Sclerotic and Antiquated

“The job-hunting process in Japan is so outdated. It’s especially hard for foreigners. There’s only a small window of time to do it, which usually starts in the second semester of your junior year. You have to follow a schedule, otherwise you fall off the radar of prospective employers. In my case, I was in Canada, doing a student exchange program. I wasn’t physically in Japan so only a few companies accepted my application. Some didn’t even bother looking at my resume because I couldn’t make it to their orientation (where job applicants listen to HR talk about the company).

They’re effectively closing their doors to more talent this way. It’s like a penalty for people who go abroad, which is a shame since I think they’re usually more forward-thinking.

“Universities also make it compulsory to register on these online recruitment sites, which is silly because what if we don’t want to go down the normal path and approach companies directly ourselves, instead? But we were told something like, ‘If you want to graduate, then you have to.’ Then there’s the endless personality tests. You get 300 questions that look alike, just written differently, and you have to answer them quickly, so they can infer your personality. Apparently, they’ll know if you’re not honest and try to make yourself look better. After taking one, I told myself never again.

“I conformed a bit and joined the system when I got back from Canada. Some companies were still recruiting, some of my friends didn’t have a job yet. Around July and August, I started panicking. I thought I wouldn’t be able to get a visa and stay. So I went to a couple of company orientations. However, the companies that wanted to meet me just wanted foreigners for the sake of having foreigners, and not because they wanted to. It’s for them to show an image of a global company. I have friends working for Japanese firms who don’t have a degree and don’t actually do anything related to their field, except some translation. That’s when I knew it wasn’t for me and that I would be better off doing something on my own. So that’s what I did.”

(Marine is co-founder of Sympathy, Inc., a mobile platform for communications and games.)

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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