Job interviews – part 2
The next company that I got myself an interview with was one of the largest videogame publishers in Japan. Their videogames had an expansive variety of genres – from RPG, action, sports, horror, music, dance, to card games. They had sales & marketing operation offices in Europe, Asia, and North America, and the International Sales Department at the Tokyo HQ worked as the central hub and the liaison between overseas and Japan. They were high-flying with hit after hit, and their stock price was soaring. The HQ office occupied a floor of one of the fanciest high-rise building in central Tokyo. I dreamed about strutting the street in heels that I might be able to afford once I got the job.
After passing the personality test and an English test, I visited the HQ office for an interview with the senior managers of the International Sales Department. When I got off the elevator and entered the reception space, I was welcomed by living humans this time. There were three young women of their early 20s, all beautiful, wearing the same pastel blue suits with a matching color chiffon scarf tied around their long, white necks. Their smile was as impeccable as their make-up. I told them I had an interview, and they led me to one of the meeting rooms adjacent to the reception floor.
Two business casual-attired middle-aged men interviewed me. The questions were perfunctory and brief. I worried if they had no interest in me, but I was called for the final interview with the head of the department a few days later. Short, balding, and unsmiling, the department head was a little more intimidating than the senior managers. But I was used to interviews by then and smoothly answered all his questions until he asked me if I was interested in working in overseas offices. To express my commitment to the job, I said yes, with great enthusiasm. “You will miss the marriageable years,” he said, “you will work in HQ for a few years, then overseas for another few years. By the time you come back to Japan, you are almost thirty.” He said this stone-faced, seemingly oblivious of sexism in his remark. Contrarily, his expression suggested he was “kindly” warning me of the job’s interference with my private life. Would he have offered the same kindness to male candidates, though? Probably not.
His reply threw me off balance, but I pulled myself together, smiled, and nodded along. I got the job.