Japanese Job Interview — (10) Taboo in Japan (What you shouldn’t do in an interview)
Lastly, about a taboo at the interview. There are many taboos in interviews. Common sense tells us that things like “The building in your company is old, but is there any problem in terms of earthquake resistance?” or “Isn’t this company black (meaning hard-working environment)?” are taboo. Also, be careful to call the company “onsha (polite form to address the company)”. Also, self-assertion is disliked as a taboo peculiar to Japanese interviews. If you are confident about yourself too much, people will have some doubt and think that “Can you get along with other Japanese employees?” or “Are you really that capable?” It’s important to be humble and recognize that self-promotion is different from boasting and assertiveness.
■Taboo of motives for application
Things like “I was impressed by your company ‘s enthusiastic corporate culture for training,” “They have good welfare,” “The job is well paid,” or “It’s easy to work,” etc. is not good since it has nothing to do with your job directly. Think about the story so that you can say “Why this job?” and “Why this company?” in your own words.
■Do not pretend to know
You should look into the company and industry before the interview, but if you are asked about something you don’t know, it’s better to say “I am sorry but I don’t know.”
■Humility and lack of confidence are different
Japanese like humble people, but there is no need to say that you are not confident. For example, don’t say “I wonder if I can be of any use to your company, but I try to work hard.” Rather than saying “Of course I can do this!” confidently, it is more humble to say “I strongly believe I can do this.”
It’s great to talk about how you can be beneficial to the company, but don’t brag. Instead of boasting about “I don’t think there’s anyone as qualified as me”, “I can work from Monday. Are you ready to give me a job offer?”, “I had the best sales performance in the industry in my country”, or “I am very good,” use specific examples to convey that you are actually the best candidate.