Even if your Japanese language ability is low, having a few key phrases memorized can help to impress your potential employer at your next job interview.
One question that is sure to be asked in your job interview is how competent you are with the Japanese language, if you have a JLPT qualification then it will be relatively easy for you to demonstrate how comfortable you are with Japanese. If you don’t however, you may need to exhibit your skills (or lack there of). This shouldn’t really alter your chances of landing the job, but may help them place you in a more suitable position (Junior High School teachers are generally better at English than Elementary Schools for example). As always, honesty is the best policy, as if you claim fluency, they may test you on that claim and won’t be impressed if you fall short.
Even though the person interviewing you will more than likely be either a native English speaker, or someone fluent in the language, it is not unheard of for them to leave half way through the interview to be replaced by someone who will talk to you exclusively in Japanese; this is a quick and effective way for them to gage your skill-set of Japanese. If you don’t know much Japanese, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but they will almost certainly ask you at least some of the questions below, if you can recognize the questions and memorize the answers, you should fare well.
Question: あなたはどこから来ました？/ A-na-ta wa do-ko ka-ra ki-ma-shi-ta? (Where are you from?)
Answer: (Country name) です。/ (Country name) de-su. e.g. アメリカです。 (A-me-ri-ka de-su)
Question: 何歳ですか。/ Nan sai de-su-ka. How old are you?
Answer: (Age) 歳です。(Age) sai de-su e.g. ２１歳です／21sai de-su. I am (age).
Question: 今、どこに住んでいますか。 / Ima, do-ko ni sun-de-i-ma-su-ka. Where are you living now?
Answer: (City name) です。(City name) de-su e.g. 東京です/ Tokyo de-su.
Question: 日本の食べ物好きですか。 / Nihon no ta-be-mo-no su-ki de-su-ka. Do you like Japanese food?
Answer: はい、大好きです。Hai, dai-su-ki de-su. Yes, I love it. 寿司は美味しいです。Sushi wa oi-shi de-su. Sushi is delicious.
If there are any questions they ask that you don’t understand, it is far better to tell them that you couldn’t quiet catch the meaning, rather than nodding along dumbly and hoping they move on soon. If you are amazing at Japanese and really impress them, remember that humility is very important in Japan, so if they complement you, be sure to stay modest instead of lapping up their praise.
Memorizing a few key Japanese phrases is a good way to demonstrate your eagerness to work well in a Japanese work environment and is a good way to leave a positive impression on your potential employer.
Get started on your Japanese career by registering your resume today in the GaijinPot Job System.