Preparing for a job interview in Japan can be a very long, tedious process. In Japan, irrespective if you are Japanese or not, there are certain business etiquette rules that you should try to follow during an interview.
Here are 5 important interview tips brought to you by ISFnet Group
Sitting posture in an interview
It is very common that you will be escorted by someone from the company to the respective room, to wait for the interviewer to arrive. At this time you will probably be offered a drink and you should accept one. Most likely the drink will be coffee and if you don’t like coffee then a good alternative is to ask for water.
During this time, it is quite rude to start playing with your phone or checking materials. More important is to sit and wait patiently as this represents a calm and patient character.
When the interviewer enters the room.
When an interviewer enters the room, it is polite to stand up and greet him or her with a clear, “youroshiku onegaishimasu”. If you stay seated as the interview enters it means that you are not ready to greet your potential employer and is not respectful of their position.
Handshakes are not common between Japanese, and you should avoid doing so, unless the interviewer has initially extended his or hand first. Combining a firm handshake with a slight bow is the best of both worlds.
Greeting the interviewer
The interviewer will normally hand out his or her business card, so please accept it with both hands along the edges. It’s a good idea to study the card briefly to memorize the persons name. Be seated in an upright posture both hands on your lap, and not rested on the table as the image below shows.
Standard interview phrases
A good way to introduce yourself in Japanese is:
(watashi, [ surname, first name], tou moshimasu) わたし、[ surname, first name] ともうします。(Honjistu wa, yoroshiku onegai-shimasu) 本日は、よろしくお願い致します。
Please say your name slowly and clearly since many Japanese are not familiar with foreign names.
Leaving the interview venue.
When leaving the interview room, bow as you step out and tuck your chair in as this shows that you have remembered the little things. This may sound very tedious but your body behavior in the interview is usually taken as an assessment criteria. Don’t forget to smile, as this leaves a great impression with the interviewer.
ISFnet Group, which is a multinational, integrated IT services provider based in Tokyo, Japan. Check out their current job listings here.