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kbui
January 8th, 2014, 02:23
Corvus - Last year I received my interview notification via e-mail on Tuesday January 29th from the Boston Consulate. It's possible that because the application deadline was a few days later this year they might not send notices as early this time around. The interview dates for that consulate were February 20 - 22 and I got an e-mail about my Alternate status on April 2nd. We still have a ways to go, so sit back & relax :)

The application process has been much better the second time around. My top concern is that I won't get an interview despite having made it to Alternate this year. I don't know that I have the gumption to apply for a third time >_<

Could you tell us about your experience with the interview process? For example: How did you prepare? How long did you prepare? What types of questions do you remember the committee asking you? Did any questions really throw you off? What do you think were the weakest points in your application and how did you address those in the interview?

Wasabi
January 8th, 2014, 04:14
How did you prepare?
Back in the good ol' days when the official JET forum still had the Aspiring Forums open, I spent time reading as many relevant interview threads as possible and amassed a word document with the ones I came across most frequently as well as ones I felt I had a tough time answering off the cuff. I went through them every so often and practiced what I would say (protip: don't try to 'memorize a script' for answers, just have bullet points in mind so you sound natural when responding). I did a little bit of face to face practice with some family members but as they weren't familiar with the interview process itself I don't know that it helped me a bunch.

How long did you prepare?
I had been browsing interview threads casually since I decided to apply in August of 2012, so it's hard to quantify. I think I started seriously preparing a few days after I got notification that I had been granted an interview. I would look over my question list and go over my answers before bed a few times a week. The night before the only real preparing I did was to set out my outfit and make sure I set my alarm early enough for the next morning. Luckily I was staying with a friend near Boston, so I tried my best to put the whole thing out of my mind and relax. The next morning on the T-ride in, I took the ~45 minutes I had and glanced over my questions, SoP & Application.

What types of questions do you remember the committee asking you?
Honestly, they were mostly easy questions. I had read so many stories of interviewers that were really mean or other horror stories that I was surprised how easy most of the questions were. I don't remember most of them verbatim, but they mainly centered around my motivation to participate in JET, my application & my (very few) relevant experiences. They wanted to know about the tutoring I had done in high school & college. I was prepared for them to really lay into me for having no Japanese ability but I lucked out by having a JET alum on my panel who knew virtually no Japanese before going to Japan (and by their own admission didn't leave Japan with much language ability either).

Did any questions really throw you off?
As I said above, I was thrown off a bit by the fact that they had asked pretty easy questions. It seems like they always try to ask at least 1 question that will really make you squirm and mine was "What would you tell a student if they asked you why the US still has forces stationed in Okinawa?" It did trip me up a bit as I really have no bleeping idea why, but the main takeaway from it is just to remain calm and try to make your answer sound good.

What do you think were the weakest points in your application and how did you address those in the interview?
My weakest points were my experience & my Japanese ability. I have a degree in Accounting and work for a bank, so I really had to dig deep and try to play up my tutoring experiences in high school & college. I also emphasized my flexibility and willingness to learn and adapt to new situations. I went into the interview being able to recognize ~70% of all kana, knowing a basic Japanese introduction, and having a general idea of how Japanese and English are functionally different (verb tenses, sentence structure, polite vs impolite speech form) so it goes without saying that I got no points for that. I do, however, have three semesters of Mandarin Chinese and a minor in French so I used this as evidence to show that I am naturally good at languages and have the discipline to study a new language.

I also was very lucky that they didn't mention my boyfriend at all - we applied together and though he wasn't granted an interview, I still had put his name & relationship to me on the application where indicated. It doesn't qualify as a weakness per se, but it's something many people in my situation are asked about so I was ready just in case.

kbui
January 8th, 2014, 04:38
Thank you for telling us about your experience Wasabi. :)

It's very helpful for me to see how others experienced the interview process so that I can begin successfully preparing for them. And to comment on your responses, I've also read that many of the interviewers try to trip you by asking really difficult questions relating to international relations between the U.S. and Japan.

In addition to the questions, did they ask you do perform a student-teacher role-playing part? And another question: what is different about your application this year, and why do you think it will make you a successful candidate?

Gizmotech
January 8th, 2014, 07:28
How did you prepare?
I didn't.
How long did you prepare?
0 minutes
What types of questions do you remember the committee asking you?
I'm an alcoholic, it was three years ago, my brain doesn't remember small details from that far back anymore.
Did any questions really throw you off?
Ya. When the interviewer mentioned my beginners Japanese on the form, and I replied "It's been like 7 months since I last studied" and the interviewer dropped the line of questioning.
What do you think were the weakest points in your application and how did you address those in the interview?
My abysmal GPA to date? I just said all the course I got crappy marks in were electives I took to see what the topic was about, and pointed to my really good record in my major classes (Which were all Linguistics/ESL theory).

BTW: If anyone thinks I'm being snarky about this, check my forum registration dates. They are both after I came to Japan. I seriously looked at the JET programme as "If I get in, I get in. If I don't, I don't. No use worrying about it". In the end I was shortlisted with the absolute least amount of preparation.

PaddyPakku
January 8th, 2014, 08:37
Gizmotech: I'll be completely honest, your story seems highly implausible to me. I'm somewhat skeptical as to your presumably 'lax' attitude during the application process. Also, your post isn't particularly helpful to anybody on this thread as you've given no detail as to your application process; not that you're obliged to by any means. If anything, it seems more your way of showing how effortlessly you were shortlisted...if your story is to be believed.

Gizmotech
January 8th, 2014, 09:19
Gizmotech: I'll be completely honest, your story seems highly implausible to me. I'm somewhat skeptical as to your presumably 'lax' attitude during the application process. Also, your post isn't particularly helpful to anybody on this thread as you've given no detail as to your application process; not that you're obliged to by any means. If anything, it seems more your way of showing how effortlessly you were shortlisted...if your story is to be believed.

Right, the purpose of my post is to highlight that preparation is in itself unnecessary for the interview. If you are a capable individual, who can react to spontaneous events, the interview becomes an evaluation of your character which is impossible to prepare for. No amount of "What did they ask when you went" can help you prepare for the question they didn't ask someone else. Therefore, to maintain a consistent appearance it is most advisable to go in with no preparation, so that your answers look and feel similar to each other, instead of solid and terribad. Also, if during the interview you are constantly answering new questions, when an awkward or uncomfortable question arises, you have a better chance of controlling your reaction because through the entire process you were already doing it, which will create a much better image as compared to the shock moment.

Furthermore, your ability to react to the unknown and sudden change of events is a rather important skill when coming to Japan. You would be amazed at the types of questions I have been asked in passing which I am in no way prepared for.

But you'll note that none of this information is what was requested by the previous poster, so I didn't bother to include it because it wasn't the information the poster was looking for. I also can't provide clear information anymore because the interview was 3 years ago now, and frankly wasn't that memorable beyond the Japanese dude dropping the language thing, and my colossal fuck up during my mock lesson.

As for the story being implausible, many of the shortlisted JETs I have met here while on the program got in with very little concern or preparation. It actually seems more rare that the super prepared get in (from my totally varied and extensive anecdotal experiences), possibly because they come off as neurotic and insecure which are both pretty bad qualities to have when working in Japan.

johnny
January 8th, 2014, 09:25
How did I prepare?:

I read up on Japan a little. I read a little recent history and made sure I knew some famous Japanese people outside of the videogame an anime world. I read up on Japanese geography and some other stuff. No questions about Japan came up during my interview though.

The questions they did ask:

They asked about how I would do with culture shock. They asked about my teaching experience. How I deal with stress, superiors, etc. at work. They wanted to know why I wanted to come to Japan and why I chose the locations that I did. Basically, they want to know why you want to be a JET.

The big question they asked was this: If you had spare room in your suitcase to bring a cultural item to use it a lesson plan, what would you bring and what would you say about it?

The follow up questions went on for several minutes after that in a really rapid-fire manner.

One specific question I got was the former JET asked how I would feel about people constantly making observations like "you use chopsticks so well!".

I told them that I got this comment a lot in Korea, and I expected that they were just trying to be polite with limited English.

One final question I can remember is that they asked me what I would do if I did not get accepted into JET. I don't know if this was a good idea or not, but I told them the truth. I told them that I would stay at my current job because I was happy there and that if I worked as an educator in Japan that I only wanted to do it with JET because it is the best.

johnny
January 8th, 2014, 09:32
Right, the purpose of my post is to highlight that preparation is in itself unnecessary for the interview. If you are a capable individual, who can react to spontaneous events, the interview becomes an evaluation of your character which is impossible to prepare for. No amount of "What did they ask when you went" can help you prepare for the question they didn't ask someone else. Therefore, to maintain a consistent appearance it is most advisable to go in with no preparation, so that your answers look and feel similar to each other, instead of solid and terribad. Also, if during the interview you are constantly answering new questions, when an awkward or uncomfortable question arises, you have a better chance of controlling your reaction because through the entire process you were already doing it, which will create a much better image as compared to the shock moment.

Furthermore, your ability to react to the unknown and sudden change of events is a rather important skill when coming to Japan. You would be amazed at the types of questions I have been asked in passing which I am in no way prepared for.

