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Interviewing Manners

The following is based on common manners in Japan when interviewing for a job.

Appearance

The first thing the company will see is your appearance. As soon as the interview starts, the company will begin evaluating you from your manners to how you present yourself. To make a good impression, being conscious of how you carry yourself as a professional becomes very important. Not fully prepared will give the company the impression that you are not serious about working. Be professional about items such as watches, jewelry, or cell phones that companies may see. Please also remember to turn off your cell phone before you go in for an interview.

Posture / Greeting

Just like appearance, your posture will catch a recruiter’s attention. The way you stand can tell the type of person you are. Be extra careful when you first enter the room. Your back should be straight, shoulders relaxed, and feet together. Speak clearly and slowly. State your name and thank them for allowing you to have this opportunity.
Wait where you are until they ask you to sit down. Once seated, make sure your posture is straight and not slouching back onto the chair. If you have any habits (twirling your pen, playing with your hair, etc.), try to break the habit or make extra effort to prevent it from happening. Some habits you may not be aware of and suggest that you ask your friends and family about your habits as well.

Eye contact

Eye contact is a very important communication tool. Remember to keep eye contact when you are speaking as well as when the other person is speaking. Wondering eyes gives the impression you are not focused or not interested in what the other person has to say. If it is hard for you to make eye contact, look at the area below the person’s eyes or their nose. Be subtle. Staring can make the other person feel uncomfortable.

Speaking

Speak clearly and concise. When speaking, don’t stop halfway. Finish what you have to say. Stopping halfway gives the impression that you are not confident in what you have to say. Some people start talking fast when they become nervous. Take your time. If you need to, take a deep breath and collect your thoughts before you begin talking.

Listening

When answering a question, make sure to wait until the other person has finished talking and give yourself plenty of time to think over the question. The recruiter has a purpose for asking the question and is expecting the candidate to answer a certain way. Instead of thinking “what is the correct answer,” think more of “what is the recruiter trying to learn from my answer?” Not listening to the end and jumping to conclusions or disregarding the question can give the impression that you lack comprehension skills or you can only think about yourself and not about the other person. How they perceive you during the interview will reflect their impression of you as an employee.

How to receive a business card

Always stand when receiving a business card. If there are several representatives, make sure to receive the business card first from the highest positioned representative (ex. Director then Manager). When handed a business card, hold with your left hand first, then with both hands. After you have received the business card, place it on the table. You can take a look at the business card(s) then. If there are several representatives, you can line up the cards in the order that they are seating to make sure you call them by the right name. For many students, your resume will be your business card. Have your resume ready so you can hand it quickly when asked.

After the interview

After the interview, please make sure to thank them for their time again. Keep in mind that the interview is not finished until you leave the room. Always remember your professionalism.