Common Japanese Job Interview Questions and Best Answers!

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To foreigners who are looking for a job in Japan, do you know what is important for Japanese Companies in job interviews? The questions asked during interviews are unique about what Japanese companies focus on because Japanese Companies have unique rules when it comes to hiring.

Therefore, I would like to advise foreigners who are looking for a job or considering changing jobs in Japan about how to prepare for job interviews in Japan such as how to answer for the questions asked by Japanese companies through this article.

Purpose of job interview for Japanese companies

When you prepare for a job interview, firstly it is necessary to understand why the company have the job interview.
The purpose of the job interview is for the company to clarify if the person is suitable for the recruiting position. Also for applicants, it is a place to prove that he/she fits the position they are recruiting, and a place to learn more about the company.

Therefore, it is important for the applicants to sell themselves in a job interview and make the company realize that they fit the recruiting position.

What Japanese companies expect from applicants

Before you join a job interview for a Japanese company, should understand that they expect for applicants. There are 3 main things that Japanese companies expect from applicants.

  1. Does the applicant have the experience and skills to take advantage of the recruiting position?
  2. Does the applicant have a mind or character that can be used in the recruiting position well ?
  3. Can the applicant work for the company for a long term?

“Does the applicant have the experience and skills to take advantage of the recruiting position?” mentioned in above 1 and “Does the applicant have a mind or character that can be used in the recruiting position well ?” said in above 2 are important factors when companies hire employees in any country.

In addition to that, Japanese companies regard “Can the applicant work for the company for long term?“ in above 3 as important.

Japanese companies tend not to hire employees, if they do not have the image that the applicant can work for a long period, even if he/she has high skills and experience for the recruiting position.

Therefore, Japanese companies confirm that the applicant will be able to work for a long period through the reasons why you want to change jobs and the reasons to apply in job interviews.

Example questions in job interviews from Japanese Companies and How to answer to them better

Questions about the reasons of changing jobs and applying jobs

First of all, we will show you the points of how to answer questions that are always asked in job interviews about reasons of applying/changing jobs. These are questions that companies will judge whether you will be able to work for a long term or whether you will be highly motivated to work, so be sure to prepare them ahead of having an interview.

[Question] Please tell me the reason for changing/leaving jobs.

<How to Answer>
The period of working for Japanese is more longer than other countries. So if you change jobs many times, Japanese companies may think that the applicant could leave the job soon. That is the reason why Japanese companies are very concerned about why the applicants change or leave jobs. Keep the following points to prepare a solid reason to change/apply jobs.

  • Answer positively as possible, so the company isn’t going to think you’ll leave soon.
  • Tell that you are making a decision after thinking hard instead of thinking lightly about changing jobs.
  • Don’t say bad things about your previous or actually company.
  • The reason for changing jobs should be something that can be resolved by the company which you are applying.

ex) In case of changing jobs because of your low salary
Instead of telling the story as it is, you could say “I want to change my job to an environment where I can be evaluated highly and step up in my career. Looking at the seniors co-workers around me, even if they achieve good results, they cant’t take time for next opportunities in the company.”.

[Question] Please explain your reason for choosing us (in the company).

<How to Answer>

  • Tell specifically and clearly the reason why you were interested in.
  • Express that you have studied in details about the company in advance.
  • Match the reason of changing job and applying for a job.
  • Appeal that your experience and skills fits with the position you’re applying.

In the question, it’s important to tell the company that you’re deeply interested in them and that you can play an active role in it.

[Question] What do you want to realize with us (in the company)?

<How to Answer>
Don’t just tell what only you want to do. You can say something that fits with the company goals and what you want to do.

Questions about your skills and experience

[Question] Please introduce yourself (Please tell us your curriculum vitae).

<How to Answer>

  • Appeal your experiences and skills that match the position you applied for.
  • Think in advance about the content to appeal in 2 to 3 minutes so that it can be easy to understand.

In the case that the interviewer say “Please introduce yourself”, be sure to give your name, country of origin, when you came to Japan, etc first and then give your curriculum vitae.
It is important that the company easily understands your background and feels that you have the skills and experience to utilize in the position you applied for.

[Question] What are the strengths you can take advantage of the position you are applying for?

