“Be a blank slate”: The way to get hired in Japan?

As far as things not to say in an interview go, you’d think it’d be pretty high up on the list. But the young Japanese university student, rejected by all the other companies he’d applied to, was prepared to take the risk. “This company is the only option I have left,” he pleaded with the interviewer. “I’ll do anything!” An unusual strategy, certainly. But he got the job.

Japanese site Niconico News reports that the man is now entering his ninth year of employment with the company, so it seems the gamble paid off. But is the company’s positive reaction so unusual? Some Japanese employability experts are arguing that, for many companies, the ideal graduate recruit is a “hakushi” – a blank page that the company can do what they want with. When companies train new recruits extensively, an across-the-board willingness to learn is valued more than previous experience.

Read More