Before starting your job hunting activities, or shukatsu in Japanese, it is important to know what Japanese companies expect of international students. This includes Japanese language skills, work ethic, qualifications, and hiring styles.
Japanese companies focus mostly on the Japanese skill levels of international students engaged in job hunting activities. These job seekers must submit application forms and attend interviews since these are required steps of the hiring process. However, since companies consider interviews to be very important, it will be difficult for an applicant to acquire a job offer if their listening skills or conversation skills are lacking. More than 90% of Japanese companies expect international students without any English skills to be at N1 Japanese proficiency level or above at time of hiring. Although few in number, there are also some companies that will hire English speaking international students at the N2 level.
There are three main reasons why Japanese companies hire international students. The first reason is to secure excellent human resources regardless of their nationalities. The second reason is to hire important human resources that serve s a bridge to the global business world. The third reason is for diversity, to secure human resources with different cultural backgrounds.
The companies aim to stimulate their organizations by deliberately securing employees with varied backgrounds.
Japanese skill is considered most important by companies when hiring international students. The second most important skill set is thought to be communication skills.
Companies also consider attitude and enthusiasm to be important. Employees who can overcome hardships and obstacles whereas enthusiasm makes people want to enter the company.
When looking at each industry type, a trend can be seen in the manufacturing industry where importance is placed on professional skills and English skills.
There is a tendency for the evaluation standards used by overseas companies and Japanese companies during recruitment activities to differ. A large number of overseas companies use a performance- based system that bases their promotion and pay- rise standards on each individual’s capabilities, work record and results, and they seek employees capable of being effective immediately at the point of recruitment. The standards for evaluations are consequently based on university and college majors, knowledge, and the skills potential employees have learned during internships, etc.
On the other hand, many companies in Japan still follow the lifetime employment system and the seniority-based system, so they seek employees who display qualities indicating that they can be relied on to develop well after entering the company. The list on the right represents the results of a questionnaire asking companies what qualities they place emphasis on during recruitment. Japanese companies evaluate communication skills, individuality, cooperativeness, spirit of challenge and other potential capabilities above academic results, specialty, and language skills.
Potential is the qualities a person displays for future improvement and growth. This is a method of recruitment that evaluates a person’s potential capabilities and future prospects at the point of recruitment instead of skills and know-how that can be used for immediate effectiveness. Japanese companies maintain effective training programs for new recruits joining the company, and they tend to recruit human resources based on predictions of their future potential, as opposed to immediate effectiveness.
Job Hunting Guide for International Students | JASSO
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