Job Interview Tips

How to successfully do a job interview in Japan! Checklist for International students.

Once, you have passed the first screening process for a job offer, now its time for the interview! Have a clear insight in what your company is like and leave a great first impression. This first impression goes a long way in Japanese companies and is a good reason to be well prepared. In this article we will go over the details what to expect and prepare before you take the interview.

Index

Preparation
Clothing
Appearance
Document Submissions
Interview Simulation
Day before the interview
Time and place
Transportation
What do you take with you?
Point to be noted on the day of the interview
Course of the day
Interview manners

Preparation

Clothes

There is still variety in what kind of suit you can wear. The colour of your suit is supposed to be clean and give a formal impression leaving the option between black, navy or gray. Formal impressions also include the state of your suit. Make sure you look sharp and iron your shirt to avoid any wrinkles. Men are expected to wear neat shoes that fit the suit. Whereas, women are expected to wear medium high heels.

Appearance

Cleanliness is very important. Apart from basic cleanliness, hairstyle, facial hair, accessories and perfume are important factors to take into consideration. If your hair is shoulder length put your hair up and use a black hair band and make sure that your hair does not hang in front of your face. Accessories such as necklaces and earrings are a no go. Also, avoid strong perfumes and heavy makeup.

Document Submissions

Usually, the documents, which necessary during the interview will be submitted in advance. Make sure to gather all the documents you were previously requested to provide and not to forget to submit or take any documents with you to the interview session. Also, sending the required documents with little time left until the interview could be considered troublesome. Send the documents with plenty of time to spare to give the interviewer the opportunity to go over them.

Interview Simulation

In order to prepare properly we have provided questions which are usually asked during an interview.

Commonly asked questions during an interview

  • Why did you choose to study abroad?
  • Why did you choose this internship?
  • Why did you choose this company?
  • What kind of skills do you have (language skills and technical skills)?
  • What skills will you be able to demonstrate during this internship?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What is your vision after your internship?
  • Is there any other companies that you want to do the internship?

It might be a good practice to write down concise answers down on paper. Thereafter, it is possible to practically simulate the answers in front of a mirror to see your own impression.

The day before the interview

Time and Place

In Japan people are very punctual. Being on time translates to a sense of reliability and gives a good first impression. Prepare well, in the sense of double checking the date and location. Make sure you know how the directions from the station to the internship location. Maybe even print out a map of how to get there in case you need to ask for directions.

Transportation

Look up the location of the internship and find out what train or metro you need to use. Take in account the time that you might need to walk from the station to the internship location. Prepare additional routes in case of delays or accidents that may cause you to be later than expected. Make sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare.

What do you bring with you?

In addition to documents requested in previous encounters, it might be handy to bring some pen and paper with you. A notebook with a simple design is crucial for writing down important information. If you prepare your bag a day in advance you save yourself the stress of maybe forgetting something. Also, for women it might be handy to bring a spare pare of stockings in case they rip along the way.

Point to be noted on the day of the interview

Course of the day

Arrival at the interview location

Make sure you arrive 10 minutes in advance. It is important leave on time to avoid being late due to any delays along the way to the interview location.

Checkpoint

    • Look at a mirror to double check your appearance
      Make sure whether your suit looks nice and sharp and your hair is in order before you enter the building.
    • Put your mobile phone on silent mode or turn off.
      In order to avoid any disturbances during your interview, make sure you double check your mobile phone settings.
    • Take your coat off before you approach the reception
      It is considered manners to fold your coat neatly over your arm before you approach the reception counter.

 

Reception counter

Head to the reception counter 5 to 10 minutes ahead. It could be considered troublesome if you arrive too early.

 

Manners in the waiting room

In most cases, you will be guided to the waiting room after you are done at the reception. When you arrive in the waiting room, wait for the guide to tell you it is ok to sit down and say “Shitsureishimasu” as you sit down. Make sure you have a good posture while you wait quietly.

 

When you enter the interview room

Knock three times on the door and wait for the interviewer’s instructions. Once the interviewer says “dozo (どうぞ)”, respond with “Shitsurei itashimasu (失礼いたします)” whilst you open and close the door. Walk to the left side of the chair and tell the interviewer your name and school. Follow up with thanking the interviewer for his time to meet you by saying “Honjitsu wa yoroshiku onegaishimasu (本日はよろしくお願いいたします)” whilst you bow.

Checkpoint

      • Enter the room and make sure you walk to the left side of the chair in front of the interviewer.
      • Wait to be told to sit down “Okaekudasai (おかけください)” and make sure to excuse yourself by saying “Shitsurei itashimasu (失礼いたします)” whilst you do so.
      • The appropriate posture while you are sitting in front of the interviewer is with an upright straight back with your hands on your knees.

 

Leaving the interview room

When the interview is over, thank the interviewer for taking the time to talk to you. Make sure that after you have opened the door to turn around and excuse yourself one last time before you go through the doorway.

Interview manners

Interviews are an essential step in the hiring process to show who you are and what you can do. They are also a great opportunity to experience first-hand what you can expect. Let’s be well prepared and face the interviews confidently!

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