LinkedIn Launches Sales Navigator

How to Hire Great Sales People for Your Startup: Chat With Ryan Paugh, APAC Head of Sales Effectiveness at LinkedIn

All startups, especially startups in Japan, are in need of really good sales people – or usually legions of sales people. But often times startups lack the know-how to discover and hire the TOP GUN.

The competition for sales people is fierce, tough and not really the most exciting of challenges. Some may say that corporate giants have it easier with attractive salary packages, brand recognition, and HR teams but the reality is that it is a big hurdle for anyone.

So how do you hire a great sales person for your startup? Justa recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Ryan Paugh, Head of Sales Effectives in APAC at LinkedIn, to discuss the best practices and the biggest mistakes for hiring great sales people.


The myth about sales is that it is simply: a successful way of persuading someone to buy something you sell.

This cannot be furthest away from the truth.

Sales is all about solving someone’s problem, and that is exactly what sales people do. If you go to a Farmer’s Market and you need a solution to effectively get rid of your hunger, the farmer will provide you with a very effective way to get rid of it– they will sell you food.

However, to be able to solve someone’s problems there are three key qualities that Ryan sees in top sales people:

 1.  they have to love people:

“ the top sales people are those that love people and are good at building relationships. The top guns are natural trust builders, and this is something that probably can’t be taught – either you have it or you don’t.”

2.  be strong at critical reasoning:

“listening to problems and coming up with solutions requiring a lot of mental toughness, and the best sales people develop their complex problem solving abilities in order to develop strategies and solutions for their clients.”

3.  have drive and perseverance!

“You can do the first two very well, but it is really the drive and perseverance that makes the difference between a good and an extremely good sales person. The “top guys” come in on weekends and nights, and have drive, and would not stop trying to achieve certain goals. These are the best sales people I have seen”.

It doesn’t matter if they have years of experience or none, these key qualities will be able to help you understand if he is a top sales person or has potential to raise to the top.

The second step is creating a good pipeline and have an effective hiring process. As a startup, you probably do not have a designated HR person, and the entire team will want to be part of the decision making process. This is great, unless you have not thought about how often, how and when will you be fitting the hiring process into your busy schedule.

First step, designate times of the week associated to hiring, and second step make sure to get in the habit of giving feedback on a timely manner. The biggest mistake we have seen startups do is not treating each candidate appropriately. Not giving any feedback, taking too long to get back, make the entire interview process last longer than 4 months, or refusing without proper explanations. All of these have been very harmful to the startups businesses. The interview process is a window into your company and if you are not careful, it can reflect negatively on your brand in the market and even hit your bottom line. So, plan ahead, think when, how and who will be helping with the interview, and take each interview as a business meeting.

Thirdly, make sure you are effectively interviewing sales people. We advise you to pick up these three great interview habits from Linkedin:

1.  No Biases

“One of the pieces of advice I would give is to be careful not to bring biases to your interview – do not choose someone because he plays the same sport as you, or the way they dress or because they are funny. One lesson you can take away from LinkedIn is that we try to go in to the interview process with zero bias. This is very important to focus on finding the best talent and not let emotions weigh in.

2.  Ask vertical questions:

“Don’t take answers at face value. The deeper you go, the more you realize who they really are.

Instead of asking for their strengths and weaknesses, ask them to walk you through a deal they have closed from end to end and are proud of. I pay attention about how the candidate found the deal, communicated with the client, and how they closed it.”

You find out very quickly if there is any substance to their questions – the more you ask vertical questions, the deeper you dig into their responses. “How did you do last year?”, “how did you achieve 125%?”, “Did everyone or did only you?”

3.  Are they team players?

“For us at LinkedIn, we need good team players, and so do startups. As such make sure to ask questions like: “Tell us about a time when you had to collaborate to get a deal done”

Lastly, keep in mind that for a startup, especially when hiring sales people, it is important in a sales context to be really clear about your strategy.

Ask yourself this question: “Do you know who is your target buyer and what will be the most effective way to engage that audience as a startup?”

