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One of the world’s leading commercial real estate firms asked Asim Sarwar to help them find a Japanese bilingual Finance Manager. The successful candidate would have to be based in Japan, hired by the Tokyo office, and then subsequently sent to London for at least three years to lead a real estate project that would promote Japanese culture in Europe.

The client specified they wanted a fully bilingual professional with an extensive accounting/finance background, service industry and management experience, and, most importantly, a willingness to move their entire life to London for an extended period of time. Needless to say, it was an especially difficult search for the firm. Having received few appropriate resumes to that point, they had begun to lose faith that there was any such candidate in Japan at all, but Asim assured them that if the person existed, he would locate them.

Negotiation, Search, Challenges

The negotiations, which involved the CFO, Financial Controller and HR, were smooth and friendly. As their English ability was not so strong, Asim communicated with them using his fluent Japanese, which made them comfortable and appreciative during negotiations and throughout the interview process.

The search itself took a few months. Perhaps its trickiest aspect was that candidates currently located in the UK or overseas would be ineligible for the role. It was certainly a challenge finding someone who both fit the criteria and would be able to make a quick move to London and re-establish their life there for the foreseeable future. In finding candidates, Asim used a range of different approaches and search methods. These of course included scouring his deep database, but he also reached out to his extended network of friends in
Japan to see if they knew of anyone who might suit.


Asim finally identified what seemed like an ideal candidate via a referral from a trusted contact in his extended network. Not only was she completely bilingual and bicultural, but she had also previously worked in the UK. She showed immediate and strong interest in the position, but as a mother, expressed concern about whether the years abroad would disrupt her young children’s education. Asim reverted to the client and patiently discussed the possibilities with them. After careful consideration, they decided to interview her and then offered her the position, with additional financial allowances for her children’s education at a reputable London institution. She was delighted and accepted the offer.

Following some basic training at the Tokyo office, the candidate moved her entire life and family to London for a few years. She proved to be an excellent match for the role, as, beyond fulfilling her assigned finance and accounting responsibilities, she went on to take a leadership role in the project. The client’s decision to be flexible regarding her family requirements and increase their initial investment to cover her children’s education proved to be an excellent one, since she was able to add immense value to their business.

The CFO, Financial Controller and HR all expressed deep gratitude to Asim for his perseverance in helping them make the perfect hire. They mentioned that, towards the end, he was the only recruiter who had not given up and was still sending them candidates. For this reason, this search has a very positive impact on Asim’s relationship with the client, and they search for other hiring positions later on.

Recruitment license number (Japan): 13 – ユ – 302223