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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

How to Get a Job in Japan (Q&A format)

Alright, time for the shukatsu guide I promised! Thank you +Turkka Hynynen and +Whitney Yee for your comments - thanks to them, I know what to write about.

I'd like to title this "the complete shukatsu guide", but it's probably not. If I missed out anything, just ask and I may end up doing a second part (although I'll definitely answer you first). Oh, and so far, I've got two job offers :D

Anyway, if you haven't already, you may be interested in reading my shukatsu notes that I took a while back, when I just started shukatsu. And now, I'll answer all the questions, hopefully working through them in a logical order.

Section 1: On the Job Hunting Process*

1. How does one start to look for a job in Japan?

On March 1st, the recruitment sites opened up (previously, they were only open for internship applications), and I could start applying to companies. But, I decided that I only wanted to apply to companies that I was genuinely interested in, so my first step was to go to several 合同説明会 (goudousetsumeikai). A 合同説明会 is basically an event where many companies gather in one place and you can listen to many introductory sessions (説明会; setsumeikai) in one day.

From the 合同説明会, I found companies that I was interested in applying to. So I normally submitted an entry (or "pre-entry", as it's called) on the relevant recruitment site and made a reservation for their 単独説明会 (tandoku setsumeikai), which is a longer, in-depth introductory session for that company). After that was over, I normally submitted my documents, though other companies required me to take a test (either a web test or a paper test after the 単独説明会) at the same time.

If I passed the test, then I'd get invited for an interview. I think there are normally two to three rounds of interviews, but I didn't actually apply to that many companies so I don't think I can generalise.

Once I made it to the end of the process and passed everything, I got a job offer.

That's the short version, anyway.

2. Did you have interviews/What are the interviews like?

Yes, I did have interviews.

The first round interview tends to be a group interview, and the second/final interview tends to be a one-to-one interview. However, Huis ten Bosch had group interviews for the second and final interview too, so it's not always the case.

Another big difference between the first and second interviews is that the first interview is conducted by the HR people, but the second interview is normally conducted by the senior management.

As for the content of the interviews... I've only made it to the second interviews of both companies, and they were both pretty different. For one, the second interview was like the first. For the other, the second interview was pretty much discussing my future job. So I think it varies from company to company.

3. How did you know you got the job?

Well, for one, the president told me in the second interview. For the other, I received a phone call, then a follow-up email. I'm not sure which is the more common method though.

4. When will you be starting your job?

I'll be starting after I graduate: April 2017.

Yup, it's quite a long time away.

5. After you get the offer, what's your next step?

Well, some people continue with the job hunting process and try to get as many offers as they came before deciding, but I found the company that I want to go to, so I'm going to stop. So once I accept their offer, I think I just have to sign the contract or formally accept the offer or something like that. I'm not sure, because I haven't done that yet. (I'll update this later)

Section 2: Details about the job

6. What is your job about?

Well, I'm not too sure.

For one: it would be in the service industry, in Huis ten Bosch.

For the other: it would be in the software industry, and I'd be working with Blockchain technology. Oh, and I'm supposed to help with translation matters as well. But it's a small company, so I may end up doing a variety of things.

So it really depends on where I choose to go.

7. Is there a probationary period/Is there any training?

Whether there's training depends on the company and industry, but for most of the companies I looked at, yes, there was training. The type of training and length depends on the company though.

As for the probationary period, I don't think so. There may be a training period, but generally, if you're hired as a full-time employee, I think you should be kept on for quite a long time. And that leads to question six:

8. Do you have to work for them for a specific period?

For most companies, the company expects you to work with them for life. However, this is not written into the contract (I think). It's just that if you say you want to leave after a while, they tend to not want to hire you, or so I heard.

9. Can you choose what post or department you want to work in?

For most big companies, no. They will take your preferences into consideration, but for the most part, the company has the final say. And for a company with branches across Japan, there's a chance you can't decide which part of Japan you want to work in either.

But in a small company, you more or less know what you're going to be doing.

Of course, this is for humanities students. For the science-stream, who are applying for jobs like System Engineering, or things that require specific knowledge, then I think they'll know what they're doing beforehand.


I hope I managed to answer all the questions satisfactorily! Now for a random photo:

This is a picture from one of the performances associated to Dontaku, which
was from yesterday to today :D 
*Note: This is for the normal job hunting process. Most foreign students get jobs by competing with the Japanese students, rather than going through a special process. So while there are special hiring process for foreign students in some companies, they aren't that many and I haven't really used them. I did sign up for a site and was accepted to a job fair marketed towards foreign students, but because I don't want to work at a large company, I turned down the offer to attend the job fair and haven't really used the site. So I don't have that much information there.

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