Alex Kim: traversing recruitment challenges across Tokyo
Deciding to study abroad is a bold step forward for anyone. Making the move permanent is even more so, especially for a full nine years. Alex, born and raised in South Korea, has shifted seamlessly from university to several HR positions, across multiple industries, before settling into his current position at Resource Solutions, Japan.
In his context, settling is possibly not the correct word – Alex craves a challenge, and this shows through as he shares his career story with us, fresh off a candidate call in Japan. Read on as he talks about his experiences and how the lessons learned have helped him grow.
What is your current role & what is a typical day like?
I’m currently an Associate Recruiter, sitting on-site with one of Resource Solutions’ semiconductor clients in Tokyo, Japan. My primary responsibility here is high volume hiring for specific engineering positions across the country, and for this I work alongside the client’s hiring managers and Resource Solutions’ sourcing team. Our client’s looking to double their teams in some of these areas in the next few years, so hiring can get hectic at times!
A typical day is spent reviewing the status of positions we’re looking to fill, before getting into the actual process of finding the talent. I’m involved in every aspect of the recruitment journey, from CV screening and shortlisting to onboarding, which we execute alongside the client’s HR team.
What did you do prior to working at Resource Solutions?
After graduating from university, I actually started my career off in sales, connecting manufacturing suppliers from abroad with local clients. My interest in HR was piqued then, which prompted a switch to a small employment agency which focused on supporting international candidates in Japan. Here, I functioned as a career and recruitment advisor for both candidates and clients.
My next adventure was as a HR Manager for a small mobile game company in Tokyo, which had a unique team makeup – out of 30-odd employees, 70% of them were from abroad, a dynamic that posed several unique challenges. As there was no HR team in place before I joined, I basically got to build everything from scratch, from employee policies to training and benefits. However, recruitment was my biggest passion, and I derived the most joy from understanding the talent shortages faced by each team, and delivering them the right people with minimal disruption.
After two years running solo, I realised that a new direction was due – one where I could work with a great Recruitment team, while rediscovering the latest standards of the market from the professionals. Yoko-san, a Recruitment Consultant from Robert Walters, recommended an opening at Resource Solutions, and the rest is history.
What do you enjoy about working onsite in your existing RPO setup?
I enjoy the trust accorded to us by our clients. Our relationship with the client basically puts us in charge of all things recruitment, which allows me large measures of freedom to work on tasks quickly, making fast-paced hiring far easier. Of course, this comes with a corresponding degree of responsibility!
This trust is inherent within our team as well. I was recently promoted to my existing Associate Recruiter position, which has expanded my scope of work. This does mean more obstacles to overcome, but the support rendered by Resource Solutions and the client have made these new challenges far more attainable. I can feel myself growing, and it shows in the appraisals and my nominations in our quarterly awards program. I can proudly tell my loved ones that I’m doing a better job day-by-day.
After some time with the RPO model, has your experience at Resource Solutions been different from what you initially envisioned?
I did have some negative impressions about an RPO setup initially, but these were unfounded! Initially, I was concerned that an RPO team would be considered as just hiring support. Being treated at outsiders instead of partners would be detrimental to any working relationship, but I took it on anyway, considering it part of the challenge I sought to face.
My team is fully trusted by our client, and our individual and team opinions and insights are respected. It’s clear that they hired us to do a job – hire great people at great speed – and fully believe in our abilities. Along with support from the Resource Solutions leadership and management, we’re given an excellent platform to strive for success.
What are the main challenges in your role with Resource Solutions?
The transition to high-volume hiring is a main challenge. There is only so much time per day to uncover and secure top talent, and therefore effective time management is key.
Add that to the technical nature of the roles we’re hiring for, and you’ll have quite the challenge, especially if you’re not from a Semiconductor or Manufacturing background! I’ve been proactive about this, absorbing what I can from training, and picking up the rest of the jargon from teammates and hiring managers during their conversations with candidates.
Who do you find the working conditions and culture at Resource Solutions?
There’s plenty of flexibility here at Resource Solutions – we’re given the option to work remotely. Not having to head to the office unless it’s completely necessary saves us time and allows us to focus on our tasks at hand. There’s been no drop-off in team support despite the reduced face time, and my manager, Kavi, encourages open dialogue about any concerns, whether professional or personal.
We emulate this supportive spirit amongst the team as well, trying to respond to each other’s queries in good time and caring for each other outside of our daily duties. There’s great respect for each other, a hallmark of the great work we do together.
What career path do you see yourself taking at Resource Solutions?
I see myself continuing to grow in seniority with Resource Solutions, getting to test my mettle against a wider range of recruitment needs. Aside from this, I’d like to get involved with process development alongside my client, streamlining areas of ambiguity and applying my end-to-end recruitment knowledge in new, innovative ways.
If someone was thinking about joining Resource Solutions, how would you describe the company and your experience?
If you’re looking to become a world-class recruitment professional, Resource Solutions is a very good place to be! Most clients that choose to work with an RPO usually have unique recruitment problems they can’t solve themselves, so anyone looking to join can expect to see challenges you won’t encounter elsewhere. This environment is an excellent platform for career growth, and Resource Solutions’ caring work culture and flexible work arrangement offerings give you the best support you can ask for as you take on these new challenges.
Are you ready for an exciting new career, or already a recruiter and looking for your next challenge? Browse our vacancies.