Are you focused, and targeted? When Ryan helped to launch LinkedIn Sales Solutions in Asia it was pretty much a startup experience. Now it is helping to connect businesses and promote exchange in every corner of the region. Even backed by the LinkedIn brand, this could not have happened without dedicated sales talent.

Once you finally decide to hire that people-person, problem solver, optimistic and filled with perseverance, here is a salary survey that can help you start thinking about the package you would like to offer.

If you need any further tips or advice do not hesitate to contact us, we are always up for a chat, especially on a nice sunny day on a patio in Tokyo.


Written by Elena Churilova

WIN conference


Calling all women in Tokyo!

For the second year in a row JUSTA is a proud partner to Women’s International Networking Conference, aka WIN in Tokyo. It is happening tomorrow and Friday, May 19th & 20th at the Shangri-La Hotel and we will be there, so should YOU!

We made a list of 5 reasons why all women in leadership, young women entrepreneur, or startups & companies who want to have more powerful women in the workforce alongside them, should attend WIN.


  1. Who run the world? GIRLS! As the famous Beyoncé song goes, we at Justa totally agree. Although Japan is one of the largest economies in the world, gender inequality is still a major barrier for most working women in Japan. We love WIN so much as it promotes global female leadership and changes movement locally through their conferences. As such, we are excited to see the push here in Japan. Whether you are a woman in leadership or aspiring to be one, WIN Conference is not an opportunity you want to miss. It is the place to go for inspiration, knowledge and great advice to help you succeed in your careers and goals.


  1. Want to know the latest trends happening around the world? WIN has you covered. Program includes 23 world-class speakers and multiple skill building workshops! Some exciting workshops and talks include ‘What’s Going on Globally?’ and ‘Which are the Companies Leading the Way?’. This is the perfect opportunity to bring some tips and tricks for your company and career progressions from the top global and local leaders.


  1. Japan is definitely not known for its diverse and flexible work culture, come find out how to create a better work environment, like the ones seen at many Silicon Valley tech giants. WIN conference will have the best advice from the top-tier companies with the best practices, and the ones that are embracing diversity. As we will meet with the partners of WIN conference like Calbee, PEPSICO, KIRIN, Google, IKEA and hear what they are up to here in Japan.


  1. Above all, we know that one of the most powerful tools in business is networking, so why not develop your own connections through WIN! Eat, chat and exchange ideas with the best of the best within your field. There will be people from top management and top tier companies, entrepreneurs, consultants and politicians as well as artists. Make sure you have enough cards ready for the day!


  1. Last but not least, WIN is definitely one of the biggest – if not the biggest – events that celebrates women. It is not just about business; more importantly WIN provides support for women to empower them and allows them to speak out for themselves.


If you are looking for something stimulating and fun to complement May’s round of nice spring weather. WIN conference will not disappoint you, be sure to check it out yourself!


Written by Corrine Chan

Slush Asia

Tips and Tricks for Landing the Perfect Startup job at Slush Asia

Finally, Slush Asia is here, with thousands of people, and hundreds of startups, and tons of opportunities for those ‘startupers’ seeking exciting jobs! It is the perfect time for you to get ready, sharpen your incisors and bite into the competition.

We have compiled “THE GUIDE” specifically for you Slush Asia attendees, to get ready for the battlefield.

How do I prepare for an interview with a startup?
What are startups looking for?
What can I expect?
How is the Japanese job market different?
How much am I worth at a startup?

Read below, and find out my friend.



The billion dollar question “how to woo a startup?” is a no brainer, but many forget to do this one and simple rule – use the product before you step foot into the office.

If it’s an app, download it, use it, and spend a significant amount of time consuming it. If it’s an online dating site, sign up, try it out and go on a few dates! E-commerce? Go and buy stuff! By using it you can determine how easy is it to download, navigate, understand and use the product. Break your experience down onto a storyboard and bring this with you to the interview.

Don’t be afraid to critique the product or website. Often times websites are poor at conveying what they do, in simple terms, especially if they are tech companies (who are usually really bad at conveying to a normal person technical or industry specific terms). So give constructive criticism on how they can improve if you are an engineer, or if you are a sales person, question them about other business or marketing strategies. This will set you apart from the competition. In general, always ask questions – do not leave the interview room without having asked good questions, everyone judges you on this part to see if you are actually interested and excited for the startup you are interviewing for.

