recommend you speak with an Apex Consultant to learn which option is best suited for your hiring needs.

Q7. What are the different payment options?

A. Payment options are dependant on the search type. For example, with a contingency search, the fee is only paid to Apex after we successfully introduce a candidate who joins your company. With a retained search, the fee is commonly paid in 3 installments. Since this search type is commonly structured in a 3 tiered goalpost framework, we will invoice you roughly 1/3 of the agreed upon rate following the completion of each goal.

Q8. Are there specific industries that Apex specializes in?

A. Apex specializes in 10 industries: Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Life Science & Diagnostics, Technology, Legal & Compliance, Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Banking & Financial Services, Supply Chain & Procurement, and Consumer.

Successful hiring case studies

  • ​Search assignment

    Head of QA & CMC at a global biotechnology company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The top priority candidate was internally promoted and wanted to pull out of the interview process midway

    • The client needed a candidate who could cover both QA and CMC at a very high level

    • This was a replacement position, so the client needed the search done in the most confidential way

    151 Days

    Time to Hire

    27 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    8 Candidate

    Candidates Introduced

    1 Candidate

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​​Search assignment

    APAC Market Access, Associate Director at a global pharmaceutical company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • Defining the profile for the role including their priorities for market access, access vs pricing, and how to find the ideal candidate in the market

    • The client wanted a candidate with APAC experience and fluent-level English

    • The candidate pool that matched the exact requirements was limited

    61 Days

    Time to Hire

    6 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Legal Counsel at a global healthcare company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client wanted to hire a senior-level female candidate with relevant legal experience to match the expectations of a Legal Head role

    • The candidates were concerned if their job responsibilities would be limited since the client was a subsidiary company of a prestigious global company

    25 Days

    Time to Hire

    53 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    2 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Head of Legal at a global pharmaceutical company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The budget for the role could not exceed ¥20,000,000

    • The client wanted to hire a qualified bengoshi that has experience working at a healthcare company

    56 Days

    Time to Hire

    37 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    7 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Marketing Director at a global medical device company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client wanted a candidate from a top-tier medical device or pharmaceutical company

    • The client wanted the candidate to have experience as a marketing head, business unit head, or country manager

    • The client strongly preferred MBA candidates

    41 Days

    Time to Hire

    16 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Business Director at a global medical device company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client wanted a candidate that has experience with the business development of new products

    • The client wanted a highly motivated business development leader for this new role

    • The client wanted a candidate with business-level English to communicate with global

    63 Days

    Time to Hire

    57 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    6 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    President at a healthcare technology company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client wanted a candidate that had start-up experience and could build a company from the ground up

    • The client wanted a candidate with exposure to the healthcare industry in Japan

    • The client wanted a fully bilingual candidate

    68 Days

    Time to Hire

    15 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    10 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    5 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Customer Success Director at a software automation company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The budget was considered low for a director-level role

    • The client wanted a candidate that could speak fluent English and Japanese

    • The client wanted a candidate with customer support experience at a SaaS company

    22 Days

    Time to Hire

    37 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    7 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    5 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Field Application Scientist at a global life science company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client wanted a young candidate with a PhD in biology

    • The client wanted the candidate to have experience in cell culture, cell biology, or molecular biology

    • The client did not have a legal company entity (K.K.) established in Japan

    76 Days

    Time to Hire

    81 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    9 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    2 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Marketing Director at a global life science company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client is a well-known company within a niche area in the market with certain ‘must have’ qualifications

    • The client's reputation had been damaged to due high turnover in recent months

    • Stakeholders globally had different expectations for what was the ideal fit

    80 Days

    Time to Hire

    28 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    6 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    2 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​​Search assignment

    Head of HR at a global pharmaceutical company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client needed a fully bilingual candidate with a global mindset to transition the company in Japan

    • The candidates were unsure about the company's future because of a change in leadership at the top

    34 Days

    Time to Hire

    52 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    13 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    8 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    HR Manager at a global apparel company in Japan

    Search challenges

    ​​​​• The client wanted a candidate that has worked as an HRBP for a multinational organization in the retail industry

    ​​​​• The client wanted a candidate with business-level English to provide insights to HR peers across different regions

    ​​​​• The client wanted a candidate that could regularly travel to world headquarters in the United States

    20 Days

    Time to Hire

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    2 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    1 Candidate

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Head of Finance at a global biotechnology company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client wanted a native Japanese candidate that can also speak English fluently

    • The client wanted a candidate who is a team contributor and self-motivated

    34 Days

    Time to Hire

    27 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    10 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    2 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Senior Manager of Finance at a global biotechnology company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client wanted a candidate that has recently worked at a pharmaceutical company

    • The client wanted a fully bilingual candidate

    • The client wanted a candidate who is more than 10 years of FP&A experience

    52 Days

    Time to Hire

    24 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    11 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    4 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Operations Director at a risk management company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client wanted the top operations candidate in Japan

    • The candidate they wanted had already received offers from 4 competitors in the industry

    39 Days

    Time to Hire

    11 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    2 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Head of Supply Chain at a global medical device company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client's interview process is rigorous and requires thorough preparation

    • The client's reputation had been damaged to due work-life balance concerns

    29 Days

    Time to Hire

    25 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    8 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    5 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Country Manager at a global e-commerce company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client was a startup and completely unknown in Japan

    • The candidate pool with e-commerce experience is very limited in Japan

    38 Days

    Time to Hire

    53 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    10 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    5 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Head of Sales at a global luxury appliance company in Japan

    Search challenges

    • The client did not have a job description because the role was brand new and still in the planning stages

    • The client wanted a candidate that could communicate with HQ to work on sales plans, product development, and strategy

    39 Days

    Time to Hire

    11 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    3 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    2 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

  • ​Search assignment

    Futures Sales Head at a global investment bank in Japan

    99 Days

    Time to Hire

    6 Candidates

    Candidates Approached

    6 Candidates

    Candidates Introduced

    4 Candidates

    Candidates Interviewed

Meet our industry specialized consultants

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