Hello, I'm In Mo Hwang
Talents Acquisition Manager
Bachelors in Business Administration,
Marketing and Minor in Japanese
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
English, Japanese, Korean
In Mo Hwang
Hello, I’m Hwang In Mo or you can call me In Mo. I’m Korean but I spent a lot of my early years in the Philippines before moving to the United States for university. I am currently working as a Talent Acquisition Manager for Klook Japan.
Before coming to Japan to start my career, I had a few options: going to Korea, staying in the US, or going back to the Philippines where I grew up. None of these were my top choices because I wanted more challenges and didn’t want to rely on my parents. So I decided to go to Japan. It was close to Korea, I studied Japanese in college and my sister was already in Japan. Then I found my first job at the Boston Career Forum, a job fair for Japanese-English bilingual students and professionals.
What Did You Do During College?
Most Memorable Thing I Did During College
I actually attended a Korean university for the first year of college, then I transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US. My high school in the Philippines had a similar education system as the US so I knew I would enjoy studying over there.
During my time in Nebraska, the most memorable activity that helped me develop my skills would be the On-Campus Internship for Campus Recruitment. It was the seed that grew into my later career path. In that internship, I served as a consultant for prospective students who wanted to enroll at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I promoted the university and informed students on entry requirements, what our school offered and other related topics. I was also working with a team responsible for screening high school senior’s applications and sending notice of acceptance to the applicants. I realized I really enjoyed talking to these prospective students and started seriously thinking about getting into this field.
In addition to that experience, in my junior year, I enlisted in the Korean Military and was placed in the HR Department for two years because they saw my experience in college, which made me even more motivated to pursue this career path when I graduate.
What I wish I had done during college
To be honest, college time was the time I studied the most because American colleges were really strict in grading and earning credits. Also as an international student, the tuition fee for higher education in the US was expensive which put more pressure on me to get a high GPA.
Even though academics was my main focus, I still did internships during summer and winter but I would get involved in more extracurricular activities if I had a chance to go back to college. Be it a Japanese Culture Club or a more business-focused one like Debate club, I believe joining extracurricular helps you improve your communication skills and expand your connection with peers. Even more so, holding responsibility within the club itself rather than just participating would be really great. These small experiences develop your understanding of the way things work, even if it’s on a volunteer basis.
What Career Advice Would You Recommend Job -Hunters?
Decide What You Want To Do Early
I see young talents quitting their jobs within a few months because they just don’t like the company. Quite often it’s because they didn’t research well enough prior to applying for the job or they did not know exactly what they wanted to do and ended up working in a role that wasn’t right for them. Deciding what you want to do early is important to avoid such situations. Indiscriminately applying for all the jobs out there might end up in changing jobs frequently and not developing expertise in any field.
And don’t give up too quickly! Always try to find solutions to the problems before making a judgment and quitting your role. You might find that especially young companies are a lot more flexible than you imagine. At Klook, we developed internal mobility policies because we don’t want to lose great talent when they feel the need for career change. Many other international companies will sympathize with that sentiment.
If You Don’t Know What You Want to Do, Start with What You Enjoy
It’s best to make a decision on what you want to do early in life. But for many college students, it’s hard to know which career path would be right for them. That’s ok. Most people find out exactly what job they want only when they start working and get the first-hand experience of the role.
But even if you haven’t found your dream career yet, it’s important to know what you enjoy. Let it be in public speaking, meeting new people, working in teams, working independently — knowing what you enjoy will make it easier to decide what career you should start pursuing. When you gain some work experience, you will get a full picture of what it is that you want to do and put your mind to becoming an expert in it.
Be Selective and Data-driven When Developing Your Resume
After deciding what your interests are, stick to what you enjoy rather than applying to hundreds of jobs in various unrelated fields. Be selective and develop your resume with your dream career in mind. From a recruiter’s perspective, it’s really easy to tell whether a person really wants to work in a certain role or is just applying for the sake of getting a job.
Remember that your resume speaks for you during the screening process! This means you should adjust your resume to the job description. Say if applying for a sales position, the applicant should update their resume with activities related to communication skills, sales-related internship and work experience, languages spoken and any other experience they have that can be an advantage for a sales role.
