Going through this intensive job recruitment process is not mandatory, but it is expected. It is the custom in Japan that companies only hire people going through the recruitment process while still university students. It is very hard to get hired once you’ve graduated.
This recruitment system has existed for a long time, but it’s become much more intense in recent years. It starts on December 1 of the third year of university, and takes up about 80 percent of a student’s time for at least a year, with only about 20 percent left for actual studying. It distracts us from learning. Students usually go through the interview process with thirty companies. Each company will make students go through two or three interviews. This goes on until students secure at least one job offer. They then finish their fourth year of university and go straight to work.
Even before the recruitment period begins, it’s all students can think about. Ever since I started university, my life has revolved around finding a job. Students take classes that are ‘good for recruitment,’ attend additional study sessions that are ‘good for recruitment,’ take part in clubs that are ‘good for recruitment’ … It never ends! I’m exhausted.
“We want to use our time at university to learn, not to scramble for jobs”
On top of this, there are many private companies that try to sell us their ‘help’ for the recruitment process. They say, ‘If you buy this suit, you’ll get a job! If you buy this pencil, you’ll get a job! If you buy this water, you’ll get a job!’ It’s ridiculous, but many students become so desperate that they start clutching at straws and spending all their money.
Some students rebel, and opt out of recruitment. They say they’ll found their own company, or take the exam to become lawyers. But it seems most of them fail.
My friends and I organised a protest to try to draw attention to just how crazy the recruitment process has become. We want to use our time at university to learn, not to scramble for jobs. That’s why we made signs that said ‘Let Us Dream’ – university should be a time for creativity, a time to encourage diversity!”