interviewHow Jasmine Fan took her skill set to the next level at Randstad
Jasmine FanConsultant, Technology, Professionals Div.
- Jasmine Fan was born in a small town in China, went to university in Beijing, attended a business program in Paris and interned in Hong Kong before coming to Tokyo to start her recruitment career in 2019. She joined Randstad’s Tech Division in March 2022.
Finding myself as a recruiter
Jasmine was born in a small town in northwestern China, mostly known for metal works and coal. She'll be the first to tell you that she was not a big-city girl. But after moving to Beijing for university, she worked hard to get an undergraduate and subsequent masters degree in literature and business, respectively.
“The moment you graduate, you're officially unemployed,” says Jasmine, recalling her mindset in early 2016 when she first set out to build her career.
She spent three years in marketing, branding and public relations in the luxury fashion and retail space, honing her client-facing skills, internal stakeholder and project management, and general sales abilities. “It's fun, it's adventurous,” Jasmine says about life in the fast-paced world of high-end product marketing. “It's also very stressful.”
“Beijing is very competitive — in a bad way. The work life balance was awful,” recalls Jasmine of her feelings at the time. She had come to the realization that a career outside of China was her ultimate goal. She says, “I planned to come to Japan, but I didn't plan to just be a housewife or a Chinese teacher. I told myself, ‘I want a career.’”
Coming to Japan, though, meant a rethinking of her career path. She didn't speak Japanese at the time, and so she knew she couldn't pursue a continued career in marketing so easily. After much deliberation and a deep look at her core skill set, Jasmine concluded that the healthy recruitment sector that Japan is well-known for would likely be a great match for her.
“When I really added it up together,” Jasmine says, “I felt like recruitment was the right thing for me as I made the jump to Japan.”
In 2019, Jasmine found her first recruitment role at RGF Professional Recruitment as a young Associate Consultant in their Finance and Accounting division. She says, “In the beginning, I was fearless. I really thought recruitment was an easy job. The people who interviewed me were so presentable, and I was just traveling here and there to clients and making professional friendships.”
This idyllic view of life as a recruiter, however, was not to last.
“Recruitment was not real for me until the second quarter,” she says. “My colleagues were all starting to make placements. I was the very last. I told myself, ‘Do not get cocky. It's not an easy job.’”
Jasmine knew however that having an “easy” job was not the reason she was in Japan. She was determined to master her new career path, despite the initial challenges. “The job humbled everyone,” she recalls. “But I began to invest three times more effort in making placements and cultivating really good habits. I kept my activity high and paved the foundation.”
Building relationships: The path to Randstad
Jasmine spent the next three years at RGF Professional Recruitment focused on doing the job right. But while working extra hard on daily processes to perfect the craft is important, the best agents eventually learn that building client relationships in order to place yourself at the right place at the right time to take advantage of opportunity is what often takes your billing to the next level.
“I was very lucky during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jasmine says. “A huge Chinese IT company in Japan had opened dozens of roles at a time when most other firms were doing a hiring freeze.”
While Jasmine may call it luck, her Chinese-speaking background together with the relationship she had built with the client put her in a prime position to capitalize on the opportunity in front of her. Jasmine soon became the top agent in the Japan market filling Finance and Accounting roles for a very active client, leading to both stable billing and the recognition of her name in the market.
While Jasmine was smashing her targets in late 2021, another opportunity presented itself — beyond personal billing this time. An internal HR member at her main client, the Chinese IT firm, took notice of Jasmine’s abilities and referred her to another top biller from another agency as someone she should get to know. That agent was a manager in Randstad’s Tech Division.
“We reached out to each other, had a few conversations and we just hit it off. We had really good chemistry and she was such a professional,” Jasmine says. “The idea came up of us working together and I was immediately interested because I wanted to learn from her.”
From fostered relationship to fostered relationship, Jasmine ultimately found herself making the leap to a new agency and joined Randstad in 2022 as a new member of the Tech Division. Jasmine says, “Making the jump just made sense. RGF gave me a great start, but I could see so much potential with Randstad under someone who really became a key mentor for me.”
Beyond mentorship and a close connection with her new manager, Jasmine also noted that the opportunity to transition to IT and tech recruitment after three years in Finance and Accounting was a key selling point for her to join Randstad. “I began to feel like I had touched every position in finance. There was nothing new for me to learn,” Jasmine says. “But the tech world is so dynamic and the market-need for filling IT positions is usually very high, and so I grabbed the chance to try something new and be where the hot jobs are.”