But you'll note that none of this information is what was requested by the previous poster, so I didn't bother to include it because it wasn't the information the poster was looking for. I also can't provide clear information anymore because the interview was 3 years ago now, and frankly wasn't that memorable beyond the Japanese dude dropping the language thing, and my colossal fuck up during my mock lesson.

As for the story being implausible, many of the shortlisted JETs I have met here while on the program got in with very little concern or preparation. It actually seems more rare that the super prepared get in (from my totally varied and extensive anecdotal experiences), possibly because they come off as neurotic and insecure which are both pretty bad qualities to have when working in Japan.

What do you think about some people who got crazy questions like: Can you name 3 Japanese historians? Can you name 3 Japanese poets/artists/Kabuki actors etc.

Does anyone actually care if you can name these people? Like I said in my post, I didn't get asked, but shouldn't people prepare just in case they get one of the crazy questions? Alternatively, do you reckon that it's best just to admit that you couldn't name one Japanese historian to save your life?

I know some historians now, but last February? No way.

Ini
January 8th, 2014, 09:47
I didn't prepare more than scanning the papers the week leading up to the interview to see if japan was in the news. I had a few hours to kill before the interview so went for lunch in the pub opposite the embassy and probably had one too many pints of dutch courage. I still got in. I didn't really get asked much about japan in the interview. The two questions I remember being tricky/strange were "how would you explain the invasion of Afghanistan to a JHS student" and "which 3 UK authors would you recommend to a JHS student". Rest of the interview was pretty standard why japan/why JET/where do you see yourself in 5 years time crap.

PaddyPakku
January 8th, 2014, 10:03
Right, the purpose of my post is to highlight that preparation is in itself unnecessary for the interview. If you are a capable individual, who can react to spontaneous events, the interview becomes an evaluation of your character which is impossible to prepare for. No amount of "What did they ask when you went" can help you prepare for the question they didn't ask someone else. Therefore, to maintain a consistent appearance it is most advisable to go in with no preparation, so that your answers look and feel similar to each other, instead of solid and terribad. Also, if during the interview you are constantly answering new questions, when an awkward or uncomfortable question arises, you have a better chance of controlling your reaction because through the entire process you were already doing it, which will create a much better image as compared to the shock moment.

Furthermore, your ability to react to the unknown and sudden change of events is a rather important skill when coming to Japan. You would be amazed at the types of questions I have been asked in passing which I am in no way prepared for.

But you'll note that none of this information is what was requested by the previous poster, so I didn't bother to include it because it wasn't the information the poster was looking for. I also can't provide clear information anymore because the interview was 3 years ago now, and frankly wasn't that memorable beyond the Japanese dude dropping the language thing, and my colossal fuck up during my mock lesson.

As for the story being implausible, many of the shortlisted JETs I have met here while on the program got in with very little concern or preparation. It actually seems more rare that the super prepared get in (from my totally varied and extensive anecdotal experiences), possibly because they come off as neurotic and insecure which are both pretty bad qualities to have when working in Japan.
see, now this post is immensely more helpful that your initial post.
I actually agree with the sentiment that there should be a certain level of unexpectancy when entering the interview. Having said that, it would be extremely more beneficial if I knew before hand that they could ask questions on British and or Japanese poets/authors historians etc...

Jiggit
January 8th, 2014, 10:09
Literally all of my interview questions were so obvious I felt like I must have failed because I hadn't distinguished myself in any way. Remember Japanese language ability is not a requirement at all for the ALT position.


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Lianwen
January 8th, 2014, 10:35
I fell on my arse in front of the PC at the consulate, and I was still hired.

Looking back, I wish someone had warned me about the possibility my JET alumni interviewer might be a d_ck.

Things people can do in the meanwhile instead of worrying about the interview.
1) Make sure you're graduating, for those of you in undergrad. I don't mean proof of graduation. Imagine getting shortlisted, but then getting shorted because you failed that stupid yoga final.
2) If you're not in undergrad, life goes on. Work. Find a job if you don't have one already. Don't be all like, but I'm waiting to hear if I get an interview as an excuse to not get at least a PT gig. Now is one of the best times in the season to apply and get a PT gig. And then you can save money.
3) Investigate back-up plans if JET falls through.
4) Socialize. Chances are you're not going to see the majority of your friends for (at least) several months if you're shortlisted, and you don't want to be that loser staring at the comprehensive list of previously asked interview questions on a Friday night.

kbui
January 8th, 2014, 10:36
Right, the purpose of my post is to highlight that preparation is in itself unnecessary for the interview. If you are a capable individual, who can react to spontaneous events, the interview becomes an evaluation of your character which is impossible to prepare for. No amount of "What did they ask when you went" can help you prepare for the question they didn't ask someone else. Therefore, to maintain a consistent appearance it is most advisable to go in with no preparation, so that your answers look and feel similar to each other, instead of solid and terribad. Also, if during the interview you are constantly answering new questions, when an awkward or uncomfortable question arises, you have a better chance of controlling your reaction because through the entire process you were already doing it, which will create a much better image as compared to the shock moment.

Furthermore, your ability to react to the unknown and sudden change of events is a rather important skill when coming to Japan. You would be amazed at the types of questions I have been asked in passing which I am in no way prepared for.

But you'll note that none of this information is what was requested by the previous poster, so I didn't bother to include it because it wasn't the information the poster was looking for. I also can't provide clear information anymore because the interview was 3 years ago now, and frankly wasn't that memorable beyond the Japanese dude dropping the language thing, and my colossal fuck up during my mock lesson.

As for the story being implausible, many of the shortlisted JETs I have met here while on the program got in with very little concern or preparation. It actually seems more rare that the super prepared get in (from my totally varied and extensive anecdotal experiences), possibly because they come off as neurotic and insecure which are both pretty bad qualities to have when working in Japan.

I find it odd that JET would want people who didn't prepare. I mean, of course people have to be adaptable and work well under stressful conditions, but that doesn't mean that people who over-prepare are going to do less well when placed in the same circumstances.

johnny
January 8th, 2014, 10:37
I didn't prepare more than scanning the papers the week leading up to the interview to see if japan was in the news. I had a few hours to kill before the interview so went for lunch in the pub opposite the embassy and probably had one too many pints of dutch courage. I still got in. I didn't really get asked much about japan in the interview. The two questions I remember being tricky/strange were "how would you explain the invasion of Afghanistan to a JHS student" and "which 3 UK authors would you recommend to a JHS student". Rest of the interview was pretty standard why japan/why JET/where do you see yourself in 5 years time crap.

I didn't questions about Canadian authors. Lucy Maud Montgomery would have been an easy one. The Afghanistan one would have been tough though. I guess I would have tried to explain the government's justification for the invasion.

Come to think of it, I did get the question about where I saw myself in five years time. I told them the truth, that my ideal job would be working for the Foreign Affairs ministry. That probably went over well.

Jiggit
January 8th, 2014, 10:54
I find it odd that JET would want people who didn't prepare. I mean, of course people have to be adaptable and work well under stressful conditions, but that doesn't mean that people who over-prepare are going to do less well when placed in the same circumstances.

If you research every question they might ask beforehand and just recite answers that you've rehearsed based on other people's opinions and experiences then that doesn't help them figure you out at all. They want you to answer their questions truthfully so from ther perspective it would be better if you weren't expecting them.

And as others have said, if you focus too much on preparing your answers beforehand then you might get flustered when they ask something you weren't expecting.

Preparation should be learning about what the job entails and about Japan in general, not preparing for all the questions specifically. As other current ALTs have said, check recent news, read a bit about Japanese history, learn a bit about social norms and polite behaviour etc


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word
January 8th, 2014, 11:07
I find it odd that JET would want people who didn't prepare. I mean, of course people have to be adaptable and work well under stressful conditions, but that doesn't mean that people who over-prepare are going to do less well when placed in the same circumstances.I'm not so sure about that. I agree with Giz (edit: and Jiggit; he said pretty much everything I wanted to say)... sometimes too much preparation is not all that great an idea, and is indicative of a particular type of person who would struggle in the typical working environment of many ALTs. That said, my advice regarding preparation tends to be a bit different...

How did you prepare?
I took care of myself. I didn't eat a bunch of unhealthy garbage in the weeks leading up to the interview. I didn't drink an arseload of booze or smoke an arseload of *ahem* in the weeks leading up to the interview. I didn't get a bunch of exercise or anything, but I stayed fit and healthy, tried to get plenty of sleep, etc.

I bought a good suit that many folks agreed looked good on me and had it tailored by a good tailor. I bought a good tie, nice shoes, etc. I got a good haircut from a particularly talented barber just a couple of days before the interview. A lot of people don't know how to dress themselves well (me), and that's fine; there's nothing wrong with that unless you THINK you can dress yourself well and you actually can't. At the risk of exposing a prejudice... fat girls are particularly bad about this, imho. Interview attire is more difficult for women, anyway, and I'm quite sympathetic in that regard, but if you're a heavyset girl, you should make sure you're getting brutally honest advice from people who won't spare your feelings. I, myself, am a fat-yet-scrawny, somewhat creepy, generally awful-looking guy... so I needed all the help I could get--and I made it a point to get it.

