There are so many criticism about the way of Japanese company’s interviewing for recruitment domestically and externally. Applicants don’t understand company’s intention through interviewing and it is very vague what Japanese companies require applicants. So even if your career condition perfectly meets company’s recruitment condition, there are so many cases you are refused to enter a Japanese company.

However, one thing I can tell you is that Japanese company unmistakably find someone to work as long as possible and find someone to devote his/her life to a company. The criterion of wether a company requires applicants to work long or not is how well applicants are prepared to have serious mind to devote their lives to company’s fate.

I don’t think all the Japanese companies think this way but what Japanese companies think about hiring people is not simply buying person having skillful ability which is capable of generating good profit and benefit from labor market but just looking for someone who loves company and colleagues to work with and accomplish company’s dream together.
This tendency is much significant in big enterprise in Japan

So if you want to pass Japanese company’s interview, you need to pretend to behave like what company requires applicants to do and you need to be recognized that you are suitable person to work in a company, so rehearsal to perform a person with whom a company fall in love is a must before challenging interview of a company you apply for.

Japanese company’s recruit screening flow chart

Paper screening Screening your working history and your resume is the first gateway. Only applicants who a company want to go on to the interview phase will receive interview information letter.
First interview HR person is your first interviewer in so many cases. You are asked working history, your ability, application reason, job change reason and self promoting
Second interview A senior of the first interviewer is the second interviewer. You are asked the same questions of the first interviewer’s with an intention of reconfirmation and also asked a question to make sure weather or not you can get on with company’s culture.
Final interview CEO and other executives are your interviewer due to judging acceptance. You are asked your decision whether you are prepared to work in a company
Unofficial decision Official decision is that you receive “notification of appointment” from a company and you submit a letter of acceptance of joining a company.

Generally, interview starts after passing paper screening. Screening flow is different depending on the company but mid-career recruits are interviewed just two times.

Readiness to an interview

Preparation for an interview

  • Do you organize your hope about employment condition (working place and salary)
  • Do you prepare question you ask to an interviewer?
  • Do you organize what you want to tell about your job change reason and application reason?
  • Can you do self-promoting simply in 2 to 3 minutes?
  • Do you study applying company (business model, recruiting background, job content…etc)?
  • Do you organize what you want to appeal through your study of a company?

Preparation for your grooming

  • Do you remove nostril hair and eyebrow?
  • Do you remove wrinkles from your suit ?
  • Do you give your shirt a press?
  • Does your hairstyle give fresh and neat impression?
  • Do you polish your shoes?
  • Is your trousers well-creased (no double creased)
  • Is a collar of your shirt not dirty or not worn-out?

Haircode

Male

  • Forelock long enough to hide your eyebrow is no good
  • Too long nape hair and sideboards are no good
  • Hair color needs to be your natural hair color
  • Your nape hair must not put on a collar of your shirt
  • Your sideboards length should not reach your ear lobe

female

  • Don’t hide eyebrow with forelock
  • Expose your ear out of hair
  • Hide hairpin and hair elastic into your hair
  • Organize your hair not to collapse when bowing
  • Hair color should be natural or dark brown (if you have black hair. I don’t know the case you have blonde hair….)

Dress code

Male

Suit Color of a suit should be black, blue black or gray. A pattern needs to be plain or not conspicuous one. Size of a suit is quite perfect size of you. The bottom end of button of a suit is undone. Flaps of side pockets should be put inside when the weather is nice and should be put outside when the weather is bad.
Shirt White one is basic. A shirt with high collar like Due-bottoni makes a tie slide down so you’d better avoid wearing it.
Wristband Ideal length of sleeve of a shirt is 1 to 1.5 cm longer than a suit sleeve. Too long sleeve gives a lazy impression. Don’t forget to fasten up buttons of wristbands of a shirt.
Tie There is color code in a tie but you should choose not attract-attention color and a simple tie pattern like stripe or checkered is favorable
Belt You should avoid wearing belt such as ragged one and its buckle is too flashy. Its color should be brown, dark brown or black. The color of belt needs to match the color of your shoes
Socks A color of socks should be the same one of a suit
Shoes Black or dark brown is better. Quite unique peaked shoes or too bright shoes like camel colored one should be avoided. Before having an interview, you should polish and give luster on your shoes
Watch If you don’t usually wear watch, it is safe to wear watch only when having an interview. Watch color is black or brown and its belt color is preferred to be silver.
Bag If possible, you should take a bag which is the same color of your shoes. You should choose the one that stands by itself even if you release it from your hands. This is because you need to put your bag on the floor close to your feet when interviewing

