We talked to Himanshu Jain of ReachExt K.K about its Recruitment Services in Japan during the pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Himanshu Jain: Thank you for asking.
Well, these have been challenging and testing times for everyone. But as in any situation, what is most important is to accept, accommodate, and adjust. I’m doing all these not with the feeling of sacrifice but with the understanding of the need of the hour, which in this situation may end up being years, and looking at the positive picture. The past few months have given an opportunity to rediscover ourselves and personal and professional relationships. To rediscover how to convert more personal time to more quality time at home and build more trust and bonding with colleagues and clients, even with much fewer physical interactions.
Yes, the initial couple of months were a bit difficult, but then the rediscovery process made it quite smooth, both personally and professionally.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ReachExt K.K.
Himanshu Jain: Changes have been the most constant feature of my career. After my graduation in mechanical engineering, I started off as a mechanical engineer but soon discovered that I don’t fit well with machines 😊. That realization made me to Move to Industrial sales. I did quite well there. After knowing that I was very good at doing what I was doing, I wanted a change in the scenery and moved to SAP (ERP) consulting. That followed a change of the scenery in a more literal way and took me from India to Japan and then Germany and Switzerland. The huge cultural differences in Japan can act as an addiction, which brought me to leave my job in Europe to move back to Japan. Another change in the career took me from SAP consulting to business development in the Information Technology space. I never took sales as sales but as trust and relationship building. And that has been the major driver for the successes. I moved up to head the Japan sales for L&T Infotech and then head the Japan operations of Hexaware Technologies, an IT consulting multinational.
While Japan has many sweet spots, recruitment is always challenging here, especially for multinationals who need bilingual talent. The understanding of Information Technology, various industry domains, the experience of different geographies and cultures, and the passion for dealing with people made me change the direction of the career once again to move to the recruitment industry by founding ReachExt K.K.
How does your ReachExt K.K innovate?
Himanshu Jain: I, rather, we as a team, believe in the Golden circle – the move from Why to How to What.
At any point in time, the world has new buzzwords. And those are like fashion – everyone tries to follow those. Be it digital transformation, cloudifying, or such things in fashion currently. We restrict ourselves from going for innovation for the sake of innovation but by thinking about the “Why” first and not the what. And we try to ask for that “Why” from our business partners – and then ask ourselves to see what innovations can add value to our partners because any value additions to them can only add value to ourselves.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects ReachExt’s business, and how are you coping?
Himanshu Jain: The recruitment industry, in general, has been hit by the pandemic. There are some real impacts because of the real business situations, and then there are some psychological impacts because of assumed uncertainties. But the world does not stop – the businesses can’t stop. It’s just that you have to rediscover, find some new ways, innovate your strategies.
On the one hand, permanent hiring has slowed down, while on the other hand, we are seeing contract employment going up. The way I see it, the world may also move more towards task-based recruiting. Overall, if you keep on looking not just one step ahead but two, three, or five steps ahead, you are not just safe, but you grow, be it professionally or personally.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Himanshu Jain: I would not call it a “Difficult choice,” rather a tough decision. The choice is like gambling. Whether it is a good time or a challenging time, you think, analyze, and then make a decision. And when you have done the proper groundwork in order to decide, then that decision cannot be difficult. The outcome of a decision is an entirely different thing.
Every business has to make some tough decisions, one time or another. I believe that the timing or the decision is equally important as the decision itself. Any decision taken in haste may prove to be a wrong decision. So, no, we did not have to make any tough decisions, even when we faced challenges in the business during the initial phase of the pandemic.
We took the decision to change the ways we worked, sometimes the directions we worked, but no, we did not take any touch decisions in haste, which could affect any employees or partners adversely.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Himanshu Jain: It is the present moment that may cause and stress or anxiety. When that moment is gone, there would not be any need to be stressed and anxious. But if we become stressed, then that moment may extend to the next moment and the next to next. I believe in taking any such moment to the chin and think about the next moment.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Himanshu Jain: I, we as the team, are our biggest competitors. We like to challenge ourselves to improve and do better to be more competitive. That is the continuous plan, not just to stay in the game but to keep excelling in the game.
Your final thoughts?
Himanshu Jain: Innovation should start from within. Keep innovating your thoughts, ways – adapt, and change. Be it a person or place; everything has good and not-so-good points. Complimenting each other is what makes things better and successful. We need to understand ourselves and others. Adopt and change ourselves and try to change what may need improvement on the other side without being judgmental.