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Interviewing manners

Appearance

The first thing the interviewer sees is your appearance. From the moment the interview begins, the interviewer is already evaluating you on your manners and posture. The basis of making a good impression with your appearance is cleanliness. As a professional, let's be conscious of your hairstyle, clothes, nails, and feet. Unclean and sloppy appearance not only makes those around you uncomfortable, but also gives an impression that you are not serious about working. Please also remember to turn off your cell phone before you go in for an interview.

Since the interview is a place to sell yourself, you will leave a better impression if have a good appearance.

Posture/greeting

As with appearance, your posture will catch an interviewer’s attention. The way you stand will say a lot about the type of person you are. Be especially careful about the way you are standing when you enter the interview room. Your back should be straight, shoulders relaxed, and feet together. Before the interview begins, greet the interviewer and bow. When sitting up, do so slowly.

Always greet and introduce yourself first. Say the first greeting enthusiastically and clearly. State your name and thank them for allowing you to have this opportunity. When sitting, try not to lean onto the chair, but leave some space between your back and the backrest. Also, if you have any habits (shaking your legs, twirling pens, messing with hair, etc.), try to make extra effort to prevent it from happening. You may not be aware of your own habits so it’s a good idea to ask your friends and family about it.

Some companies at the Career Forum do not bow as a greeting, but sometimes shakes hands. If the company representative extends their hand, shake their hand instead of bowing.

Expression

It is good to be relaxed but a little nervous too. It is natural to get nervous in front of others, but whether you can control it or not is considered an important business skill. Be careful not to make the other person think that your attitude is insincere, you may give them a negative image of you. Smiling and properly greeting the company representatives at the booth will make your first impression much better.

Eye contact

Eye contact is a very important communication tool. Always remember to make eye contact whenever you are speaking as well as when you are listening to the speaker. Wandering eyes gives the impression that you are not focused or that you are not interested in what the other person is saying. If you find it difficult to make eye contact, try to look a little below the person’s eyes or even their nose. On the other hand, staring can make the other person feel uncomfortable, so it’s also important to sometimes look away.

Speaking

Speak clearly and concisely. Speaking softly or mumbling doesn’t leave a great impression. When speaking, don’t stop halfway and finish what you have to say. Stopping halfway gives the impression that you are not confident in what you are saying. Some people start talking fast when they are nervous. Try not to rush, take your time, and speak with confidence.

Listening

Listen to what the other person is saying until they are finished talking, and think over the question being asked before answering. The interviewer has a purpose of asking the question and is expecting the candidate to answer it a certain way. Instead of thinking about what the correct answer is, think more about what the interviewer is trying to learn from your answer. Not listening until the end and jumping to conclusions or disregarding the question can give the impression that you lack comprehension skills or that you can only think of yourself and not the other person.

How to receive a business card

If you are a student, unless you are a MBA student, the case of receiving a business card is rare. However, when given a business card, always do so standing. If there are several representatives, make sure to receive the business card first from the highest positioned representative. When given a business card, stand up and take it with both hands. After you have received the business card, place it on the table. You can look at the business card(s) then. If there are several representatives, line up the cards in the order they are seated to make sure you address them with the right name. For many students, your resume will be your business card. Have your resume ready so you can hand it to them quickly when asked.

After the interview

After the interview, get up from your seat, stand next to the chair, and thank them for their time. When leaving the room, open the door and bow without holding the doorknob, and then close the door while thanking them. Also, we recommend you to check what the next step in the interview process is before the end of the interview.

The interviews at the Career Forums are held in booths or the interview rooms so when the interview is over, stand up, thank them and bow, then leave the booth.

Difference between company booths and interview rooms

Depending on the company, we recommend you to assume that interviews at the company booths are typically shorter and are about 10 to 15 minutes. The interview could last 30 minutes if the conversation is going well, but what you are able to say in a short amount of time during the interview and how you are going to make it through to the next interview process is key. Also, there are interviews happening next to you, so make sure you don’t get distracted. Many first interviews are held at the booth.

If you have a second and third interview, or if you have prior appointments already set up, you will typically have those interviews in a separate area called the interview room. Since the interview room is private, your interview will be held in a more quiet setting unlike the booths. At this time, in addition to the hiring manager, you may interview senior managers, senior executives, and other higher-ups of the company. There is a possibility that they may ask more in-depth, technical questions, so we recommend you practice and prepare by thinking of what kinds of questions they may ask.

Dress code / Items to bring

Attire・Things to bring

At the Career Forum, because many companies will be conducting interviews, please attend in attire suitable for business such as a suit. Although there is no specific color you must wear, black, dark blue, gray etc. are often worn. Keep accessories and your hair style plain and simple.

