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Most Common Interview Questions

If you were the recruiter, what type of person would you want to hire? What would determine whether someone has potential or if they would be a good match? Although recruiters will look for variety of qualities based on your academics, leadership and communications skills, past experiences, and so on, in essence, they are only looking for 2 main points:
1. Who are you?
2. Why this company and what do you want to do at our company?
Any question the interviewer asks will ultimately come back to these two.

Who are you? Part 1: As a student

Example questions:
  • Why did you decide to study abroad?
  • Tell us more about your major
  • Did you face any difficulties during your study abroad experience? How did you overcome it?

Questions regarding your days as a student are to see how you have grown through your experiences. Recruiters base your answers to determine whether you will succeed in the company and if you can deal with the problems that may arise with the job. Including what you strived for during your study abroad days or the experiences that makes you who you are will help the recruiter imagine the accomplishments you have made. Explaining how you dealt with problems or disappointments is also important. Reading what is listed on your resume is not enough. Incorporating your ideas and opinions make your answers personal and shows who you really are.

For technical students:
  • Please tell us briefly about your research topic
  • What kind of projects have you done?
  • You are currently studying XX engineering. How did you become interested in the IT industry?

Make sure to have your answers prepared and include specific technical terms when explaining your research topic or projects. Also prepare to answer in both English and Japanese. If you do not know the Japanese for a technical term, make sure to look it up prior to your interview.

Give concise answers, making sure to include updated information and be able to explain your research/project in simple, clear terms so that even someone not technically oriented can understand. If you are interviewing for a different field other than what you are currently studying, explain how you became interested in that field and giving examples of what sparked your interest.

Who are you? Part 2: Introducing yourself

Example questions:
  • Please give us a brief introduction about yourself
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses
  • What are your hobbies or interests?
  • How do others see you as? What do they think of you?

In order to remember each candidate, recruiters look for certain characteristics, features that distinguishes you from the other candidates. Therefore, in a short period of time, you want the recruiter to know as much as possible about you. However, this does not mean you should just non-stop talk about yourself. Although recruiters want to know more about you, there should be conversation between you and the recruiter. Be able to give details and examples that recruiters can relate to and understand.

The first impression will greatly determine how the interview will proceed and even the outcome. Simple things such as looking into the other person’s eyes, knowing your manners, and speaking clearly are very useful tools during an interview. Forgetting even these simple things may put you at a disadvantage. Once you give a bad impression on a recruiter, you must work extra hard to change their impression of you.

Just changing your presentation may make an impression. Instead of just talking about yourself, check to make sure what you are sharing about yourself matches what the company is looking for in their potential employees.

Commonly used words by students
Over 8,000 students attend the Career Forums. And many tend to use the same words such as "communication", "global", or "cultural differences "to express themselves. There is nothing wrong with using these words, but make sure you are using it correctly and giving examples to differentiate yourself from the other students using the same words.
Write down characteristics and interests that make you the person that you are and then find episodes or experiences in your life that relate back to it. Practice saying it out loud to yourself and check to see if your stories differentiate you from the others. Double check to see if there is other stories that will outshine you from the 10 or 20 other candidates applying for the same position.

What do you want to do? Why this company?

Example questions:
  • What is your interest in our company or industry?
  • What kind of position are you looking for in our company?
  • You are not applying to the XX company. Why us?
  • On what criteria do you select companies?

When asked the question "Why our company?", this is your chance to express how much interest you have in joining the company. Explain how you fit the profile of the candidate the company wants to hire by researching about the company and industry. Repeating the items stated on their website is something anyone can do. Answer the question with your own opinions and ideas. In order to do this, research in advance about the company such as the industry itself, the management, the company's future, and job description. Be sure to also utilize other media or third-party resources and see their images and opinions of the company.

Before you answer the question, make sure1. no vagueness, have a reason or explanation for what you say
2. it relates to what you want to do
3. you can imagine what you want to be doing at the company (when you start, 5 years later, 10 years later)
4. you have a reason why you selected this company and not another in the same industry

Hard to answer questions

Example questions:
  • Why are you grades low?
  • Why did you have to repeat a year?

The recruiters ask these questions because they are interested and not to make you look bad. By the way you answer the question, it may become an advantage to you. The important thing is to state the fact and the reason for it. Then be able to explain how you have changed or what others things you had put an effort into. Keep it positive. Sometimes recruiters ask these questions to see how you react and how well you respond.

After the interview

Even if the interview does not go the way you expected to, use this experience as motivation for your next interview. After an interview, write down what you did and didn't do well in the interview. Learning from your mistakes and not repeating it is what makes you closer to receiving the "offer."