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Job interview etiquette in Japan

Before the interview


The dress code
Wearing a suit is a common rule of job interviews in Japan. Some fashion related companies may ask you to dress casually in order to check your sense of fashion. But if there’s no special requirements, it’s always safe to wear a suit to the interview.

Carry your resume
Some companies may tell you to bring your resume before interviews. But even if they don’t inform you, it’s always better to carry a resume and hand it in right before the start of the interview. This will definitely leave a good impression at the interview. But always remember to use a computer to make your resume instead of handwriting. Handwriting was considered to be sincere in the past, but since nowadays most companies use computers to keep your resume, it’s always better to use a computer to type your resume.

The arriving time
Usually arriving 5~10 minutes before an appointment is considered to be polite in Japan. Being late is definitely NG in most situations, but if there’s an unavoidable reason, always make sure to contact the interviewer in advance. Also, arriving a lot earlier than the designated time can cause inconvenience to the interviewer because they may have other schedules. Thererfore, the perfect arriving time would be 5~10 minutes before the interview.

Arriving at the company


Take off your coat before entering the office
It’s common to wear a coat during winter. To take off your coat before entering the office is also considered good manners. The best time would be before you enter the office. You can take off your coat in the elevator or after you arrive at the nearest station. You can hang the coat on your arm.

At the reception
There’s usually a tablet or a phone in front of the office. If there’s a tablet, you can just follow the instructions to inform about your arrival. If there’s a phone, you will need to dial the reception number which is usually written on the phone. When you make the phone call, it’s best to include your name, interview time and the name of the interviewer. In Japanese, you can say, “私、本日X時からの面接に参りましたXXと申します。XX様に面接のお時間を頂戴しています”.(Watashi, honjistu X ji kara no mensetu ni mairimashita XXX to moshimasu. XX sama ni mensetu no ojikan o chodai shiteimasu”)

During the interview


Before entering the interview room
Knock the door twice and say “Excuse me/失礼いたします(shisturei itashimasu)” before entering.

In the room
After you enter the room, you need to make a slight bow. Before you sit down, it’s common to state your name and wait for the interviewer to invite you to sit down. During the interview, make sure to make eye contact with the interviewer. This will give the interviewer a good impression.

After the interview
When the interview is over and you stand up, make sure to say “thank you/ありがとうございました". Lastly, remember to make a slight bow again before you leave the room.

Leaving the office


It’s common that the interviewer will send you to the elevator. After you enter the elevator and you say goodbye to each other, the interviewer will bow until the elevator door close. So it will be considered a good manner if you also bow till the elevator door close.