Guide to Walk-in-interviews in Japan

Guide to Walk-in-interviews in Japan

Walk-in-interviews at career fairs are increasingly common in Japan. They are a great opportunity to get in touch with a company directly, without first having to go through the document screening. To make the most out of your interview, you just need to know a few things.

At Japanese career fairs, you might suddenly find yourself in the middle of an unscheduled job interview. If that is the case you most likely did one of the following. Either you approached a company at the fair and they liked you enough to invite you to a first interview on the same day, or you saw a sign saying “walk-in-interview” and got in line.

Either way, you are now in a situation where the company representative and you probably do not know a whole lot about each other, but everything is brimming with opportunity.

What to consider

What on the one hand is a great shortcut through the usual recruitment process, can easily go to waste if you do not know enough about the company to answer the interview questions appropriately.

A walk-in-interview is a:

  • ✔ chance to get an interview slot and HRs time without first going through document screening.
  • ✔ interview opportunity, even if you started looking after most application deadlines passed.
  • ✔ legitimate opportunity to get a job offer.
  • ✔ job interview in a more casual setting.

A walk-in-interview is not something:

  • ✖ you can wing without preparation.
  • ✖ casual where you do not have to follow common manners.

Classic walk-in-interview

So, the typical walk-in-interview usually is announced by a sign at the booth telling you “walk-in-interviews available.”

Depending on the company, there might be a row of chairs waiting for candidates to line up, or someone might check your resume before proceeding to the waiting line. Other companies again, will require you to attend their company seminar, before you can participate in the walk-in-interview.

Just be friendly and open, and if unsure about the process, talk to one of the employees.

Same day interview

Many companies choose a slightly more structured approach. After listening to the company seminar, you can hand in your resume, and HR will invite certain or all interested candidates to an interview session. This interview will be held on the same day or another day at the same event.

Be aware that this is first come first serve. For popular companies, it is possible that all interview spots for a two-day event are gone by noon the first day.

If this happens, and the company is interested in you, they will invite you to an interview after the event at their office.

What happens during the interview?

At large job fairs these interviews are often held in small booths. Events at Big Sight make it look like there is a small tent town at the far end of the hall.

Regardless of the somewhat cramped space, the flow of the walk-in-interview will just be like a normal one. In most cases, you will be facing only one interviewer, as opposed to normal interviews where typically three or more people attend.

Even if you just showed up, you will be expected to explain why you want to work for the company, etc.

The atmosphere can seem casual, but make sure to still follow common etiquette and remember your Keigo.

When will you know the result?

After an interview, most people impatiently wait to hear their results. Some lucky people, don’t have to wait at all, they get their job offer directly at the end of the interview. There is no universal answer, as to when you will get your results, it really depends on the company and their hiring schedule.

After the interview, you might:

  • ✔ take an online aptitude test before a decision is made.
  • ✔ receive your results after the fair if they are interested.
  • ✔ be declined directly at the event.
  • ✔ get invited to a follow-up company seminar or interview.
  • ✔ given a job offer on the spot!

Receiving a job offer on the spot is certainly the best-case scenario, but even if you don’t get an immediate response, these is no need to worry, since the timing has more to do with the companies way of doing things and not your performance at the interview. So, make use of the extra time to get ready for the next round of interviews.

Walk out with a job offer

I can only recommend looking up the companies before participating at a job fair. Find out in advance which companies you are interested in and invest some extra time to look them up. If you still happen to interview for a company that you didn’t know before, use the time until you interview – even if it is only 5 min – to think about how you and the company are a match, and to take a mental note of questions you might have.

By making the most of your preparation time, you will be ready for any questions that might come up, increasing your chances for a follow-up interview! (Many candidates will interview unprepared after listening only to the company seminar at the fair, just a little bit of preparation can get you to the top of the pile.)

Show interest, ask questions, be polite, and who knows, you might even find that you and the recruiter share a common interest, went to the same university, or something else that will help them remember you in a positive light.

Best of luck!
An article on group interviews is coming soon, so stay tuned!

Others also read


After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.