January 25, 2006

The eternal job search

I don’t think I’ve complained about this whole jobhunting saga quite enough on here.

In my weekly/daily search for new job ads I recently came across a couple from Japanese organisations. After an interview at one such organisation a few weeks ago I have decided that I definitely don’t want to work in the ‘Japan-community’, so to speak. It just feels too limiting and constraining. I wouldn’t mind at all if Japan and Japan-related things would be part of a job, but I don’t want to be involved exclusively with Japan. There’s so much more out there that I want to become involved with!
[and yes, this may sound weird coming from someone whose life has been centered around Japan fairly intensively - but luckily, not exclusively - for the past eight years]

But anyway, as I said, job ads.

It surprises me how unprofessionally Japanese organisations deal with recruiting. I have become used to ads which have all the information you could want for most other organisations. And if that information wouldn’t be enough, it gives you plenty of ways of getting in touch with the organisation to get more. And, most things go by email or an online application. Which is really the way I think it should be.

Not so with Japanese organisations. One ad was quite surprising. The qualifications/requirements specifically stated (and these were first on the list) that the successful applicant has to be female and between 25-30 years old. Isn’t that illegal in many countries? I thought it wasn’t allowed to select on age/gender/appearance.
Another ad asked to send a photograph along with the cv and cover letter. I thought it was a bit weird, but I’ve heard that it’s common in other countries to always include a photograph (it is in Japan, at least).

What else, most ads do not give any names or phonenumbers to contact for questions about the vacancy or the selection process. Even the letter I received after applying for the above job didn’t include any way for me to contact the organisation for feedback on my interview (it’s beside the point that I don’t need/want to do that).

Maybe I should become a HR-person for these organisations. At least these last few months have given me plenty of insight on recruitment!


Cookie time said...

as i read this i thought, you should be a consultant for japanese organisations who look for staff abroad. But you kinda figured that one out yourself... so much for my bright ideas ;-) But seriously, why not give that idea a try!

bonny said...

It's undeniable that Asian countries have strong discriminations when they are recruiting, not only Japan. And the fact is they don't even try to hide it.

When I am in UVA, I was also surprised to find faltering man working as a receiptionist in the information center; freaky faced woman working as a library loaner; handicaped old lady working as a secretary.

Asia should pay more attention to the human rights.

machiruda said...

Uhm, cookie, did you read my first paragraph? ;-) Plus, in one of my p/t jobs I also did contracts/social security/CAO issues and that sort of put me off the whole HR-field... But who knows, I still think of the Japan-thing as a last resort to use when I really can't find anything else.

Bonny, I think obvious administrative jobs are still very much for females to do. If I look around at my current place of work, all the secretaries and most of the other supporting staff is female. The people who actually do what the organisation is for are 95% male.
I don't know if it's necessarily a human rights issue (although that depends on definition). But here the idea is that at least everyone should have an equal chance.

Jules said...

Interesting, since I've also been applying for jobs (most of them overseas) and some of the blantant discrimination freaks me out. Some of the ads specify age (eg, "under the age of 40 years old"), some specify nationality (not just which passport you should hold, but also "[insert nationality] need not apply") and some whether they want male/female applicants.

As someone who already works in HR, I find it really disturbing - picking the right person for the job should have nothing to do with their nationality, age or gender, but whether they are competent and capable individuals who can do the job.

machiruda said...

Jules, isn't the nationality thing about arranging visa's etc? It is always a requirement for the kind of jobs I describe above to have the right to work in the Netherlands (if, most likely, a Japanese person would be applying).

I'm not sure about other European countries but the Netherlands now has the regulation that if a company hires someone from outside the EU, it needs to prove that there are no better or equally qualified people inside the EU for the same job. And they go far in making you prove this!

At one Japanese company where I worked at we came across this same problem when we were trying to get work and residency permits for some of the staff. They would be working in a fully Japanese company, working with Japanese products, nothing labelled in English or Dutch, and still the authorities weren't convinced of the necessity to have a (native) Japanese-speaker for the job! Sooo frustrating.

In what kind of countries are you applying? I can imagine that it must be really annoying to come across these specific requirements so often. Luckily I don't see it too much for the jobs that I want, but I guess government needs to set the right example, or something?

bonny said...

machiruda chan, if you had worked in a Japanese company before,I suppose you will find amusement in Stupeur Et Tremblements by Amelie Nothomb (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/2253150711/qid=1138555969/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-3398709-2635126?n=507846&s=books&v=glance). There is also a film for it--Fear and Trembling(http://www.cinemaguild.com/fearandtrembling/)

Or...maybe you have already seen it?

machiruda said...

Bonny, thanks for the link. I've heard about the book/film but have heard very mixed things about both. Should really read/see them once... could be interesting, and I'm sure I'll be able to identify with her sometimes!

Jules said...

Jules, isn't the nationality thing about arranging visa's etc? It is always a requirement for the kind of jobs I describe above to have the right to work in the Netherlands (if, most likely, a Japanese person would be applying).

Nope, not about Visas, but about "company preference" for nationality. The jobs I have been applying for have been expat roles. I can understand the whole EU thing (or getting a work visa), but in these particular cases, its been more about "Oh, people from the US/UK/EU/Australia/South Africa/whatever are the kind that we want in management roles, so don't bother applying if you are from the Indian Sub-continent/Asia/Africa" (no, they don't specifically say that, but they do say something like "UK/US/SA/EU/Aus educated" which is basically the same thing).

If you're curious, I'll email some of the ads to you - makes for interesting reading!