Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Written by: Nadia Anissa
Published on: October 16, 2019
You've gone to different career fairs, written countless rirekisho, and participated in many different kinds of interviews to the companies you want, and Finally you have gotten a job! Congratulations, after all that hard work you must be wondering what’s next.
Japan usually celebrates every time a person begins a new journey/segment of their life. You've probably heard of a few of them during your time in Japan, Such as the Seijinshiki (coming of age ceremony) or the Nyuugakushiki (Entrance ceremony). As you would expect, there is also one for getting a job. This is called the Naiteishiki.
What is Naiteishiki?
Naitei (内定) is a term used when a person is given a job offer. While Shiki (式) means ceremony. So when literally translated 内定式 means Job Offer Ceremony. This ceremony is usually held on October 1st by most major companies in Japan, and it is where you officially receive your Naitei certificate. In this event companies usually give orientations to the new recruits and some homework, so they can adapt from student life to working life easier, all in the hopes that by April of the next year they are ready to go to work.
The main purpose of Naiteishiki is usually also for the company to communicate and present to the new recruits what the company is like, and introducing to them what lies ahead. It is event typical for executive members of the company to visit as well.
What is the ceremony like?
What the Naiteishiki is like will depend on the company itself. There are some very formal ceremonies, and also very casual ceremonies. According to Savanna Sagara from Indonesia, who is currently working in an International company in Tokyo, she experienced a very casual Naiteishiki. “There were only 12 new employees, so it was a very short. After hearing a short presentation from the person in charge, we ate lunch together and after that the event was finished.”
On the other hand, Tin, a recent graduate from Vietnam, experienced a different kind of Naiteishiki at his Japanese company. “The ceremony was just one day, and it was part of a three week company training. We had to stay at a dorm, and during the time we did the training we learned about business ethics. We also needed to practice etiquette such as how to sit, speak in a loud voice, and also smile.”
Are there any rules?
“During my Naiteishiki, I was allowed to wear Smart Casual, but it all depends on the company and what they ask the new recruits to wear,” according to Raymond Dikjaya, when he talked about his experience with Naiteishiki.
Since different companies have different working culture and also recruit different numbers of people, what kind of ceremony is held all depends on the company. In more traditional companies, new employees will wear a black suit, with women required to tie back their hair-- similar to what recruits wear during Job Hunting season.
“I wore a black suit for my Naiteishiki, however some of my friends wore navy blue suits. What type of shoe we wore or whether we should tie our hair wasn't specified, as long as we looked proper," Savana tells us.
The ceremony can also be overwhelming for new foreign recruits. Raymond mentioned that, “The ceremony became a reality check for me. I realized that I'm actually entering Japanese society and it would be different from my university life. Within the 300 new employees in my company there were only 2 new foreign employees.”
Tin from Vietnam also mentioned having a similar experience. “The ceremony is very overwhelming for a foreigner like me who is not fluent in Japanese, since it was a big Japanese company and there wasn't any English spoken. Everyone also treated me like a Japanese person so I felt the need to respect the culture and behave accordingly. Its something that everyone should experience at least once!”
Naiteishiki in the Reiwa Era
Until now Naiteishiki requirements were very strict, with set standards for hairstyle and uniform. This meant black suits and black hair, and tied hair for women. However, recently there has been some progress and changes for some companies. Just last year the company P&G in Japan just released a campaign advertisement for Pantene. However this campaign was not discussing about how the shampoo can change your hair, but young people’s opinion on job hunting.
Based on the questionnaire that they had for 1000 students, Pantene is currently aiming towards a Japanese society that can accept more freedom for hairstyles during Job Hunting. Although this has not happened yet, in 2018 Pantene Japan allowed new employees to choose their own hairstyles during their Naiteishiki as their first step towards making a change in Japanese business standards. Pantene's campaign is already supported by 139 companies who also hope to change job-hunting traditions.
After the long and hard process of job-hunting, you will finally be entering Japanese society as a Shakaijin, and at first it can be overwhelming and scary, especially as a foreigner. It's easy to feel alone, and much harder to adapt to business than just studying and university life. Japan's business world has a reputation for being strict and cold, but it won't always be that way.
With this new campaign, we can see that small changes are happening to the working environment in Japan. Although they are still just baby steps, these are still significant changes, and hopefully they can lead to a job hunting process and working environment that is more comfortable and adaptable for foreign students joining Japanese society.