Chinese (Native) + English(business level), Japanese (beginner)
Taipei, Taiwan. (online Zoom meeting with Tokyo)
The following content is written in English because I found the auto translation works best if the original content is in English. It can be easily well translated into Japanese or Chinese. I hope this works for people who searches with Japanese or Chinese. Let me know if you found this post with Japanese, Chinese, or English.
Rejected after the final (zoom) round. Line specified in letter that no further reasons can be revealed.
I applied to the position in Line (Tokyo) in Aug, 2022. I passed the paper test, so an interview with the team members were scheduled soon.
In short, I think Line is a good company. The team leader and members make sure that all aspects of the interviewee are considered. They spend a lot of resources to make sure even the tiniest piece of info is available in their developer documentation. (From lexicon to acronyms)
The only shortage is that applicants must be a good Japanese speaker. The working condition is 100% in Japanese, mostly verbal communication and task assignment. Although the company claimed to have 19% of foreigner employees, but the cruel fact is that almost all of them are close to Native Japanese speakers.
Japanese are really shy and wish a formal (proper) speaking manner, the honorific speech is necessary for communication in a company. Even the younger generation in 30s or 20s look astonished when they heard you speak beginner Japanese. They look shocked or somehow got disgraced due to my lack of proper honorific grammar --- even though I was just speaking in plain Japanese taught in the textbook.
But I was just reciting the sentences I prepared for self introduction. Maybe they had higher expectation on my Japanese proficiency? I am so sorry and embarrassed to see their disappointment. I am among the N4 - N5 level and I haven't used my Japanese for 15 years...I had to practiced it alone a few days before the interview.
Questions they asked
- Please introduce yourself in Japanese
- Can you show us how you finished the paper test? Did you finish it al by yourself?
- Can you name something that needs further improvement from our existing documentation?
- Are you confident to be able to pass the Japanese proficiency test within the probation period? ( I think it's not just verbally, since the latest internal developer doc are all written in Japanese)
Language & culture
This is my first time to speak with Japanese interviewers, so the experience is a good reference for anyone who wish to work in Japan. I have multiple experience to speak with interviewers from other countries in English, but I found some niches for Japanese workers. This is the culture shock for me.
Even for younger generation (in their 20s or 30s, 40s), Japanese employees still avoid speaking English because they are their thoughts can not be thoroughly conveyed. There is a very special affinity attributes in their language that can not be represented in modern English correctly. The honorific and humble forms are the subtle yet mandatory part for everyday communication. This is the essence of entire Japanese business world or official event.
Luckily they had an interpreter prepared beforehand, she could listen and see the STT (speech to text) subtitles and translate it to Japanese in real time. Though I think I still speak too much in English.
My original goal is to move to a larger IT/software companies since there are little possibilities left for me here in Taiwan. I had hit the ceiling for the position here. But I am not looking for some extremely high payment elsewhere, I am looking for a place where it would make me feel like home.
I will definitely visit Tokyo and Fukuoka to sea the work and life atmosphere there, and I heard Kyushu is a much pleasant and ideal place for people like me to pursue advanced career while keeping balanced family life in a foreign country.
The traffic and the noise, parking, housing issues in Taipei are horrible. It's beyond most average employee can handle. I love Japan since there are larger possibilities for such balance, they had adopted a hybrid work standard and decided to stick with it to keep employees safe and efficiently work from nearby offices.
This is indeed the future for most industries and urban/rural areas. I have huge respect to such determination and want to join it as a contributor. People deserve to live like a human, have a family, and work efficiently, reliably from their hometowns. In the past 2 years (2020-2022) Taiwan has had good control for Covid-19 due to border control, but it also hinders the evolution for remote/hybrid work. Many companies don't want to adopt technology or better workflow so they got left behind by foreign competitors after the covid-19 weakens.
Future of Remote/Hybrid work
Line has set up a good example to allow employees work near the offices in five major cities. I believe this would be the key for future social and business success.