Japanese Job Interview Question “Reasons for Changing/Leaving Jobs” and How to Answer

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In the previous article, Common Japanese Job Interview Questions and Best Answers!」, we explained to foreigners abou how to prepare for Japanese job interviews.

This time, I would like to explain more details, “Reason for changing/leaving a job” that is absolutely asked during jobs interviews at Japanese companies and how to answer it properly.

From the viewpoint of a foreigner who’s changing jobs in Japan, it might seems not very important, but for Japanese companies who want to hire personnel to work with for a long term, the reason for changing jobs or leaving job would be one of the most important questions in job interviews.

As understanding what Japanese companies judge based on reasons for changing jobs, make sure that you can answer successfully the questions about job changes/leaving that you will be asked during Japanese companies jobs interviews.

What Japanese companies are checking through the reasons for changing/leaving jobs

First of all, let’s understand why Japanese companies are so concerned about the reasons for changing/leaving jobs and what Japanese companies are seeing through reasons for changing jobs (leaving jobs). There are 3 main points that Japanese companies see through reasons for changing/leaving jobs.

  1. Does the applicant work with us for a long term? (Does he/she quit immediately after joining the company?)
  2. Can the applicant be highly motivated while working together?
  3. Does the applicant take serious your career and growth?

We’ll explain these points in detail.

1.Does the applicant work with us for a long term?

For the first question, “Does the applicant work with us for a long term? (Does he/she quit immediately after joining the company?)”, most of Japanese companies want the people who they hire to work with them for a long period.

By listening to the reasons why applicants change their jobs, “If the applicants face something don’t like, will they leave our company?

“Will they quite our company for the same reason with their previous company?” are checked.

Therefore, in the job interview, it is necessary to answer to satisfy the company that you are willing to work with them for a long period.

2.Can the applicant be highly motivated while working together?

For the second question, “Can the applicant be highly motivated while working together?”, Japanese companies are checking if the reason of changing/leaving jobs at the current company is firmly resolved and you can work without dissatisfaction or anxiety.

Motivation is a very important factor for work performance. If you feel dissatisfied or anxious about the company you work for, you may find it difficult to increase your motivation.

When you’re thinking the reasons for changing/leaving jobs, it’s important to realize if changing jobs to the Japanese company you’re applying would solve the reasons and factors that made you decided to leave your current or past job.

3.Does the applicant take serious your career and growth?

Regarding the third question, “Does the applicant take serious your career and growth?”, Japanese companies are checking whether you quit immediately due to a low awareness of your career and growth regardless of the company you’ve worked for.

Poor awareness of careers and growth can be seen as less aggressive and willing to work. I recommend you to think seriously about your future goals and how you want to improve your carrier when you think of the reason of changing/leaving jobs.

Key points to answer for reasons of “changing/leaving jobs “

You could understand what Japanese companies are checking through reasons of changing/leaving jobs. Next we’ll explain the points you must consider to make a solid reason of changing/leaving jobs based on what Japanese companies are checking through.

There are 4 main key points to think about changing/leaving jobs reasons.

  1. Always tell the truth!
  2. Think positively, job change is an act to improve the current situation!
  3. Thinking based on specific cases!
  4. Don’t say bad things about your current company (or your previous company)!

We’ll explain these 4 key points in details.

1.Always tell the truth!

The purpose of looking for a new job is “Improve the current situation”. It’s not just about finding a job.
If you can’t solve the reason why you want to leave the current company, there would be no reason to change it.

Even if you have already quit a job, it wouldn’t mean that you should choose whatever you can work. If you don’t get a job that resolves the reason you left your ex-company, you might quit a job with the same reason.

When you tell the truth to the company you apply, you might think that the reason would be negative. However, you can express positively the reason of changing job regardless of whatever reason, if you regard the purpose of changing job as what make you improve better.

2.Think positively, job change is an act to improve the current situation!

As we mentioned earlier, the purpose of looking for a new job is to improve your current situation. A lot of people only focus into the “occurrences” and “triggers” when they consider the reason of changing/leaving jobs.
Instead, when you should think about how the occurrences and triggers for changing jobs can be “improved”.

For example, if you’re thinking in change or leave your job because you don’t have a good relation with your boss and you’re not evaluated enough, the reason may be negative in job interviews.

In such cases, you can think as followings first.

  • Factor(Why it’s happening?)
  • Improvement measures(How to improve it.)

Regarding “Factor”, it would be followings in case of the example(bad relationship with your boss, not evaluated enough).

  • The result of the job your boss wants is different from the result of the job you want(The boss evaluates the process, but you evaluate the results,etc)
  • As I have to do everything exactly as the boss directed, actually I want to work with a certain own discretion.
  • And so on.

And then, let’s try to think improvement measures for the factors above in terms of changing job.

  • Hope to grow myself through many chance in working environment on the result basis.
  • Want to get many experiences and make my skills better through a working environment where I can have a certain own discretion. It would make me grow further.

These improvement measures above become reasons changing/quitting job.

3.Thinking based on specific cases!

Using concrete examples is more persuasive when explaining something to people, not just when telling the reason for changing jobs.

For example, if you’re looking for a job because of less promotion and low salary due to seniority system in your current job, if you tell as it is in a job interview, the interviewer may think that the causation is due to your low performance.

Instead, by telling that even seniors who are active and highly evaluated have few opportunities to get promotion or raise their salaries, it would be more persuasive for the interviewer to understand your situation.

When you think your reasons for changing/leaving jobs, Using concrete examples would be more persuasive in job interviews.

4.Don’t say bad things about your current company (or your previous company)!

Even if you had a bad treatment in your current company or previous company, should avoid saying badly about the company in job interviews. The complaints would make you impress negatively in the interviews.

And also, the company which you have the job interview with might be concerned about that you criticize the company as well when leaving.

The person who can connect anything to growth will take higher evaluation in terms of honesty and willingness to grow.

A case of that you changed or leaved jobs within a short period of time

In case you changed or leaved a job in a short period of time, there is a possibility that you will be seen as a person who will immediately quit a job anytime when you have something uncomfortable. Let’s keep the following two points in mind when giving reasons for changing jobs in order for you not to be regarded as such a person.

  1. Make decisions after considering the risk of leaving in a short period of time.
  2. Rather, it’s good for you and the company that hired you to leave in a shorter period.

When you leaved a job in a short period of time, most of them are large image gaps before joining the company and after joining the company. When that happens, it’s important to think about whether the image gap can really be resolved, rather than changing jobs or leaving the company immediately.

For example, you can talk with the joined company about resolving the image gap, and can think about whether there is a gap that can be resolved by continuing to work.

As a result, if the image gap cannot be resolved, it is better for you and your company to change jobs in a short period of time.

And if you want to change or leave a job in a short period of time, it is important to keep the above points in mind and tell the reason for changing jobs in job interviews that you will join.

Conclusion

Even if we look around the world, Japanese company that values reasons for changing jobs or leaving a job in job interviews would be rare. As we explained, it’s due to the Japanese company’s approach to human resources.

Even if there are applicants who have great skills and careers, there are some people who will lose the interview because of the reason for changing or leaving their jobs. Therefore, be sure to consider the reasons for changing or leaving a job before going to a job interview.

If you would like to learn not only about the reasons for changing jobs but also about how to generally treat Japanese job interview, please see the following articles.

Common Japanese Job Interview Questions and Best Answers!

If you are an IT engineer looking to change your job and want to take a job interview after taking appropriate advices about job interviews, please register with G Talent, a Japanese recruitment agency specialized in IT engineers. A professional consultant will support you in changing jobs for free.

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