How to prepare for a successful job interview in japan


In Japan, interviews require more than Japanese language skills, they require familiarity with Japanese etiquette and customs.

Basic rules:

  • Don’t be late

Punctuality is everything in Japan and being late to an interview will likely disqualify you right away. In Japan, being on time means arriving about 10 minutes early.

It is suggested to check the route and the commuting time to the interview place in advance.


  • Turn off your phone

In a quiet interview room, even vibrations on your phone can be heard and will be distracting. The best way to avoid this situation is to turn your phone off or turn on airplane mode.


  • Dress appropriately

Although it may not be necessary to wear a suit for a part-time position, dressing up is valued especially in Japan.

Even if you don’t have a suit, business causal is considered to be appropriate.

Appropriate dressing for an interview


  • For Women

・If you are longhaired, you should pull it back with a band or hairpin.

・Don’t wear too much makeup and avoid strong perfume.

・Nails should be tidy and avoid flashy color.

・White blouses are always correct. Shirts in a solid, pale color are also fine.

・It is recommended to not wear accessaries except watch.

・If wearing a suit, dark solid color such as navy, gray, or black are recommended.

・If wearing a skirt, the length should be long enough to cover half of your knees when standing.

・Shoes should be simple. Wear pumps from 3 to 5cm instead of high-heels.


  • For Men

・Long hair is usually not considered appropriate. Better to keep it short or make sure it looks tidy.

・Clean shaven is preferred.

・A white shirt is always correct.

・If wearing a suit, dark solid color such as navy, gray, or black are recommended.

・Choose a solid or striped tie.

・Pants should be well ironed.

・Shoes should be either black or brown, and match the color of your belt.

・Wear a simple watch and avoid novelty watches.


Steps of an interview

  • Reception

Greet politely and state your name clearly that you are here for an interview.Give the interviewer’s name if you know it.

  • Waiting room

You might have to wait for some time before the interview starts. Put your belongings at your feet, don’t look at your phone.

  • Entering the interview room

Before you enter the room, knock on the door first. When you are told to come in, gently say “shitsureishimasu”, and enter the room. Close the door behind you, bow to the interviewer and walk to the seat they have prepared for you. State your name and say “yoroshikuonegaishimasu”. When the interviewer asks you to sit down, say “arigatogozaimasu” and have a seat.

  • During the interview

Sit with good posture and do not lean back against the chair. Use polite expressions and answer any questions as clearly as possible.

  • When the interview is finished

Stand up and thank the interviewer for their time. Walk to the door, bow to them, and say “shitsureitashimasu.” Quietly close the door when you leave the room unless they tell you to keep it open.


Common interview questions


For full-time positions:

  • Why did you come to Japan?
  • Why are you interested in our company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What are your goals for the future?


For part-time positions:

  • When did you come to Japan?
  • How well can you use Japanese?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • When can you start?
  • What hours can you work?
  • Where do you live?
  • How long does it take for you to come here?
  • What is your school schedule?

Interview tips

  • If you do not understand the question, don’t hesitate to ask the interviewer to repeat again or to say that you don’t understand what they mean.
  • Don’t make negative comments about other companies, even if the interviewer mentions such things.
  • Don’t give excuses if you’re talking about past negative experiences. It is suggested to admit the fact that you made a mistake and how you learned from it.
  • If they ask if you would be able to do something at the job, always say “yes” or that you would be willing to learn about it, unless it is something you absolutely cannot do.