April is typically the peak hiring season in Japan. This is when a wave of fresh graduates from universities hit the working world for the first time. From an English teacher’s perspective, it’s also the start of the new academic year at schools, colleges and universities, as well as the peak hiring time for eikaiwa, or English conversation schools.
As with most things in Japan, those who take the time and trouble to plan ahead usually have an advantage when the time comes. Also — and perhaps more pertinently — the hiring process for many roles in Japan is somewhat protracted. So, if you’re considering changing jobs in April, then December/January is probably a good time to start working on your applications.
Most Japanese firms, and especially those in the education sector, do not like to leave things to the last minute. As such, the process, from my own experience. seems to follow this kind of rough timeline.
The typical hiring timeline in Japan
Interview candidate selection
Invitation to interview
Initial meetings with candidates, normally in the form of an informal Skype chat or telephone call
Late January/early February
Secondary interviews. Depending on the company in question, you may again be able to do this over the phone or you may have to attend in person at their offices.
(Note: Be sure to find out exactly how each step of the hiring process goes for any company you are interested in working for, and get this information as early on in the process as you can. If you’re an applicant from overseas, this is especially important.)
Late February/early March
Interview results and, hopefully, offers of employment are issued
Tip 1: Brush up your Japanese resume
One thing that hasn’t changed throughout my time in Japan is that job applications here are always competitive. So how can you, as a new candidate, stand out from the crowd?
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