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The 7 Key Japanese Job Interview Tips

If you want to succeed in your first Japanese job interview, they are a few things you should take into account before you go. A Japanese job interview is similar to any other interview but there are key differences that are vital if you want to land the job.

1. Be On Time
Be sure to arrive at least fifteen minutes early to your interview and not a minute later. Japanese people are the most punctual people in the world. They highly value being on time. If you arrive early that shows you are serious and interested in the position. It’s recommended to schedule your interview for the first or last available time slot. There is a stronger likelihood of being remembered if you are the first or last person the interviewer sees.
2. Dress Appropriately
It’s a job interview which means you shouldn’t be wearing anything bright. The go-to colors for Japan job interviews are black, grey, navy, and white. You also shouldn’t have any piercings, visible tattoos, or brightly colored hair.
3. Express Japanese Manners
Outside of Japan, you are probably accustomed to shaking hands with your interviewer. In Japan, this is not always the case. You don’t have to shake hands unless the interviewer extends their hand out first. Shaking hands when meeting someone new is not the custom of Japan. Instead, people slightly bow as a way of greeting. Japanese people also knock before entering the interview room and say, しつれいします (shittsureishimasu) or “excuse me” in English. If you can say this in Japanese for your interview you are off to a great start! Any Japanese would help because it shows you are an openminded person who cares about Japanese customs.
4. Presenting Yourself
You’d be surprised to hear that 60% of Japanese employers are looking for people who show characteristics of being passionate, outgoing, and kind. When you are doing your interview make sure to smile a lot and present yourself as a reliable worker and teammate. They want to hire someone they can trust but also know on a personal level.
5. Answer Questions The Right Way
When your interviewer asks you to talk about yourself, it’s important to talk about information they would want to know about you in regards to the job. Talk about your strengths and weaknesses and why you chose to work here. Be sure to turn your weaknesses into something you can improve with the company’s help.
6. Conversation Not A Speech
Interviews in Japan are about having a conversation. Although you may be talking most of the time, it’s important that you show your interviewer that you are listening and also contributing to the conversation. Ask questions when you can and make sure you are not giving a long speech about why they should hire you. Keep your answers simple and easy to remember.
7. Saying Thank You
As mentioned earlier, any form of Japanese goes a long way in your interview. For example, when the interview has concluded, saying thank you in Japanese, ありがとうございます (arigato gozaimasu) shows your interest in their language. Afterwards, send an email to the person who conducted the interview once again saying thank you and briefly expressing what makes you the right candidate for this position.