I got a hotel room next to the interview location the day before the interview, made sure I knew exactly how and where to walk to the building, and made sure that I got plenty of sleep the night before (as much as I could, anyway). I didn't eat or drink anything weird the day before, and took a good sh*t in the evening. I had a bottle of Pepto just in case for the next morning.

I gave myself a pep talk and got into character as soon as I left the hotel room. I had to get the hotel manager to tie my tie for me, because I was an uncultured simpleton back then. That's how unprepared I was.

I didn't give a sh*t about questions or anything like that. I just made sure I looked and felt fantastic.

How long did you prepare?
See above. Oh, I'd read the forums and sh*t; knew the potential questions, but I also realized that sh*t wasn't gonna do me any good, because that wasn't the point of the interview. I should have read my SoP more thoroughly before I went in there, of course.

What types of questions do you remember the committee asking you?
I don't remember most of them. They were softballs for the most part. The two Japanese people were incredibly nice; the JET alum was a gigantic d*ck. That was probably his job; I don't blame him for it.

Did any questions really throw you off?
The JET alum repeatedly told me that he didn't understand "Why Japan?" and kept throwing it at me. I repeatedly answered it as best I could. One of the Japanese interviewers asked me about something obscure in my SoP; a throwaway comment I'd made... and I was stumped... but I managed to get through the answer.

The questions don't really matter; how you handle yourself in a difficult situation is far, far more important. The more you try to plan for every possible contingency, the more f*cked you're gonna be when something unexpected gets tossed at you.

What do you think were the weakest points in your application and how did you address those in the interview?
Completely sh*tty GPA, crazy employment history, being older than most applicants, looking like a creepy, ugly troll of a man, generally being uncomfortable in awkward social situations like interviews.

I addressed my sh*tty GPA, crazy employment history, and being older than most applicants in my SoP and they didn't really hit me that hard on those points. As for the other two points, well, I looked as good as I possibly could and successfully acted like I was an awesome, normal human being for the duration of the 15-20-minute interview.

ihatefall
January 8th, 2014, 12:11
Word, well put!

I did basically the same. I think I tried on at least 10 suits before I bought one (and later returned). I got a haircut, had a mint in my pocket for while I waited in the waiting room. The 2 weeks before hand I read the Japan times online, met with my Japanese to brush up my language skills and to ask them about Japanese interviews.

I have to say when I walked into the waiting, the confidence when up. Some applicants showed up in sneakers, or wrinkly clothes, they didn't look put together. I knew I had that on them.

Tricky questions I was asked, "Describe the area you're from in one word" ("historic", I told them I lived were John Manjiro was from. the interviewers said they didn't know who he was so they asked me to explain that to them.) followed by "Describe America in one word" (...........Diverse!, I was throw off by these questions but I was quick to answer and able to elaborate so I think that was a plus for me.)

I had traveled to Japan before JET and spoke its praises, the older Japanese man in the room said, "It seems like you think its paradise, what is something you don't like about Japan?" (Once again I was caught off guard and didn't like being forced to say something negative in an interview. I answered, "the address system, its really confusing and just not a fluid as other countries. But I realize it can never change and it gives you a chance to talk to people you don't know when you or they look lost haha".

I also got asked on the spot to do a teaching demo on an American holiday. I asked in this setting would the students have a pen and paper or nothing. They look at each other and said pen and paper is ok....... and I went with that.

coop52
January 8th, 2014, 14:46
How did you prepare?
Got a suit (two actually), manicure, and haircut. I spent maybe an hour or two googling interview question.

How long did you prepare?
The longest and most stressful part was actually getting the suit. I had my first suit altered at the store where I bought it. Turns out they were a place that sends suits out to God knows where to do their alterations and it looked like it wouldn't come back in time. I had to go get a second one and have it altered locally. Pro tip, kids- get your suits sorted out now.

What types of questions do you remember the committee asking you?
I got asked why Japan, what three items I'd bring to share with my students, and if I would serve tea if asked. I also got asked if I had any questions for them. It was a pretty standard interview, no real surprises.

Did any questions really throw you off?
Nope, all except the tea one were common questions you'd find in any other interview. The tea one was one I'd read about (it's asked fairly often to female applicants to see their reaction) so I wasn't thrown off. I wouldn't recommend memorizing answers or anything, just be prepared for them to try to stress you. One of my suit buttons did pop off as soon as I sat down in the interview chair though. Don't go cheap on the suits, I'm serious.

What do you think were the weakest points in your application and how did you address those in the interview?
Mostly lack of teaching experience. As long as you show that you're willing to learn, you should be fine.

I guess I should also say that one of my sorority sisters interviewed for JET the year before I did and didn't make it. She hates kids, so I have no idea why she even applied. She apparently was asked to do a demo lesson and she said all she did was pick up various objects in the room and tried to get the interview panel to repeat after her. I would say that she didn't pass the interview because she was totally the wrong personality type for the job (really intimidating business type), not because she did a crappy lesson. That's the whole purpose of the interview- to weed out the people who might look good on paper but would either freak out and go home right away or not get along with the kids, teachers, or people in their placement communities. Yet, there's still weirdoes that manage to get in.

word
January 8th, 2014, 15:12
The longest and most stressful part was actually getting the suit. I had my first suit altered at the store where I bought it. Turns out they were a place that sends suits out to God knows where to do their alterations and it looked like it wouldn't come back in time. I had to go get a second one and have it altered locally. Pro tip, kids- get your suits sorted out now. Tailor tip: Find an incredibly old guy (or girl) in your town who has been tailoring in some sh*t hole-in-the-wall shop for the past sixty-five years or something. S/he will probably be working in an area of town that used to be nice but isn't quite as nice anymore. S/he will have been tailoring suits since the dawn of time, will do the work locally and quickly, and will probably be incredibly good at it. My dude was Tony in a rather sh*tty area of the city. There were four shops in his strip; one was his, one was vacant, and the other two were--quite literally--a gun store and a liquor store. He was a f*cking master, though; when he got done, I looked like a jillion bucks in that suit.


Aren't you sick of correcting grammar as an ALT? Haha
I'm really sorry; it's just... heterograph confusion is my thing. Drives me bananas.

Jiggit
January 8th, 2014, 15:52
Oh yeah the ex-ALT will definitely be the one asking the difficult questions. They're most likely to be an ass as well, though iirc the ones at the British interview were friendly enough. Basically remember they will probably be similar to the regulars on this site in terms of shit they will be looking out for (weeabooism) and will be better equipped to see through the more obvious bullshit. Don't know how much power they have over the decision but they definitely have a lot of power to ask whatever the hell they feel like. I think mine asked about 80% of the questions in the interview.

My "difficult" question (i.e. the only one worth remembering) was "If you had planned a trip abroad and at the last minute your school told you about an event they wanted you to attend in the holiday period, how would you deal with the situation?" to which I said I would try to negotiate the situation with my school and find a way to make the time back but if it was absolutely necessary I would of course place the job first.

par92186
January 8th, 2014, 15:59
Right, the purpose of my post is to highlight that preparation is in itself unnecessary for the interview. If you are a capable individual, who can react to spontaneous events, the interview becomes an evaluation of your character which is impossible to prepare for.
...... Also, if during the interview you are constantly answering new questions, when an awkward or uncomfortable question arises, you have a better chance of controlling your reaction because through the entire process you were already doing it, which will create a much better image as compared to the shock moment.

Furthermore, your ability to react to the unknown and sudden change of events is a rather important skill when coming to Japan. You would be amazed at the types of questions I have been asked in passing which I am in no way prepared for. .


Great response. Deep down, I think successfull interviewing skills is truly an art form. If you allow your personality to be conveyed through your answers, you come off as more genuine and honest. Personally, I think those are two of the greatest assets to possess for any interviewee. There could be someone that completely dwarves you on paper, but face-to-face, through a down-to-earth and friendly demeanor, anything is possible. The glass is always half full.

word
January 8th, 2014, 16:07
Yeah, one of the guys with whom I chatted in the pre-interview area had a resume that made me feel like the simpleton I am; he was from a prestigious university, an East-Asian Studies major (or some sh*t like that), and very clearly from wealth.

He was also cold, weird, and rude. I didn't see him in Tokyo.

Edit: 'Course, it could've also been because he forgot his interview voucher/ticket/thingy.

Edit edit: 'Course, it could've also been because he was a ginger. Still, I've known a few gingers to make it through, so I doubt that was the *entire* reason.

ihatefall
January 8th, 2014, 18:09
My "difficult" question (i.e. the only one worth remembering) was "If you had planned a trip abroad and at the last minute your school told you about an event they wanted you to attend in the holiday period, how would you deal with the situation?" to which I said I would try to negotiate the situation with my school and find a way to make the time back but if it was absolutely necessary I would of course place the job first.

