Job interviews – part 1
The first one of the few companies that invited me to an interview was a publicly-traded videogame publisher whose mega-hit arcade game in the ’80s was still one of the most popular classic games. When I entered their office building in Tokyo’s southern outskirts, I was greeted by a model of the character of their signature game, almost 5 feet in diameter. There was a phone on the reception desk, and behind it was a robot. It was the shape of a human with a head, arms, and a torso narrowed around the waist, and instead of legs, it had a pink, skirt-looking layer placed on the white base. When I stepped in front of it, it spoke and told me to dial the department number. I pushed the one that said HR next to it.
It was a group interview. Five of us entered the room and sat across from the three interviewers, all men, old, gray-haired, gray-suited, spectacled, stern. I introduced myself and answered questions as I had practiced. All went smoothly until the man in the middle asked me, “to the question in the application form, ‘what is your favorite arcade game,’ you answered, ‘Nintendo Super Famicom,’ but arcade games are those you see in game centers (amusement arcades in Japan).” Su-fami was a videogame CONSOLE, which I never even owned. I quickly provided him the name of an arcade game I once played with my college friend and remembered its name. It was a zombi-shooting game, and it was indeed quite fun. The interviewer’s face remained expressionless, and he asked no further questions.
I passed the interview and was called for another one with the head of the international sales department. In his late 40s or early 50s, he was less gray than the other men. The interview started with the usual tension, but as it progressed, I realized he was more responsive, nodding approvingly and smiling when my answers amused him. When I asked him about overseas operations, he told me that other than the US office, their products were distributed via a local company. The people of this company – the HR staff and the department head were very nice. Still, I worried that the size of the international business might not be as significant as their game popularity looked.