Major firms in Japan on Monday fully started interviews, written tests and other activities to hire students graduating in spring 2021, with companies and students both struggling to adjust to unprecedented online recruiting methods introduced to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.
Major trading house Mitsubishi Corp. started holding online interviews with some 2,000 job-hunting students on Monday morning.
No students were seen at the front desk of the company’s head office in Tokyo’s Marunouchi business district in Chiyoda Ward, unlike around this time of the year in the past when students formed lines there to sit for job interviews.
About 70 to 80 percent of Mitsubishi Corp. interviewers are working from home, and those who are at the company’s office are asked to sit in a room alone or with another interviewer while keeping some distance from each other when they hold online job interviews with students.
According to a survey by job information provider Recruit Career Co., 45.7 percent of job-seeking students had received informal job offers as of May 1, down 5.7 percentage points from the year before.
The decline came apparently because many major firms are waiting for the virus crisis to settle down in order to see students in person before making informal job offers, and because small and midsize companies that are having difficulty introducing online procedures have been suspending their hiring activities.
Mitsubishi plans to hold final interviews with candidates in person.
Takeyuki Nakagawa, leader of the company’s recruiting team, said, “This is a process for both students and companies to choose whether to work with each another, so there were concerns about making decisions without letting students see the workplace and meet workers in person.”
By contrast, Hitachi Ltd., which started online group interviews with students on Monday, has decided to hold final interviews online.
Initially, Hitachi was also concerned about the difficulty of evaluating candidates through a screen. But the company concluded that it was not necessary to meet someone face-to-face to learn about the person, as it was able to feel students’ passion through company information sessions and round-table talks held online, according to Hitachi Senior Vice President Hidenobu Nakahata.
With the government’s state of emergency over the virus crisis fully lifted on May 25, many companies are expected to start holding face-to-face job interviews. Many of them are likely to make informal job offers in June.
But the number of firms refraining from offering jobs may increase given rising uncertainties over business performance amid the pandemic.