This is a good point that is quite often missed. That above all else, this is a job interview. Its not a chance to study abroad or have an international experience; it's a job. Of course, they want to know that you can cope with the stress and adapt to an international setting, to a different (and often inefficient) way of doing things; that you're open minded and even excited about going to Japan. But at the end of the day, they want to know what you're going to do for them. That really this is about teaching and not about being able to hop to over to SE Asia on the long weekends. What sets you apart from the other anime nerd, Japanophile (spelling?) or adventure seeker. Cool you're interested in Japan.....so isn't 45% of your peer group....now what?!? Read the JD of either the ALT or CIR positions and see what they are looking for!

Nell
January 8th, 2014, 20:23
I agree that there's only so much preparation you can do for this interview as they are bound to ask some questions that will throw you off. I'm just gonna read up on some British politics and the history between Japan and the UK, think of various important British people in case they ask me who I'd pick to represent whatever, and make sure I know exactly why I want to go to Japan/work for JET. And prepare myself for awkward questions about tea-making/groping.

Shincantsen
January 8th, 2014, 23:39
How did you prepare?
When I interviewed it was when dinosaurs ruled the earth (about 5 years ago). I read the list of possible interview questions off the Aspiring/Applying forum, but was too lazy to actually figure out answers for them formally. I wore a suit that looked nice, but had a safety pin that was structurally integral.

How long did you prepare?
I had been on ITIL for a few months, but I used it more for figuring out what JET life would be like rather than what to say in the interview.

What types of questions do you remember the committee asking you?
The JET alum pointed out that I was a women's studies major and asked what I would do if I had to make tea for male coworkers. They asked me what three things I would bring to represent America in my classes. Then they asked me to do a sample lesson about a topic of my choice, pretending the interview panel was a class of elementary school 3rd graders. Finally, I got a couple of fairly easy questions to test my Japanese.

Did any questions really throw you off?
The three things from America question kind of threw me off, and I gave a preeeeetty stupid answer to it. But I wasn't visibly flustered about it and had a good attitude. That's the major thing in your interview - they probably don't care if you don't know about the latest current event in Japan or even who the prime minister is, they just want to see how you react under pressure. If you start crying or turning red in the face because you can't answer a question, that doesn't reflect well on you.

What do you think were the weakest points in your application and how did you address those in the interview?
I guess my weak point was a lack of relevant extra-curriculars. I didn't have a leadership position or anything in any clubs, and didn't do much related to Japan. I also had a little experience teaching, but not a whole lot.

The thing I took out of the interview is just to relax (I know it's easier said than done). I went with a friend and she was really wound up and nervous, and she wasn't offered a position. I tried to be relaxed, to joke around with my panel, and to present myself as a calm and put-together professional. I was shortlisted, and given a position in my 1st choice location.

Jedirust
January 9th, 2014, 04:41
How did you prepare?
I didn't prepare. I went in knowing what I know and that's what I can give them. Of course, I read the official forums because of the high entertainment value of worried applicants. Maybe I gleamed some information from there. For my old job, I was the HR guy there, so I generally knew what they would ask and are looking for in an applicant.

How long did you prepare?
I went to bed early, ate safe food, and didn't didn't too many fluids.

What types of questions do you remember the committee asking you?
I remember they asked me how I would feel being a subordinate to someone and how I would manage taking directions rather than giving them. Other questions were about why I would leave my job, living in another country, willingness to try new foods, etc.

Did any questions really throw you off?
They asked my to tell a joke on the spot. I guess the interviewer thought I was being too serious?

What do you think were the weakest points in your application and how did you address those in the interview?
Lack of Japanese ability. I told them if accepted I learn quickly and will read up on the customs and culture so that I wouldn't embarrass myself or others.

I guess a general rule-of-thumb would be to be normal, get a suit (for guys), get a hair cut (especially if you have long hair), trim your facial hair and be candid. I remember waiting in the lobby for the interview with one guy who was wearing a Mario shirt and jeans, a girl with purple and pink hair with anime earrings, and another normal girl... who smelled like garlic. Last, if they ask you "Do you have any questions for us?," then have a couple of good questions you want to ask. Interviewers appreciate it.

Shincantsen
January 9th, 2014, 04:47
They asked my to tell a joke on the spot. I guess the interviewer thought I was being too serious?

Where does a sheep go to get his hair cut?

PaddyPakku
January 9th, 2014, 07:32
The Baaaaaaaarbers....*bad dun tsss*

Anyway.... I've always wondered, what's the best way of answering questions where they say 'As a female, what would you do if you were asked to serve your male colleagues tea?' or something like that.
Also, what would y'all consider are the best items to bring to represent England or America?

Gizmotech
January 9th, 2014, 09:03
Paddy:

Think flexible, non-judgmental, and honest. Also, keep any strong feminist comments that you might consider making in a deep little pocket of hate beside your heart and forget about them till after the interview is over. This is especially important if there is a Japanese Male on the interview panel.

I wouldn't be worried about bringing items to represent places until you've heard whether you're going or not.

Jiggit
January 9th, 2014, 09:10
Bring something hideously sweet and then they can have a big circlejerk about how gaikoku's food is amasugi mochiron and then you can never bring the ungrateful sods omiyage again.

PaddyPakku
January 9th, 2014, 09:14
Trust me Gizmo, I have absolutely no faith that I've been accepted for an interview. Both questions were more hypothetical. Also just to clarify, I'm a dude.
Wanna hear a joke? Women's rights.... *ba dum tsss*

Tzvi
January 9th, 2014, 09:31
Quick question because I have seen it mentioned a couple of times. How likely would it be that you would be asked to conduct a mock lesson during the interview?

word
January 9th, 2014, 09:48
No way to know, really. I knew it was a possibility but had relatively little prepared in that regard. I was not asked to do a lesson, despite my teaching credentials and experience.

Gizmotech
January 9th, 2014, 09:49
It entirely depends on the consulate/country in question. Kind of like how the UK is the only country I know of which has a grammar test.

I'm pretty sure all the Canadian consulates and embassies require you to do a super quick mock lesson. The US I don't think has that requirement, but I'm not sure.

coop52
January 9th, 2014, 09:51
I think it's pretty random, even with interviews at the same consulate.

Tzvi
January 9th, 2014, 09:52
Thanks for that, my interview is for the UK programme so I better spend this next week brushing up on my grammar.

ihatefall
January 9th, 2014, 11:02
This might help some dudes pick a suit. (Girls you have a lot more room, but I would still go with a skirt suit if I were you.)

27 Unspoken Suit Rules Every Man Should Know (http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/unspoken-suit-rules-every-man-should-know)

Aurano
January 9th, 2014, 11:34
Isn't anyone going to mention the pre-interview wank?

I'd always pull off some epic method acting in interviews after my morning session.

On a side note: has anyone actually been offered an interview as of yet?

Wasabi
January 9th, 2014, 12:06
In addition to the questions, did they ask you do perform a student-teacher role-playing part? And another question: what is different about your application this year, and why do you think it will make you a successful candidate?

I was not asked to do any role playing or a lesson demonstration. I chalk it up to the fact that we discussed & they could see on my app that I really only had some tutoring experience so maybe they figured it wasn't worth going into? Who knows. I remember reading some crazy theories that other candidates would throw around as to why they would/wouldn't ask you to do a demo. People *really* read too much into it - there seemed to be the notion that if you didn't get asked to do one then it was a sure sign that the panel wasn't seriously considering you as a shortlister.

As to what has changed in my application from last year to this year, I have two things. My Japanese skills were non-existent last year. This year I found a tutor that is working with me through Genki. Last year I had minimal to no experience with teaching (and no experience with kids). This year I started volunteering with a Girl Scout troop who are all between 6th - 8th grade. I mentioned these improvements in addition to flashing my Alternate status in my SoP this year. Hopefully I've demonstrated that I understand where I was lacking last year and made and effort towards improving these points for this year.

I also wanted to mention as an aside that I think the interview committee had question packets with prompts in them. I don't know for sure if they had specific questions picked out for me before I went in or if they were picking them as they went along. It reminded me of when I worked in HR for a big retailer - the interviewer randomly gets booklet A B or C and inside are pre-fabricated questions. Also, the Japanese guy on my panel would ask the longest winded questions ever - it would sort of evolve as he was asking and turn into a run-on-question made of several related items. It was strange, for sure.

coop52
January 9th, 2014, 12:15
Probably because he was thinking in Japanese, where long winded interview questions are pretty normal. That's another thing- remember to speak slowly and clearly enough for the Japanese panelist(s) to keep up. You don't have to treat them like kids, but just keep an eye out on them to make sure they don't look lost.

Tzvi
January 9th, 2014, 16:54
On a side note: has anyone actually been offered an interview as of yet?

Myself and a few others have had their email notifications for interviews in the UK, mine is on the 21st of Jan.

Aurano
January 9th, 2014, 22:50
Myself and a few others have had their email notifications for interviews in the UK, mine is on the 21st of Jan.

Damn man, I'm starting to think I didn't get me an interview... :'(

PaddyPakku
January 9th, 2014, 23:05
Damn man, I'm starting to think I didn't get me an interview... :'(
Join the club :(

Tzvi
January 9th, 2014, 23:17
Like people keep saying they release a new batch of interview appointments every day, there is still plenty of time for you to hear back considering it has only been three days (that I am aware of) since they started notifying. No need to go straight for the worst case.

