Senpai Tips

I'm Siyi (Michelle) Zhan

Associate Recruiter (新卒採用担当)

Bachelor of Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics

Ochanomizu University


Chinese, English, Japanese, Hindi, Shanghainese

I'm Siyi (Michelle) Zhan

Associate Recruiter (新卒採用担当)

Bachelor of Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics

Ochanomizu University


Chinese, English, Japanese, Hindi, Shanghainese


Discover more about this company including job opportunities and company information on JPort Match!


Discover more about this company including job opportunities and company information on JPort Match!

About Siyi (Michelle) Zhan

Hi, my name is 詹思怡, people call me Michelle. I'm Shanghainese and have been in Tokyo for over 10 years.

Earlier in my life, I had the privilege to study overseas and had a plan to get higher education in the United States. Fortunately and unfortunately, the global financial crisis in 2008 hit the world and that is what brought me to Japan. And I like how close it is to my hometown!

​When I first came to Japan without any knowledge in the language, I decided I would master the language and get into the local talent market be seen as equivalent as a local top talent, and so I did. After 10 months, I passed the JLPT N1 level, and the entrance test to one of the top national universities in the country and enrolled into the all Japanese environment in both study and extracurriculars. 

What did you do during college?

What career advice would you recommend for job hunters?

There is an information gap for international students regarding job-hunting in Japan, so I would like to highlight mainly 2 points for young global students who are / will be doing job-hunting. 

Reach out and Expose Yourself To Opportunities

Put yourself out there. When someone approaches you with advice or opportunities, that is probably because someone has been taking notice of you. If you get rejected, just move on because you will never get to know the truth anyways. At the same time reach out to people whether they are professionals or friends. In my case, I learned about this opportunity at Salesforce when I reached out to my friend about how I couldn’t find the perfect place for me. Then she referred me to someone who eventually got me connected to Salesforce. During job-hunting, it is better to seek advice 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 provide is to master the language. I understand the difficulty of this process but it is really important. If you can not speak Japanese well, it is more likely to limit your opportunities in the bigger picture. Afterall, in Japan, companies mainly deal with the domestic market and customers most of the time. I would encourage any students to master their Japanese to N1 level of JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test)  or above not only for building trust with your clients and colleagues, but also being fluent in the local language broadens your horizon and chances to achieve your own goals.

What are the beneficial skills needed for working 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 and vice versa. 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.

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 Skills:

This is the ability to explain to someone who does not know about a subject and being able to get your message across properly in a simple and easy way. This is crucial not only during an interview but also even after you start working. One of the most frequently asked questions during a fresh graduate interview is “what kind of things have you put most of your effort during your university?” Throughout this question, interviewers observe your communication skills and presentation skills, because the way a candidate explains a story shows a lot about your communication skills. It is needless to state that communication skills are not about how well you can talk with your friends.

Presentation Skills:

During an interview, candidates are often asked to talk about themselves, and that is when interviewers observe the presentation skills. Interviewers assess the structure of the whole story-telling. As mentioned earlier, communication skills and presentation skills are tightly linked to each other especially during an interview.


Knowledge in job hunting for fresh graduates is about understanding the whole system of the industry and the company candidates are interested in. 

Practical approach to acquiring this kind of knowledge is to start with the following questions: What does this company do? How do they make profit? What kind of value do they give more than their competitors?   

It is needless to say that candidates should conduct research online and offline by talking to people. Often times, some students who apply to a job assume that they have enough knowledge about the company they apply to, but it may not be the case due to lack of the right knowledge.


Teamwork in my definition means to be able to collaborate with every department for your goal. It is hardly possible to deliver outstanding results without collaborating with various members. The ability to collaborate with others and get the support you need from them is crucial. This is also related to communication skills as well. 

What does an Associate Recruiter (新卒採用担当) Do?

The First Few Years

When I first started in Salesforce back in 2015, I was assigned to the Marketing department. Then I moved to the university recruiting team, called Futureforce, as Salesforce started to accelerate on hiring more number of fresh graduates. I was responsible for branding, generating pipelines, direct-recruiting for candidates, and supporting & planning the internship programs. In total, I invited hundreds of students for 1on1s to exchange information and tried to attract candidates. Meeting a wide range of students was a critical experience for me to learn about the target audience. 

What I Do Now

I am currently responsible for hiring fresh graduates (新卒採用) in Japan. This is very similar to marketing with all the pipeline generations and brand funnels as attracting candidates requires both marketing and sales skills. From 2018 until today, I challenged myself to develop new programs, organizing recruitment events and new initiatives such as building relationships with schools overseas and top universities in Japan from scratch, delivering female student focused seminars as my main focus and many others. I always look forward to doing something new and commit to making world class results. I look at Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and constantly seek feedback from collaborators and clients (students).

Work Environment


“Ohana” is the Hawaiian word for “family”. Knowing the fact that Salesforce is a fast growing “外資” (foreign company) you probably would think it might have a rather dry culture, but not at Salesforce.​

We promote warm support in the work environment. It doesn’t matter how high in the rank you are, we always help each other and learn from each other. We reward those who are excellent at what they do, and definitely support the ones who are making efforts on their way to be better. Salesforce treats each employee as stakeholders, like our customers, partners, and community around us, we consider them all as “Ohana”. 
Understanding this will definitely help you grasp the idea of what a cultural fit to Salesforce looks like. 


Innovation here does not mean you have to make a new prototype every other day. Rather, it’s about the mindset of the person. Someone who would always put their radar on the news; who would always want to learn something new, and try to make progress. Everyone is empowered and encouraged to think about new and better ways to do things and promote it to their managers. Opportunities go to those who raise their hand. 

Employee Volunteering & Giving

Salesforce empowers some 50,000 employees worldwide to become citizen philanthropists. Starting on Day 1 of this company’s journey, it’s established a philanthropy model called 1-1-1 (1% Time, 1% Equity, 1% Product). As an employee, we can take 56 hours in a year or more paid-time to volunteer which we call VTO (Volunteer Time Off) and serve the community. 

If you want to start up a new project to contribute on your own interest, you can set it up and go! In my case, I went to Bengaluru and Delhi in India, delivered some Chinese food made by me and my volunteers to kids in the local slums. Before I went, I did not know anyone! But helped me to connect with the local volunteer activity coordinator, all I did was to apply for a permission online, and collect internal volunteers in each city. Helping others is deep in our culture, and no more explanation was required to get their spontaneous support. ​

Through organizing a volunteer project, you can learn project management skills and gain great experiences. As a bonus, cross-functional collaboration with employees and network throughout the company. 

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