Author: M.Kok

Answers for the most common Japanese interview questions: Part 2

The same as in the first part, these are the preferred answers to the most common Japanese interview questions. Since I had trouble finding something conclusive as well as relevant on the internets, I decided to have a go at writing a breakdown myself. Since my day job is not recruiting people, I decided to ask someone who does hire people as a profession. This is the second part of the list the HR team at Talent hub helped me to.


Why did you apply for this position/company?

  • Focus on what the company does instead of what it can do for you.
  • Don’t just say that the pay is good and that the offices look cozy.
  • Mention the projects the company is involved in.
  • Make sure the reason you are applying and the reason why you quit are closely related. (This is important yet it barely gets mentioned.)

This question is to see if you are just after the money or if you are interested in the job itself. To make sure the company’s vision matches yours.

How can you use your skills/experience in this position?

Tell about your experience and your skills that you find relevant to do well in the position. Should you have a specialty or are particularly good at doing something (Like always write clean code even if you are tired or make a killer cup of coffee).

These questions should help you to show your motivation for the job as well as allow you to talk about your skills.

What do you know about the company?

Make sure you go through the company’s corporate website and understand (exactly) not just what your position or department does, but what the whole company is involved in and the services it provides.

Another good thing is to memorize who the leaders and innovators in the company are.

When answering, give as much (positive) light to the company’s services and build in how you are planning to contribute to making these better.

This question probes your understanding of the company and the service it provides. It should also allow you to show your interest in joining.


Are you applying for any other companies?

If there are, be honest but make sure that these positions are as closely related to the one you are currently pursuing.

This question goes into (again) the clarity of your career plan and your motivation for your work.

What is your desired salary?

Be careful not to overdo it. While it is true that one who does not ask does not get, you should keep the asking range realistic.

It should not be much higher than your current salary. Look at yourself objectively and then match your career stage to the corresponding job market.

Negotiations for money are always tricky, especially so in Japan.

If you ask for what the recruiters believe to be too much money, they will likely think that your self-evaluation is a tad too ambitious at best and that you are poor at it (evaluating yourself) at worst.

The preferable answer is : ‘貴社の求人に年収●●万~と記載がありましたので、年収●●万だと嬉しいですが、貴社の規定に準じます’ ⇒ The offer in the listing was ‘so and so much’. I would prefer ‘so and so much’, but I will be alright with the company rules.

Career plans

Make sure there is no inconsistency. And the reason you quit your previous job and the reason you are looking to get into the current position match.

This question should help you to demonstrate that you are willing to work for an extended period, and not just quit on a whim or when facing a challenge.


Not all interviews are the same. That is why there are no literal ‘cheat sheets’ to ace them. But I believe this list comes as close to one as one can get. To make the best of it, research the company you are going to apply for and make sure it is a good fit for you.

Like with most other things, the best solution is not the most glamorous.




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