Shukatsu: The process of job recruitment in Japan

Japan has one of the most fiercely competitive recruitment processes for new graduates. Thousands of student job hunters take part in Japan’s highly-structured, year-long recruitment process known as “Shukatsu.”

Competition is intense, which has spurred the growth of an entire industry devoted to grooming students for success. Recruiters and clothing companies provide detailed guidelines that define things like the recruit suits students can wear, the haircuts they can have and even how they should sit during an interview.

Applicants are expected to wear what is known as ‘recruit suits’: a men’s suit, worn with a white shirt and dark tie, and a women’s suit with a skirt, white blouse and a jacket that’s cinched in at the waist.

Shukatsu begins every April and culminates in a hiring season that lasts from August to October. Those who miss out on a job offer risk having to wait and repeat the process the next year, competing against a fresh crop of students.

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