Secondly, research online – don’t get fooled, most of the times people are not great at finding relevant or helpful information for the interview. Often times candidates Google “Netflix” and read a bunch of stuff that is totally irrelevant to the interview. YouTube and Google are the easiest ways to search – but utilize them smartly. Search criteria like “company name and business model” and see what suggestions come up, and “company name vs..” and see what comes up.

Let’s say you’re interviewing for Netflix, YouTube “Netflix vs Hulu vs Amazon”, you will find a list of videos with very nice geeky people who will give you the best preparation and a high level of understanding. For “Netflix and business model” search results like “how Netflix is killing the traditional TV” are common, which will be a gem for your overall understanding of the company.

The other one is research the CEOs. Always always always and I will say it once again, always! watch his/her interviews – all interviews! You will become an expert at his/her values and mission statement, this will help you understand whether your passion and values are aligned, and will aid you during the interview by showing that you fit in the company culture.

Thus, the first part is to prepare for the company, but the second piece is you – how well do you fit that specific job description (JD)? The two things that interviewees often blow is telling the story of who they are and how they will make the rocket fly. Don’t forget to show how beneficial you will be for the company and sell yourself in regards to that JD. Make a couple of bullet points, what in the JD can you contribute to the best, and what are you weak at. Be ready to talk about your weaknesses! Lastly, mention what is not on the JD that you can contribute to. Write short paragraphs and summarize it in anything around 3-8 bullet points, and read through them again and again visualizing asking the questions and practicing reading the answers. This will be sufficient to feel prepared.

Beware though, don’t memorize a script. Another weakness we have noticed in interviews is candidates sometimes forget to listen to interviewer and start answering questions that they memorized, not the ones that they were asked. Don’t forget to be a good listener. Go to the 8 points for ammunition, but remember to ultimately listen to what they say.



Now at Justa we also hear this common question: what are startups looking for? We will try to categorize this, although there are always exceptions to the rule.

First of all, lets put this way, it depends on what stage the startup is at (EARLY > MID > MATURE), this determines what type of individual they are looking for.

Commonly, early stage startups want someone who likes to take risk, can multitask and is not rigid in what type of role or environment he/she is working in. In mid stage, startups grow in numbers and become more mature, so they need people who are a bit more structured, as there will be more processes in place, so they need people who are not adverse to structure. While mature startups – one reaching pre-IPO stage, are looking for someone who has perhaps worked at a company who has gone IPO. So look at yourself and see if your personality and ambition fits the stage that the startup is at.

Graph 1

Oh, also, startups at the early stage are really looking for people who are deeply in love with their product. At Justa we have had top candidates be refused by startups, because they were not 100% sure that the candidate was as passionate about their product as they were.

Additionally, we advise you to talk about salary and working hours at the later stages of your interview process. As said previously, startups really want to see your passion for their product and see an ‘in it to win it’ attitude. And keep in mind that early stage startups will most likely require some extra work hours in comparison to mid or mature startups.

The Japanese Market

When you’re working for startups in Japan, you should keep in mind the intricacies of the Japanese startup market and how it is different from other major startup hubs like SF, Berlin, Tel – Aviv and others.

For starters, the talent pool in Japan is still small and the demand is super high! All startups need great engineers, sales, marketing and creative talent. Every field is in high demand; but engineers are even higher. Once we asked a startup, “how many developers are you hiring?” and they told us, “how many do you have? We’ll take them all!”.

There are a couple of reasons for the small talent pool, but most prominent is the loyalty factor. Candidates in Japan are more loyal so they don’t switch jobs as often, culturally it’s one job for life.

There is also the formality of job changing. Candidates are less likely to apply directly, and more likely to apply through an agency. I think this is intrinsic from the layers of bureaucracy in Japanese culture, and in recruitment, it is no different as candidates want to feel that they are taken care of – a concept that threads into the service culture in Japan. While candidates in US and UK use LinkedIn, in Japan they don’t usually sign up as they are not trusting enough to release that kind of personal information, and demand a higher level of security. So they entrust themselves to agents who take care of their applications.