Jasmine's new manager at Randstad knew that recruiting for IT positions would have a learning curve, but as Jasmine puts it, “She was teaching me about tech roles even before I started. I am really grateful to her.”
“She also taught me to rely on our Associate Consultants,” says Jasmine, mentioning that because they have to work on quickly improving their sourcing skills when they join, they can be great resources for more experienced consultants who are changing recruitment fields by teaching them about all the different roles they are sourcing for. Jasmine says, “They were the ones teaching me. I made my first two placements by myself, but my manager told me, ‘You need to learn to work with the Associate Consultants. If you have to win, you have to win together.’”
Jasmine had been a steady biller at her previous agency, and was starting off on the same foot with her new one. Yet, she says that Randstad’s work culture took her abilities to new heights. “At Randstad, I have been able to unlock a new level of skills I already thought I was proficient at, thanks to the open teaching environment. Everyone is very generous in giving advice and encouraging you to have even better habits,” she says.
Jasmine recalls a shift in her overall approach, thanks to the mentorship of her new manager and the senior recruiters around her. In her view, Randstad was reshaping her into the best version of herself she could be.
“I always aimed to be a quality recruiter, not a pure quantity recruiter,” she says, “but, actually at Randstad I have learned that they should not be considered mutually exclusive recruitment practices. If you have the quality side down, that’s great, but if you can improve the processes that let you pick up the pace of submittals and pipeline building, you can really be a strong biller, quarter in and quarter out. I credit Randstad for helping get the balance I have now.”
“They're making me a better recruiter.”
Overcoming challenges, the Randstad way
When speaking to Jasmine, you really get the sense that she has found a home at Randstad, and not only because she feels like she has grown as a recruiter, but because of the way she has seen her team and managers rally together during challenging times.
“A lot of us were getting our confidence tested this year, because the tech sector was having large rounds of layoffs and a general downward trend,”Jasmine recalls. “I had a quarter that I didn't hit my target. It was like an insult, you know, because I've been stable over the past four years.”
Jasmine explained how the Tech Division pulled together in a surprising way to make sure each consultant was put in a position to succeed, despite the downtown. “It’s well-known that agents who stay for many years with one agency start to gather solid portfolios of big clients — and rightfully so,” she says. “But I was surprised to see that the division as a whole felt that it was better to reorganize the teams and spread the client share around in a more pragmatic way to maximize the number of roles that we could close between us all. It was a big sign for me that I was working with true professionals who want everyone in the agency to succeed.”
According to Jasmine, though, Randstad’s culture goes beyond smartly sharing clients. One of her favorite things to take advantage of when she wants to improve are what the company calls AIR Sessions, or “answer in the room sessions.” In these meetings, team members and even cross-division members share stories of challenges and provide detailed feedback to each other about ways to improve.
“I can recall sharing a story about failing to bring a candidate from overseas who I was very confident was the right person for a specific role in Japan,” Jasmine says, “but I was unable to close at that time. It was new for me. My colleagues in the AIR sessions listened to me and helped me diagnose what I could have done differently. I really feel these sessions help you grow because you can get to the heart of a specific challenge and get direct feedback about doing better next time.”
Jasmine explains that the AIR sessions can also be for sharing high-level recruitment practices to elevate the entire company, such as how to close a big deal or how to be a consistent biller. “It’s such a collaborative feeling,” she says. “In fact, from that story of me failing to close, I was able to develop my own technique for dealing with closing deals when there is a competing offer. Last year I held an AIR session about this technique and my teammates are still using it today.”
The motivation to succeed
You don’t make it five years in recruitment with the kind of early failure to consistent success story that Jasmine has without a certain motivation or tenacity for what you do. She may have left the little coal town in China with this mentality built in, but she says Randstad has given her renewed motivation for her career.
“Randstad has a real people culture,” she says. “Not only internally with us consultants, but with candidates and clients too. We don't treat candidates as numbers and we don’t waste our clients’ time.”
Jasmine says the way Randstad has reinforced treating clients and candidates with decency and respect makes her feel proud to work there. “We are really adding value,” she says. “I always feel as a decent human being, you want to add value to other people's lives. You don't want to ruin another person's career just to make a placement. Randstad holds the same feelings as I do about what it means to be a recruiter, and that makes me happy to call myself a consultant here.”
For Jasmine, her path to consistent billing wasn't always easy, but she has entered the recruitment world and made a name for herself, in part with the support of Randstad’s fundamental work culture. “My dreams are close here. I have a path to becoming a Senior Consultant soon,” she says. “And who knows what the future holds, but here I feel like I can grab new opportunities as they come.”