April 16, 2021


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How to interview for a job in Japan?

asian businesswomen working in office


As in other countries, you typically have to submit a resume before a job interview in Japan. However, unlike resumes in some other countries, resumes in Japan use a standardized form, so you don’t have to worry much about layout or whether education comes before experience. However, there are likely elements of a Japanese resume not included on a resume in your home country. Personal information such as birthdate, dependents, and commute time are to be included in your Japanese resume. In addition, a photo similar in size to a passport photo is often required. Don’t use a selfie. Include a photo of yourself in business attire.


Punctuality is extremely important in Japan. For example, public transportation is almost always on schedule, and Japanese airports and airlines are among the most punctual in the world. Therefore, it is extremely important to arrive for your interview on time. Even better, plan to arrive early to make a good impression.


First impressions are important in Japan. If you have to pass through a closed door to get to the interview, be sure to knock three times before entering. Once you are invited to enter, excuse yourself, bow (to 30° now, and 45° when you leave), and then move to the left side of your chair. Wait to be invited to sit. Once seated, maintain proper posture. Don’t slouch. Men should keep their hands on their thighs, and women should keep their hands folded in their lap.


Most interviews start with a request to introduce yourself. Start with a short and to-the-point monologue on your educational and work background and perhaps why you came to Japan.

After introducing yourself, you’ll likely be asked what you know about the company and its products and services. Therefore, you must do research ahead of time to know things like the company’s target markets, top-selling products, and new products. Next, you’ll probably be asked why you want to work there. Instead of talking about salary or closeness to home, talk about how you feel about the company’s mission and how you can contribute to it.


Interviews in Japan may focus on your personality more than your qualifications, so it’s not unusual for an interviewer to ask about your personal life and hobbies to get to know you. The company believes that you will gain your skills and experience at the company so it’s more important to know whether you will fit in with your coworkers and have the aptitude for the job.

Since the company wants to know whether you’ll fit in well, there will be several other interviewers in addition to the human resources staff from the departments that you’ll be working in and with.


Once the interview is over, stand next to your chair, and say a simple “Thank you”. Bow, walk to the door, and then excuse yourself while bowing again, this time slightly deeper than when entering.


Also published on Medium.


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