Japanese Companies on International Students
As you start your job hunting, it is important to know what Japanese companies are looking for in international students. Of course, expectations are different for every company. Therefore, a thorough examination of every individual company that catches your interest becomes necessary.
Reasons for Hiring International Students
When companies with a strong recruitment history are asked their reasoning behind hiring international students, the answer we most often get is, “To secure competent human resources regardless of their nationalities.” We also receive many answers such as, “To contribute to the international strength of the business,” and “The necessity of utilizing foreign languages to conduct business” as well. These answers indicate a growing need for diverse strategies and an international outlook.
Needless to say, for companies that already have overseas operations, but also for companies that are planning to expand their business overseas, human resources must be secured that are not only familiar with the local affairs of their own country but who are equally well-versed in the Japanese culture.
Expected Role of International Students in the Future
There are many companies that employ a similar recruitment standard for international students as they do for Japanese employees. What this means is that international students have the same opportunity for being promoted or to receive a pay raise. At the same time, it could also mean that there is little consideration given for their handicap in linguistic as well as cultural competencies.
However, there are companies that specifically look for attributes that are unique to foreigners, as well as companies that have extensive overseas operations. Such companies look for personnel that could one day become experts in overseas business transactions, and there is potential that an international student may one day assume the role of a senior executive in the overseas subsidiary.
Level of Japanese Sought in International Students
Most companies, by far, describe the standard of Japanese proficiency that they look for in international students as, “At the level where they are able to write business reports and business letters.” This is followed by, “At the level where they are able to conduct business in Japanese.” In other words, almost all Japanese companies look for a level of Japanese proficiency which exceeds that of everyday conversation.
It is important to keep studying Japanese on a regular basis. Conversational skills are important, but reading and writing skills are equally crucial. Be attentive when you are talking to your teachers or friends, and make an effort to improve your reading comprehension and writing skills. It is good to ask your teachers and friends to correct your Japanese whenever it sounds awkward.
Image of International Students
Japanese companies seem to have a positive image with regard to employing international students in terms of their motivation to work, their skill sets, and their international perspectives.
International students seem to earn especially high marks for their motivation to work, and there seems be an image that they fully harness their open-mindedness as well as their cultural skill sets when they approach their work.
At the same time, some companies have a negative image of international students, owing to their lack of cooperation, lack of loyalty, poor Japanese language skills, and poor retention rate. Self-assertiveness can be a good thing, but when it is too strong, it creates an imbalanced employee. It is better to clearly express your opinions while simultaneously preserving a sense of cooperation and teamwork.
Without forgetting that you do have a duty to speak up for your “rights,” it is important to create a balanced approach to interpersonal relationships, and not to disturb the harmony within the company.