Acing the job interview is usually the final challenge of finding work in Japan.
But going to a job interview as a foreigner can be tricky. Even if you are lucky enough for the job interview to be in English, you still need to consider that some, if not all of the people interviewing you might not be native speakers.
The good thing is Japanese interview questions tend to follow a pattern not too different from the standard practices of big international companies.
The Common Interview Questions
- Introduce yourself!
- Why did you come to Japan?
- How long have you been to Japan?
- How long are you going to stay in Japan?
- A personal question(something that would be considered irrelevant in Europe/the US).
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- Where did you work before?
- What are your plans for the future?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Do you have any questions?
(And of course)
- Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses!
As the requirements for the position, the company itself and you as a candidate are factors that can vary significantly. There is no ‘one right’ way to answer the questions.
Here is how you can figure out the answers on your own.
Go by Your Resume
Your resume has earned you an interview appointment. Use it as a blueprint to prepare for the interview. The answers to most of the common questions are already there.
Keep it brief and to the point. Don’t go into too much detail (unless asked to do so).
Your priority should be to show enthusiasm, your willingness to adapt and demonstrate that you are a team player.
Answering the Questions in English
Use language that is simple and precise without being patronizing. Prepare alternative ways to answer the questions should the/one of the interviewer/s miss your point.
And remember this is not the time to show how much of a poet you are.
Answering the Questions in Japanese
Mostly the same as in English, but practice more. Be prepared to repeat yourself, without losing heart (while still radiating enthusiasm).
Depending on your Japanese level, this might be a time to show off your language skill, but again don’t overdo it. Or else you might risk being thought of as arrogant.
If possible practice with a native speaker (some ‘Hello Work’ offices offer help with interview preparation).
Etiquette and Common Sense
The standard dress code for an interview is business formal. You should also have a second look at the mirror before heading out. Make sure the hair and nails are right (not too long, no facial hair, etc.).
Sit when offered, and with proper posture (straight back, relaxed shoulders, don’t fiddle with your hands/feet).
It is better to look less nervous than too confident.
Pay attention. Seems obvious, but sometimes the nerves can make you lose focus and make you try to look like you are paying attention instead of doing it.
Prepare to answer all the common questions so that you can do so with confidence. And don’t be afraid to say if you don’t understand something (especially when interviewing in Japanese). The whole process of looking for work in Japan to (actually) working can be fun and rewarding. Don’t feel discouraged if it does not work out the first time. Write down the questions you were asked and the general mood of the interview and use the experience to prepare for the next time.
Freelance writer and coding enthusiast.
Also a keen sportsman and painter.
?Read more TalentHub blogs: https://talenthub.jp/blog/