The personality factor also plays a big role. Most Japanese are very introverted by nature, so they prefer the agent to take care of all the negotiations for them in terms of salary, vacation days and others. This leaves little room for early stage startups to find talent on their own, but the high recruiting fees are often times too much of a blow for them to take, ranging from 25-40% of the yearly salary. But worry not, Justa is here to make sure startups get an equal play in the field and that you as a candidate can find out about all the amazing opportunities.

Finally, if you are a foreign (aka gaijin) engineer, your Japanese language skills may not be so important – unlike if you are a marketing or sales person. If you are interested in doing sales and marketing in Japan with no or little Japanese skills, your only option is to work for startups who are expanding abroad and require foreign market specialists.Graph 2



Salary and packages are quite different in Japan. Compared to the US, the number of VC funds is smaller and; although the barriers for IPO are lower, the likelihood for a hot IPO is less likely. In Japan companies tend not to give stock options and employees don’t expect them (or understand the concept). Startups have just recently started to include SO, however this is still a low percentage and quite uncommon, unlike packages in Silicon Valley.

To get a better understanding of the salaries, Justa has made a free salary report; you can access it by registering here. It gives you a great understanding of the average salaries by industry and age, although some startups we have seen are an exception to the rule. Do keep in mind the cost of living in Japan is much lower than in SF, so this makes room for a very comfortable lifestyle.


Overall, the startup ecosystem is quite different in Japan from anything one has seen. More and more foreigners and international startups are coming to Japan and setting new ground play rules. This is an exciting time to be in Japan, you can find a list of some really cool startups at the forefront of innovation here. Since Slush Asia, the startup scene has taken a heap and has really evolved and we are excited to see and help it grow even further.

At Slush Asia we will be guiding startups and attendees and helping them with all hiring matters. If you want to find out who is hiring, need help or have questions, come by our booth – The Hiring Corner – location S14, and we would love to chitchat more!

Startup DNA


Written by Elena Churilova



Masa株式会社Orb共同創業者兼CEO。大学生時代から15年以上、貨幣システムの研究に取り組む。NYの邦人投資顧問時代に貨幣システムの問題点を認識し、起業家として問題解決することを決意する。その後、セブンネットショッピングにてプロダクトマネージャーを経験し、シリコンバレーにて、コンテントキュレーションベンチャーのMusavyを手がけ、GrouponにてBusiness Development、CriteoのGlobal RTB Team APAC Directorを経て、Orbを創業。















取材・執筆:松尾 美里


2015 IE x KMD Venture Day Tokyo


On Friday, November 13th, I had the pleasure to officiate as master of ceremony (aka MC) for the startup pitching competition organized jointly by IE Business School (IE) and Keio Media Design School (KMD) at the Keio Mita campus in the heart of Tokyo.

For this third edition of the event supported by Fitbit, Justa, and Cream, eight start-ups at a seed stage (the upper limit was fixed to 100,000US$ investment) were invited to compete based on their idea, business plan, team and traction. The overall level of the teams was impressive, but at the end of the day three teams stood out. Congratulations to the winners (more on each team below): iineCard, HouseCare and AnchorUp.

Besides the startup pitching competition, highlights of the day included keynote talks by John S. Shiota – President and CEO at Polygon Pictures, Kaoru Tanaka – Director at IDEO and Dennis Shingo Sudo – President at Core3dCentres.

To complete the day, a local VC panel was assembled in order to provide the audience with precious insights into the Japanese venture capital industry and trends. Members of the panel included seed stage oriented firms such as 500Startups and J-Seed or larger rounds such as Fidelity, SalesForce and Government related funds.

8 teams competing

Each pitching startup put a lot of effort into making the most of the short three minutes to present their vision and convince the judges of their ventures’ potential. From travel to fashion, medtech to social networks, the range of ideas and industries was all-encompassing.

Here is a little more about the three winning teams from third place to first:

3rd Place: AnchorUp presented by Alba Zurriaga Carda


AnchorUp is a travel application that aims at bringing back spontaneity and adventure to the center of travel experiences. The app makes the most of SOLOMO (social, local, mobile) to connect travelers, local people and hidden spots seamlessly on-the-go. AnchorUp is available on the iTunes store as of Tuesday, November 17th.

