Services & Business
Activating global employment from the center of TokyoAndrew McGlinchey
The world's top job search service, with 180 million visitors every month
If you've searched for employment on the Internet, there's a good chance that you may have used the job search site Indeed.
What makes Indeed different from other online job searches is the way that it crawls all kinds of websites to obtain the best possible information from its users rather than simply collecting data from a pre-defined list of pertinent sites. Another great thing about Indeed is its speed that allows it to analyze their large database in milliseconds. The service now records over 180 million unique visitors from more than 55 countries in 28 languages each month (*as of August 2015). In reality it covers more than 94 percent of the world's GDP. While Indeed is based out of Austin, Texas in America, in 2012 the firm joined the Recruit Group.
Andrew McGlinchey had always been interested in Japan, which in turn led him to join Indeed's Tokyo office in 2015. He now works to improve products and technology as the office's director of product management, a position that also allows him to unify multiple teams in order to optimize long-term mission plans.
Anyone can accept ownership of ideas, regardless of seniority
Andrew McGlinchey's day begins with meetings of teams of five to seven members, with each meeting lasting roughly 10 minutes. The meetings, which consist of log analyses and other announcements from the previous day and setting the day's mission, are all conducted standing in order to keep them quick and concise.
"Nothing is hidden at Indeed. You can see everything, from details on projects you aren't involved with, or returns from clients, with an internal tool. And this of course applies to both newcomers and veterans. Our desks are all set up in a honeycomb arrangement so that people can easily talk to their colleagues sitting nearby. These are ideas brought over from our headquarters.
Also, whenever a new problem arises, the opinions and views of everyone from the top to bottom are reflected in the discussion. Basically, people can take on ownership as they work here. In large companies or organizations you always need approval before implementing a good idea or technology. At Indeed, however, we have created an environment where people can take on new challenges right away."
Another characteristic Andrew identifies is a strong emphasis on speed in development. Releasing new ideas or improvements swiftly and on a smaller scale and testing the results makes it easier for engineers to quickly understand the effects of their work. It's a system that has allowed him to experience much success, and gather many enjoyable experiences.
Giving shape to own interests, not just doing it because it's your job
One of the Recruit Group's policies is maintaining the mentality of an interested party at all times. This means putting yourself in the same position as a client or user when thinking of problems or methods for solving them. This way of thinking carries over to Indeed as well.
"I and the rest of the staff are always thinking of what people looking for jobs want. Or rather, we don't make services that aren't focused on this. However, no one can predict whether even a good idea will provide the correct answer or not. What this means is that we won't know unless we actually try it out. We thoroughly evaluate all data in order to obtain proof. Every decision is data-driven. That's another characteristic of Indeed."
One example of this is the way in which Indeed conducts repeated A/B tests (displaying different screens to site visitors in order to verify the most appropriate UI) for everything from new ideas to portions related to development and quality control. Indeed's data-driven stance has been a good source of synergy and benchmarks for the Recruit Groups as they have begun bolstering the IT capabilities in recent years.
"That said, we still do have plenty of failures, but this isn't a big problem. The greatest priority is that we are doing things we have an interest in, not because it's just our job; we give shape to ideas we find interesting. We put our heads together and test things over and over without anyone getting too fixated on their own ideas. Even if you fail, it's actually just another form of success if you think of it as a chance to move in good direction."
Your own sense can bring happiness to users
The roots of what I do now are games, the Internet, and computers.
"How did I begin doing this sort of work? I had always been interested in computer science since I got my own computer when I was 7. It only had 16kb of memory (laughs). I spent pretty much every day back then making games and various programs. My generation came around at a good time. There was the birth of home gaming, the Internet appeared, and everyone started to own computers. We all experienced that together.
This feeling that computers are great hasn't changed since I was a kid. If I can make a game that kids will get hooked on, then I can also contribute to people's ability to communicate or provide job seekers with information like at Indeed. Being able to make those kinds of things alongside skilled engineers is really fun."
How can my ideas help the world?
In Japan we often say that people should become skilled in the things they love. Andrew McGlinchey also puts this into practice at Indeed. Furthermore, having his interests contribute to success in the workplace is a great source of motivation for him.
"There's a section on the Indeed site called 'Company Pages.' It's intended to be a place where people who have worked for a company in the past can post a review of the company as a reference for new job seekers. This was one of the first things that interested me after joining Indeed.
Details on salary are one of the pieces of information people looking for work want to know the most. That's why we made improvements allowing users to specify salary using the 'Company Pages' option. What sort of effects will displaying as much salary data as possible have for users? Tackling questions like this is one of the reasons I like what I do. Every day is a repetition of problems and solutions, and while there aren't many times where are mission is totally completed, the moments where I feel that an Indeed idea has helped our users make me happy."
Existing in a global environment while in Japan
It's actually only been four months since Andrew McGlinchey began working at Indeed's Tokyo office. While he understands the detailed trial and error mentality of an engineer when it comes to problem solving and performance, he also refines ideas regarding future systems as a product manager.
"Engineers are seen as more important here in Japan now, but that definitely wasn't the case before. In most companies, engineering was seen as a technical profession, with not many recognizing that it's actually a very creative line of work. That's why becoming a manager was often the only choice open to engineers who want to level up their career in the company structure. But, at Indeed there is way for technically minded people who want to focus purely on development to advance. What's more, their ideas are seen as a needed creative type of work. The only people we don't have work for are those who can't come up with anything. That's why it's so interesting to work in the global environment of the Tokyo office while I'm in Japan."
Why I work at Indeed in Tokyo rather than Silicon Valley, the world's leading IT hub.
A work culture that understands the true essence of engineering and an office environment equipped with lunch and places to let off steam so that staff can focus on work like those found at Indeed are extremely rare in Japan. The true value of having staff shine as individuals, however, is the way it directly affects the level of satisfaction among users. Andrew McGlinchey enjoys his life in this setting.
"I had always been interested in Japan, which is why I chose to work at Indeed's Tokyo office. Of course there are tons of other attractive IT cities out there like Silicon Valley, London, and Bengaluru, but Tokyo is one of the most mentioned cities where people want to work, even amongst Indeed users. From the necessities of life, entertainment, the regional festivals, and just all the culture in general, Japan is full of attractions you won't find in any other country.
One area of software development where many advances are being made is machine learning, which allows computers to collect, sort, and judge information autonomously. A negative aspect of this is the way this can result in the computer continuing to provide biased data, but on the other hand there are also many positive elements like being able to clear social issues that still haven't been resolved. I want to enjoy Tokyo and the world to the fullest while engaging this potential computers hold."
Andrew McGlinchey studied artificial intelligence and cognitive systems at university in Toronto. He has worked at several startups, as well as bigger companies like Microsoft. Before joining Indeed's Tokyo office in 2015, he was a senior product manager at Google Singapore, bringing Google's services to Southeast Asia and emerging markets.
One of the world's largest job aggregator search engines operated by Indeed, Inc.