Japanese Job Interview Tips
Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, a job search in Japan requires more than just the obvious Japanese resume writing and translation. You need to pass the Japanese job interview. You will face issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you start planning your jobs in Japan.
Do not get the wrong idea about the impact they can have on the result of your adventure! For example, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, the selection trends and the management culture.
Most visits to Japan are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Punctuality is necessary, so arrive 10 minutes before a job interview and turn off your cellphone.
Prepare yourself for Japanese job interview. Before an interview find out information about the company you want to work for. Practice (preferably in Japanese) your few-sentences "speech" about who you are and what you do. Do not whine. Do not talk about being jobless. Do not dump on your former employer. Look less serious and more cheerful. Smile. Be positive. You will never get a second chance to make a first impression! Other than the candidate’s resume, no specific documentation is required at the initial job interview.
Remember, these same keywords you used in your resume will be the foundation for your job interviews. Not only do you need to be able to write about your key words, but also during an interview, you must be able to talk about them as well, in strong and powerful statements that highlight your successes, contributions and achievements.
Remember, how you dress is the one of the most important parts of not being hired.
So, check the Japanese dress code
Etiquette and harmony are very important. Relationships are hierarchical - older people have higher status than younger, men higher than women and senior executives higher than junior executives. Japanese are anxious to avoid unpleasantness and confrontation.
Greetings are very formal in Japan. A handshake is appropriate upon meeting. The Japanese handshake is limp and with little or no eye contact because the prolonged eye contact is considered rude. A slight bow to show respect and courtesy is a highly regarded and appreciated by the Japanese, so learn this standard way of greeting. It requires bowing, polite ways of addressing and the exchange of business cards (a dual language business card is helpful - English on one side, Japanese on the other). Always treat a business card carefully, never bend it or write on it, as this can be considered a direct insult.
Address Japanese by their job-titles instead of their names. Do not stand close and avoid touching. When listening to a Japanese talking in English, it is very important to nod showing that you are listen and understand the speaker. Any degree of knowledge of Japanese culture is greatly appreciated.
Japanese companies usually want someone they can train. Often they are not looking for people to come in and make a huge difference, but want a team player. So, they want to see how you would fit into their team with your education, work experience, interests and hobbies.
If you are not Japanese, they would like to know what exposure you already had with the Japanese culture. They are searching for an answer to a simple question - can you really work here comfortably?
Do not sit until invited. Talk effectively demonstrating your knowledge of the industry and/or the company, do not interrupt the interviewer and criticize former employers. Try to demonstrate some knowledge of Japanese history, politics and culture.
Prepare for all kinds of job interview questions i.e. your experience and accomplishments - answer them as fully as you can, avoiding yes and no answers. You do not have to answer personal questions about you and your family, but consider in advance how you are going to tackle them. Generally, you should answer them courteously and briefly. If you feel uncomfortable with a question asked, simply smile and say, "In my country, that would be a strange question."
Japanese job interviewers often ask about your past successes and mistakes on the job. It is a good idea to prepare a few career success stories and couple that had less than favorable outcomes but were learning experiences.
At the Japanese job interview do not volunteer information that the interviewer does not ask for
Ask questions about the job, the lines of authority and your future responsibilities. Avoid raising the issue of salary or benefits early in the process. Do not forget to ask, “When can I expect to hear from you?” (if that has not been discussed).
When leaving at the end of interview thank for interview and shake hands with everyone present.
After the Japanese job interview, write thank you letters to all interviewers.
Other Japanese Job Interview Info
We hope that your Japanese job interview has been successful. Follow up the job interview with a thank you letter. Employers regard this as an indication of your strong interest in the position.
Good luck with your Japanese job interview!