7 Rules for Job Interview Attire in Japan

In Japan, looking the part and making a good impression with what you wear is very important when at job interviews.

Although the outcome of your interview does not solely depend on your appearance, it can help a considerable amount. Also, positive interview results in most cases go to candidates who took the time to present themselves well. With limited time for interviews, first impressions matter a lot in the selection. The key is to look neat, smile, and emit a positive, friendly feeling.

1. Match your belt and shoes in color and material. 2. Don't put bulky, heavy items in your pockets. 3. Leave the last button of your suit jacket unbuttoned. 4. For jackets, choose a fit and color that suits your style. 5. Do not wear a striped suit. 6. Decide on a tie color by how you want to show yourself.

7. Carry a briefcase to fit your resume.

1. Match your belt and shoes in color and material.

One of the most important things to remember is to match the color of your belt and shoes. You should also match the material and finish, if possible. For example, if you have a brown leather belt, put on brown leather shoes. A black belt should be paired with black leather shoes. It gives off a neat impression if the colors are unified.

2. Don't put bulky, heavy items in your pockets.

When heavy or larger items are in your pocket, the shape of your suit or shirt will change and look worse. This gives off a bad impression, so if you are going to put something in your pocket, a thin handkerchief is ideal.

3. Leave the last button of your suit jacket unbuttoned.

In general, there are two types of jacket types: two buttons and three buttons. If your suit only has two buttons, simply button the top. If your jacket has three buttons, the rule is to button the top two and leave the bottom undone. This allows for easier movement and it is thought to look the nicest, too.

Please note that this rule differs for women's suits, which should be buttoned all the way in general to keep the shape of the jacket.


4. For jackets, choose a fit and color that suits your style.

The basic colors of the "recruitment suit" in Japan are dark gray, dark navy, and black. Black is perhaps the most commonly seen in job hunting in Japan. However, few working professionals wear black jackets, and dark navy is mainstream.

Interviewers are not looking for a certain color in a suit. Instead, they are focusing on the impression you give off, so we recommend choosing colors that match your personality. The following are the impressions that the three common colors of jackets are thought to give off in Japan:

Dark gray: calm, sincere

Dark Navy: Intellectual, Elegant, Serious Dark navy is common in finance and banking industries.

Black: Stylish, Sharp, Formal Around 80% of new college and university graduates wear black.

5. Do not wear a striped suit.

In some countries, creative dress is encouraged at interviews. This is not the case in Japan. It is suggested to stick to plain colors, as stripes give off a poor impression to some interviewers.

6. Decide color according to how you want to show yourself

The color of your tie makes a big impression during an interview and in business scenarios in Japan. For example, former President Obama chose blue ties to set the "intellectual and cool" image to American citizens. It is very important to be conscious of the image strategy by the tie color.

Red: Passionate, positive, aggressive, and confident Red is a color chosen by students looking for jobs and gives off a strong impression.

Blue: Intellectual, sincere, and seriousness Blue is common in the financial industry and more conservative fields. This color gives off the impression of intellect and responsibility.

Yellow, Orange: Bright, fresh, friendly, sociable Yellow and orange brighten up your look and create an approachable atmosphere.

Green: Cooperative, secure, and gentle This color is thought to show willingness to cooperate and collaborate with others.

Pink: Gentle, warm, unique Pink stands out and gives off a soft impression.

Gray: Calm and serious Gray is not as common as other tie colors as it may be seen as suppressing individuality. If you are still young, we don't necessarily recommend choosing gray.

Simple and understated patterns are okay as well, but be careful of wearing anything too loud. If you are not sure, stick to a plain tie in a color of your liking.

7. Carry a briefcase to fit your resume.

One thing you will see most job candidates in Japan carrying is a simple briefcase or bag. These are bags designed essentially just to be used while someone is looking for a job. If you are just starting to look for a job in Japan, consider getting one as an investment.

Items that go in this bag include your personal items, as well as an A4-sized folder, vital for carrying your resume and other documents for interviews. Black is one of the most common colors but other subdued hues will also work.

Clothing in Japanese society are directly connected to impressions. If you wear a suit that fits your style you will feel more confident during your interview. Remember the tips above for what to wear and refer to them often while searching for jobs in Japan!

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