Taking a job interview in a second language is a challenging experience that you need to be prepared for. In this article we are going to look at some common interview questions that you are likely to be asked in a Japanese job interview. Naturally, you will need to prepare your own individual answers based on your own career history and aspirations. However, to help you prepare your answers we have supplied some pointers and suggestions for each question.
(Jikoshōkai o onegaishimasu)
“Please introduce yourself”
When preparing your answer to this question you should stick to the main points. This is just a brief opportunity to introduce your career history, so you don’t need to go into detail about your strengths and motivations. You should be able to introduce yourself in under a minute. However, some companies may ask for a 3 minute introduction, so you may want to prepare a slightly longer version. Remember this is also when you make your first impression, so be cheerful, calm, and confident in your delivery.
(Kore made no shokureki o oshiete kudasai)
“Please tell us about your work experience up till now”
The important thing to show here is how you have played an active role in your previous employment. Include specific examples of how you have used your skills and strengths in your previous working roles and duties. Highlight those aspects of your skill set that intersect with the personnel requirements of the company. In this way you can convince the interviewer that you will make a positive contribution to their company.
(Zenshoku no taishoku riyū wa nandesuka)
“Why did you leave your previous job?”
Here the interviewer will want to know something of your career motivation, but they will also be keen to know that you will not be changing your job again too soon after they hire you. Try to keep your answer positive (with no negative remarks about your former company!) and focus on your desire to work with the new company. Show that you did not make the decision to change jobs lightly, and that you have carefully considered your reasons for wanting to work for them.
(Tōsha o shibō shita riyū wa nan desu ka)
“Why do you want to work for us?”
This is your chance to show how much you know about the company that you have applied for and how much you want to work for them, so be enthusiastic. You should try to convey how your own career aspirations are in line with the company’s aims and philosophy, and how your previous work experience will be of use to them.
(Shōrai no yume wa nan desu ka)
“What are your hopes for the future?”
This is not a question about private matters such as wanting to get married or run a marathon. The interviewer wants to know what your working motivation is, and if you can set realistic career goals that are in line with the company’s own needs. You want to describe a hope for the future that can be fulfilled by working for that specific company. Include some concrete measures you are taking now to make your career goals realizable.
6. 10 年後のキャリアプランはありますか
(10-nen-go no kyaria puran wa arimasu ka)
“Do you have a career plan for the next 10 years?”
In part this question is asked to see if you are a good match for the company and if your career with them is likely to last long. You should show that your career goals are realizable within that company, that you have thought about the practical steps over time that will make those goals achievable, and what actions you are currently taking to make yourself a positive working asset.
(Kibō no nenshū wa dono kurai deshou ka)
“What is your desired annual income?”
In most cases the answer you give here will not directly influence how much income you will actually receive, as that will be determined based on company policy and budget. What you need to show here is that you can evaluate your own worth based on your age, skills, qualifications, and experience. You can mention your previous salary, but state that you can be flexible on this issue as you see the job itself as very good opportunity.
In Part 2 of this Article we will look at more typical interview questions including some awkward questions that are integrally difficult to answer.