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The Four Great Mistakes Made During Job Hunting

Mistake #3: Chilling

Next let’s talk about interacting with the company. It’s true that the content of your ES, interview and the score of your written test will largely affect whether you are hired or not. However, those are not the only things that matter. Thinking “this is not the part of the final application process”, or “right now will not affect whether I’m hired or not” can also greatly affect your outcome. So, let me introduce to you some things that international students especially mess up, and although they don’t seem important, are in fact quite important.


・Don’t think it’s just practice:

First of all, it’s important to always keep in mind that anything may be connected to the final application process. Here are three times you should keep this in mind.

The first is during “Mendan”. The company may say “It will be a ‘Mendan’ not a ‘Mensetsu’, so relax. There is no need to prepare anything”. But “Mendan” are also a great chance to ask about the company, and to relay your ambitions to work for the company. Look up what kinds of questions you may be asked, guess what you may be asked, prepare your answers, and also prepare questions that you want to ask the interviewer.


The second is clothing. Even if the company says “any cloths is ok”, this does not mean that you may wear anything. All Japanese will wear the recruitment suit. The reason is to show the company that they are serious about the company, and they are giving their all.

Lastly, during group “Mensetsu” when others are answering, you may think about your answer, or rest your mind. But what is very important, is to show that you are listening to the others answers. Even when it is not your turn, show that you are listening to what others are saying.


・Answer the phone: While job hunting, you must make a point of answering your phone, or calling back as soon as you notice. Students don’t typically receive phone calls, so there are people that do not attend to phone calls, but some key announcements can come by phone call so this is very important. Let me explain what kind of phone calls you may get from companies, and why they are calling not sending emails.

The first is when they are giving you information on early final application. Information on early final application often comes after participating in an internship. In this case, they can’t give out this information online, and neither can they say it in public. That is why they call.


The second is when receiving contact from a recruiter. Recruiters are employees designated by the company who will cheer you on through the application process. Recruiters want to communicate with you directly, so instead of email, they will sometimes call you.


The third is when receiving results messages such as “you passed the document review”, or “you passed the interview”. There are probably many reasons for this, but sometimes they want to tell you the dates for the next interview and see if you can come. This is why you should pick up the phone or call back as soon as you can.


→Always put your best foot forward

Mistake #4: Only applying to large companies

There are probably many international students that will only apply to large companies. Since we have not grown up in Japan, the Japanese companies we know are limited, and if we international students are successfully accepted into large companies, our family back home will probably be put at ease. But let me tell you some of the many reasons it is not good to only apply to large companies.

・It is hard to get accepted to large companies: The more famous the company, the more students will apply. Therefore, compared to the number of students that apply, only very few will be accepted. Next, not necessarily all companies are this way, but many are particularly strict on the SPI. Because there are so many applicants, they are unable to look at each entry sheet. Therefore, they will cut off the students with lower SPI scores at the first document review. For many international students it is difficult to get a good SPI score, so they are dropped at the document review.

・Small and medium size companies are good practice for large companies: Even if you are aiming for large companies, by applying to small and medium size companies, you will be able to practice writing ESs, doing interviews, and writing emails. Concerning ESs you will be able to find out which ways of writing pass through. With interviews as well, not only will you be able to find out what kind of questions are asked and get practice answering them, but you will also be able to see how other students answer the questions. Lastly, regarding emails, as your job-hunting proceeds, you will receive many emails and also send out many emails. You can find out what kind of email communication takes place with small and medium companies, and get used to what words to use in which situations. By doing so, you will be able to write better ESs, have more confidence in interviews, and more speedily and easily communicate by email, when applying to large companies.


・Small and medium companies have many advantages: It is easy to have a admiration towards large companies, but small and medium size companies have countless perks. For example, the smaller the company, the more likely you are to be given large tasks. Also, since there are less people, it is more likely that you will be able to have a say in how things are done. Lastly, what you often hear from people who decide on small and medium size companies is “the people are nice” etc., and there’s an intimate and relaxing atmosphere. You may actually find that you think working at a company like this sounds more fun.


→Apply to companies of many sizes


Lastly, a message to job hunting students

Lastly, let me share with you what my senior shared with me. There will be no other time like during job-hunting, where employees from so many fields and companies passionately tell you all about their company, and try to get to know you. Think of it as a rare, once in a lifetime experience, and soak it all up like a sponge.

Of course, job-hunting is hard, so challenge yourself on how much you can enjoy yourself despite the circumstances.

(Writer:Doshisha University PLATT, Katrina)


Job-Hunting in Japan 101

My Japanese Job Hunting Experience

All About Japan’s “OB Houmon”: a How-to Guide for International Students Job-Hunting in Kyoto