Career in Japan: Recruitment Sector

Interested in working in Japan? Teaching English isn’t the only way in. Hiring, recruitment, or staffing - these industries are booming in Japan due to a shortage of workers caused by social issues. Learn more about recruitment in Japan and get ready for a new career.

Table of Contents

  1. Japan’s Recruitment Sector
  2. Building Your Career as a Recruiter
  3. Working as a Recruiter
  4. Known Japan Recruitment Agencies
  5. Summary

Japan’s Recruitment Sector

Japan is known for its social issues namely labour shortages caused by low birth rate and aging population. To resolve this issue, Japan has started welcoming foreigners to fill the labour void. This is where the recruitment industry comes in and has drastically grown, and is still continuing to do so. There is no shortage of recruiter positions to be filled in Japan, so if you are fluent in English with decent proficiency in Japanese, consider starting a career in talent acquisition in Japan.

※ Japan Today, “Inside the World of Recruitment

Employment Laws in Japan

As someone in the recruitment industry, naturally you will be deeply involved in employment as well. It is therefore of utmost importance to educate yourself on the employment law in Japan, not only to answer job seekers' questions but to ensure hiring companies compliance to Japan’s employment laws. 

While many organizations have their own work regulations (就業規則), all organizations must comply with the legislative working rules as follows: 

  • Statutory working hours of no more than 40 hours a week.

  • Overtime is strictly monitored. Notification must be submitted to the labour office if exceeding the statutory working hours or statutory day offs, and this is subject to an upper limit.

  • Overtime pay and work on holiday pay must be compensated according to labour guidelines.

  • Employees that have worked for 6 months must be given paid leave. Days of paid leave given is based on duration of service to the organization.

  • Special leave for maternity, childcare, and family care must be given if the employee is entitled for it.

※ Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO), "4.5 Legislation on working hours, breaks and days off"
※ Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), “Labour Standards

Recruitment Agency vs Employment Agency

Recruitment agencies and employment agencies; these terms are used interchangeably making it difficult to distinguish them.  Both agencies aim to fill positions for open jobs, but have different ways in doing so.  

Recruitment Agency

Recruitment agencies service the hiring organization or job provider. They will receive information about vacant position(s) from their client including job title, job description, candidate qualifications, and more. A recruiter will be assigned who will then scout suitable candidates to fill the position. 

Employment Agency

Employment agencies serve the job seekers. They will receive information about the job seekers including resume or CV, job aspirations, expected salary and job benefits, and more. Their aim is to assist with the job seekers successful employment or job change by matching them with suitable vacancies.

Building Your Career as a Recruiter

Establishing your career as a recruiter in Japan can be very exciting. You get to experience living in a different culture and meet lots of interesting people. Listening to their life stories and helping them pave their future sounds fulfilling, doesn’t it!

Basic Requirements to be a Recruiter

Interested in joining recruiting? 

Generally, companies look for recruiters with the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a relevant field of study like human resource management, business admin, or even psychology  

  • Relevant work experience in the field

  • Fluent in English with minimum business level Japanese proficiency

While not necessarily a requirement, the following will help:

  • Recruiting certifications like SHRM to boost your credibility.

  • Specialist in a particular industry like recruitment in legal, sales, or IT.

  • A large social network you can call upon to fill a position, give recommendations, or offer positions.

Alternative Titles for the Term Recruiter

Recruiter is a pretty general term for the position. When finding a job in recruitment, look out for these titles that can mean recruiter or have similar roles and responsibilities:

  • Headhunter

  • Recruitment Specialist

  • Career Consultant

  • Talent Sourcing Specialist

Finding a Job as a Recruiter

The process for getting a job in recruitment is just the same as any other job. You decide  what type of recruiter you want to be, start the job hunt, apply for positions, prepare for interviews, get interviewed. Rinse and repeat till you finally get a job. Thereafter, you’ll also need to go through the troublesome but worthwhile visa application process. When you’re all ready, pack your bags and set off for Japan. 

※ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Visa: Work or Long-term Stay

Where to apply for recruiting positions?

