Global Talent, Regional Touch: Communicating with Asia-Pacific Professionals

Article main image
Jan 16, 2024

Let’s dive deep into the world of global talent sourcing. I want to talk about creating those meaningful connections in which lies our ability to navigate the abundant tapestry of cultural nuances in communication. Straightaway, as we reach across the borders of time zones to engage candidates for an international blockbuster, it becomes progressively apparent that a one-size-fits-all approach will fall short in the realm of effective interaction.

I remember in one of my college classes, “International Communications,” discussed such differences in style abroad. For example, in some Asian cultures, when engaging with candidates, it is essential to reflect upon their decision-making process. If one was unfamiliar with this, they might perceive the person as not being interested in the role. However, it is often a sign of respect. The person in this part of the world is taking a deep-seated value in what you have proposed, and when they do reach back out, it will be with an answer of thoroughness and precision.

I’ll craft an example LinkedIn Message.

LinkedIn Message to a Japanese Candidate:

Subject: Dr. Yamamoto, Your Bioengineering Insights Are Sought by [Company Name]

Dear Dr. Yamamoto,

It’s a pleasure to connect with you on LinkedIn. Your extensive experience in Bioengineering truly stands out. I’m reaching out to discuss a potential opportunity at our company that aligns well with your impressive skill set. Would it be convenient for you to have a brief conversation about this? Your insights would be greatly valued.

[Your Name]


LinkedIn Message to an American Candidate:

Subject: A 3D Gaming Role You Can’t Miss at [Company Name], Mark!

Hi Mark,

I recently came across your profile & was impressed by your experience in 3D gaming. I think you could be a great fit for a role that we are hiring for. Are you interested in learning more about this opportunity? Let’s connect & discuss further.

[Your Name]


Formality & Title Usage: You’ll notice in the message to the Japanese candidate uses a formal title (“Dr. Yamamoto”) to show respect, which is important in Japanese culture. The American candidate is addressed by first name (“Hi Mark”), indicating a more casual & direct approach common in American culture.


***Additional Note on Formality & Title Usage***

I would like to make note that when reaching out to professionals, regardless of their cultural background, it’s essential to observe the titles they use in their LinkedIn profile or signature. I would advise that if an individual uses a professional title such as ‘Prof.,’ ‘Dr.,’ or any other formal designation, it’s respectful to use that title in your communication with them unless they mentioned to you it’s okay to call by their name. This guideline ensures your message is received with the appropriate level of professionalism & courtesy.

Tone & Politeness: A more formal & polite tone is used in the message to the Japanese candidate with phrases like “It’s a pleasure to connect with you.” The American message is straightforward & gets directly to the point, reflecting a prefer for direct communication.

Invitation to Connect: The invitation to discuss the opportunity is more formal & considerate of the Japanese candidates’ convenience. (“Would you be open to a brief discussion about this? Please let me know a convenient time for you.”). Now in contrast, the message to our American candidate is more direct & assume readiness to connect “Are interested in learning more about this opportunity? Let’s connect & discuss further.”)

The provided examples above demonstrate how to approach potential candidates on LinkedIn with sensitivity to cultural communication styles, whether it’s a formal & respectful approach for a Japanese candidate or a more direct & casual approach for an American candidate.

When switching to Australian candidates, adopting a relaxed yet professional communication style can be key to success. Direct and honest discourse, along with showing respect for their work-life balance, is essential. Therefore, understanding these cultural nuances by engaging in friendly small talk before transitioning to professional or business discussions, as well as respecting punctuality, conveys respect.

In this global tango of communication, just like when you are working with a meticulous film director, patience becomes our key ally. Therefore, by researching, understanding, and respecting these cultural rhythms, we can develop a more inclusive approach to our sourcing or recruitment strategies to avoid miscommunications that might result in a loss candidate.

For example, consider an email to a candidate living in Japan with an overly casual tone & lack of formal address, assuming a familiarity that isn’t culturally appropriate. An email such as that might not only be perceived as disrespectful, but as mentioned above cost a potentially valuable recruitment opportunity.

Example of an Ineffective LinkedIn Message to a Japanese Candidate:

Subject: Quick Chat?!?!

Hi Yamamoto,

Yama, can I call you that for short? I saw your profile and knew you would be interested in this job opportunity I have. It’s a cool role & right up your alley. I know you want to hear more about it so get back to me quickly with some times to chat. Yama don’t wait two to three weeks to get back to me as this opportunity will be gone.

Best Regards,
[Your Name]

Why It’s Ineffective:

  • Informal Greeting: Starting this message with “Hi” & only using the person’s last name without an honorific title is seen as disrespectful in Japanese culture, which values formalities, and respectful address. Additionally, the messenger’s inclination to use a nickname for the candidate further demonstrates a lack of understanding of cultural norms, where such familiarity is often inappropriate in professional settings.
  • Casual Delivery: Overall, the tone is just too casual & lacks the formality that is often appreciated in Japanese professional interactions.
  • Casual Tone: The overall tone is too casual and lacks the formality that is often appreciated in Japanese professional interactions.
  • Directness: The approach taken above could be perceived as abrupt & lacking in the polite & indirect communication style that is customary in Japan.
  • Assumption of Interest: Finally, the message simply assumes the candidate’s interest. Generally, in Japan, it is considered respectful when someone takes their time to respond, as it conveys that they have thoughtfully considered everything you said before replying. Therefore, the approach in this message, which rushes the candidate, could be seen as off-putting or presumptuous.

Remember this isn’t just about adapting to different time zones but about how the strength of our ability to adapt, listen, and resonate with the diverse voices that make up our global community, just like a film can relate to an international audience.

In embracing these cultural nuances in communication, we not only enrich our talent pools but also deepen our global understanding. Such awareness paves the way for a more interconnected & empathetic global workforce.

As highlighted by’s article on cultural differences in emailing, every aspect of emailing, from greetings to closures, is influenced by cultural contexts. Recognizing & adapting to these differences is not just about effective communication; it’s about building bridges across cultures, fostering mutual respect, and creating a more inclusive global community.

For those who wish to delve deeper into understanding cultural business practices, especially when it comes to working with Japanese professionals, the following books are invaluable:

These resources can greatly enhance your understanding of the pivotal role that cultural nuances play in global business interactions and can be particularly beneficial for professionals in the field of international talent sourcing and recruitment.


Disclaimer: Please note that the observations shared herein are generalities and may not represent all individuals’s preferences or behaviors. Cultural competence involves ongoing learning and adapting, and what is shared is based on common trends rather than fixed rules.


Atlanta’s own Tech Sourcer Supreme, Martel Howard, excels in Boolean & X-Ray search techniques. An active participant in the #boolean, #sourcing, and #recruiting spheres, he’s skilled in identifying high-caliber candidates in the IT field such as Software Engineers, Platform Architects, and Android Developers; however, his sourcing skills also span diverse industries. Martel’s unique sourcing method focuses on harmonizing talent acquisition with a company’s cultural identity and visionary outlook.
Beyond the above, Martel Howad is an enthusiast of comic books, sci-fi, puns, pomegranates and dry humor. His evenings are often filled with the star-studded realms of Star Trek: TNG and DS9, or reveling in the humor of Seinfeld’s unique cast. Steel from DC Comics is one of his favorite characters; he stands as a symbol of unyielding hope and courage, inspiring us to reach new heights in our personal and professional lives.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!