Female

Suit Simple and fresh & neat design should be preferred. Black, blue black or gray is quite good. You should avoid white. If there are three buttons, you should fasten only the middle one and if there are two buttons, you should fasten only the above one.
Bottoms If you choose a skirt, it should be knee length. If you choose a pants, its length is like hem comes a couple of millimeters under the base of heel. If you tuck in, you should wear a belt with is the same color of your shoes.
Inner White or light color shirt or cut-and-sew is much better. You should avoid wearing one whose frill and drape are too flashy. Wearing camisole is a must not to be able to see through your underwear, which is the same color of your shirt.
Sleeve Length of sleeve of your jacket is basically as long as it reaches your thumb. You don’t need to show your shirt sleeve from a jacket sleeve.
Stocking Basic color is beige which is similar to skin color. Tights and decorated stocking should be avoided because these don’t match with suit.
Shoes Black simple pumps is the best and its hight of heel shoud be within 5 cm. Sneakers, pin heels, open toe or sandal and mule should be avoided.
Watch If you don’t usually wear watch, it is safe to wear watch only when having an interview. Watch color is black or brown and its belt color is preferred to be silver.
Bag A simple business bag whose capacity is A4 size paper wide that you can put documents in without folding is the best. Its color should be the same one of your shoes. If you can’t find the color, you should choose black. A bag with flashy pattern and a big brand logo is no good.

Things you take with

  • A copy of your resume (if you already sent this to an applying company)
  • Your resume
  • Something to write with
  • Handkerchief and pocket tissue
  • A map that leads you to a place to have an interview
  • Contact information of HR person in charge of recruitment
  • Inkan (Japanese seal)

Interview manners

At reception

Needless to say, Japanese people are strict about time. Being late to come is not allowable, much less being on time to reach.

You just need to recognize the indicated time by a company is the one to start interviewing so you should arrive at an office at least 10 minutes before an interview starts.

If you end up being late due to unavoidable situation, you should make a call to a person in charge to let her/him know what time it is possible for you to arrive at an office.

When you arrive at an office building, you should take off your coat and fold it neatly and hang it on your arm before entering an office. Don’t forget switch off your mobile. You just check your grooming again and go to a recaption counter.

At reception, you just tell your purpose gently with clear voice

本日3時に面接のお約束をさせていただいております、Christpherと申します。人事ご担当の斎藤様にお取り次ぎをお願いいたします

How to read Meaning
本日(Honjitsu)3時に(Sanji-ni)面接の(Mensetsu-no)お約束をさせていただいております(Oyakusoku-wo saseteitadaiteorimasu)、Christpherと申します(Christpher-to-moushimasu)。人事ご担当の斎藤様(Jinji gotanto-no Saito-sama-ni)にお取り次ぎを(Otoritsugi-wo)お願いいたします(Onegai-itashimasu) I have an appointment to have an interview at 3 today. My name is Christpher. Could you please put me through to Mr. Saito with HR?

If you are led to a waiting room, you just sit a seat and stay quiet without doing anything. Do not use your smart phone or read books.

At waiting room

There is a case that you are let to a waiting room until the previous interviewee finished having an interview. Even when you enter a waiting room, you just stay quiet and wait for your turn without causing trouble to anyone waiting in the same room.

