How Mei Kanai, CEO of POSIWILL is offering online career coaching services during the pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mei Kanai: It has been a year of growing coaching and counseling services in my company. Two and half years ago, when my company launched its first career counseling service, “Soudan.me”, not many people bought into the idea of paying money for a non-tangible service. However, due to the pandemic, many people started to think about what they want to do with their life.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded POSIWILL.
Mei Kanai: Here is my history.
· Past Career
I was born in 1990 in Gunma Prefecture. I graduated from a nursing college, went on to enroll in Hosei University’s School of Career Design, and learned about career counseling.
I joined Recruit Career Co., Ltd after graduating and worked as a recruiting advisor for 4 years, left the company in April of 2017, and established POSIWILL Co., Ltd in August.
After gaining up to JPY 250,000,000 in funding, the career personal training service “POSIWILL CAREER” was started.
· How the company started
A big reason was due to my experience working in a large recruitment agency.
When people decide their professional careers, I feel that most don’t think about how they want to live their personal lives.
Without figuring out what they want outside of their professional sphere, people end up in a rut again. However, recruitment agencies today don’t look after you to the point of caring about one’s personal life. I wanted to change that, which led me to create this service.
How does POSIWILL innovate?
Mei Kanai: As SaaS and AI technology advances, I think it important to remember the very human connections that we can also provide. It’s hard to find a growing company that doesn’t have its main focus on new technology nowadays. POSIWILL may be the only company that provides an organic experience to its customers. The 2900% increase in users in the first year is proof that providing an analog experience works.
Moreover, I don’t think that the basic structure of the HR business has changed at all for about 20 years in Japan. The blindness that the industry suffers from won’t change much even with all the new tech being poured in. We need a game-changer in the industry, and my company is doing exactly that.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mei Kanai: The career training service that POSIWILLl runs, ‘POSIWILL CAREER,’ has gathered data that shows that the age group of people worried about their careers has widened. Before the pandemic in January of 2020, the younger age group’s main concern was ‘choosing’ their jobs. A year later, it shifted to people having uncertainties in their futures. People who had high-paying jobs in big-name companies are also met with the same problem of being uncertain of their futures too.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mei Kanai: When I was job hunting and starting my business, I had people tell me that “you can’t possibly accomplish what you’re trying to do.” And I felt that it’s important to have faith in what you do.
I learned that it’s a waste of time to worry about the people who don’t support you. That does not mean that there aren’t people who give me helpful and critical advice. But in general, I recommend ignoring the negativity that some people spew.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Mei Kanai: We use Slack.
Your final thoughts?
Mei Kanai: I would like to transform Japanese education and increase the number of people thinking about how they want to live their personal lives from younger ages.
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