Part-time Staff Recruitment with Shohei Yamamoto of Cooking Sun

You feel it is time to hire staff to deliver your company’s value to your target customers. What do you look for in a potential employee and where do you start? In any industry, there will always be a certain level of service and hospitality needed to effectively deliver your company’s value. In this segment, I had the opportunity to discuss this topic of hiring part time staff with founder and CEO of Cooking Sun, Mr. Shohei Yamamoto.

Mr. Shohei Yamamoto of Cooking Sun

Through his experience, Shohei explains, “hiring part time staff is not so difficult”. One source of potential candidates is by posting available job positions with Hello Work (in Japanese only), the Japanese government job placement agency. Your postings are free and run for 3 months using the Hello work database and network.

Being in the tourism industry, Shohei particularly looks for candidates who have high competent social skills, high level of energy, and general English ability is a must, and being multi-lingual is a bonus. But the key factor is having an outgoing character. As the face of the company, their character influences the experiences their guests have which can be both positive and negative.

  • What specific skills do candidates need for specified roles and responsibilities?
  • What do past working experiences tell you about a candidate?
  • How will they utilize their language abilities in their role?

During initial interviews, resumes are required, but do not paint the whole picture Shohei points out. Looking for high levels of social and emotional intelligences are difficult to spot from just viewing a candidate’s resume. Other intangible skills such as time and self-management also need to be demonstrated.

  • What are ways for candidates to demonstrate their intangible skills during the interview?
  • What are your thoughts of a probation period?
  • Are character references important and applicable?

cooking sun banner

In the land of omotenashi (Japanese hospitality) it is a necessary part of the overall service, but it can be overwhelming. Shohei explains that in Japan, there is an expectation of perfection and making no mistakes. In his opinion, it is too modest and too polite. Being approachable is more important to encourage both staff and guests to have a comfortable environment to learn and have a good time.

As the tourism industry is seasonal, the most challenging aspect is to manage the work schedule, which is planned 3 months in advance at Cooking Sun. Shohei has found that his staff want to find something meaningful to do whilst having fun and placing priority on family time. Some staff prefer a busier monthly schedule, whilst others are happy to work once or twice a week depending on family commitments. The shifts are mutual and negotiable.

  • How do you train new staff about company culture?
  • How do you manage your staff’s work and family priorities?
  • What are ways to improve productivity during off-peak times?

cooking sun machiya

Things to consider

  • Look for candidates with high levels of energy and people skills
  • Resume is important, but first impressions are usually not 100% correct
  • What opportunities are there for candidates to show what they can do?

A big thank you goes to Shohei Yamamoto of Cooking Sun for his time and sharing his experiences with us. For more information about Cooking Sun, please check out the links.

Thank you for joining us on Kansai Business Break and we look forward to connecting with you again during our next segment.

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