PaddyPakku
January 9th, 2014, 23:27
I am a little curious as to the order in which they are notifying successful applicants though. Not to brag by any means but I sent my application before some of those that have already been notified, November 21st to be exact. Again, I'm not bragging, and this is even assuming I will be granted an interview. Could it have something do with location?

Aurano
January 9th, 2014, 23:29
Like people keep saying they release a new batch of interview appointments every day, there is still plenty of time for you to hear back considering it has only been three days (that I am aware of) since they started notifying. No need to go straight for the worst case.

I like to always think the worst, because if I do end up being disappointed, I'm already at rock bottom.

Also, if you already expect the worst then..... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtvT-H4Du9A

:^_^:

Shincantsen
January 9th, 2014, 23:42
The Baaaaaaaarbers....*bad dun tsss*

Anyway.... I've always wondered, what's the best way of answering questions where they say 'As a female, what would you do if you were asked to serve your male colleagues tea?' or something like that.
Also, what would y'all consider are the best items to bring to represent England or America?

If I remember correctly, I think I just answered with what I thought they'd want to hear. Something about how I would maintain my own beliefs while still respecting cultural differences. Basically, I would make them tea.

Ozzy
January 10th, 2014, 16:09
Hello guys, one thing I'm curious about. I've been lurking for a couple years now but I haven't read much about this particular background for candidates - veteran status. I doubt being a veteran alone does any wonders, but if there's anything extra you guys know about it I'd be psyched to know. I'm in the US here and would obviously be putting down what I've done in the service, but knowing that's the only real job experience I've had I can only imagine that they'd use a lot of it as ammo for the interview (especially if I hype up how well it's prepared me for whatever the program throws at me).

word
January 10th, 2014, 17:27
I would say that you should probably be prepared for them to put you on the spot with uncomfortable military-related questions. "What would you say to a ten-year-old Japanese boy who told you that America dropping the atomic bomb was a terrible and unprovoked crime, and asked you how you felt about it?" "What would you say if you were posted in Okinawa and a group of children told you that American soldiers were bad people and that they should leave the island?" Think of the worst, most awkward or offensive questions you can imagine and how you would respond. Remember, your response isn't the most important part; it's how you respond to such things.

Gizmotech
January 10th, 2014, 18:24
How are you going to deal in an unstructured environment which is supposed to be structured?
What are your feelings towards discipline and rewards? Which is superior to the other?

Ozzy
January 11th, 2014, 04:51
To both of you, thanks. I figured they'd talk about how I'd handle adjustment since I would be claiming that I would handle it well. I didn't have anything in my head if a student asked me, though.

kbui
January 17th, 2014, 12:33
WHEN WILL THEY SEND US INTERVIEW DATESSSSSS?!

Chelseafaninjapan
January 19th, 2014, 06:10
I finally got my interview date (Feb 5th) after a nervous wait so I'm curious if any current/former JETs could share their interview experiences so we can get a better picture of what to expect. thanks.

Ocaoca
January 19th, 2014, 06:48
Those who were already teachers/had direct experience with education: did they ask you any questions about that? If so, what types of questions?

ihatefall
January 19th, 2014, 10:53
Chelseafaninjapan.
Check out the thread user Word created called something like 'secret advice'. I think he is right that is the best you can do to prepare. But you can also start reading up on a little Japanese news. Think of simple ways to describe your home town. Sit down with a friend and have them ask you a bunch of surprise questions (so that you get used to thinking on your feet) and have them be brutally honest with you. Are you talking too fast, moving around too much, are you robotic,etc? (If they can find something even a little off, you need to find someone else. No one is prefect.)

Good luck! What embassy?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

johnny
January 19th, 2014, 23:36
I finally got my interview date (Feb 5th) after a nervous wait so I'm curious if any current/former JETs could share their interview experiences so we can get a better picture of what to expect. thanks.

The questions I remember:

How would you react to constant compliments on how well you use chopsticks?

How do you think you would adapt to a completely foreign environment?

You have half a suitcase left after all of your packing (yeah right!), what would you take over from your country to create a lesson that both tells your students about your culture and teaches them English? [There were two follow ups to this. It took about six or seven minutes of my 16 minute interview].

Why do you want to go to Japan?

Why did you pick Sapporo, Osaka and Fukuoka as your three placement requests? What would you do if you didn't get those placements?

What will you do if you don't get accepted into JET?

You gave yourself a "1" rating on Japanese ability. What does that mean to you?

Page
January 20th, 2014, 00:44
Congrats everyone and good luck!

Ocaoca: I had a real dick on my panel. I was just finishing up a masters for teaching foreign language and he asked how I was hoping to use JET in my future goals. I told him I hoped it would teach me how to be a better educator and he came back with basically "You're supposed to already know how to teach." I'm sure he was just trolling for reactions (I came back with saying that I don't believe that teachers ever stop learning and evolving). It definitely depends on your panel but mine was set on checking sure if I was prepared to play second fiddle in a different education system, aside from the Japanese guy checking my level all of my questions were about that.

Ocaoca
January 20th, 2014, 01:07
Thanks Page. I'm currently teaching so I know that I'm going to get some questions about why the hell I'd give up UK teaching to be an assistant. That's given me an idea of how they're going to broach the topic.

Tzvi
January 20th, 2014, 01:26
You have half a suitcase left after all of your packing (yeah right!), what would you take over from your country to create a lesson that both tells your students about your culture and teaches them English? [There were two follow ups to this. It took about six or seven minutes of my 16 minute interview].



What kinds of examples did you give for that? I'm worried I will get stuck with some horrible questions in mine.

SticksPrime
January 20th, 2014, 01:54
Grab a drink and get ready, it's a long one.

I've been notified of my interview and I honestly can't be happier since I'm the most confident public speaker and interviewee I know. So let's give some tips I adhere to that you might not have heard of:
- Brush, floss, rinse those teeth. Even see a dentist the week prior to your interview. There's no bigger hindrance to smiling than poor oral hygiene. My teeth aren't the pearly-whitest but nothing ensures you smiling than knowing you can smile without fear.
- Bring a copy of your application and a resume. How many times have we heard people's stories of interviewers asking "why x, y, and q placements?" when you put down x, y, and z prefecture? We know they're trying to see how quickly you lose your cool and the best way to respond? "I believe that is wrong as I put down z prefecture not q. Can you please rectify that as on my copy it says this" whilst you have physical evidence. The resume proves you have initiative and are self-driven also that you are approaching this interview as you would any other job; just because JET doesn't say bring a resume doesn't mean it's exclusive from being a job.
- Know when to laugh! There's a fine line between being friendly and childish, similarly being professional and uptight. They're looking for the person who can be professional whilst being outgoing so talk to people who are in positions of power. Want a cheater's start-up? If you ever see a cop, say hi, ask them how their day is, joke about the weather but only if they're not busy. By doing this you're improving your speaking skills with people who normally aren't spoken to with respect in day-to-day life; think about it, police(wo)men are dealing with or identifying criminals 90% of their day so they're more than likely willing to chat with you.
- Know how to speak "on your feet". For those who've seen the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, you'll know the "sell me this pen" scene. For those that haven't, get a friend/relative/partner to give you random topics to speak about. Talk about that topic/item for 30 seconds and increase the time as you become more confident. This will prevent the shock people have when they're asked "weird questions" during the interview. Honestly I haven't seen any "weird questions" as most of them are relevant to the person being interviewed; ie, a literature major being asked if they know 3 Japanese/their country's important poets/writers.
- People stress about knowing all you can with Japan's latest news. Know your basics and by basics I mean basics. Know that Shinzo Abe is Prime Minister and he's from the Liberal Democratic Party, know that Japan's population is approximately 125 million, know that it's currently Heisei 26, know that there's a significant push on the increase of skill in English literacy skills for the 2020 Olympics; apart from that, more is icing on the cake but don't cram your brain with insignificant information. If you're a PoliSci major, definitely know the political relevance Japan plays with your country; if you're an exercise science major (like me) know that increasing the development of talented athletes 14-20 years of age is the key for Japan's hosting success in the upcoming Olympics. Just remember, relevance is key.


How are you going to deal in an unstructured environment which is supposed to be structured?
What are your feelings towards discipline and rewards? Which is superior to the other?

Great questions!

1) The key to dealing with an unstructured environment is to understand and identify what made it unstructured to begin with. By being understanding, sympathetic, and diplomatic, any measures you take to compromise with the parties involved can only be advantageous in restoring a structured environment. For those environments that cannot be restored through various circumstances, the same three principles can be applied to ensure that you do not exacerbate the problem.
2) There is not one which is superior to the other. A lenient mix of discipline and reward dependant on the circumstances ensure that students are the principle focus. Personally, I believe that if a person is instilled with a pre-learned discipline from an early age that reward is a product of their efforts; and as such, the emphasis on discipline can be relieved for that individual. For those that require greater observation, understanding how much discipline, pressure or work to apply is essential to ensuring those students are attentive, learning, and enjoying classroom activities.


