Category: Hiring Best Practices

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How to highlight your soft skills during an interview

Often people get caught up in focusing on appealing to their experience, technical skills, and success stories in order to make a good impression and secure their career steps.

While checking off all the boxes on those is extremely important – how do employers choose between multiple equally skilled candidates? Naturally, they will take into account a variety of factors including compensation, culture fit as well as their “sixth sense” or a “gut feeling”.

However, often what they call a “gut feeling” is their way of expressing how they interpreted your soft skills.

So let’s first take a step back and go over what exactly “soft skills” are:

Perseverance & Dedication
Problem Solving
Adaptability, Creativity & Problem Solving
Time Management
Communication and Persuasion
Enthusiasm & Passion
Now, what you need to remember is most hiring managers are not going directly to ask you “tell me about your perseverance”… Rather, it is going to be up to you to show them your soft skills in the way you answer their questions.

So, the method to do this is simple yet quite difficult to do.

What – What – How – Result method.

Clearly introduce the problem/challenge that you faced (What)
Share what you did in that situation (What)
Add more information on the steps you took to deliver (How)
Round this answer off with the result of your actions (Result)
As an example:

Question: Tell me about a situation where you had to deal with a difficult client?

Answer: We had a long standing client who wanted to renegotiate our prices lower (What). I met with the client with the intent to keep favourable terms and improve our relationship (What). In this case, I took a consultative approach to ask why they wanted to lower prices, and to understand if they were not satisfied with our service. Through this, could identify that our client would actually be better served by one of our new service lines which addressed his concerns (How). As a result, he signed a new contract with us, for an upgraded premium service (Result).

What soft skills can we see in this answer?

– Perseverance, Problem Solving, Adaptability, Communication and Persuasion

Bottom line: When you are explaining your role, results, situations you figured out, you must talk about “how” you did it, not only the results. The age old idiom “results are everything” is not enough when you have tough competition.

When you have 2 candidates both with the same results, then the deciding factor comes down to the “how”.

It is in this “how” that you show your dedication, your problem solving skills, your adaptability and teamwork, your tenacity.

Over years of recruitment, we have even seen employers choose candidates with lesser results because their soft skills – their reasoning and actions, were much higher. It just hadn’t connected to the results.

So, the takeaway?

Don’t rely on your CV and hard skills to land you the job, and even if you may be lacking in some of the hard skills, don’t give up on applying, as you may be more qualified than you even realize.

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Hire Better & Faster With These 5 Tips

The ideal interview process – speed and engagement

Titan GreenTech’s Andrew Statter has worked with over 100 clients in various industries in Japan. He’s compiled a few of the best practices he’s seen to ensure quality candidate screening, high level of engagement and maximum offer to close ratio.

Hiring manager interviews first

Who’s business is most affected by this hire? Who will be the biggest influencer in the candidate’s decision? Not HR, not the global counterpart, but the person they will see and interact with most once they join the company; the hiring manager. Putting the prospective candidate and the hiring manager together at the very first step increases engagement, and accelerates the hiring process – resulting in higher closing rates. Yes, the hiring manager’s time is valuable – this is why you should be very selective about your agency partners and work exclusively with an agent you can trust to screen and only provide high quality candidates.

Two-way conversation

Overwhelmingly, the temperature of the post interview feedback I receive when the interview was held as a two-way business discussion between professionals is positive. The question, question, question, pressure cooker interview is so old school and needs to be buried along with fax machines and hankos. A savvy interviewer will build a structured conversation, with key topics and questions built in that will answer the key points without the candidate feeling they are in an airport customs interrogation room. 

First interview: Tell me about your experience at XX.Co

Second interview: Tell me about your experience at XX.Co

Third interview: Tell me about your experience at XX.Co

Candidate = bored. Your insight = limited.

