Jul 17, 2018

Preparing for job interviews

Job interviews in Japan can be different from what you are used to in your home country. Therefore preparation is even more important. 

Preparing for job interviews photo

Preparation is everything when it comes to job interviews

Preparation in different languages

When preparing for job interviews you usually look up a list of common interview questions, think of good answers for them and maybe also practice talking in front of a mirror. As a multilingual foreigner in Japan, however, the issue is that sometimes you cannot tell in which language the interview will be conducted in.

I speak German, English and Japanese fluently and have had interviews in all three languages until now. Once I applied for the same company twice and the first time the interview was in German, the second time it was in Japanese. There is also the option that the main interview is conducted in one language but for a part of the interview, you are asked to use another language.

Therefore when thinking of good answers to common questions I make sure that I can phrase them properly in all three languages. For my mother tongue that usually is not a big issue, but for other languages I sometimes have to look up special terms or phrases. If, for example, you work in a certain technical field as an engineer and would not be able to explain that in Japanese because you don’t know the terms, that might leave a bad impression with the interviewer.

The most common questions

There are two questions you will be asked in almost every interview in Japan.

1. Could you please introduce yourself? (自己紹介)

2. Why would you like to work with us? (志望動機)

For the first question, you should make sure to not just give a summary of your previous careers but also highlight experiences and achievements that might be beneficial for the company. Do not just prepare a generic answer that you use for all interviews, try to make a connection between your experience and the company you applied for.

For the second question you should have a convincing reason why you chose exactly this company and not any generic reason that could be applicable for all companies in the same industry. This can be difficult to come up with, especially if you also applied for similar companies. But as long as it sounds good and it is convincing you can basically make up your answer. No one will really remember it anyway once you joined the firm.

It is also important to have a detailed vision of the job and the things you would like to do at the company as such questions also come up a lot.

Once you’re done with going through the questions you might also want to familiarize yourself with Japanese interviews manners, as they might differ from want you learned at home.

Good look for your next job interview.



Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/