The questions I remember:
You have half a suitcase left after all of your packing (yeah right!), what would you take over from your country to create a lesson that both tells your students about your culture and teaches them English?

You gave yourself a "1" rating on Japanese ability. What does that mean to you?

Australia's lucky in that we're known for the remoteness of our landscape and our diverse flora and fauna (read: things that want to kill us) so using words with difficult pronunciation is our forte such as koala, platypus, bottlebrush tree, and Uluru to name a few. My local post office actually has posters for kids with the alphabet and numbers with these on them so I'll be taking a few of them once accepted.
I also gave myself a 1 for Japanese ability so this is relevant for me.
- This simply indicates that my ability in reading, writing, and conversing the language needs continual learning and revision to ensure that my integration in the local community is not problematic and I'm not known as the arrogant and ignorant foreigner. Furthermore, by improving my Japanese ability I am able to engage with my students more frequently and am able to present a comforting and friendly nature that my height (6'5") and build may say otherwise.
^ I frequently "scare" children just by being near them.


I told him I hoped it would teach me how to be a better educator and he came back with basically "You're supposed to already know how to teach."

I think a better emphasis on proving that teaching is a continual learning process that can only be refined through practical applications that no great or amount of an education can prepare you for.

Long-winded I know but personally I'm sick of seeing the same generic responses. Sure there's some things in here which I should keep to myself (I have a handful more but they're basic things people forget) but we're all feeling the same way, waiting for the same result, and hoping for someone to help them no matter how small. For those who need to take these hints/tips/advice to heart, maybe I've stopped you from being the person "who just wasn't meant to be" and turned you into a "maybe" for the programme; for those "maybes", polish your approach and skills and for those who are as confident as me, by helping those not as confident you'll be refining yourself (especially if you're like me who learns more by teaching) and don't worry about "strengthening the competition" as you're the shining diamond in the rough already that the JET Programme looks for.

Ocaoca
January 20th, 2014, 05:50
I'm the most confident public speaker and interviewee I know.

As a British person, this immediately made me cringe to read. Maybe I'm just used to a certain degree of bumbling British humility when talking about myself?

Some of your points are good, some of them, having been on interview panels myself, were not so good. Being familiar with your application is a must, but printing it out to refer to like a contract in the middle of the interview? It's much better to portray an accurate view of yourself and how you would react to challenges than to nitpick wording of questions. If you can't even remember why you chose the three placements you did and what they were called, then you probably don't belong in JET. I'd severely question the capabilities of anyone who sat in front of me clutching a print out of their application form and referring to it in response to a placement query.

I'm also pretty sure you missed the point of Gizmotech's question which was 'how would you cope' not 'how would you fix it'. Also your discipline and rewards speech would have me completely lost if English wasn't my native language, and still kind of did to be perfectly honest. You talked around the question and gave a non-answer in the end. You could have answered that question much more efficiently in my opinion, especially given that at least one person on your panel will be Japanese-speaking.

Your response to Page is also just reiterating what Page said.

Not to say that you're not what JET is looking for, hey, what do I know, I'm only an applicant too. But giving advice like this, when you haven't sat the interview yourself, is spreading a certain degree of misinformation and generally just broadcasting your own opinion and answers to a lot of people rather than being genuinely helpful. All I saw here was a lot of 'look at me!' and all the useful bits of advice were actually just general generic things that are repeated in nearly every interview guide out there.

Gizmotech
January 20th, 2014, 09:17
Ocaoca said it quite well actually. You can't control the class, nor can you create classroom culture in most cases. That is your primary teachers job. Sooo, how do you react in the environment in which a person who is supposed to be controlling, does not, and what are your opinions on (by actually giving one instead of fence shitting) discipline and reward structures. This last question is more important than it sounds, mainly because there are almost no disciplines structures in Japanese schools, and reward structures are rather poorly balanced towards only rewarding those students who would succeed anyways.

Ocaoca
January 20th, 2014, 09:28
Gizmotech, is it uncommon for teachers in Japan to control classroom behavior? Or is it all on the students to behave? Is it different for Elementary/JH/HS level kids? Sorry for the bombardment of questions, I just want to know what kind of things to expect. At the moment I'm having visions of Battle Royale style classroom management...

SticksPrime
January 20th, 2014, 09:28
Being familiar with your application is a must, but printing it out to refer to like a contract in the middle of the interview?... I'd severely question the capabilities of anyone who sat in front of me clutching a print out of their application form and referring to it in response to a placement query.

I'm also pretty sure you missed the point of Gizmotech's question which was 'how would you cope' not 'how would you fix it'. Also your discipline and rewards speech would have me completely lost if English wasn't my native language, and still kind of did to be perfectly honest.

Your response to Page is also just reiterating what Page said

Fine, I retract what I said and wish every person every bit of luck. Let me clarify some things before I disappear after being castrated.

1) If you're confident and don't flaunt it, knowing that familiarity (in your confidence) breeds contempt, then you're not actually confident. Saying I'm the most confident person I know, honestly is the difference between a person waiting for their results half-heartedly and a person knowing they nailed the interview.
2) I'm not saying have your application in your clutches ready to strike down any false accusation. We've all heard multiple stories (well I have) of people being interrogated about their placement being "incorrect" and interviewers pursuing this to try to get you to stumble on your confidence. A friend of mine actually had this occur to them to which she said it was "the most harrowing questioning she's ever had". I'm merely saying have it there as a last resort.
3) The answers to Gizmo's questions were an example of setting yourself apart. Sure I could say "I would cope by understanding the situation and adjusting to it accordingly" and "discipline is good some times and reward some other times" but I don't want to be the 4th person that day to say those unoriginal answers and quite honestly if you didn't understand my discipline/risk answers, then I fear for the panels you were on, but there's no need to go into that...
4) Regarding Page, though her answer may be enough, I'm saying to elaborate on your answers. We are all university/college graduates right? So how come certain people aren't understanding the whole reasoning behind your answer concept? You know, examples give strength to your answer...

If I came across blunt and seemed it was a "look at me" post, I apologise, it was not my intention. I am done... You want generic info?
- Smile
- Be outgoing
- Get a nice suit
- Be early
- Relax
Hope that's all the advice you want...

Jiggit
January 20th, 2014, 09:30
I know it's good to be confident and prepared but I think you might be underestimating the importance of coming across as open-minded and willing to learn. A lot of your answers come across as a little arrogant in how much you presume to know, especially about teaching. Of course you may well be right and it may well be that you have better ideas about teaching than most other applicants, but unless you have previous experience teaching (as an actual teacher, not as a TA or something) then being so assertive in your own opinions might come across a little "know-it-all" or as someone who assumes that they know best and will be inflexible to work with. Again, not saying your ideas are bad per se, just that if you are applying for your first teaching assistant job with no official training and little to no experience you might want to make more effort to seem like you are keen to learn rather than keen to do everything the way you already decided to do it. I mean what if you end up in a school where they just want you to stand in the corner and read aloud from the textbook for 10 minutes every class? Or if you end up with 5 schools to visit and therefore little to no say in what happens in a lesson? Or just a school where they have completely different ideas than you and are very unwilling to change them?

Also you need to make your answers more specific. Saying things like "A lenient mix of discipline and reward dependant on the circumstances ensure that students are the principle focus" will probably make the Japanese interviewers mildly confused and the ex-ALT roll their eyes. As gizmo has said, you are not responsible for the classes and are not meant to be. So for that question you need to make the answer about how you would approach the JTE about controlling the class more in a diplomatic way.

Again, I don't think your answers are wrong necessarily, I might well agree with you on some of them. And you may end up in a position where your approach works very well. It would probably be fine if you ended up in a school like mine. But the probability is that you won't. I think demonstrating a little more humility/flexibility would be advised.

uthinkimlost?
January 20th, 2014, 09:41
Fine, I retract what I said and wish every person every bit of luck. Let me clarify some things before I disappear after being castrated.

1) If you're confident and don't flaunt it, knowing that familiarity (in your confidence) breeds contempt, then you're not actually confident. Saying I'm the most confident person I know, honestly is the difference between a person waiting for their results half-heartedly and a person knowing they nailed the interview.
2) I'm not saying have your application in your clutches ready to strike down any false accusation. We've all heard multiple stories (well I have) of people being interrogated about their placement being "incorrect" and interviewers pursuing this to try to get you to stumble on your confidence. A friend of mine actually had this occur to them to which she said it was "the most harrowing questioning she's ever had". I'm merely saying have it there as a last resort.
3) The answers to Gizmo's questions were an example of setting yourself apart. Sure I could say "I would cope by understanding the situation and adjusting to it accordingly" and "discipline is good some times and reward some other times" but I don't want to be the 4th person that day to say those unoriginal answers and quite honestly if you didn't understand my discipline/risk answers, then I fear for the panels you were on, but there's no need to go into that...
4) Regarding Page, though her answer may be enough, I'm saying to elaborate on your answers. We are all university/college graduates right? So how come certain people aren't understanding the whole reasoning behind your answer concept? You know, examples give strength to your answer...