In this modern age, finding a job vacancy is a single click away. As Japan’s recruitment sector continues to grow, there is no shortage of recruiter vacancies. Whether its job search sites, recruitment sites, or direct application to recruitment agencies, finding a job vacancy is an easy feat, landing the job on the other hand is a different story. The key is to not give up.

Working as a Recruiter

What are the day-to-day tasks in the life of a recruiter?

No two days are the same in the life of a recruiter. Your duties may include:

Matching job positions and candidates including

- Resume reviewing

- Scheduling interviews

- Preparing candidates for interview

- Updating hiring companies on stage of recruitment 

- Talent search on different avenues like LinkedIn, Jobstreet, and similar interfaces


- Networking 

- Branding and advertising strategy

- Talent attraction or headhunting

and so on!

What are the difficulties of being a recruiter?

The most common difficulties as a recruiter are attracting the right talent, persuading qualified candidates, speed, and taking rejection. Not to worry, most of these are solvable with the right mindset and flexibility in trying new ways of recruiting. Do note that some recruitment companies set recruiter quotas or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) which can make the job particularly stressful, so make sure to inquire during the interview stage. With so many recruitment agencies and job positions available, candidates find it easy to reject recruiters so don’t feel too badly about it.

What makes one a good recruiter? 

A good recruiter is said to possess the following qualities:

  • Empathy

  • Open mindedness

  • Time management skills

  • Interpersonal and communication skills

It is very important for a recruiter to provide a good experience to jobseekers, whether or not a job match is made. An unsuccessful match in the present does not mean the same for the future. A good experience will bring clients back. Provide useful feedback to both a candidate and the hiring organization. When rejecting a candidate, offer points for improvement and open to any questions.

Known Japan Recruitment Agencies

There are over 7,000 recruitment agencies in Japan. Here are some of them you may be interested to work for:

Hays Specialist Recruitment

Hays Specialist Recruitment is one of the known recruitment agencies not just in Japan but across the globe! First established in London, it has since branched out to establish over thirty offices worldwide.

Velocity Global

Velocity Global was established in 2014. Velocity Global’s branch in Japan is a PEO, focused on providing the quickest turnaround time in sourcing and onboarding talents without compromising its quality.

Japan Recruitment Group

The Japan Recruitment Group was established in Japan to specialize mostly in IT, restaurant, and translation industries. This company aspires to be the number one recruitment agency in Japan.

Others include Michael Page, Robert Walters Japan, Recruit, Pasona, and many many more. 


Starting a recruitment career in Japan is no easy task. Between completing your studies, mastering Japanese, and understanding the work culture here, there’s a long road before being ready. But with passion and determination, you too can be a top recruiter in Japan.

You don't have to worry alone anymore A Q&A community about Japan

Related articles

Headhunting for Talent in Japan

There is a growing trend in Japan where recruitment agencies, or ‘headhunters’, supply the workforce demand of employers. Take a look at how headhunters play a crucial role in Japan's ...

Work Job-hunting change jobs mid-career job ad/opportunity

Understanding the Concept of Japan Internships

An internship is a great way to experience work life in another country, or to improve your knowledge within an area of expertise, and those in Japan are no different. Read on to learn more about inte...

Work visa internship

Japan Visa: Can you change your tourist visa to a working visa in Japan? and other topics

Japan draws people from all over the world but in order to enter and work in Japan, you need a visa. And sometimes, you need to change your visa status - most people do so they can work. So what does ...

Work Changing Visa Status Work Visa Student Visa visa marriage visa

Start a Business in Japan: A Brief Guide

As Japan embraces diversity and welcomes foreigners into their midst, foreigners gain the opportunity to start business in Japan. For a successful venture, it is imperative that one be equipped with t...

Work Work Visa

Career in Japan: Becoming an Accountant

Are you an aspiring accountant, or perhaps a qualified accountant, looking to work in Japan? Starting a career in a different country can be stressful, especially when encountering the unknown. To pre...

Work qualification/certification exam accountant

Our website uses Cookies with the goal of improving our accessibility and quality. Please click "Agree" if you agree to our usage of Cookies. To see more details about how our company uses Cookies, please take a look here.

Cookie Policy