business

Head-scratching questions from Japanese job interviews

16 Comments
By Jessica Ocheltree

April marks the beginning of a new fiscal year in Japan, bringing with it the season for job hunting. Of course, that means interviews. NicoNico News wondered what interview questions might be lying in wait for the unsuspecting, so they sent out a questionnaire to 1,000 businesspeople to hear what questions had stumped them in the past. Here are some of the best, from the truly bizarre to the especially thought-provoking.

If you were a car, what parts would you be made from?

Female (25): Does this job even have anything to do with cars? And even if it did, how in the world would you answer this to give a good impression?

What is the company president’s hobby?

Male (28): Okay, so who did their homework!? Is this some kind of quiz show? Do you have to know the answer to questions like that to get hired?

Do an impression.

Male (28): I’m not really sure what the point of this was. Maybe there is some meaning in how well you can imitate…?

Among the members of SMAP, who do you most resemble?

Male (33): I really have to choose from SMAP? I couldn’t really say.

What kind of dessert would you say I am?

Female (30): After I mentioned I enjoyed baking, the interviewer asked me this. What kind of answer would make them happy? Are they a Japanese sweet, some kind of Western-style dessert? What can I say except that they are an unknown dessert.

Choose a verse from the classical Chinese text on the whiteboard and translate it.

Female (28): Makes you wonder what kind of job this is for, right? Maybe a teacher or professor would be able to do this one the spot, but even then, it’s not an interview question you are happy to hear.

Imagine four primitive humans of the opposite sex are standing in front of you. If you have to choose one of them, on what basis would you make your choice?

Female (24): What they heck are they hoping to learn about you from this question? I mean, primitive humans?! LOL.

What did you have for breakfast?

Female (26): Is it better to lie or to answer honestly? Are they choosing people based on whether they eat rice or bread for breakfast? Maybe they were just asking because they thought it would help me relax because there’s really no point to the question.

Make me laugh.

Female (24): To be suddenly told this at an interview when you are already nervous… Even a comedian would have trouble.

If you found out your boss was cheating, what would you do?

Male (31): What the hell. What kind of answer are they looking for, do you suppose?

Did you notice anything on your way from the lobby to the interview room?

Female (28): It seems they had left some garbage lying around on purpose. I guess they were checking for your attention to detail.

What color are you?

Male (26): This is a common question, but I never know which color to choose.

There you have it, dear readers, the best that Japanese HR managers have to throw at you. Got a clever answer? Or maybe you’ve had a more difficult question in a job interview. Tell us in the comments.

Source: NicoNico News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Cute or Not Cute? Five Things Women Do That Men Really May Not Be Into -- Chinese Job Applicant Turned Down because of iPhone -- Why Do Foreigners Like Japan so Much?

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16 Comments
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One of the reasons for the head-scratching questions is the tendency of applicants to prepare and remember answers to all questions that usually come up. To see what an applicant would be like on the job, whether they would need to react to the ever changing world, HR managers think up questions that force applicants to extemporise, to see if they can.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Timtac: exactly! Sadly s lot of these applicants still don't have the ability to think on the spot or to try to improvise when needed.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Think out of the ことば

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

These questions are to test the alertness and psychology of the applicant. There are no "correct" answers to most of these questions. Major companies like IBM, Google, Yahoo ask mostly these type of questions, since they are not only interested in conventional knowledge and degree, but unconventional minds and creativity. another example: "If you drop an egg on a concrete floor, will it crack?"

Ans1: Yes, certainly the egg would crack. Ans2: No, the concrete floor would not crack. Ans3: What is the egg made of? (counter questions instead of answers are usually not a good idea, usually you are supposed to deal with only the info provided!!!)

It is the follow up question that's important when they ask you how do you know it was the egg/floor they were referring to, in which they perform the psychoanalysis.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Very nice questions indeed. I would have passed with flying colors What did the HR asked me instead was "If your child gets sick and has fever, and we are very busy with important project, what will you do ?" or "If your husband (foreigner like me) suddenly gets transferred to another city or abroad, what will you do?" , and the hardest one ( I wish I had a recorder at that time) was " Are you willing to part with your boyfriend in order to dedicate yourself to our company?"

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Some silly questions but it depends how they were said/asked. I've found a lot of interviews with Japanese companies revolve more around the person and a general getting-to-know-you-chat, instead of tough questions about something or other, althoguh often there'll be a formal test of some kind aswell. That makes a lot of sense to me as you should be calling in for interview people who are, basically, qualified for the job. From then on it's usually more about the fit between the interviewee and the company. I don't subscribe to the effectiveness of these style of questions as a technique to find good candidates though. It's cod psychology to me. Personally I'm good at BSing my way through these "What kind of fruit would you be?" style Qs, I think they're quite fun, but when I've had to answer similar style Qs directly related to the job in question I've either been stumped because I wasn't knowledgable enough, or was able to do it because I was knowledgable enough. Being able to think outside the box is a bunch of useless jargon to me because being able to do so should be as second nature as anything else that's common sense. The fact that it might not be in Japan is another issue. What should be focused on are the skills necessary to do each specific job.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yeah some of these are pretty good, there's a good mix of problem solving and decision making as well as personally-revealing questions.