If I came across blunt and seemed it was a "look at me" post, I apologise, it was not my intention. I am done... You want generic info?
- Smile
- Be outgoing
- Get a nice suit
- Be early
- Relax
Hope that's all the advice you want...

Just as an FYI, I wasn't allowed to bring anything but my own sense of self-loathing into the interview. Don't count on having anything to reference.

Gizmotech
January 20th, 2014, 12:17
Gizmotech, is it uncommon for teachers in Japan to control classroom behavior? Or is it all on the students to behave? Is it different for Elementary/JH/HS level kids? Sorry for the bombardment of questions, I just want to know what kind of things to expect. At the moment I'm having visions of Battle Royale style classroom management...

Not battle royale per say, but there can certainly be some major discipline problems, especially in JHS. Japan is a "education is mandatory" state, and therefore you can't deny a student the right to be in the classroom. This means most traditional forms of discipline are pretty much useless, and the students know that they are on an escalator to the end of JHS. It's only SHS where there is the possibility (however remote) of students receiving any sort of discipline or consequence for their actions (and even there it's not the easiest thing to do)


Fine, I retract what I said and wish every person every bit of luck. Let me clarify some things before I disappear after being castrated.

1) If you're confident and don't flaunt it, knowing that familiarity (in your confidence) breeds contempt, then you're not actually confident. Saying I'm the most confident person I know, honestly is the difference between a person waiting for their results half-heartedly and a person knowing they nailed the interview.
2) I'm not saying have your application in your clutches ready to strike down any false accusation. We've all heard multiple stories (well I have) of people being interrogated about their placement being "incorrect" and interviewers pursuing this to try to get you to stumble on your confidence. A friend of mine actually had this occur to them to which she said it was "the most harrowing questioning she's ever had". I'm merely saying have it there as a last resort.
3) The answers to Gizmo's questions were an example of setting yourself apart. Sure I could say "I would cope by understanding the situation and adjusting to it accordingly" and "discipline is good some times and reward some other times" but I don't want to be the 4th person that day to say those unoriginal answers and quite honestly if you didn't understand my discipline/risk answers, then I fear for the panels you were on, but there's no need to go into that...
4) Regarding Page, though her answer may be enough, I'm saying to elaborate on your answers. We are all university/college graduates right? So how come certain people aren't understanding the whole reasoning behind your answer concept? You know, examples give strength to your answer...

If I came across blunt and seemed it was a "look at me" post, I apologise, it was not my intention. I am done... You want generic info?
- Smile
- Be outgoing
- Get a nice suit
- Be early
- Relax
Hope that's all the advice you want...

I don't disagree with you, or your motivations, but as someone who has been on hiring panels before you first need to answer the question clearly, then if they ask for more information (because you said something vaguely interesting or confusing that set you apart) be ready to respond. If you tossed me that fence sitting answer I probably would just dismiss it as indecisive. Also, like others have mentioned, there will be a Japanese person on your panel, and while they might be "good" at English, you need to target your answers in such a way that THEY understand what you are talking about... unless the question is discipline specific. IE, my interview was relatively basic in my English until the teacher on the panel asked me something specifically in the domain of linguistics and ESL teaching, to which the only possible way to answer in a short period of time was to step the level of the answer into Academic vocabulary, and domain specific language.


Just as an FYI, I wasn't allowed to bring anything but my own sense of self-loathing into the interview. Don't count on having anything to reference.

Also this. We were specifically told not to bring anything extra what so ever to the interview. Just our selves.

coop52
January 20th, 2014, 13:33
At JHS, the only discipline available is yelling or lecturing the kids. I've seen a kid get kicked out of class only once- it was a shop class, and a little punk kid was playing around with a drill, so he got kicked out of the room and had to watch the class through the window like a little puppy. At SHS, students can be suspended or expelled, but it usually only happens if the student commits a crime (my school suspended kids all the time for getting caught shoplifting).


I was only allowed to bring my purse into the interview room, and it had to be on the floor either under or beside the chair.

I also agree with Jiggit in that it's better to show humility sometimes rather than risk sounding like a know-it-all. If you appear too confident, it might make the interviewers think that you wouldn't get along with your future JTEs or that you wouldn't be able to take criticism well. Be confident, but flexible.

Jiggit
January 20th, 2014, 13:49
Some teachers have the problem of having tried nothing and being all out of ideas. They just don't get taught about classroom management I guess. They do the thing of letting the kids get away with more and more shit until one day they just explode on them and vent their fury, calling them a useless little shit who is going to fail in life or whatever. Hardly productive.

My school has mostly pretty well-behaved kids though so I can't really say too much. I think laziness is more of a problem than straight-up disruptive behaviour though...

Ocaoca
January 20th, 2014, 17:10
Thanks for the answers guys! That's helped me get a good idea what to expect.

spman2099
January 20th, 2014, 17:16
I don't disagree with you, or your motivations, but as someone who has been on hiring panels before you first need to answer the question clearly, then if they ask for more information (because you said something vaguely interesting or confusing that set you apart) be ready to respond. If you tossed me that fence sitting answer I probably would just dismiss it as indecisive.

I have a question about this, good sir. What if you were to state that you see merits in both approaches (discipline and reward), but that you tend to favour rewarding good behaviour and only use discipline when it is absolutely necessary, such as when a student is becoming disruptive. Would that also be too much of a fence sitting answer? In general, would it be better to use less mitigating language and be more decisive when replying?


Also, like others have mentioned, there will be a Japanese person on your panel, and while they might be "good" at English, you need to target your answers in such a way that THEY understand what you are talking about... unless the question is discipline specific. IE, my interview was relatively basic in my English until the teacher on the panel asked me something specifically in the domain of linguistics and ESL teaching, to which the only possible way to answer in a short period of time was to step the level of the answer into Academic vocabulary, and domain specific language.


Do you remember the question you were asked and the answer you gave, Gizmo?


Some teachers have the problem of having tried nothing and being all out of ideas. They just don't get taught about classroom management I guess. They do the thing of letting the kids get away with more and more shit until one day they just explode on them and vent their fury, calling them a useless little shit who is going to fail in life or whatever. Hardly productive.

Are you my grade eight math teacher? Is that you, Mr. Robinson?

johnny
January 20th, 2014, 17:40
What kinds of examples did you give for that? I'm worried I will get stuck with some horrible questions in mine.

I got an amazing collection of Native/First Nations artwork from my grandfather. I told them I would bring a couple of mini hand carved totem poles from the local band.

The follow up was "why is that important to Canadian culture?"

To which I answered something to the effect of First Nations people and their art is woven deep into Canadian culture now. Natives are one of the founding nations of Canada and many non-native Western Canadians identify Native art as a symbol of Western Canada.

I'm actually amazed I got placed with that answer come to think of it.


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Gizmotech
January 20th, 2014, 17:41
I have a question about this, good sir. What if you were to state that you see merits in both approaches (discipline and reward), but that you tend to favour rewarding good behaviour and only use discipline when it is absolutely necessary, such as when a student is becoming disruptive. Would that also be too much of a fence sitting answer? In general, would it be better to use less mitigating language and be more decisive when replying?

The appropriate answer is to submit an opinion one way or the other, and then say you will deffer to the teacher because it's not your job. You're an assistant not a teacher.




Do you remember the question you were asked and the answer you gave, Gizmo?


Not specifically. It had to do with methodological approaches to teaching and how Japan is a grammar translation focus as compared to a task based methodology with a focus on communication..... but seriously, that was at least 3 years ago.

coop52
January 20th, 2014, 17:53
I got an amazing collection of Native/First Nations artwork from my grandfather. I told them I would bring a couple of mini hand carved totem poles from the local band.

The follow up was "why is that important to Canadian culture?"

To which I answered something to the effect of First Nations people and their art is woven deep into Canadian culture now. Natives are one of the founding nations of Canada and many non-native Western Canadians identify Native art as a symbol of Western Canada.

I'm actually amazed I got placed with that answer come to think of it.


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That sounds better than the answer I gave for the "what three things from America would you bring" question- a map of my state, pictures of my neighborhood, and a book I liked so I could share a story I liked with the kids. I think, for those kind of questions, as long as you list the correct number of things and give a decent reason (BS is totally ok) then you should be fine. I actually had to take a moment to think of the third thing and still got in.

Gizmotech
January 20th, 2014, 18:36
Here's where Johnny and I are different. I didn't acknowledge First Nations at all in my interview and said I would mention more stereotypical rural canadian culture instead. They asked me which famous canadian I would introduce them to and I said


Red green

ihatefall
January 20th, 2014, 18:44
I got asked to describe the area I am from in one word? Then to elaborate based on that. Followed by describe America in one word? Elaborate. It caught me off guard but I have a pretty good answer.


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spman2099
January 20th, 2014, 18:51
Here's where Johnny and I are different. I didn't acknowledge First Nations at all in my interview and said I would mention more stereotypical rural canadian culture instead. They asked me which famous canadian I would introduce them to and I said


Red green

That is a good answer... That may be a blind spot I need to address; I have been focusing on familiarizing myself with Japan too much, I need to start contemplating Canada more. This topic is giving me some things to think about. Useful stuff, guys.

