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Get a Job in Japan: What You Should Know About SPI and Aptitude Tests
Jan 10, 2024
4 min read
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Are you actively looking for a job in Japan in a Japanese company?

Then you should know that during the interview and process, companies frequently employ aptitude tests to assess the skills and personalities of candidates.

One such assessment is the SPI, which stands for “Synthetic Personality Inventory”. The SPI evaluates both personality traits and essential intellectual capabilities. It provides valuable insights not only into an applicant's character but also their suitability for specific job positions and alignment with the organization's culture.

According to a 2020 survey, 87.8% of companies incorporate aptitude tests or written assessments as integral components of their candidate evaluation process.

What Is the Purpose of Aptitude Tests?

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Companies utilize aptitude tests such as SPI for several purposes:

  1. To gain a better understanding of applicants during the selection and interview stages.

  2. To make informed decisions about where to place new hires within the company.

  3. To provide supervisors with valuable insights into new employees.

The SPI results serve as a reference point for comprehending applicants during the selection process and interviews.

What Is the Content of an SPI Test?

The SPI test comprises two primary sections:

The Ability Test is intended to gauge the intellectual competencies required for various job roles, encompassing essential skills related to communication, critical thinking, and the capacity to learn and adapt. Please note that the specific level of ability required may vary from one company to another.

Some companies may also include questions related to English proficiency or structural comprehension within the Ability Test. The Ability Test consists of two distinct question types: Verbal, which assesses the ability to accurately comprehend and understand word meanings and the core message in communication, and Non-Verbal, which evaluates numerical processing and logical thinking skills.

The Personality Test: This part provides insights into the applicant's personality. Personality tests are designed to reveal insights into an individual's character, aiding in the assessment of their compatibility with specific jobs or organizations. These assessments usually include a set of questions delving into your daily behavior and attitudes.

As you go through the test, you'll come across various questions about your daily actions and thought patterns. Your job is to indicate the degree to which each statement reflects your experiences. The test uses the analysis of these responses to build a holistic image of your personality. This information helps employers gauge how well you fit the requirements and culture of a particular job or organization.

Some individuals may worry that similar to school tests, a low score implies they aren't good enough. However, there's no uniform standard stating a specific score is required because the test is administered based on whether the applicant meets the level of ability expected by the hiring company.

Other Types of Aptitude Tests

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ENG is an assessment offered by Recruit Co., Ltd. and it can be considered as the English component of the SPI. That is why in most cases, it is required alongside the SPI mentioned earlier. If an English segment is included within the SPI, it is considered ENG.

The format and identification process for ENG mirrors those of the SPI, as ENG is typically administered in conjunction with the SPI.

Companies such as JAL (Japanese Airlines) and Goldman Sachs may utilize this test as part of their assessment process.


This web test is widely popular among major and well-known companies and is marketed by Japan S.H.L. (SHL). It comprises two parts: a skills assessment and a personality evaluation.

This test is commonly used by general and specialized trading companies, securities and investment banks, as well as research institutes.

In particular, finance and consulting firms often opt for this test because they require both precision and speed in their industries. This test serves as an effective tool to assess whether a candidate is a suitable fit based on these crucial criteria.

Mastering the Job Hunt in Japan: Navigating Aptitude Tests like the SPI for Success

In conclusion, navigating the job market in Japan involves understanding and preparing for aptitude tests like the SPI. These tests, such as the Synthetic Personality Inventory, play a pivotal role in assessing not only intellectual capabilities but also personality traits. Companies leverage these insights to make informed placement decisions and offer valuable perspectives to supervisors. Applicants must grasp the content of the SPI, which includes the Ability Test measuring intellectual competencies and the Personality Test delving into character compatibility. As you embark on this journey, remember that each company's expectations may vary, emphasizing the importance of preparing holistically. Best of luck in your job search in Japan!


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