Executive Insider

Before you go to a Japanese Job Interview, read these 5 tips!

People waiting for a job interview

The world knows how particular the Japanese are when it comes to their professional lives. They are among the most hard-working individuals in the world, though they do have a tendency to overdo it at times. Yet, their productivity is unquestionable. Work is work anyway, and so long as money and the workplace are good, things will work out. But, you won’t get either of these on a platter. You will have to qualify for the job interview.

Japan operates differently. It seldom uses English as its mode of communication, sticks very rooted to its culture, and is generally very reserved and methodical in its ways. So, it may not be easy to sit through the interview with basic preparation. To ace a Japanese job interview, you will have to prepare yourself for the peculiarities of Japan. How to go about it? Read below.

  1. Do not underestimate the quintessential Japanese etiquette
    There is a whole world of professional etiquettes that the Japanese follow. Whether or not you are a native, you will not be excused from following these mannerisms. Some of the things you must remember are: saying Shitsurei shimasu after having knocked on the door thrice; do not sit down until the interviewer asks you to, close the door after you enter the room; do not slouch and sit upright with your legs put together; bow with your hands on the side. Of course, these illustrations are just the tip of the iceberg and you will have to learn more.

  2. Know the professional Nihongo
    The Japanese language, Nihongo, is very extensive as a result of which there are different levels of speech. There are informal and formal categories of Nihongo, but there are further demarcations within these categories. We are concerned with the latter, wherein there are many honorific variations. When in a workplace setting or sitting for a job interview, you will have to avoid any usage of informal words and sentences. For example, say Ohayou gozaimasu instead of Ohayou when saying good morning to the interviewer.

  3. Prepare your introduction well
    One of the most commonly asked questions in a Japanese job interview concerns your introduction. After having adjusted yourself in your place, the interviews will skim through your credentials. Then, they will expect you to briefly introduce yourself. Also, an introduction is very important as it serves as the starting point. So, aside from the general structure of the introduction, make sure the tone is polite and formal. Do not blabber or take too much time. It is considered very rude in society.

  4. Dress smartly
    This applies to any interview in any part of the world. However, the Japanese being very conscious about the rules and etiquette, the standards for dressing up for a job interview are rather strict. Interviewees are expected to wear what is called “Recruit suits”: for men, it is a suit coupled with a dark tie and a white shirt, and for women, it is a suit with a white shirt/blouse, skirt, and a blazer. These are standard job interview dress codes for men and women here. Trying to deviate from the standard can turn into a problem. Also, avoid flashy make-up, shave and keep your hair in order. Look sophisticated and you are good to go!

  5. The way you end the interview counts
    All the questions have been asked, and it is time to exit the interview. But, you cannot simply walk out of the room. The first thing to do is to thank the interviewer by saying doumo arigatou gozaimashita. Ensure that you bow to a 45-degree angle. Do not leave the room without putting the seatback to its original place. Excuse yourself, close the door, and you are done! I know you cannot simply remember all of this, especially if you are a non-native and haven’t lived in Japan enough. Thus, it is advised that you practice your exit as much as you can. Every little detail that you miss in a job interview can have serious consequences. So, do not take things lightly if at all you want to make it to a good Japanese company.

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Ayushi Kushwaha
Ayushi Kushwaha, Staff Writer for the CEOWORLD magazine. She’s spent more than a decade working for various magazines, newspapers, and digital publications and is now a Staff Writer at The CEOWORLD magazine. She writes news stories and executive profiles for the magazine’s print and online editions. Obsessed with unlocking high-impact choices to accelerate meaningful progress, she helps individuals and organizations stand out and get noticed. She can be reached on email ayushi-kushwaha@ceoworld.biz.