Questions asked in a Japanese job interview

Tell me about yourself
「自己紹介(じこしょうかい)を してください。」

The purpose of introducing yourself is not promoting. You only have to tell an interviewer what you have done before and what personality traits you have. It is preferable to talk for 30 seconds or 1 minute unless there was any specific instructions. Here are two examples:

  1. If you are a student…

    (You can choose one or two topics which you want the interviewer to know/get interested in)

  2. If you are not a student…

    (You will explain your work experience in short.)

Please talk Jiko-PR
「自己(じこ)PRを おねがいします。」

Many companies may require you to 自己PR. This is because they want to know whether you have the traits such as the capability or the specific personal character they expect you to have. It is more effective to prepare what you will say in 自己PR after checking out the type of person they are looking for on their website. Here is an example:

わたしは○○が強(つよ)みです。/わたしの長所(ちょうしょ) は○○です。/わたしは〇〇することができます。~~のとき、△△が問題(もんだい)であると考(かんが)え、~~をしました。その結果(けっか)、~~という目標(もくひょう)を達成(たっせい)することができました。この長所(ちょうしょ)をいかして、御社(おんしゃ)では~~に貢献(こうけん)したいです。

*強み・長所=your strength
*御社=polite expression for “your company”
*~に貢献する=contribute to~
And the length of your speech should be around 30 seconds ~ 1 minute.

Why do you want to work with us?
「志望動機(しぼうどうき)を 教(おし)えてください」

Companies want to confirm how serious you are about them. And the reason why you want to work with them DOES matter more than what you want to/can do. So you should consider well WHY you want to work there. When you still have some time left to talk anything other, it would be better to add “what” you are able to do for the company. Here is an example:


What is your strength/weakness?

You will find your strength through organizing your successful experiences. When/in which situation did you succeed? What did you do to make it successful? For what purpose did you do so hard? Then you will understand your strong point little by little. And you may take the same steps to find your weak point if necessary. The most important thing to be remember is telling an interviewer that you have been trying something to overcome your weakness. This is an effective approach not to show you negatively.

What have you worked the hardest at in your school days?
「学生時代(がくせいじだい)に もっとも力(ちから)を入(い)れたことはなんですか。」

This is the most frequently asked interview question for students. Companies want to ask this question because…

  • They want to know how you addressed a problem
  • They want to know what capability you have and what values matter the most to you
  • They want to know what motivates you

Here is an example:


*~を解決する=resolve (a problem)
*取り組む=tackle/do something
*努力=to do something very hard
*地道に=steadily, in an honest way

What kind of business person would you like to be in xx years?

This question could be asked to know what is your goal and how clearly you are thinking about your future career. Setting your own specific career goal and performing every task methodically is indispensable for a business person. You should think it clearly in advance and show your career plan to an interviewer.

What is your dream in the future?

When an interviewer asks you this question, he/she is trying to judge if you are suitable for their company or not. If your dream is not what can be achieved as a member of the company, then they will not hire you.
Here is an example:


What is your hobby? What are you good at?

Interviewers want to know how enthusiastic you are, which field you are interested in and how you have changed through enjoying the hobby. So you do not have to be too much honest… Here are some inappropriate examples for the answer:

  • gambling (pachinko, horse racing, etc…)
  • something related to politics or religion
  • playing games, reading manga, watching anime
  • nothing (this is the worst one)

Will you go back to your country?

In Japan, we still have custom to work at a company for few decades (lately this custom is changing anyway), so companies are worried that you should leave Japan in few years. Companies will pay much amount of money to invest in your future after hiring you, therefore they do not want to let you go. If you answered “Yes, I will return to my country.”, they could feel uneasy about hiring you. If you not only are really going back to your country but also have a dream to help the company expand overseas, you should tell them that you will be a startup member in your country.

How to prepare for job interviews

What matters in a job interview? Your fabulous experience? Your Japanese fluency?
NO. “Being ready and confident” is important to pass an interview.
Then what you should do to make your interview a success?

  1. Rehearse your answers to common interview questions
    You may get flustered during the actual interview if you skipped this step. Keep in mind that “Practice makes perfect”. We recommend that you stand in front of a mirror and see how long it takes to make a speech. You can shorten or extend the speech to appropriate length (about 30 seconds ~ 1 minute) before the actual interview.
  2. Dress appropriately
    The first impression is the one that sticks
  3. Arrive 30 minutes early
    You do not have to enter the interview room 30 minutes early, but in case a train operation is suspended or you miss a train, you should leave home earlier than usual.

These are the tips for a successful job interview.
We hope you will do your best !!

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