Clear roles of each interviewer

DESIGN your interview process. Hiring manager takes point and goes through background in detail, HR nails down the cultural fit and growth path, VP/MD looks big picture at leadership potential, technical stakeholder comes in to dig deep on the hard skill requirements. The angle and line of questioning each time should be different. This will increase candidate engagement, but more importantly, it allows your team to have a wider, deeper view of the candidate’s potential to do the job, and to grow within the organization over a longer term.


2021 is the worst supply vs demand economics I have ever seen for hiring companies. This is very much a candidate driven market (it always is, but now more than ever). From our data, +40% of drop-outs from interview process are not due to culture mismatch, bad interviews – but simply because the process is too slow! Quick tips for speeding up the process: Hiring manager first, HR+senior interview together, pencil in interviews before prior interview feedback, address any critical admin (references, tests) early.

Show the love in the FIRST offer!

The biggest mistake I see: Lowball offers. Somebody decides that they can probably get the candidate for a little less money and thinks ‘this gives us room to negotiate later’. The truth is: the FIRST offer you give the candidate says ‘this is how much we value you’. Even if you increase later, the damage is done – and to regain the feeling of being valued from the candidate, you often have to pay well above what you SHOULD have offered first. 

We train candidates to say to you ‘I’ll consider your best offer’.

You need to come to the table with your best offer – or that candidate will be at your competitor, working against you, when you could have had them working for you.

Titan’s service goes beyond simply introducing candidates. We love to partner with purpose driven companies and help them attract the best talent in the market. To do this, we help design your interview process, build your employer brand and candidate outreach strategy. For the next level in recruitment partnership, get in touch with us at Titan.

5 Qualities We Look For, That You Should Too

Let’s breaks down some of the critical points he looks for in candidates for the team. 

Recruitment is sales – naturally we look for people with traits that help them influence, listen, persuade, negotiate. 

Every job is sales. Engineers need to persuade people their ideas are viable, accountants need to influence the tax authorities, parents need to persuade their kids to eat their vegetables! For any position these traits are important – take a look below to see what we value at Titan.


First and foremost. Honesty is 100% non-negotiable for us. Being true to clients, candidates, colleagues and most importantly, to ourselves is critical. Ours is a people business, and we work in a tight-knit, collaborative team environment – the value of trust that comes with honesty cannot be underestimated. Asking candidates about prior mistakes and even life regrets is a good way to get a sense of someone’s honesty and self-reflective abilities.


Recruitment is tough. Especially in the early days, when you have no reputation, nobody knows you. Rejection rates can be high, deals blow up, learning curve is super steep. Over years of recruitment, I’ve seen some people without perfect ‘sales skills’ become highly successful from their ability to push through adversity time and again. Personally, I like to see people who have a background in competitive sports, or those who have taken a risk, such as moving alone to a new country as a measure of grit.


Of course a recruiter needs to be likable. We need to nail the first impression, and build upon this through our interactions with our clients and candidates. Internally as well, we need to be working together smoothly and have others want to help us. A lot goes into likability, from your handshake, smile (eyes too, not just mouth), how you listen, empathy, humour. Typically in our interview process, we take candidates out in a social setting and meet over lunch or a drink to see how they handle themselves – it can be amazing the insights you get after a couple of glasses of Merlot…


Those who learn are naturally curious. A lack of curiosity generally comes with a ‘know it all’ attitude. Especially important if you are looking to hire someone who has some life experience and has been quite successful in the past. Has their past experience overblown their confidence, or are they really ready to become the beginner again? I love hearing candidates tell me stories of picking up new hobbies – whether this be playing a musical instrument, learning a language, studying a martial art – lifelong learning and a ‘beginner attitude’ is massive.


Not to be confused with ‘cocky’. As a sales professional, I strongly disagree with ‘fake it till you make it’ and much prefer ‘practice until you master’. Confidence does not mean you can make assumptions and ‘wing it’ in meetings or negotiations. Real confidence comes because you have practiced your craft, done your research, taken the time to prepare for game day. Real confidence is born from an attitude of humility – maybe this comes from over 10 years of living in Asia, however I value the quiet confidence over the outspoken confidence every day of the week. 