Recruits screening has already started since you came into an office so it is not exaggerate you are under the screening even when you stay in waiting room. You are watched on how you behave when you wait for your turn.

Using your mobile and taking a look around with your curiosity may give a negative impression. While you are at a waiting room, only you can do is checking documents about your interview which you bought with you.

At interview room

If your name is called from an interview room, you just knock the door 3 times and if there is a reply from interviewer side, you just say “失礼します” = Shitureishimasu = Excuse me and open the door and enter an interview room.

When you close the door, closing it with your back hand is not very good. You just turn your position to the door once and close it quietly. When you coming into a room, you greet with clear and happy voice to interviewers.

Before sitting a prepared seat, you just express your gratitude for having an interview today to interviewers

本日はお時間をいただき、ありがとうございます。Christpherと申します。よろしくお願いいたします

How to read Meaning
本日はお時間をいただき、(Honjitsu-wa-Ojikanwoitadaki,)ありがとうございます。(Arigatogozaimasu) Christpherと申します。(Christpher-to-moushimasu)よろしくお願いいたします(yoroshiku-onegaiitashimasu) Thank you very much for making time to interview me. My name is Christpher. Nice to meet you.

Principally, before sitting a seat, you just wait until an interviewer gives you a permission like a interviewer says “please, have a seat.” Your bag needs to be placed next to your seat.

Bow

Depending on the angle of your bow, its significance comes to be different so you just express your feeling by the depth of your bow.

For example, when you enter or leave a room, the degree of your bow should be 30 degree. This bow is in salute.

When you finish your interview and say “thank you very much”, you also should take a bow and its degree should be 45. This bow expresses your respect and gratitude.

If you are a male, your hands should put on the sides of thighs and if you are a female, put your hands on back of the other hand together in front.

When you bow, your legs need to be closed perfectly.

Face

During having an interview, you just direct your eyes straight to interviewers. Do not give negative impression that you don’t have an confidence by looking away from interviewers or bending your head down. Relaxing but confident face is preferred.

What interviewers check is not just what you’re talking about. Your behavior and choice of words and how you communicate to others becomes all criteria to judge if you are suitable person to work together.

Name card

You just need to remember how you can receive a name card because chances to receive name cards are way more than you give it to someone. The following 5 points is things you always remember.

  • When you receive a name card, you once stand up and if there is a table in front of you, you step aside it.
  • Receiving it with your both hands and take a light bow.
  • When receiving it, you just take a look once and learn information easily
  • Put a name card on your left hand side of a table while interviewing
  • Put name cards into your name card box in order from high positioned person’s name card.

When you leave a interview room

  • Say thank you in Japanese. “Arigatogozaimashita”
  • Take a 45 degree bow
  • Say “Shitsureishimasu”
  • Close a door quietly

If you seem to be late to reach an office

Let a person in charge know you will be late at the time you recognize you won’t be on time.

Even if you pay attention enough, there might be cases that you cannot be on time because you carelessly remember wrong appointment time or because you face an unavoidable train accident. In that case, you just let a person in charge know as soon as possible at the time you realize it.

A company makes time to interview you even during busy schedule. Firstly you just apologize on the fact you can’t be on time and then, tell the reason you are late simply.

In some cases, a person in charge may take trouble to shift time or make another schedule to interview you.

When you reach an office, you may have dressing-down from a person in charge but you should accept it and apologize again seriously.

If you can tell your honest and serious attitude towards your mistake, you can give a preferred impression to interviewer.

If you can’t visit

If you can’t visit for some reasons, you make a call or e-mail at the time you recognize you can’t visit. At the latest, you should let a person in charge know that you can’t go until the previous day before the day you have an interview.

Even if you face an unavoidable accident like natural disaster of earthquake or typhoon, which makes you difficult to arrive at an office, cancelling without a word is no good. You just contact to a person in charge to let him/her know your situation.

However, foreseeing what happens beforehand and thinking countermeasure as plan B is within the range of your homework.

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