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Our new graduate recruiters answer 10 frequently asked questions (Part 1)

What are your impressions of Sumitomo Corporation? Many people probably have a vague image of it being an "integrated trading and business investment company” or a “global company” but have no idea about the actual career path or what kind of people work there.
We asked the members of the Human Resources Dept.’s Recruitment Team in charge of new graduate recruitment 10 questions we are often asked by students. The five people who answered the questions were first- to third-year employees who understand how job hunters feel. The answers to the questions will be provided in two articles.

  • Yuzuki Nakano

    Joined the company in 2021. Since joining, she has overseen new graduate recruitment. Engaged in selection design and the planning and implementation of PR activities such as internships and seminars. She is also involved in branding through recruitment.

  • Akihiro Shimizu

    Joined the company in 2022. While being responsible for everything from recruitment PR to selection, principally in the Kansai area, he is also involved in the planning and operation of internship programs that use design thinking.

  • Satoshi Saito

    Joined the company in 2022. In Japan, he oversees national recruitment PR and selection but also leads recruiting international students from overseas universities.

  • Keita Michimata

    Joined the company in 2023. Principally involved in internships and selection in the Kansai area as a recruiter of new graduates. His focus as a student was studying abroad and strength training.

  • Rei Saito

    Joined the company in 2023. Oversees the recruitment of new graduates nationwide. Among other things, he manages PR activities for regions outside of Kanto and Kansai and for science students. During his school years, he was a part of the lacrosse team.

Q1. Why did you decide to work at integrated trading and business investment company?

Saito (Rei) I thought it would be a prestigious job, and when I was a student, charismatic senior students around me were going into general trading companies. I initially had an image of them as being cool places to work. I went to hear a company information session and was attracted by the environment that allowed young people to take on challenges and the way that people with high aspirations were coming together.

Michimata I did not start out thinking that an integrated trading and business investment company was a good fit for me. As I attended information sessions for a variety of industries, including manufacturing companies, consulting firms, and finance-related companies, the term “integrated trading and business investment company” came up in most industries. So, I asked myself, “What exactly is an integrated trading and business investment company?” I was curious. After doing a lot of research and attending information sessions, I liked how there were fields in which I could work across a wide range of industries. I had experience studying abroad, so the chance to work onsite overseas was one of the main reasons I decided to work at an integrated trading and business investment company.

Q2. What made you choose Sumitomo Corporation?

Nakano During my job search, I asked people in various industries—not just general integrated trading and business investment companies —what they found rewarding in their jobs. What impressed me in the answers I heard from Sumitomo Corporation employees was not that they were proud of the scale of their work itself, but that it made them happy to make someone’s life a little better through their work. This sincerity was the reason why I decided to work at Sumitomo Corporation.

Shimizu I applied to many companies, but it seemed that the employees at Sumitomo Corporation were able to see things from the point of view of people looking for a job. I truly felt that they were the kind of people I wanted to work with. I thought that here I could take a positive step forward as a fully involved member of society.

Saito (Satoshi) I think what general trading companies do is essentially similar everywhere. This means that one’s focus naturally turns to the “soft” aspects of the company, such as its values, organizational culture and workers. I think it is important to be able to empathize with those aspects as well. I think Sumitomo Corporation is a company that attracts lots of people due to the employees that work there.

Q3. How is the atmosphere at your workplace and how easy is it to work there?

Shimizu If I had to describe it in one word, it would be “teamwork.” I feel that many people at Sumitomo Corporation are very empathic towards others. It’s particularly for this reason that I’m able to incorporate the opinions of my team members into my work and express my own opinions without thinking twice about it. I believe this results in high-quality work that could not be produced by one person alone.

Saito (Rei) I feel the same. It is an environment where everyone can use their strengths and make up for each other's weaknesses. Young people's opinions are also taken into consideration, so even in your first year at the company, you can take on substantial challenges. I originally had an image of trading companies as organizations that appeal to people from an athletic background, but I now feel that it is a flat organization without any strict hierarchical relationships, where it is also easy to work with everyone else.

Saito (Satoshi) As far as systems go, one is the Super Flextime. For example, a senior employee with a small child may leave work in the evening, pick up the child, and then work a little more in the evening, which means that the working system is more suitable for more people. You can work from home, or if you come to the office, you can work in an open space while conversing with your team members, or you can sit in silence and focus on your work.

Q4. Are many employees from an athletic background or people who’ve returned to Japan after living overseas?

Michimata The image of a trading company with many athletic types is well established, but I would say that just 30% or so of all the employees at Sumitomo Corporation come from athletic backgrounds. In fact, I am not an athlete either.

Saito (Satoshi) Many people seem to have an image of Sumitomo Corporation as being one of the safer options among trading companies. Perhaps because of this image, people are sometimes concerned that Sumitomo Corporation may not offer enough for those who want to be active from a young age. But after joining the company I found that this was far from the case. They give young people important jobs and opportunities to grow and tell them to just give it a go.

Saito (Rei) I agree. Every day I feel that the supervisors are covering for younger workers behind the scenes, while allowing them to grow while doing their work.

Nakano As for people who’ve returned to Japan from overseas, I feel that many people are attracted to Sumitomo Corporation due to the global field in which they can work. However, we do not hire people just because they’ve lived overseas. I believe that overseas experience is just one of the elements that can make someone a good employee.

Q5. What kind of career can I expect after joining Sumitomo Corporation?

Michimata Since joining the company, I have realized afresh that there are truly unique and diverse careers out there. I feel that Sumitomo Corporation has a system and environment that allows you to independently build the career you desire—such as by transferring to a different Dept. or by taking a position overseas. We have a system called “career assessment,” whereby each year in the fall, employees make a career plan and meet with their supervisor to discuss it. I routinely talk with my supervisor about my career outside of official assessments, and I feel that each employee's view of his or her career is valued here at Sumitomo Corporation. In addition to regular transfers, employees can also take up the challenge of transferring to a Dept. of their choice through the in-house recruitment system.

Nakano I think that a few decades ago if you were in an integrated trading and business investment company and, for example, you were initially put in charge of bananas, you would have remained in the foodstuff trade and related business investment for a long time. Of course, you can still have a career like that if you wish, but nowadays it’s increasingly possible to take on the challenge of a completely different field, such as digital transformation (DX).

Saito (Rei) I was particularly struck by what I heard in the training after I joined the company: “Become a person with multiple specialties!” When we think about career development, we could become a specialist with expertise or a generalist with multifaceted knowledge. But to survive in the increasingly complex society of the future, it will be challenging to survive without more than one specialty. I think that in order to achieve this, people will be transferred between Dept.s, and the expertise honed in each Dept. will help build the individual concerned.


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