<How to Answer>
This is a question to appeal that your technical and personal strengths are in line with the recruiting position. Figure out your “strengths” that might match with the company you are applying. And if you can give much concrete experience and examples as you can, you appeal would be more persuasive.

[Question] What is your most successful experience in your career?

<How to respond>
It is not only important to talk about your great success experience, rather, you should explain your efforts and actions you did to achieve the goal. It is important for companies to realize that the same successful experience can be reproduced in the company.

[Question] Please tell us about an episode you failed at work.

<How to respond>
As a company, they focus on how do you think about the failure. Let’s not just talk about the episode of the failure, also explain about the factors that made the failure, some improvement points and your actions.

Questions about your future

[Question] How long are you planning to stay in Japan?

<How to Answer>
It’s important to explain that you want to live in Japan for a long time. For Japanese companies, they are concerned about that the applicants return to their home country soon, so let’s tell that you want to build a career in Japan for a long term.


[Question] Please tell us about your future career plan.

<How to respond>
If your future goals and career plan are not related to the company or job you are applying for, the company will not have the image of being able to work for a long time with you, so you own career should be relevant to the position you are applying for.

Other frequent questions

[Question] Please tell us your desired annual salary.

<How to respond>
Let’s not only tell your desired annual salary, also say, “It is just a desire, I’ll follow your company’s salary rules”. If the company considers that it is difficult to make an offer with the desired annual salary you proposed, the employment selection may fail at that present.

[Question] Please tell us your preference in comparison with other applicant companies

<Points to answer>
As the companies proceed with the selection, they want to prioritize those who are likely to be hired if they make an offer. Therefore, if you have a higher priority for another company, don’t tell it as it is. Please make sure to explain that you are interested in the company you are applying for. All you should do first is to get a job offer.

[Questions] Do you have any questions for us (the company)?

<How to respond>
If you don’t have any questions for the company, they may feel that you are not too much interested in them. Make sure you have to research for the company and be prepared to ask questions in advance. Also, since job interviews are an opportunity to talk directly with a company, try to ask as much work-related questions as possible to give an image of you working for that company.

Things to be aware of when joining job interviews

So far, we have described how to answer to the most frequently questions in job interviews by Japanese compannies. However, in addition to the answers to the questions, there are 3 important things to keep in mind to leave a good impression during the interview.

  1. Make sure that the questions and answers are logically to understand easily.
  2. Relax and talk with a smile.
  3. Keep a clean appearance.

We will explain about these 3 points from now on.

Make sure that the questions and answers are logically to understand easily.

One of the most common mistakes made during job interviews is that the answer doesn’t fit the question. There are many applicants who are judged that their logicality and comprehension are lacking because the story when answering becomes too long and they say something different from the answer to the question.

For any questions, always give the answer first, after that, you can add the reason why you gave the answer. If you do not understand the meaning of the interviewer’s question, be sure to listen one more time the question and understand the meaning of it before answering.

Relax and talk with a smile

Japanese companies value internal communication in their work. Therefore, a person who is easy to talk tends to have a good impression in the interview.

If you get nervous in the job interview, your facial expression could become stiff and how to talk also could be faster. it would be a negative impressions which make you someone not easy to communicate. Be more conscious of smiles and speak with a slower pace so that the companies can want to work together.

Keep a clean appearance

When you meet someone for the first time, the first impression is very important. Generally, as a job interview has only 30 minutes to 1 hour, the visual impression would be very important.

It’s best to wear a suit, especially if you have a lot of contact with your customers. If there is no contact with the outside people such as customers, you can wear casual clothes. But we recommend at least wear a jacket and try to be as clean as possible.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a job or changing jobs in Japan, it is necessary to fully understand the interview culture of Japanese companies.

In Japan, job hunting or changing jobs are carried out after students graduated from university, all at once. Therefore, most companies tend to ask the same questions focusing on the same points. If you take the necessary measures and prepare well you can achieve good results. However, without a good preparation, the possibilities of getting job could be lower.

If you are going to a job interview in Japan, let’s prepare proper ways of Japanese job interviews before attending that. If you are an IT engineer seriously looking to change your job and you want to prepare appropriately a job interview in Japan, please register with us, a foreign recruiting agency specialized in IT engineers, G Talent. A professional consultant will support you in changing jobs in Japan for free.

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