Ask the Japan Recruiter

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Takako, a recruiter in our Tokyo office, talks about our recruiting and interview process in Japan, and gives advice to potential candidates.


Can you tell us about your background with Goldman Sachs and your recruiting responsibilities?
I joined the Goldman Sachs campus recruiting team just over three years ago covering two divisions, Global Investment Research and Securities. Now I also help cover the Investment Banking, Merchant Banking, Investment Management and Operations divisions and my focus is to recruit candidates to work in these divisions in Japan.

In 2014, Goldman Sachs reaches a milestone in Japan.  Can you tell us about that?
We are really excited because in 2014 we will be celebrating our fortieth year of the office opening in Japan.  It is an important milestone, especially for our senior managers in Japan today who were campus hires and have been with the firm for a long time. They really help to reinforce the culture of the firm and show candidates how the firm provides long-term career opportunities. The celebration is really about having worked with our clients through the decades and having established a culture and presence in Japan that we're very proud of.

What are some of the qualifications and skills you look for in candidates?
We look for team players. Teamwork is really important to us, so we like candidates to demonstrate how they have worked in a team setting. Our working environment is also very fast-paced with many types of clients, we want people who like to work in situations like this and who can be flexible in responding to client needs with sometimes tight deadlines.

Not all, but many of our positions require some Japanese language skills in order to work and engage with local clients. Individuals with international experience—for example, those who study outside of Japan—are also strong candidates because their experience can be valuable to working in a global environment like we have at Goldman Sachs. Diversity is important to us and we encourage qualified people with different backgrounds and experiences to consider the opportunities we have in Japan.

What is the recruiting process like in Japan?  What are the deadlines?
We have two distinct recruiting cycles. The first is for students at local universities in Japan and takes place a little over one year in advance of actually joining as a new hire—for example, we are currently recruiting students who will join us in 2015. The other cycle is for students who are studying outside of Japan and the timelines are similar to those in the US. 

Can you describe the interview process as it relates to Japan?
Within a couple weeks after the application deadline has passed, we notify the candidates who we are interested in speaking with.  The next step is for the candidates to come in for a first-round, in-person interview or phone interview depending on the candidate’s location. Each division has a slightly different process after that, in terms of the number of interviews and who within each division or team will meet each candidate. Typically, the second-round interview is with senior managers, or it is structured as a "super day" where the candidate can meet with a number of people in one day. Usually there are three or four steps as part of the interview process.

What advice would you offer to someone who will be interviewing with you?
An interview is a great opportunity for a candidate to present who they are and what they can offer to Goldman Sachs and our clients. It's important for a candidate to think about their strengths and weaknesses before the interview and be prepared to discuss their academic or work experiences. My advice is for a candidate to have a list of three things—perhaps most significant achievements—that sets them apart from other candidates.