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Tips for Successful Job Interviews in Japanese Companies




Being invited to a job interview is undoubtedly an exhilarating moment, bringing you one step closer to your dream job. However, soon you'll realize the challenges of meeting a panel of interviewers, tackling tough questions, and competing with other candidates. If it’s your first time applying for a job, it can be very daunting. Fear not; we will help you get prepared for a successful job interview.


Job interviews in Japanese companies are not just a formality; they are a crucial step in the process of securing employment and play a significant role in determining one's success within the company. Understanding Japanese business culture can greatly enhance your chances of success. Here are some essential tips to help you navigate job interviews in Japanese companies with confidence:


Practice your keigo

Respect, formality, and humility are deeply ingrained values in Japanese society, and they heavily influence interactions in the workplace. You are expected to use polite Japanese or keigo with your superiors, clients, and colleagues. The interview will also utilize keigo, so it's important to practice in advance. You can record yourself and listen to identify areas for improvement, such as pronunciation, intonation, and fluency. Additionally, conducting mock interviews with native speakers and asking for feedback is beneficial. 


Below are some examples of sentences in keigo that you can use during an interview.

失礼いたします。(Shitsurei itashimasu.) - "Excuse me."


本日はどうぞ よろしくお願いいたします。(Honjitsu wa douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.) - “Thank you very much for your cooperation today.”


(your name)….と申します。(.... to moushimasu.) - "My name is…."


はい、承知いたしました。(Hai, shouchi itashimashita.) - "Yes, I understand."


申し訳ございませんが、その点については、再度検討いたします。(Moushiwake gozaimasen ga, sono ten ni tsuite wa, saido kentou itashimasu.) - "I apologize, but I will reconsider that point."


質問してもよろしいでしょうか?御社は... (Shitsumon shite mo yoroshi deshou ka? Onsha wa…) - “May I ask a question? At this company…”


お時間いただき、誠にありがとうございました。(Ojikan itadaki, makoto ni arigatou gozaimashita.) - "Thank you very much for your time."


Learn interview etiquette

In Japan, there are specific manners for attending an interview, and it's crucial to remember them to leave a positive impression on potential employers. From the moment you arrive at the company until the time you leave, you are being evaluated on your behavior and conduct.

  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early.

  • Wait quietly until your name is called

  • Knock the door 3 times

  • Use both hand to hold the door handle

  • Close the door without turning around or showing too much of your back

  • Say “Shitsurei itashimasu” and bow lightly after closing to the door

  • Go near the interviewer, say “Honjitsu wa douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu”, and bow lightly

  • Sit after the interviewer ask you to sit

  • Sit with good posture and don’t lean your back against the chair

  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer

  • Nod, give affirmative responses (aizuchi), or take notes when the interviewer speak

  • When the interview ends. stand and bow lightly in front of the interviewer. Then, bow again before opening the door. Don’t forget to say “Shitsurei itashimasu” both times

  •  Keep your professional attitude until you left the company’s building


Dress professionally

Besides practicing Japanese polite speech and learning a professional business attitude, it's important to dress the part too. In a Japanese job interview, how you look matters. Your appearance reflects your readiness to fit into the company's professional environment. The key is to look polished and neutral. Read more about Japanese business attire.


Business attire in Japan


Research the company

To ensure the interviewer sees you as the suitable candidate, it's essential to research the company thoroughly. Look into its history, values, and corporate culture to understand what they prioritize. By aligning your behavior and responses with their expectations, you demonstrate your commitment and fit for the role. Showcasing your knowledge of the company during the interview highlights your genuine interest and dedication. This preparation not only helps you answer questions more effectively but also allows you to tailor your responses to resonate with the company's mission and values. Ultimately, thorough research enhances your chances of making a compelling case for why you're the perfect fit for the position.


Researching a company isn't solely about impressing the interviewer; it's also a chance for you to determine if the company is a good fit for you. If you've already checked their website, it's time to go deeper into employee feedback. Visit our company review platform and enter the company's name. Here, you'll discover details like average monthly overtime hours and company benefits, such as remote working option, prayer accommodations, and holiday allowances. Additionally, reading reviews, particularly those regarding support for foreign employees and the international work environment, can provide valuable insights.


Ask thoughtful questions

In a job interview, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions about the company, so it's essential to prepare thoughtful ones in advance. Asking insightful questions not only demonstrates your interest in the role but also shows that you've done your research and are genuinely invested in the company. Consider asking about the company's goals and values, its culture and work environment, or opportunities for professional development and growth. You could also inquire about specific projects or initiatives the team is currently working on. By asking thoughtful questions, you not only gain valuable insights into the company but also leave a positive impression on the interviewer as someone who is proactive, engaged, and eager to contribute.


Always bow before greeting the interviewers and leaving the room


Follow-Up

After the interview, make sure to follow up within 24 hours. Sending a thank-you email to the interviewers expresses gratitude for the opportunity and reaffirms your interest in the position. However, while prompt communication is essential, it's equally important to exercise patience during the decision-making process. In Japanese companies, the hiring process can be lengthy, and repeatedly asking for the outcome of your application can reflect poorly on you. Therefore, it's advisable to wait for the company to reach out with updates and avoid appearing overly eager or impatient. Trusting in the process and maintaining a respectful distance demonstrates professionalism and understanding of the company's procedures, ultimately leaving a positive impression on potential employers.


 

Nailing job interviews in Japanese companies requires a combination of cultural awareness, preparation, and adaptability. By understanding and respecting Japanese business culture, you can approach interviews with confidence and increase your chances of success. Embrace the opportunity to showcase your skills and fit within the company culture, and remember to maintain humility and respect throughout the process. Good luck on your interview!


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