This is the basic flow of things. There are no dates because companies vary, and you may be starting the process at different times of the year. Read my personal experience for an example of how the months went by for me. The order is different from company to company, and you may experience barely any or each and every of the following steps, but nevertheless you will most likely experience them in the following order. There are some companies who hold group interviews before testing, but it is wise to assume 9 in 10 times you will have to clear standardized tests in order to earn an interview.




You will most likely start courting a company via a Shūshoku Site. Popular webservices include Rikunabi, Mainabi, and Nikkeinabi. You will successfully finish Pre-entry for a company by searching for and registering with them via one of these sites. Benefits of Pre-entry include the ability to receive application information, reserve Seminars, and in some cases even turn in Entry Sheets.


Web Entry occurs via the companys website. This is your way of confirming to them that you are officially applying. You know you are completing Web Entry for a company because you will receive a registration code and password. It’s not just a mailing list.


Attending company-held Seminars usually requires reserving a seat via your Rikunabi, Mainabi, etc. account. Because reservations are easily made via mobile devices, Seminars often fill up within 5 minutes of being announced so you need to be quick. Seminars will give you a general feel for the company, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions after the presentation concludes.


Entry Sheets are then turned in, either by mail or online. Sometimes you are asked to turn in your Entry Sheet after or at the Company Information Session. Many companies require you to turn in a Web Test for Personality Matching by the day your Entry Sheet is due.


The Company Information Session, known as the Setsumeikai, is a more formalized version of the Seminar, wherein everyone sitting in the room with you will be applying. More specific information will be given regarding the application process for that specific company.


Ichijisenkō, The First Round of Cuts, is your first jab at vying for employment. Most processes include several seeds before you are cleared for the first interview. If you clear the Entry Sheet examination, you will most likely be called to one of the following:


The Group Discussion falls into two patterns: one involves debating a prompt, wherein your group dynamics personality is evaluated; another involves chatting on a topic for a set period of time, while you are actually being judged on your congeniality and posture.


Group Work presents you with a problem for your group to solve, after which one person must present some sort of conclusion. Recruiters will be taking notes on what role you take in the group, and what influence you have on the group attitude.


A Mendankai, or Group Interview of 3-6 applicants can be deceptively hard. You will be asked 1-3 questions, but in addition have the opportunity to ask questions both of the recruiters and of fellow applicants, so you must not lose track of the conversation.


Nijisenkō, The Second Round of Cuts, occurs if you pass the first examination. Common Second Round experiences include those listed prior, and also likely include:


The Personality Test, which is usually given in conjunction with your Written Exam or Web Test, is also often given twice to check for consistency.


The Web Test requires you to answer reading comprehension and graph comprehension questions, among other topics, in a limited amount of time. Many students cheat by taking the test in groups, so you are often required to take the test at separate Test Centers.


The Written Test comes in various forms, most requiring you to answer word puzzles, kanji readings, and secondary school-level math problems, under extreme time constraints. The Written Test is sometimes combined with a Group Interview. Only the best scores clear through this round.



The First Interview invitation will arrive if you pass the appropriated Senkō. It is customary at this point to turn in your Rirekishō, the Japanese Curriculum Vitae.  You will first be interviewed by one or two recruiters, who will get to know you on behalf of their superiors in the company. You can buy books giving lists of sample questions to practice with. Subsequent interviews include:


The Second Interview is often conducted by an HR representative along with a member of the part of the company you have been interested in applying to. This is your chance to prove you are a good match for where you say you want to work. You will be asked more specific questions pertaining to the kind of work you want to be involved in, and will have the opportunity to impress them with specific questions in return.




The Third/Final Interview typically incorporates a high level HR representative and a department head. Making it here means the company finds you capable of doing the job you are interested in. What is left is to confirm your personality and overall aura, a slightly subjective gut decision left to the people at the top. It is not uncommon to be dropped at the final interview, so do not let your guard down.



If you stand out from applicants similar to you and if the company is looking to hire someone like you, you will receive a Job Offer, in the form of a phone call, letter, or electronic correspondence. Some people hear back with good news the very day of the interview, but a final decision is usually drawn after 2-3 business days. You can accept right then and there on the phone, but you always have the right to say your thanks and ask them to wait for your letter of final decision.

If you receive a job offer in the Spring or Summer, you will be receiving a Nainaitei, if you receive a job offer on or after October 1st, you will be receiving a Naitei. Companies cannot release their list of Naiteisha until October 1st, so receiving a Nainaitei is the company’s way of telling you they have picked you to receive a Job Offer from them without directly giving you the offer. Companies often hold Naiteishiki, or Job Offer Ceremonies, on October 1st, in which you receive your official Naitei certificate. For all intents and purposes, a Nainaitei is no less important or meaningful than a Naitei—it is all just roundabout business jargon.