Mercari’s Shintaro Yamada: What makes a new graduate/young employee likely to thrive in the workplace?

Japanese Ver.

Mercari welcomed six new graduates for the first time in April 2016, and is currently actively recruiting new graduates and interns to join in 2017 and 2018.

To celebrate the opening of Mercan, we interviewed Mercari’s CEO, Shintaro Yamada, about new graduates and young employees who thrive in the workplace. (Interviewer: Matsuo from the HR group)

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What young members who thrive in the workplace have in common: strong curiosity

— Mercari recruited new graduates for the first time this year. Do you think there are any common features between new grads who thrive in the workplace?

In my previous company, we recruited new graduates as well. I think the most important thing for new graduates is being full of curiosity—people who always try to get involved in new things.

Of course, when you try new things, you fail a lot. When you fail, you get frustrated and think really hard about what went wrong. Curiosity creates new opportunities, and both experiencing lots of failure and learning from that failure leads to personal growth. I think this is true no matter what job position you’re in.

— Couldn’t you also argue that it’s better to focus on one thing and improve your skills than to try lots of things and spread yourself too thin?

I’m not saying focusing on something from a young age is totally out of the question, but I think getting too obsessed with just one thing is risky. When you’re in your twenties, you probably still don’t know all the opportunities that are out there and what kind of job you’re really suited for.

So I think it’s important to try out a lot of different things and find out what you like and what you’re good at.

You may even find something you thought you wouldn’t be suited for, but when you actually try it, you’re better at it than most people or you have so much fun you get really into it.

Growing companies provide the best environment for young members to thrive

— That’s why it’s important to have the curiosity to go out and challenge things yourself?

I think so. You can try out things you know by yourself, but there are some things that you only find out about by receiving advice from other people or being asked to do tasks.

So it’s also important to be in an environment where you’re assigned to things in order to help you encounter things you don’t know. I think having the willingness and the openness to take these chances is also something common to members who thrive in the workplace.

— So, getting as many chances as possible to find where they can grow.

I think establishing your direction is extremely important. If you get that wrong, you won’t achieve results, and you won’t be able to grow. You need to find the direction that’s right for you. This is true of businesses too, not just individuals.

— You mentioned businesses. Do you think that for a young person, the growth of the company or business they’re working at has a strong influence on their personal growth?

It absolutely does. If the company or business is growing rapidly, they’ll have more and more new opportunities, and the probability they’ll encounter good work for them and talented people shoots up.

One mistake you need to be careful of is thinking that a company with a small number of employees gives people the opportunity to do anything they want from a young age. It’s more important that the company or business is growing; if it stays small, you’ll only ever be doing the same work, and growing as a person will be difficult. But if you’re in an environment that’s growing, you’ll be able to grow too.

Scaling and aiming for huge success

— Tell us more about skills and aspirations. Do non-engineers need programming skills too?

Right now, there are two main components of creating an online/mobile service: programming (what you create) and UI/UX (how the user experiences it). I think it’s always better to have more skills, and it can’t hurt to learn at your own pace. I actually think it would be good to study design, too.

— What do you think about having the ambition to start a business?

Honestly, I don’t think it really matters that much whether someone wants to start a business or not. If I had to say, I think whether someone is willing to and wants to choose the larger-scale option when faced with decisions influences whether they’re able to grow or not.

Shintaro’s confidence in Mercari as the best environment for growth

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— Mercari is mostly doing recruiting through GitHub and and project-based internships for the 2017-2018 new graduate recruiting program. Why choose these recruiting methods?

By setting the first hurdle simple, yet high, we want to get applications from strong-spirited people who want to take on a challenge and overcome it.

For example, in the project-based internships, the students themselves set the tasks they’ll take on while working as an intern at Mercari.

The intern’s mentor and other members at Mercari give suggestions, feedback, and help regarding their tasks. We have top-class people in all positions here, so I’m confident it’s a great environment to work in, and we want students to experience that and choose Mercari.

— What do you mean by that?

If students experience the atmosphere and culture of the office before deciding to join, we can avoid cases where Mercari turns out to be different than they imagined, which ends badly for everyone.

— Do you have any last words for students reading this?

People tend to think of Mercari as being “complete”, but actually, the company is only three years old, and it’s still far from complete and continuing to grow. We’re still tackling challenges no one’s ever done before and aiming for huge success.

For example, Mercari is looking to seriously break into the US market, and we’re preparing for expansion into Europe. We also want to create more and more new products in Japan, like Souzoh’s Mercari Atte. There are so many things we want to do, and so many things we can do, that there are more opportunities than you could ever hope for.

I want young people to know that Mercari can provide you with the most opportunities of any company out there. If you’re interested, please apply!

— We hope more and more people will be interested in working at Mercari. Thank you for your time!

Mercari New Graduate Recruiting Page