Hello I'm Siyi (Michelle) Zhan

Associate Recruiter (新卒採用)


Bachelors in Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics

Ochanomizu University


English, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi, Shanghainese

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Siyi (Michelle) Zhan

Hi my name is Siyi (Michelle) Zhan from China. When I was a highschool Junior, I went to the United States for an exchange. I actually had a plan to stay there for university and to start a career in U.S. But then because of the financial crisis, I decided to go to Japan just because it is a developed country and is close to my home. Back then I wanted to be treated as equal as other Japanese students so I went to “日本語学校” for 2 years to master the language and enrolled into Ochanomizu University instead of other schools to put myself into Japanese only environment. It was not easy in the beginning but that’s what I wanted and that’s what I did.


What Career Advice Would You Recommend Job -Hunters?

Reach Out and Expose yourself to Opportunities

Expose yourself. Put yourself out there and if someone approaches you with a position, that’s probably because someone has been taking notice of you. If you get rejected, move on. At the same time reach out to people whether they are professionals or friends. In my case, I got this job because I reached out to my friend about how I couldn’t find the perfect job for me. Then she referred me to Salesforce. During Job-hunting, it is better to reach out to people when you have problems rather than keeping it to yourself because getting help is not something to be scared about.

Master the Japanese Language

Another tip I can give is to not spoil yourself. If you spoil yourself with jobs that require only English just because you are a foreigner, then you can probably do only one job at the company until the end of your career. It means to limit your capabilities and opportunities in the market which results in lowering your value as a human resource. I would encourage students to master their Japanese to N1 and above not only because clients or colleagues are going to be Japanese, but also because being proficient in the language you live in broadens your horizon to encounter more opportunities.


What are the Benificial Skills Needed To Work in Japan?

Difference Between "Hire" and "Recruit"

The basic skill sets a student should have are totally different based on what each company expects from fresh graduates. First of all you have to understand the difference between “hiring” and “recruiting”. When a company recruits, they are looking for the top 1% of all applicants. On the other hand, companies who hire are aiming to meet the quota of the given amount of fresh graduates from the top management team. In this case, the one thing that you should be focusing on is to be ”無難”, which means to “play safe” according to the Japanese job hunting norms.

The 4 Skills to Have

In my opinion, there are 4 skills that would be very useful during job-hunting and at professional level especially if you are looking for opportunity at companies which “recruit”, such as Salesforce:

→ Communication

This is not the communication basis when you talk to your friends, but this is the ability to explain simply to someone who does not know about a subject and being able to get your message across properly.

→ Presentation

This is not the communication basis when you talk to your friends, but this is the ability to explain simply to someone who does not know about a subject and being able to get your message across properly.

In Salesforce we assess your presentation skills based on the way you structure what you want to say with outstanding communication skills.

→ Knowledge

When I say knowledge, it does not imply whether you graduate from a good school or the hard skills you try to present during the interview. The right knowledge that you have to know is the whole structure of the industry you are applying to, the company’s system, and what value do they give more than the competitors. You will fail if you only know the basic information of the company and job details.

→ Teamwork

In this 21st century you can’t work on your own. The ability to collaborate with other departments for your own purpose is crucial which also relates to communication skills.


What does 

an Associate Recruiter (新卒採用) do?

I am responsible for hiring fresh graduates (新卒採用) in Japan. This is very similar to marketing with all the pipelines and brand funnels as attracting candidates requires marketing knowledge and skills. When I first started in Salesforce back in 2015, I was placed in the Marketing and Campaign Ops team and then was moved to Salesforce Japan Fresh graduates recruitment program called Futureforce in 2016 as Salesforce started to accelerate on hiring more fresh graduates. I was responsible for branding and generating pipelines as well as supporting internship programs and direct recruiting for candidates. I invited and screened through hundreds of students and sat down for interviews for recruitment to recommend the top 25%.

Meeting hundreds of students was a very important process for me to learn about the target audience. From 2018 until now, I am in charge of developing programs, organizing recruitment events and new initiatives such as building relationships with Ivy League schools in U.S. and top universities in Japan from scratch, delivering female student focused seminars as my main focus and many others. I always do something new.


Working in 


Innovation and Ohana

In Salesforce we don’t care where you come from. You can be from anywhere as long as you can compete to be the best. “Innovation” and “Ohana” are the two values that we believe here in Salesforce and look for in candidates. Innovation does not mean creating new ideas every single day but what we mean by innovation is the willingness to grow. Someone who always reads the news, talks about it, presents it and communicates ideas to achieve goals. That is what innovation means. “Ohana” is Hawaiian word for family. Salesforce promotes support in the working environment. When you are at the bottom of the ranks you will get help. And if you seek one, everyone is willing to help you out because it is in the “Ohana” culture. Even though we are a “外資” (foreign based company) , it does not mean you will get fired the next day if you are not performing well. Our revenue grows 25%+ every year because of this culture and we always look for candidates that have this “cultural fit”.

Volunteer Time Off

In this company we have lots of collaborations internally. We have Volunteer Time Off (VTO) to do anything you want for a movement or community on Fridays and get paid. I myself started organizing a volunteer activity to teach speaking Chinese within the company and collaborated with colleagues regardless of hierarchy. This way we can develop our skills and connect closer with people within the company to become innovative as a “Ohana”.


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