A recent increase in the total number of international students in Japan, along with the nation’s prevailing trend of corporate globalization, has led more and more Japanese corporations to consider hiring competent workers regardless of nationalities. The number of international students working in Japanese companies has steadily increased over the last several years. In fact, as Japanese companies globalize their business operations, there is an urgent need to seek candidates with outstanding language skills and an international mindset. With this in mind, Japanese corporations have greater expectations for international student’s capabilities and motivation. This, however, does not mean that job seekers no longer face severe employment situation in Japan, for the majority of companies do not compromise their hiring standards just for the sake of filling their job openings.
It is important to know what companies are looking for among international students. One common feature is that companies tend to focus on the recruitment of new graduates. This is due to the emphasis on “training of employees” and the expectation of “long-term employment”. Please do note that values in Japanese companies may differ from companies in your home country, so please learn more about what the companies expect from the applicants.
The Japanese employment structure is based on regular, full-time employment with a premise of “long-term employment,” in which workers usually spend their entire career at the same firm. Companies will carefully scrutinize the applicant’s qualities to determine whether they have high potential. Thus, the selection process is filled with hurdles to overcome – entry sheets (application forms), multiple interviews, group discussions, aptitude tests, etc. Please do note that the employment process is completely different from the relatively easy hiring process of part-time jobs.
International students may not be fully aware of such employment situation surrounding university students in Japan or how to gather necessary information. Thus, international students are strongly encouraged to proactively start preparing themselves at an early stage by making full use of the services provided by the Career Center. Such events, include the job-hunting guidance, recruitment seminars and career advisory service, are available in Japanese and English. Exchanging career-related information with friends is also strongly encouraged.
Japanese companies opt to hire international students when they consider taking or expanding their businesses overseas. They see the need for help of coordinators who work as liaisons between their headquarters and local subsidiaries. International students who are equipped with not just language skills but also cultural competence of both Japan and the target country are expected to provide support to facilitate smooth business development. In such cases, international students may be hired and then assigned to work in Japan. They may be deploy, or directly employed by a local subsidiary.
International students are also hired as engineering or research specialists or to engage in providing linguistic services such as translation and interpretation, i.e., to fill specific positions. Do note that in many recruiting situations, companies often prioritize applicants’ competence over their nationality. This is most likely the case with foreign-owned enterprises and large companies. Thus, please do not hesitate to respond to any job posting that interests you, even if you are not sure whether the posting is exclusively for non-international students.