Why did you choose this Internship program?
I have always dreamed to see the world before getting old in age. I have decided to further my studies outside of Japan and hence, I have completed my 4-years degree in Malaysia. Upon graduating from my local university, I also spent another year preparing for my entrance exams for enrolling into Japanese universities. I was grateful that a year of hard work paid off and I successfully passed the enrolment exams and enrolled in a university in Kobe. Generally, schools in Japan start in April so this meant that I still had time before I go back to Japan to finish up my studies. I thought that I wanted to do something that could develop me as a person before I leave Malaysia. At the same time, I don't want to become foreign to my own native language, Japanese. So, I've decided to search for an Internship that allows me to put my knowledge in the Japanese language into good use. I started looking for Japanese speaking positions and this was how I found this company.
Why did you take this internship opportunity?
I had no idea what recruitment is about before this internship program as I have a Major in Mass Communication. As I entered into the recruitment industry, I learned that by accepting a job offer comes with responsibilities. The main reason that I took on this offer was that my prospective superior back then contacted me as soon as he saw my resume and he arranged an interview with me immediately after. (These people are professionals in recruiting people. This is why my prospective superior back then made the decision in the fastest time possible to hire me.)
Tell us more about your Internship experience.
My superior did share with me that this job is going to be challenging during the interview because we all have targets to meet. We are recognized as Consultants in the company and we have weekly KPI to meet. In the past, I would have never dared to put myself in such a challenge. But due to the short duration of the internship, I agreed to this job offer. I thought I was expected to adopt the professional Japanese working culture. However, my superior who was a Japanese was different from what I have imagined. He was more of a "chill" and easy-going type of person. He seemed so familiar with the Malaysian culture. Although the work culture here is totally different from what I have expected. I am grateful that I didn't have to go through 18 hours of work every day and submit myself to a crazy hierarchical office relationship. My superior was very kind to explain everything to me patiently. He also gave me guidance on my tasks and some space for me to explore around. This was to make sure that I was comfortable. There were so many other Interns from the different country as well. I also found an Intern from Japan, just like me! I am grateful to have this experience of a lifetime where I get to work in a diverse working environment with colleagues from all over the world. It was fun to share each other's cultures. I even invited them over to my house during Chinese New Year.
What were difficulties that you faced during the internship?
The biggest obstacle that I faced in this Internship was to match profiles. I did not have any prior experience in recruitment. I had to spend time doing research. In one of the instances, I was surprised when I found out that the position in the company named ‘Sales Coordinator' does not specialize in selling products but handles the administration for the entire sales tea. It was truly an eye-opener for me. I had trouble making phone calls to job seekers as well. As I did not know what to talk about and what I should ask. I will get more nervous when the conversation does not turn out the way I wanted it to be. So before I can someone up, I would have to prepare and be confident that the call will turn out well. It is challenging to coordinate both employers and candidates. One of the main factors is budget. Employers would normally offer lower than what the candidates expect. I found out that recruitment can be classified under sales. When it comes to sales, you will have KPI and weekly targets to meet.
What did you learn through the internship?
I learned that it takes everyone to move forward as a company. It is interesting to see how manufacturing the smallest part of a machine will include many different industries.
I learned how everyone progresses from where they are currently at. It was a great experience and I would recommend to everyone to challenge yourself to work as a recruitment consultant. I was exposed to many different industries, companies and job roles. It was a fruitful experience for me.
I find it rather interesting when I get to interact with different people. There was once a candidate whom I interacted with, shared with me that she was "too lazy to go for job interviews" after I tried to find a job opportunity for her. I was shocked that there are people with such attitude. Personally, I would have been more proactive and determined if I really want to find a job. It is interesting to pick up different styles of approach to suit the candidates with different personalities. From how the way they answer questions, I learned how to "read their minds" and come up with an assumption whether the candidate is suitable for the position. I learned how to come up with an eye-catching resume and learned about Do's and Don'ts while writing a resume. As I am working mainly with Japanese companies, a boring resume always does not catch the eyes of the employers. My advice would be to have at least 3 years of experience before looking for other opportunities. The reason is that Japanese companies are really skeptical when it comes to an employee without staying power. I have also brushed up on my Japanese language through the internship. The business Japanese language is not the same as daily conversational Japanese language. There is something called "Keigo", which means the ultimate polite form of Japanese and it is widely used in the business Japanese language. I have trouble with it when I was studying the Japanese language in school. As I use it more frequently, it gave me an idea of what phrases to use in different situations.
What are you planning to do after this Internship?
I will be going back to Japan to pursue another degree in International Relations in Kobe University of Foreign Studies. I hope to work in an embassy and utilize my language abilities to bring the world closer together. I will be in Japan for four years, and I hope that I would be able to master the Japanese language while I am there and not forget what I learned in this company, and I hope that my experiences here would bring me further.
Can you give some advice to future international interns?
Although I am local, I would still like to recommend university students all around the world to go for an internship experience in a foreign country. As I have met some colleagues who came to Malaysia as interns in my company, I can somehow relate to their experiences as I went to a foreign country for a long time as well. I see them hustle with culture shock but also enjoying themselves at the same time. Nevertheless, when I hear them tell me what they have learned in their weekend traveling, I feel that it would be an experience worth a lifetime. ‘I believe that it would be better to regret after doing something than to regret by never doing it. Value your worries less and focus on what you can gain.' I live by this phrase and I've achieved something and met amazing people that I could never have imagined.