When going for a job interview (mensetsu) in Japan, knock the door three times and wait to get invited to enter the room. Alternatively, after being called, you should knock three times and then open the door and enter. Do not knock twice or four times.
- Appearance: Wear a plain white top and make sure it is neat. Avoid too many colours and avoid jeans. For example, if you are a man, wear a black coat with a simple white shirt and simple formal bag. Please make sure you don’t have a beard or a moustache. Your hair has to be black and there should not be any jewellery on you. For women, make sure that your makeup is not too thick and if you need to have presentable polished nails, make sure they are not striking. It should be just plain and transparent.
- Entering: Once you get inside the interview room, make sure to enter humbly by bowing subtly. Turn when you close the door and do not make a loud noise when closing the door. Only face the room after you have done that. Say “shitsureshimasu” (excuse me) while giving a subtle bow and then walk towards the interview chair. Introduce yourself together with the name of your university. Refrain from sitting on the chair before you are told to do so.
- Bowing: When bowing (about 30 degrees) avoid just bowing your head. When bowing at interviews, always try to bend forward from the hips with your back straight. Keep your arms next to you and do not bend your knees. After the interview, stand up and say, “yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” The bow that accompanies this is a deeper 45 degree bow that should show gratitude and respect. Never bow while walking.
Before heading towards the door, say “shitsureishimasu” (excuse me) and say the same thing before leaving the room. Please make sure to close the door as slowly as necessary.
- Posture: When sitting on a chair, make sure to sit up straight and not slouch. Male and female employees will both have different ways to place their hands in a formal setting. Men must place on hand on each knee whereas women must put one hand on top of the other (usually, the right hand will be above the left hand) and place on the lap or knee while both legs angled slightly to the left.
- Language: When communicating, make sure to use polite language. Japan has layers of respect in their language depending on who you are speaking to. Make sure to use polite terms when using the language. When submitting documents, use both hands to give to the interviewer. This attitude shows how important the document is.
- Always focus during the whole interview process. Simply just answer the questions given and avoid adding more than asked. Turn off your phone and avoid touching it during the interview until you leave the interview room.
- Never ever arrive late in Japan. Make sure you arrive 5-10 minutes before the appointment and also make sure the chair is left in its original position when leaving the interview. “Ladies first” culture does not work in Japan as its culture is still heavily centered on seniority.