Shuukatsu – Job Hunting in Japan 2020 | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Shuukatsu – Job Hunting in Japan 2020

By Tony Tao Sep 30, 2020

Shukatsu – Job Hunting in Japan 2020

How Covid-19 has changed the shuukatsu – job hunting process in Japan 2020?

Welcome to the New Era! Unfortunately, 2020 does not carry very great news: the Covid-19 pandemic causes chaos in most other countries worldwide, including Japan. 

Apart from specific long-term impacts on public health systems and the national economy, the Coronavirus has also spread chaos to Japanese’ recruitment rituals’ (or shuukatsu), with interviews and information sessions frequently being postponed and canceled, leaving employers and work-seekers with tremendous inconveniences. 

Many companies have moved to more ‘innovative’ models of hiring, trying to make the most out of the Internet by transforming the whole process of shuukatsu to the virtual environment.

Recruitment Process in Japan – 就職活動 – Shuushoku Katsudo 

The recruitment process, identified in Japanese as 就職活動 Shuushoku Katsudo, is a standard approach that everyone, particularly fresh graduates, will have to go through to find a job in Japan. Candidates must start their 3rd year of college with the ‘pre-entry’ process, attend various job fairs and information sessions, or contact university alumni to get to know and stay connected with different companies. According to Japan’s most extensive work searching platforms – Mynavi, Japanese students will typically send their applications to about 15-20 locations. If all went smoothly, the process would end in their fourth year, after different stages of examinations and interviews.

For international students, the job hunting process starts typically in the second-last year of a degree program, to obtain a work offer or 内定’ naitei‘ during your final year. 

Most companies make their big admissions twice a year, for people who want to start in April and those who want to start in October. Shuukatsu has a very structured schedule, so it’s best to be prepared well in advance, but everything has changed since the pandemic began. 

Shuukatsu in the Pandemic Era 2020

The job-seeking process in Japan is well known for its complicated processes and interviews. The recruitment process demands the candidate be on-site for each stage: from the company’s 説明会 (setsumei kai – information sessions) to separate interview sessions conducted individually or with groups. However,  in periods of pandemic outbreaks, it is challenging to ensure the health safety of anyone who engages in the recruitment process. In reality, several firms and large companies have either postponed or canceled their schedules for information sessions and interview sessions.

Many managers and HR departments have switched to new recruiting approaches to protect future jobs during the chaos. 

These approaches use the availability of Internet and telecommunications applications, such as Zoom, Skype, or Chatwork.

Alternative Methods of Shuukatsu

Online ‘shuukatsu

Step 1: Online Entry Sheet

Usually, to start the recruitment process, candidates must submit their application documents to their prospective employers. Among the essential documents is the Entry Sheet, in Japanese is ‘エントリーシート‘. This is an elaborated version of your standard CV (Check out how to write rirekisho – Japanese CV HERE, which typically involves self-promotion, motivation that explains extra-curricular activities. The employers would take this into consideration of whether to set up a meeting next. 

Sometimes, entries have to be customized to the employer’s needs and preferences, and it takes a lot of time to complete 10 to 20 different versions. 

Luckily, you can use ‘OpenES,’ an online platform that allows you to submit the same entry form to various companies. This feature has become more widespread since then, saving applicants from repeated hectic tasks of writing multiple entry sheets.

Step 2: Online Information Sessions

One of the critical steps of shuukatsu is attending 説明会 (information session) of different companies to gather essential information on the company’s ideology, vision, mission, and business activities. Also, attending the 単独説明会 (tandoku setsumei kai – individual briefing session) can be regarded as an essential part of the company’s recruitment process. Unfortunately, along with the unnecessary expense and effort of only a two-hour session, the traditional setsumei kai organizing approach is not very favorable to both employers and work seekers, as everyone appears to practice social distancing from the epidemic these days.

The discomfort may be the reason why more and more businesses are going online with their information sessions, making it possible to access setsumei kai anywhere with only a few clicks from your computer. 

Recently, there are two forms of online information sessions: one where you can watch it live and communicate with the manager in real-time, and one where you can upload a video and watch. 

Step 3: Online Interviews

Known as Web 面接 (Web mensetsu) in Japanese, this method is steadily gaining popularity. The number of startups offering online interviewing resources has been growing, with some of the names that stand out being Zoom, Interview Makers, BioGraph, or Harutaka. Thousands of major companies have begun to follow this mechanism, such as Kose, Yamada, or Matsuya, making the recruiting process more convenient on both sides. 

Job Matching Platforms 

With the increase in foreigners preferring to live long-term in Japan, more and more organizations are considering non-Japanese as a desirable workforce. This is expressed in the growing number of work searching websites dedicated to foreigners, and by using these sites, they are likely to find jobs that fit their language or technical skills. 

Normal shuukatsu can tie you to a rigid working atmosphere and a strict senpai-kohai culture, platform-based companies also have friendly and open-minded colleagues with multilingual workplaces. Another significant benefit is that some websites give you work where applications and interviews can be made entirely online. 

You can check out Guidable Jobs – a reputable service that connects Japanese companies looking for able workers with foreigners interested in working in Japan.

Social Recruiting Tools

Are you tired of getting a job that doesn’t suit your interests or your skills at all? Instead of only submitting application forms to random companies, you can find businesses with ideals and interests that fit you, using social recruitment tools. 

You’re probably very familiar with LinkedIn – a social networking site dedicated to business and jobs. While not commonly used in Japan, it has gained international popularity. People use it for professional networking. With a few clicks and notifications, job seekers and employers can quickly and effectively find each other. 

Unfortunately, however, there are still a few resources available on LinkedIn in Japan. 

A suitable replacement for LinkedIn would be Wantedly, a business-oriented SNS where companies and people can communicate directly. Most of the jobs posted here allow online applications and interviews. If you’re searching for a vacancy in IT-related or non-conventional industries, this could be a destination for you! 

Shuukatsu – Job Hunting in Japan 2020

Are you confusing about shuukatsu – Job hunting process in Japan during the pademic of the Cororanvirus? We do hope that this article could be a helpful piece of information to you.

After all, all of our activities are aiming for a better life for foreigners in Japan! So, stay tuned and follow us!

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