2nd Place: HouseCare (soon to be Airtidy) by Justin Clune

House Care

HouseCare surfs on the staggering development of the sharing economy and the rise of AirBnB in Japan. The startup helps tenants scale their rental activities by taking care of all cleaning- related services. HouseCare has shown impressive initial traction and is actively recruiting new cleaners to support its growth.

1st Place: iineCard by Jakub Slusarczyk


iineCard unanimously convinced the judges with its early signs of great execution and future potential in building a bridge between printed media magazines and the digital world. iineCard offers a simple solution for readers to scan items featured in magazines with mobile phones to find and buy them online. Congratulations to the iineCard team’s who just got their first round of magazines on board!

About IE Venture Days:

International Venture Days showcase and celebrate the best of IE Business School’s entrepreneurial spirit. They host international startup competitions where the best startups and investors connect and share experiences. Every Venture Day event is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to raise funds from local investors and for investors to get access to quality deal flow leading to the continued development and empowerment of local and international startup ecosystems. More info here.

About the author:

Pierre Gaulis is a Swiss born Tokyo based entrepreneur and an IE business school alumni. He is founder and CEO at Cream, a digital solutions studio and at BrandAcademy a training and engagement application. Contact him here.

10 Reasons why Tech in Asia Tokyo 2015 will blow your mind.

761 x 120

If you only have time to attend one event this Fall, Tech in Asia Tokyo 2015 should be the one.

Edition of Tech in Asia previously known as Startup Asia) is a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious two-day conference held annually in Singapore, Tokyo, and Jakarta. It is a must- attend if you are interested to connect with people who empower innovation and make a leap forward in Asia. Its next week, September 8th & 9th. Here are the reasons why you should drop everything and attend!

1) The event is one of Asia’s largest conferences organized for entrepreneurs, investors, media, and friends in the technology and startup community

2) For the first time ever at Tech in Asia Tokyo 2015, startup exhibit booth will be free*! THIS IS A GREAT CHANCE FOR STARTUPS TO SHOWCASE THEMSELVES< almost like getting a Ferrari for Christmas!

3) The Arena is back again this year. On September 9 these will be the PRIZES!!!! 10 startups will compete to win a prize of USD10,000 and Champions Trophy!!!!!

4) AND THE JUDGES! Top noted judges will include Batara Eto, co-founder and managing partner at East Ventures; James Riney; Venture Capitalist at DeNa; Saemin Anh; managing partner at Rakuten Ventures; and Shinichi Iwata; partner at Atomica Japan…

5) Another program to look for is the Startup Investor Speed Dating event where startup founders can meet various investors to initiate a relationship (of any type) and conduct an elevator pitch. Participating investors include DeNa, Itochu Technology Ventures, Microsoft Ventures, Rakuten Ventures, Recruit Strategic Partners Inc, Salesforce Ventures, Sumitomo Corporation Equity Asia Limited, and many more!

6) Another avenue for you to pursue partnership opportunities with various corporate partners is available with the Office Hour, with companies such as Kyocera, Kao, NTT Data, and Sony joining.

7) A jelly bean mix of speakers from a diverse set of backgrounds will be holding talks that could change your life! Like the beloved Ben Horowitz; no need to remind you that he is the co-founder and partner at Andreessen Horowitz and NY Times’ best selling author, will also be attending at Tech in Asia!

8) With code ‘tiatokyoxjusta’ you get 25% off!

9) To fill up the conference with laughs, Ray Chan will honour us with his presence, the co-founder and CEO of 9GAG! Cannot wait to pitch him some of my memes!

10) Still think you need a 10th reason? Drink and exchange ideas with some of the world’s tech giants at Night Crawl; one of the coolest parties happening right at the heart of Tokyo, multiplied by two for TWO CONSECUTIVE NIGHTS, September 8-9!

With an amazing program and a stellar lineup of speakers, #tiatokyo2015 is one event you definitely want to mark on your calendar!

* Terms and conditions apply


For the English version of the survey, click here!






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