• Knock and wait before you go inside an interview room
  • Wait to sit until you are told to sit
  • Keep your hands on your lap
  • Ask questions
  • Bow before you leave

There are more than just questions

At interviews, interviewers will ask you several questions to know more about you and your skills and ambitions. Questions are a very important part of interviews. However, did you know that your manners matter almost as much as questions during interviews? 

Knock and wait before going inside

When it is your turn, you should knock on the door and wait until you hear “どうぞ” (douzo), which means “please come in”, before you open the door. It is considered to be rude to open the door before you are told to come in. After you open the door, step inside and close the door quietly. Then turn around to face the interviewers and bow. Be respectful. Even though these are all small things, it is the small things that give good impressions to your potential employers. 

Do not sit before you are told to

This is another small thing that matters. You are not supposed to sit until you are told to. After you enter the room and bow, walk to the interview chair and bow again with “よろしくおねがいします” (Yoroshiku onegai shimasu), which when translated means “It is a pleasure to meet you.” Then after the interviewer tells you to sit down, saying something like “お座りください” (Osuwari kudasai), you say “失礼します” (Shitsurei shimasu), which means “excuse me” and then sit down. How long does it take to just sit on the chair? I know, but again, these small details can give a positive impression to your interviewers.

Keep your hands on your lap

While you are sitting, your hands are supposed to be on your lap. You should not fold your arms or put your hands in between your legs. Men are supposed to make fists and put them on each of their legs. Women are expected to cover one hand with the other and put them on their lap. Also, you are not supposed to use the chair’s backrest during an interview. Sit straight with your hands on your lap.

Ask and be asked

During an interview, you are asked questions, including the one “何か質問はありますか?” (Nani ka shitsumon wa arimasuka?), which means “do you have any questions?” When you are asked this question, make sure to ask at least one question back. This may not be as common as the other etiquette tips, but it is nicer if you could ask a question than just saying no. Also, it is a great opportunity to show how interested you are in the job. If they see you asking questions enthusiastically about the job, they are more likely to want to hire you. 

Three thank-you’s

At the end of an interview, make sure to say three thank-you’s before you leave the room. The first one should be mentioned before you stand up. After you stand up, thank the interviewers again to show your gratitude. Then walk to the door and turn around, bow deeply and thank them for the last time. You could say “本日はありがとうございました。失礼します。” (Honjitsu wa arigatou gozaimashita. Shitsurei shimasu.), which can be translated to “thank you for today. It was a pleasure meeting you.” 

Manners matter

At a job interview in Japan, answering questions is not enough. Having good manners and showing respect to your potential employer has great importance. How you look is also an essential part of an interview. Pay great attention to your manners and appearance in order to succeed in interviews.