Few situations are as nerve-wracking as the formidable job interview, but with the right amount of preparation, you can breeze through all of the common Japanese interview questions and blow your interviewer away with confidence and skill.
Even in your native language, job interviews can be daunting, so job-hunting in Japan requires a great deal more preparation to succeed. As plenty of curveballs are like to be thrown away, it is vital for foreigners to knock some of the most common Japanese interview questions out of the park to land your dream job. Practice answering these important points often to speak clearly and thoughtfully when the time comes. Japanese manners are also very important during a job interview, which you can read about here.
Common Japanese interview questions
Please introduce yourself.
As one of the most obvious questions you’ll encounter at the beginning of any interview, there is no reason to be caught off-guard. Regularly rehearse a short 30-second to 2-minute introduction based on your general background and experience including your name, nationality, education, work history, and why you are applying. There will be plenty of time throughout the meeting to go into more detail, so it is best to keep your introduction concise while displaying a good command of the Japanese language with a confident smile. The most appropriate way to give your name is by saying your last name then your first followed by 「〜と申します。」. Finish your introduction by saying 「以上です。よろしく御願い致します。」
Please tell us about your strengths and weaknesses.
You’ve mostly likely been posed with this question before during a job interview in your own country, and in Japan the answer is just the same. Give an honest evaluation of your greatest attributes and weak points that you would like to improve, and be prepared to give an example of when your strengths really stood out.
Why did you choose to come to Japan?
Here’s one question that you probably practice daily with new acquaintances at parties or other social events. In a job interview, you can use this opportunity to reveal a little about your personality and your future goals. Employers are looking for workers with great determination and decision-making.
And as long as you’re talking about Japan, a little flattery about your interviewer’s home country couldn’t hurt!
What is your reason for applying for this job?
Here is a great opportunity to show your ambition. Talk about your future goals and skills you would like to use or improve if hired by the company. Conveying flexibility and drive to prove that you can accomplish any task you are asked to handle.
What do you know about our product and services?
Obviously you want to be as knowledgeable as possible before your Japanese interview. Most companies have a good homepage with a wealth of information to study and memorize.
What is work to you?
This question is a bit abstract, but if you can answer it, you could really impress your future employer. Again, you want to show your drive. The interviewer should feel that you take pride in your work and that it is more to you than just a way to earn money.
(I see work as a way to not only grow professionally, but also personally. By overcoming various challenges, I can take pride in my work and also become a better person.)
What is your greatest challenge now?
Don’t be afraid to be honest with your answer here. You should show to the interviewer that you are capable of self-evaluation and growth. As a foreigner in Japan, you could take a more personal approach and respond by talking about your experiences in Japan so far and how much you have improved related to language, culture, etc.
Please tell us when you would be able to join our company.
Towards the end of your successful interview, you will likely be asked when you will be able to start. Give a clear and concise answer. Consider your situation carefully and be prepared to explain your answer. Try to avoid the typical “I can start a right away” without backing it up with a reason. Though it may show enthusiasm, it doesn’t show future planning or negotiation skills.
Do you have any questions for us?
Here is one of your final opportunities to really impress them with your Japanese language skills and your knowledge about the company. Prepare are a few good questions about the company’s philosophy, culture, products and practice them well before the interview. If you have no questions to ask, the interviewer will assume that you have low interest in their company, which will hurt your chances. On the other hand, you should avoid asking questions about vacation days, pay, etc., at least during the first interview.
Follow these tips and prepare well to successfully pass your Japanese job interview. For more information on learning Japanese, please visit our Japan Work Live website.