Quantifying results is also recommended. Concrete numbers speak louder than a wishy-washy description so mention details, for example, how many people you managed in the organization, how you measured your achievements etc. It’s also a good practice to get used to using numbers when talking about achievements because later in your professional career, outcomes will be data-driven. For example at Klook, we use reports and key performance indicators to measure our progress so an affinity for numbers and logic is always appreciated.
What are the Benificial Skills Needed To Work in Japan?
Japanese Language Proficiency
If you want to work in Japan, you have to upgrade your Japanese skills to full business proficiency in order to compete with Japanese job seekers.
I learned Japanese during college and my time in the Korean Army. I never went on an exchange program to Japan to sharpen my language skills because I was not clear about where I wanted to work. During my first two years working in Japan, I had a hard time. I didn’t have the business vocabulary. Even though my work was in English, the clients were Japanese. Not only the paperwork but also the 敬語 (Keigo) while speaking on the phone and with clients are something that even native Japanese speakers have to get used to and it can be really difficult for a foreigner.
Competition for jobs is currently tough in Japan. A full working proficiency in Japanese is critical and will open up more job opportunities to you.
Most companies today look for tech-savvy candidates. For example, at Klook we use Google Suite to collaborate, so being comfortable with Google Calendar and other applications is a plus. Another must-know tool is Microsoft Excel or similar software. In the data-driven world, Excel is a key business tool to increase efficiency. I would especially single out macros as a very unique type of skill that not many people who are not engineers have, but which is used a lot in business.
Talent Acquisition Manager Do?
According to my definition, Talent Acquisition is about finding great talent for my company. In this very competitive market, it also involves a bit of branding, marketing and even sales as I need to attract candidates to my organization. So in my job as Talent Acquisition (TA) Manger, I am responsible for both attracting talent and promoting Klook’s employer brand, especially in the initial stages of the business. It’s a long process of searching, hiring, and onboarding new talent.
Typically, a TA is responsible mainly for interviewing candidates. As a manager, however, I also forecast Klook’s hiring needs for the upcoming year and come up with a talent acquisition strategy. What budget do we need? What are the channels that we should use to find these candidates? These are some of the questions that a TA Manager has to answer along with predicting hiring results to find out the cost per hire (CPH). Minimizing the cost and increasing the quality of talent is fundamental for a TA Manager.
On a global scale, Klook is a diverse international team of over 2,000 employees representing more than 40 nationalities. What connects us all is that we’re ambitious, we take ownership and we constantly innovate. And, of course, we’re passionate about travel and making it easier for everyone to discover great travel experiences out there.
Young Diverse Team
Here in Japan, we’re just getting started. We opened our first Japan office in 2019 with fewer than 10 employees. By the end of 2020, we predict to grow to more than 50 people across multiple Japanese cities.
We are a young team of people in their late 20s and early 30s. Klookers in Japan come from diverse backgrounds and we want to be even more international as time goes on. Klook offers visa sponsorship for foreign citizens to join us in Japan. Even among our Japanese employees, we have a very international crowd — most of them have lived or studied abroad. At Klook, English fluency is a must as it’s the main language we use in the office.
One of the best things about working at Klook Japan is that everyone here is proactive. Klookers come from innovative data-driven companies and they constantly strive for growth. Being surrounded by great minds and energetic personalities is very motivating and we have an endless stream of new ideas.
Klook Japan office in Tokyo is located in a co-working space in a Shibuya Scramble Square. We dress casually to the office and we are free to manage our own time. For employees’ wellbeing, we have monthly yoga classes in the office with a professional yoga coach, a monthly buffet catering and fresh juice bar. Our co-working space provides some extra perks such as free beer after 3 p.m. On top of that, we organize team building events, not just for specific teams but for the whole office. We want our employees to socialize, get to know each other's work and build positive working relationships.
Dynamic Work Environment
Like in most other tech and data-driven companies, things change quickly and we are constantly innovating. There’s a lot of opportunity that comes with being agile so we’re always ready to roll up our sleeves and execute on new ideas. We stay ahead of the curve by trying out new solutions and adapting our current strategies to the market. This dynamic work environment means that we’re looking specifically for candidates who embrace change and are quick to adapt.