What do you look for in candidates for your team? 

How good is your interview process at identifying the right traits in prospective talent? 

Are you able to look beyond great ‘hard skills’ to ensure a quality cultural fit? 

If you want to discuss these points, or would like to improve your interview process and increase new hire ‘stickability’ please do get in touch.

Contract Employees VS Permanent Employees – how to mitigate risk?

We see a lot of companies come to Japan and struggle with the concept of Permanent Employment as the “gold standard” of hiring – and from a pure hiring perspective coming from Europe or America it makes sense that companies would be averse to this.

Why? Because it is so difficult to fire a permanent employee. This is without a doubt the biggest challenge facing foreign companies in Japan when hiring. Not all employees adapt to the international business environment or perform as expected which can lead to a lot of money lost.

Unfortunately, while there were a lot of attractive reasons to use contract workers in the past, laws and regulations have changed over the past few years that may change your mind.

Perhaps most significantly, in the past, contract workers would not have required paid leave or being enrolled in health insurance, the laws concerning this have become significantly more strict. Now requiring enrollment in NHS and Pension if passing the 20hr mark.

Another key aspect to take into account is that most employees in Japan prefer, and will even push for permanent employment, going as far as to reject higher paying contractual offers.

If you take into account that the majority of major companies in Japan already are following this standard – most skilled professionals will have their pick of permanent options. So the time and costs required to hire a professional on a contract basis may well outweigh the costs of taking the time to build a solid interview process and screen strong permanent talent..

Not only that, but in Japan if an employee has been on a renewable contract for over a certain number of years, they must be switched to a permanent employee if requested. 

Considering these changes, there is less benefit to hiring contract employees in Japan now than in the past.  To help with risk mitigation when hiring, we find that a clearly designed interview process, with a diverse interview panel that represents each key part of the company results in better onboarding and retention. 

Titan GreenTech is able to support companies to assess and redesign interview processes specifically for Japan, or for specific key positions.

Top 3 Attractive Careers in Renewable Energy

There are so many industries out there to choose from, that it can be very difficult to choose an exciting, fascinating, and lucrative career to move forward with. It can even be overwhelming. The energy industry, like others, of course has its good points and its bad points – but one thing you can count on, is it being a profitable and promising career field.

Not only does the energy industry offer some quickly growing areas, but even in fields with declining growth such as nuclear, there are still high paying careers with real potential for a variety of reasons.

But WHAT is the right career path for you – Oil & Gas? Is it Solar or Wind? Or maybe is it going to be Geothermal that is the energy source of the future?

It can be difficult to figure out what is the best choice for YOU.

But let us help you – by sharing 3 exciting and lucrative career paths available in the renewable energy industry (in no specific order).

  1. Project Management – Renewable energies like wind and solar are seeing an increase from public opinion and government support, creating some of the best paying jobs in energy. And most Energy Developers need Project Managers for a wide range: Both delaying construction and bidding to finance and budgeting. Depending on your experience and background, salaries can range from 7,000,000 JPY upwards of 18,000,000 JPY. Project Management is also a great gateway to running a company!
  2. Sustainability Consulting – Companies like PwC, Accenture, and others often need consultants to advise on social investment fund formation and impact evaluation, consult on business modeling, design long-term corporate vision and strategies, as well as to consult on the creation and evaluation of renewable energy funds. This can be an exciting career in helping other companies determine their direction in Sustainability, with salaries ranging from 6,000,000 JPY entry level and up to 20,000,000 range!
  3. Energy Trading / PPS/PPA – with lots of funding being pumped into the renewable energy industry, companies are looking for well capitalized global players with diverse asset portfolios across utility-scale and C&I level assets who can help them with expanding their business areas and diversifying. Depending on your experience and level, salaries can range from 5,000,000 JPY for new graduates upwards of 15,000,000 JPY as you move into management roles.

We hope this helps give you some ideas about the industry and if you are interested in learning more about how your specific skills might be applicable or what kind of careers are available for you, then don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Contact us or email me directly at