@Sasoriza Wow, you actually got those questions in the same interview? That's intense!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If you were a car, what parts would you be made from?

Do I get the job if I say Hyundai ?

What is the company president’s hobby?

Golf, gardening, kitten strangling, the black arts, making stupid questions ?

Do an impression

I'm already doing one, didn't you see that episode of peepshow, where Jez gets a job interview ?

Among the members of SMAP, who do you most resemble?

Ha-ha, this chump thinks that I'm going to name the one that exposed himself, probably would if I could be bothered remembering any of their names.

What kind of dessert would you say I am?

A tart !

Choose a verse from the classical Chinese text on the whiteboard and translate it

Then I'll write a bit of classic English and you tell me whether or not you understand it.

Imagine four primitive humans of the opposite sex are standing in front of you. If you have to choose one of them, on what basis would you make your choice?

The one that looks the least like you, seriously, are you trying to gauge whether or not i'd be the office bicycle ?

Make me laugh

The boss is sleeping with your wife !

If you found out your boss was cheating, what would you do?

I'm one step ahead of you.

Did you notice anything on your way from the lobby to the interview room?

Yes, that man dressed as a clown with a murderous glint in his eye.... Is he an employee ?

What color are you?

Are you getting racialist, bruv ?

Btw I skipped breakfast, couldn't face it with the skinfull I had last night...... well do I get the job as Tepco Senior executive ?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Yes, there are a huge lot of companies and HR employees, losing people's times with such stupid questions. The truth is that I'll never work for such a stupid place. Usually the smaller the company is, the less business-like the interviews are. Instead of losing your time and apply there, wait for the proper place.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If you were a car, what parts would you be made from?

Apathy and stubbornness.

What is the company president’s hobby?

Besiality?

Do an impression.

GET TO DA CHAAPAAH!!!!!!!!

Among the members of SMAP, who do you most resemble?

None.

What kind of dessert would you say I am?

A pudding. A fat, stupid, pudding.

Choose a verse from the classical Chinese text on the whiteboard and translate it.

"He who eats chipotle, has bloody feces."

Imagine four primitive humans of the opposite sex are standing in front of you. If you have to choose one of them, on what basis would you make your choice?

Obvious. Which one of them hates the Boston Bruins the most.

What did you have for breakfast?

Gin and tonic, and a big sausage.

Make me laugh.

Here, just read these stupid questions.

If you found out your boss was cheating, what would you do?

Take pictures and blackmail him.

Did you notice anything on your way from the lobby to the interview room?

The whores hanging around the elevator hall.

What color are you?

Well, that depends on which part of me you're asking about, doesn't it, big boy?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I would much rather be asked some of these questions than asked to do some kind of ridiculous psychometric testing. I had to do a spatial pattern test once - I was terrible! Got my answers all wrong and flunked it completely. They gave me the job anyway - it was an internal transfer (yep! Even though they already KNEW me I had to do theses stupid tests!) and I was the only applicant! I took the job and did it brilliantly. So what was the point of the tests??!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Actually I think the question about the car is a good one. The car being analogous for a company, where all parts need to work in harmony. If you think you are the engine, then you want to be the driving force behind the company. If you think you are the steering wheel, then you are a tool that the is used by the management to steer the company is a direction...etc. Simple question really.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I like how the interviewees take those questions so seriously.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One of my favourite interview jokes:

Interviewer: What would you say is your biggest weakness?

Interviewee: Honesty.

Interviewer: I don't think honesty is a weakness.

Interviewee: I don't give a f*** what you think.

Classic!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"What would you describe as a weakness in your character?" "Well, occasionally, I have some trouble differentiating between fantasy and reality."

"Ahhh....ok, well, what would you describe as a good point about you?" "I'm Batman."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If you were a car, what parts would you be made from? Land Rover parts - bit plain and ordinary, but loyal and hard-working

What is the company president’s hobby? Upskirt photography

Do an impression. I already am ^_^

Among the members of SMAP, who do you most resemble? If you squint really hard, I mean REALLY hard, and use a blur filter... Shingo whatsisname.

What kind of dessert would you say I am? A nut surprise.

Choose a verse from the classical Chinese text on the whiteboard and translate it. There was a you man from Xandu, who went and sat on a shoe.....

Imagine four primitive humans of the opposite sex are standing in front of you. If you have to choose one of them, on what basis would you make your choice? Young Ms Ugg is looking frightfully hot in her sabretooth tiger mini and bra ensemble.... so I would choose her.

What did you have for breakfast? Cheerios!

Make me laugh. Here's a mirrror...

If you found out your boss was cheating, what would you do? Ignore it... nowt to do with me.

Did you notice anything on your way from the lobby to the interview room? Yes... a corridor

What color are you? Pasty pink

Silly questions...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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