The company booth area may be big and you may walk around a lot just by visiting booths, so please choose shoes that you are used to and comfortable to walk in. If you are buying new shoes, break them in beforehand.

List of things to bring

Resume
Bring extra copies of your resume. It is possible to print out the CFN resume, but with a resume you create yourself, you will be able to change the format of the resume to make it more appealing and make your strengths stand out. Depending on the company and the representative, they may request both Japanese and English resumes, so have both resumes ready.
If attaching a picture on the Japanese resume, there is no place near the venue where you can take an identification photo, so please bring extra. Although it is optional to attach a picture, it makes it easier for companies to remember your face, so we recommend you to have it just in case.

Notepad
Keep track of which companies you visited, who you spoke to and your impression(s) of the company. You can also write down in advance the questions you want to ask the companies.

Your thesis, project, portfolio
Besides your resume, have anything else you wish to share with the company available to show at any time.

Drinks/Light snack
We recommend bringing something to drink or snack on. Since there may or may not be restaurants or cafes depending on the event, prepare them in advance so that you will have time eat lunch even if your time is limited.

Binder or folder
Some companies require you to fill out forms. Have something sturdy to write on such as a binder.

Mirror, brush, lint roller, watch
Carry an item that tells time so you will not be late visiting booths or for an interview. Also, it’s best to bring items to check and fix your appearance.

Cell phone, charger
You may be contacted by a company regarding an interview during the event. Although there are computer and printers at the event you can use for free, it can get crowded during certain times, so you may not able to use them right away. You may use your cell phone or laptop often to re-check company information or open positions before an interview, so it’s safe to have a charger.

Process

Coat check

There will be a coat check available to check your coat and bags. If you are coming straight from the airport, you can also check your luggage. (Depending on the event, there may be a fee. Please check each event’s FAQ page for details.)

Registration (Check in)

During the day of the event, please check in at the registration counter inside the venue. There will be a sign above that says “Registration.” You will need to check in everyday of the event.
Press the “Attend” button for the event you are attending on the CFN App and show the screen that says “Attended” to the staff at registration.

Entering the event hall

After checking in, you will be able to freely visit company booths inside the event hall. During the day of the event, you will receive the event hall map, so look for companies of interest and visit their booths.

Things to keep in mind when visiting booths

Depending on the company, you will need to have a prior appointment. In this case, companies will state this on their job posting. With companies of interest, it is recommended to apply online to show your interest in the company and hopefully set up an interview appointment.

If you are not yet graduating or just want to ask questions, please inform the company when you visit their booth. Even if you are not there for an interview, some companies will welcome questions and discuss more about their company. Popular companies may have a wait of 30 minutes, so if there is a long line, you should come back at a later time.

Visiting company booths

Companies hold interviews or have information sessions inside their booths. Also, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the company since you will be able to speak to company representatives and those who work there. Depending on the company, the booth layout is different. Some companies have information sessions, but others may speak to you standing, or have interviews sitting down. We recommend you to think the interview has started the moment you enter their booth.

Interview at company booth

If you have an interview appointment with a company, clearly state your name and interview appointment time when you approach the booth. Make sure to have your resume handy if companies request it.

Companies hold first round interviews at their booths. Keep in mind this meeting may lead you to a second round of interviews. Always check what the next step in the interview process is. They may contact you in many ways such as calling you, posting it in their booth, posting it on the bulletin board, so it’s necessary to check how they are going to be contacting you and when.

Interview room

Companies may choose to hold interviews in a more private setting and use the Interview Rooms.

This may be a great opportunity to meet not only the hiring manager, but with managers and directors from other departments so make sure to be prepared to be asked questions on various topics.

Seminar

Instead of at the booth, some companies will hold seminars in the Seminar Room. It is recommended to attend seminars for companies of interest in order to get a better understanding about the company. Date and time of seminars being held in the Seminar Room will be available on CFN prior to the event.

Business center

There will be PCs with internet access, printers, and copy machines available for you to check your email, print resumes, make photocopies, etc. This area may get crowded during the event so it is highly recommended to come prepared with all your necessary printouts.

Reference area

To help you with your company research, companies will have their brochures/pamphlets available for you to pick up.

Bulletin board

Companies may use this bulletin board to communicate with candidates and post interview results. Make sure to keep an eye on this bulletin board throughout the event.

Lunch break

Depending on the event, there may or may not be restaurants or cafés nearby. Check the area around the event venue beforehand. The area may get crowded during peak lunch hours so make sure to plan your break accordingly. We recommend you to bring sandwiches, muffins, nutrition bars, or something you can snack on during your free time.



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