Job hunting, or Shuukatsu(就活) in Japan actually is pretty serious business. In the Western World you just get pretty much one interview and if they like you you get the job, if they don’t you don’t get the job. In Japan it’s very different though. To get to know the company you’re first expected to go to what are called “Setsumeikai”(説明会) where they tell you all about how great the company is and what kind of people they’re looking for to work for them. After that you’re subjected to having to write stupid entry sheets that filter you through the first preliminary stage, they survey you on questions about…
What you’d do if blah blah blah situation happened or ask you questions that test how good you are in a certain area or with business practice. I’ve even heard of one company’s entry sheets that asked you what your favourite number between 1 and 20 was and why(Huh?). If you pass entry sheets you’re invited to group discussions which are like group meetings where you are given problems to solve as groups. At these you kind of have to appeal your intelligence and initiative over the other people at the interview. Then after that you’ll either have one or two more group discussions or if you’re lucky your Final Final interview or if you’re really, really lucky you’re Final Interview(最終面接). If you get to a Final interview you’re almost 100% guaranteed a job offer(内定) but there are also job offers that aren’t as certain(内々定). And to add to that, if you’re a Japanese person you probably feel extremely pressured about finding a job because if you don’t your parents will act all pissy and your friends and acquaintances will all think you’re a incapable loser. Nobody wants to be a NEET, amirite? The video above summarises this mind-numbing process very well actually.
I’m hoping to one day work go back to Japan and pretty much spend the rest of my life working there as some Black Listed Company’s slave. So today when I find an article on Amaebi introducing 5 ways to improve your chances at job hunting(Yes, it’s meant to be directed at Japanese People) I couldn’t help but write about it.
Tip 1: Dress the part.
If you’re a guy wear a nice necktie and your suit, if you’re a girl wear a nice suit and skirt or pants. Make sure your nails are cut well(I better be careful about this myself) and also make sure you keep cologne/perfume and accessories to an absolute minimum. Almost everyone wears a black suit, it’s common-sense in Japan. But I did sit in on one lecture in Japan where the professor was urging people to wear a different coloured suit to stand out so maybe this is becoming less common – or at least I hope it is, everyone in this photo looks like they’re going to a funeral.
Tip 2: A strong handshake
In Japan it’s not so common but in the Western World we almost always shake hands with the person who is going to be interviewing us. Even if they don’t put their hand out to you make sure you be assertive and prompt them to shake hands because it shows you have initiative(and probably makes them think you’re a hard worker on a subconscious level). If your hand gets sweaty from stressing out make sure you wipe them before the interview, it sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised about how many people forget this.
Tip 3: Don’t use pointless words
In English it’d be things like “andd…” “ummmm” “errrr” or “hmmm”, if its a Japanese interview words like “anou…(あのう…)” “eeto(えーっと)” should be avoided as much as possible because it leaves then impression you have no confidence and you’re not somebody that can be depended on. You’ve got to give the impression you can be trusted with important matters and that you hae good judgement.
Tip 4: Prime Posture
Make sure you sit up straight. Who knows what type of chair they’ll have set up. Maybe they’ll even pick a chair specifically to test your posture through out the interview as some kind of weird psychological thing. But be certain, if your posture ends up slacking they will think that you are lazy and that you aren’t serious about the interview. Maybe even practice sitting with good posture every few hours of a day if you’re someone who has trouble with this area.
Tip 5: Saying Thanks
When the interview ends don’t forget to thank whoever is interviewing you for their time today and for giving you the time to speak. Shake their hand again and tell them if they have any other questions for you to contact you. 「他にも質問があればご連絡ください」”Hoka ni mo shitsumon ga areba go-renraku kudasai”.
Hopefully you found something that you didn’t just think was common sense in these tips, if you have your own tips for job hunting in Japan go ahead and comment below. If there are any other really good ones I’ll make another post with even more tips.