My career growth in San Francisco


Julia Horiuchi was looking for an opportunity to work in an international recruitment firm when she joined Robert Walters in 2013. Since then she’s experienced rapid career progression and has had the opportunity to work with some of the most innovative tech start-ups in the Bay Area. She discusses culture and careers in our San Francisco office.

What interested you in recruitment?

“From my perspective, it’s one of the best kinds of sales roles out there as it’s less transactional and very people-focused. I genuinely enjoy meeting new people - that’s what drives me in my role. At Robert Walters we’re lucky to work within a team-based commission structure so it’s less of a ‘hard sell’ environment.

How did you start at Robert Walters?

I was working in a boutique recruitment firm when I saw that Robert Walters was hiring. As a large global business, it was exactly what I was looking for. I was also really inspired by the North American MD's story. He had relocated to San Francisco from Japan and during his time in Tokyo the business had grown from 20-200 people. I wanted to work for an organisation with those kinds of opportunities. I told him that I was very keen to move internationally in the next two years – however this market has been so busy that I’ve had no need to!

How has your career progressed since you joined?

I started out as a consultant in 2013 and was the sixth member of staff in San Francisco. We worked really hard building the business in those early days. Within six months I was promoted to senior consultant and last year was promoted to manager of the go-to marketing team. So, I’ve grown with the business.

What sort of clients do you work with?

In San Francisco, we mainly work with start-ups, many of whom are pre-IPO. When we first started out here we did a lot in the gaming industry and while that’s continued a bit, we now deal with more enterprise SaaS and mobile clients - they’re currently our two biggest areas. One of the great things about working within the tech environment is that we get to work directly with company founders.

How would you describe the culture in the office?

For the most part our culture is similar to that of our international offices, very dynamic and fast-paced. For such a large global business, it’s amazing how cohesive the culture is worldwide. Like the start-ups we support, we work collaboratively and are very entrepreneurial.

Any perks?

We have quarterly incentives such as fancy dinners as well as team baseball games and sailing trips on the Bay. As we’re a relatively small office, we’re lucky to get to go offsite for events such as our Global Charity Day. Last year the entire team worked at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, where we provided food for 5,000 families in the local community. There’s also opportunities to attend the Group incentive weekend if you hit your targets - I attended the Miami trip a few years back which was great fun.

Why should someone come to work at Robert Walters?

There aren’t very many large global recruitment firms in San Francisco - that’s what appealed to me personally about Robert Walters. Along with opportunities to work abroad, there’s a strong culture of promoting from within. It’s a great place to progress in your career.

What do you enjoy about working here?

I can honestly say that more than anywhere else I’ve worked, I’ve been able to contribute to the office culture in this role. Everyone is encouraged to be themselves and to put their own personal stamp on things. Having the freedom and ability to run your own desk is one of the best things about working here.

Who do you look to hire in San Francisco?  

In terms of hiring, it’s probably a 50/50 split between recruitment and professional backgrounds. Generally, we look for people with some experience, although that doesn’t necessarily have to be in recruitment. At present, we’re looking for consultants in our engineering and marketing divisions, but we’re always looking for people across the board at consultant level.”

Along with opportunities to work abroad, there’s a strong culture of promoting from within. It’s a great place to progress in your career.

Interested in a career in recruitment? Please send an up-to-date resume to Liz Boston at or call +1 415 815 3797.

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