A Japanese Interview is 150% harder than you think. Especially for you guys out there who are like me and are more comfortable speaking than writing the language, I cannot stress enough: by no means can you allow yourself to be caught off guard.
The first interview is going to be a shock; you will not believe how nervous youfll get.
Here are a few tips I can give on interviewing:
1. Practice the interview the night before in front of a full length mirror.
This goes out to all the people like me that shy away from (for no particularly good reason) those practice sessions offered by their school career centers. I feel for you.
What you want to do is sit yourself down in a chair in front of a full length mirror and start by practicing your Jiko Shōkai:
2. Get to the interview site 45 minutes before you can go in, and have coffee at a nearby café.
Part of this is simply to ensure that you arenft rushing—you will always need a buffer to compensate for getting lost, missing trains, and waiting for buses. But moreover, I would recommend arriving early for the following benefits:
Remember to always follow the companyfs protocol and never arrive too early nor too late. Take your raincoat off before entering the building, smile and bow to the doorman, the guard at the elevators, and the receptionist(s).
3. Look for opportunities to break the fourth wall.
I think one quality recruiters look for in all of their applicants is Ningensei, or gan element of humanity.h Here are some ways I have found to turn up the charm:
4. Smile, smile, smile.
Whether you are introverted or extroverted, there should be a certain effervescence to your delivery. That is, there should be a happiness about you. Effervescence is very different from ghigh energy;h you should aim for a genuine smile that exudes a sparkle, not electric shock. When you leave the room, the serious mood of the room should have been lightened by your short presence. Donft let them intimidate you!
The best way to achieve a positive impression is to smile. A recruiter once told me that you could not imagine how many scared, nervous, and dreary people come in to interview. She would have to interview dozens a day, and students would come in, one after the other, more dismal than the next. If youfve ever wondered why interviews feel so drained of energy, itfs because the people before you have left the stage cold. She told me that the student who comes in smiling is like that first chirping bird calling in springtime.
She also told me that the same goes for Entry Sheet/Rirekisho photos.
Apparently, not even one in twenty
photographs has a smile. Given, in
5. Sōshoku-kei vs. Nikushoku-kei
The Japanese love to categorize by personality type: by 12fs and 13fs with the zodiac, by 6-star astrology, and by 4fs with blood typing. They also often polarize all of humanity, sometimes by intellectuality (Bun-kei vs. Ri-kei), and sometimes by temperament. Sōshoku-kei stands for herbivore; Nikushoku-kei is of course carnivore. I am not sure why nobody has brought up the point that there are (as humans are) omnivorous creatures on earth, but for now it is very easy to be typecast.
For the American women out there: many Japanese recruiters still hold the impression that the American businesswoman is intimidating. This works in two ways: On the one hand, some companies are adverse to the idea of hiring you from the start, for they assume you to be a sort of autonomous huntress. On the other hand, some companies like that, want that, and hold you up to those generalized standards. cI think I let a few interviewers down with my sōshoku-kei gherbivore-likeh personality. It took me many go-rounds to come to terms with who I am and how to carry myself during an interview. Yes I am a 5f11h American brunette, but no, I canft be the strong savvy personality that you may want me to be.
By all means I say, be yourself. That said I must caution all to put checks on your personality so as not to end up on either extremes of the spectrum.
So if youfre an herbivore, be sure to come off as sweet: warm vs. lukewarm, flexible vs. a pushover, clever vs. soft spoken.
And if youfre carnivore, focus on portraying positively proactive adjectives: passionate vs. icy, spirited vs. intense, ardent vs. thirsty. Sparkle, not shock.