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Chapter4.Employment examination

Employment examination

Document-based exams, written examinations and interviews are often used as part of an employment exam. Preparations must be made prior to taking the examinations, and you must also review certain rules and manners beforehand. This chapter will provide you with information regarding the exams.

Document-based examinations

Document-based exams make up the initial phase of job hunting activities. The entry-sheet is one of these documents. By submitting an entry-sheet, you will make a formal application to take the employment-exam. The entry-sheet is very unique in the following points. One is the fact that companies are adopting different test formats. Another is shortJapanese writing sections where you have to appeal what you did during your school life, why you would like to enter this company and so on. Many foreign students who experienced job hunting activities in Japan often confess the entry-sheet was the toughest task. In this section you have to answer the company's provided question with a limited number of Japanese characters, i.e. 200 to 400.

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【Samples of entry-sheet questions】

-Tell me about your personality by describing a suitable food in 400 characters.-(Food industry)
-How will you contribute to this company after being accepted? ? - (Trading company)
-Tell me why you are indispensable to our company by referring to what you did your best during your school-life. - (Machinery)
-Tell me what you have learned from your own experience of failure. - (Trading company)
-If you had 300 million Japanese yen, what would you do to promote world peace? - (Information-communications)

Preparing for document-based examinations

Companies seek to understand how students acted in the past and reflected on their past actions, as well as how they think about their future. In order to respond to these matters, you have to look back on your personality and past experiences. Of course, you have to research the company and think about the reason why you would like to work for them.


Writing in Japanese takes some time. Start your writing early and get advice from your school's career counselors as you revise. In this regard, do not sacrifice your studies at school.

Paper examinations

Paper exams will be given in order to check students' level of knowledge and academic achievements. They also provide information to companies if applicants have suitable thinking and judgment abilities, and possess the speed and accuracy required for their work. For companies with numerous applicants, the tests are used as an efficient tool for selection.


As paper exams are basically carried out in Japanese, applicants must have a high level of Japanese comprehension.


Though some companies offer original tests, most of them use ready-to-use exams developed by expert companies.


Exams generally include the aptitude test, general knowledge test, and Japanese writing or short essay. Generally speaking, many companies adopt various aptitude tests as indicated in the chart. Althoughaptitude tests in Japanese and English or mathematics are not particularly difficult, time is limited. You have to train yourself in advance to answer many questions correctly in a short time.

Samples (SPI3)

  • Choose a Japanese word of the closest meaning with underlined word

(例)無理がきかない

  見通しがきく  薬がきく  先生にきく  気がきく  音楽をきく

(2) There are 200 grams of water with a salt concentration of 3 % and 300 grams of water with 4 % concentration. How much will the concentration be after mixed.

2.6%   ② 3.6%   ③ 4.6%   ④ 5.6%   ⑤ 6.6

Answers) (1) ① (2) 3.6%

Preparation for the paper exam

First, look up the aptitude test of the company you chose. As for big companies, you can find past exams from "Kaisha sikiho (The Japan Company Handbook") or test preparation books on the aptitude test. For smaller companies, you may find past records by checking graduates' reports at your school's career center.


After obtaining information about your company's test, try tofamiliarize yourself with the patterns of aptitude tests and how to solve the problems. It is important to know and get used to the patterns by going over past examples. Practice with test preparation books sold at bookstores as well as questions you find online.


Finally, try to get used to the time limit. What is difficult about an aptitude test is solving many questions in a short amount of time. As you have to solve questions efficiently, it is very important to always simulate the actual time span and get used to the limit even during a practice test.

Interviews

It is common for a company to have three rounds of interviews.
Companies conduct multiple interviews because they want staff members of various positions to check the applicant's personality and way of thinking in order to ascertain if he or she is really suitable for the company.


There are several types of job interviews in Japan. The three types commonly adopted by most companies include the groupdiscussion interview, group interview and individual interview.

【Sample questions】

-Have you ever used our company's products? What do you think of them?
-What do you expect from a company and a job?
-Tell me why you came to study in Japan. Why would you like to work for a Japanese company?
-How long do you expect to work in Japan?

【 Group discussion interview 】

In group discussion interviews, students are to discuss a given theme in groups of 4 to 6 people.


Interviewers will judge the situation from outside the group. The purpose of this kind of interview is to check how an individual performs in a group.

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【Group interview】

Group interviews are carried out by a company with many applicants in order to bring down the number of candidates to a reasonable number so that individual interviews can be done.


This kind of interview is different from an individual interview and is characterized by a shorter time to respond, as well as comparison with other candidates. Interviewers will ask questions based on candidates' previously-submitted entry-sheets and personal histories, which each interviewee will answer.

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【Individual interview】

Group interviews are carried out by a company with many applicants in order to bring down the number of candidates to a reasonable number so that individual interviews can be done.
This kind of interview is different from an individual interview and is characterized by a shorter time to respond, as well as comparison with other candidates. Interviewers will ask questions based on candidates' previously-submitted entry-sheets and personal histories, which each interviewee will answer.

Unlike a group interview, individual interviews are carried out with enough time for the interviewer to grasp an understanding of a candidate's personality.


Interviewers will check your attitude, posture, facial expressions and manner of speaking, as well as answers to the questions.


The individual interview starts with an interviewer's question based on your entry-sheet and personal history. In the beginning, you will answer basic matters about the documents, then more detailed follow-up questions.

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Preparing for an interview

You will be asked for more detailed responses than what you wrote on the documents you submitted. So prepare for questions that are highly likely to be asked. In order to express yourself effectively in a short time, explanations should be easily understandable.
Train yourself to start with your conclusion, followed by certain episodes and a summary. You can record your speech and practice with a mobile phone. Check your eye contact, speaking mannerisms and what you talked about, then work on improving these points! It is also important to practice with your friends or staff at your school's career center, who can act as the interviewer during a simulation.

Next "Chapter5."Status of Residence" permit"

(Supervised by Manabu Kubota,

Visiting Researcher of JASSO)

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