Jiggit
January 20th, 2014, 20:45
Yup, your knowledge of Japan probably matters very little. I barely touched on it and knew shit all about the news.


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johnny
January 20th, 2014, 22:32
That sounds better than the answer I gave for the "what three things from America would you bring" question- a map of my state, pictures of my neighborhood, and a book I liked so I could share a story I liked with the kids. I think, for those kind of questions, as long as you list the correct number of things and give a decent reason (BS is totally ok) then you should be fine. I actually had to take a moment to think of the third thing and still got in.

Honestly, I just said the first thing that came into my head. It was plausible and something I knew enough about to discuss for three or four minutes.

Also, your answer was actually pretty good. The idea of bringing pictures from your neighbourhood is great. The pictures will be of way more interest to the kids than a totem pole. At that age kids really care about things that relate to them in some way.

If you show them pictures of which restaurants you frequented, the local mall at which you shopped and where you hung out and could relate those pictures to America, that would be a good answer to the question and actually appeal to the kids.

The book idea isn't bad either. There is a lot of renowned literature that comes from the States.

Also, where are you from?



Here's where Johnny and I are different. I didn't acknowledge First Nations at all in my interview and said I would mention more stereotypical rural canadian culture instead. They asked me which famous canadian I would introduce them to and I said


Red green

Hehe, that is brilliant.

johnny
January 20th, 2014, 22:48
That is a good answer... That may be a blind spot I need to address; I have been focusing on familiarizing myself with Japan too much, I need to start contemplating Canada more. This topic is giving me some things to think about. Useful stuff, guys.

I agree with Jiggit, just know the bare bones since it's very unlikely you'll be asked any questions about Japan. Abe Shinnzo is the PM, the emperor is Palpatine or Akihito, I can't remember...

If anything, know more about Canada.

Oli0
January 20th, 2014, 23:14
Does anyone know if there's a way to see our application forms online? I stupidly didn't keep a copy for myself and now I'm doubting what one of my placement requests was.

moonbeam
January 20th, 2014, 23:49
For which country? I was literally just looking at my application (US) and the option to print it is still there.

Oli0
January 21st, 2014, 00:00
UK. I don't see an option to log in and see my application form

Edit: Never mind, I've found the login page.

TomOmnomnom
January 22nd, 2014, 05:26
Hi everyone! So the general consensus it seems is to no-way mention any anime/manga/ video games in the interview. To be honest I'm not a huge fan of these media (bar the odd video game, and maybe a couple of anime series....) but truth be told, when I was a child, my first exposure to Japan was probably imported Japanese television -and I am a sucker for Studio Ghibli movies. If I was to bring this up in an interview, I would obviously follow it up with something a bit deeper...
So, my question is: have any of you successful ALTs mentioned this topic in an interview, and how did it pan out? Any advice would be appreciated!

Gizmotech
January 22nd, 2014, 06:23
mentioned it in the interview? no. Was it a small part of the sop? yes (incidental motivational history)

Nell
January 22nd, 2014, 06:49
I had my interview in London today, it was waaay less scary than I thought but I did get a reality check when I realised just how many people are being interviewed... So my hopes have been dashed a little and I'm now concentrating on applying for other jobs as my backup plan, but I honestly could not tell whether my interview will get me in or not. I only obviously stumbled on one question about football, but I think I managed the rest okay and even had a successful conversation in Japanese! Good luck to everyone who's got interviews coming up, and to those who don't, I'm sure everything will work out for you in the end! If I don't get onto JET, my plan is to just spend a few weeks travelling around Japan and enjoy the experience, then begin the joyous task of securing a job...

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Jamie Solo
January 22nd, 2014, 07:00
I had my interview in London today, it was waaay less scary than I thought but I did get a reality check when I realised just how many people are being interviewed... So my hopes have been dashed a little and I'm now concentrating on applying for other jobs as my backup plan, but I honestly could not tell whether my interview will get me in or not. I only obviously stumbled on one question about football, but I think I managed the rest okay and even had a successful conversation in Japanese! Good luck to everyone who's got interviews coming up, and to those who don't, I'm sure everything will work out for you in the end! If I don't get onto JET, my plan is to just spend a few weeks travelling around Japan and enjoy the experience, then begin the joyous task of securing a job...

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That's exactly what my back-up plan is after my interview tomorrow!

Out of curiosity, did you have the conversation in Japanese because you indicated a proficiency higher than elementary or was it instigated by chance?

Ocaoca
January 22nd, 2014, 07:02
Football? But I'm glad that it seemed less terrifying once you were there. What was the grammar test like?

Nell
January 22nd, 2014, 07:04
That's exactly what my back-up plan is after my interview tomorrow!

Out of curiosity, did you have the conversation in Japanese because you indicated a proficiency higher than elementary or was it instigated by chance?

I put down elementary but indicated I could speak at a conversational level in my SOP, and the Japanese interviewer asked if I could introduce myself then we just carried on for a few minutes. It felt like the whole interview was about 2 minutes long!!

Nell
January 22nd, 2014, 07:10
Football? But I'm glad that it seemed less terrifying once you were there. What was the grammar test like?

The test was more like a spelling test and I actually found it quite hard! I don't think it's something you can prepare for, it seemed like they were more interested in how extensive my vocab was.

Ocaoca
January 22nd, 2014, 07:13
Thanks for answering!

Illuria
January 22nd, 2014, 07:18
Guhhhh that worries me. I put whatever 1 was but I can only really recognise most kana and say very basic things. Nowhere near conversational. Maybe I should have put none.

Tzvi
January 22nd, 2014, 08:08
Well I had my interview today in London and felt like I was put through the wrangler. The grammar test itself was fine but it was pretty stressful when I was scrabbling for answers to questions that threw me right off. Luckily I have a new job starting Monday so it isn't the end of the world if I don't get in.

Oli0
January 22nd, 2014, 08:30
I had my interview in London today, it was waaay less scary than I thought but I did get a reality check when I realised just how many people are being interviewed... So my hopes have been dashed a little and I'm now concentrating on applying for other jobs as my backup plan, but I honestly could not tell whether my interview will get me in or not. I only obviously stumbled on one question about football, but I think I managed the rest okay and even had a successful conversation in Japanese! Good luck to everyone who's got interviews coming up, and to those who don't, I'm sure everything will work out for you in the end! If I don't get onto JET, my plan is to just spend a few weeks travelling around Japan and enjoy the experience, then begin the joyous task of securing a job...

Sent from my C5303 using Tapatalk

What makes you think there are so many people being interviewed? It was quiet when I had mine today...

Gizmotech
January 22nd, 2014, 08:46
Ahh, but think about it like this. How many people were at your consulate/embassy? Now multiply that number by all the interview locations in that country. Now multiply that number by the number of days the interviews are held. It gets pretty big pretty quickly, and some locations interview FAR more people than others.

For instance, I guessed the total number of interviewees at Ottawa, Canada was about 200. I know that Toronto did at least three times that total number. Add in montreal, vancouver, calgary, and winnipeg and you get probably about 1000-1500 interviews at least, for at most about 200-300 positions that open up annually for our country.

Oli0
January 22nd, 2014, 09:10
I take your point, but there's no point obsessing over very unreliable estimates of statistics for the next two months. If you feel the interview went alright you've probably got a decent chance. If you don't get in, it's unlucky but there are plenty of other worthwhile things you can do with your life. That's how I'm approaching it anyway!

johnny
January 22nd, 2014, 09:10
Apparently there were only 150 interviews granted for all of BC. It was still a long process.


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therealwindycity
January 22nd, 2014, 10:15
It looks like we have quite a few people who were offered interviews this year, and I want to say congratulations and good luck to you! I hope you'll stick around ITIL during the long, agonizing wait and maybe even wander over into the lounge area. There's a lot of great interview advice in the archives and a couple active threads, but don't hesitate to start a new thread to ask a question/kill time/share Japanese study progress/etc.

For those who didn't, don't give up on Japan quite yet! Many people who reapply are awarded interviews the second time around, and there are also programs like Interac that are becoming competitive with JET. It feels really disappointing now, but we're here to commiserate and talk about other options for Japan! I appreciate your participation in the site and I hope you still find reasons to come here and post.

triumphtr79
January 22nd, 2014, 10:44
For those who didn't, don't give up on Japan quite yet! Many people who reapply are awarded interviews the second time around

A few years back I applied without any teaching experience, hadn't been to Japan and could hardly read Japanese and I got an interview but nothing came of it. Since then I got a CELTA, have been to Japan 8 times including a 2 1/2 month homestay, passed JLPT N4 and taught abroad for 3 years but no interview this time. How should I interpret the flat out rejection? Would it even be worth applying again next time around? Or are they clearly saying they're not interested in me for one reason or another? I'm not really upset because I have a solid backup plan but a little disheartened since I worked so hard to bolster my resume. If it's not worth reapplying I may just go for my Masters next year. Anyway, good luck to everyone else!

PaddyPakku
January 22nd, 2014, 11:36
As weird as it may seem, I think JET generally prefer the 'fish out of water' applicants than those that pertain extensive Japanese knowledge/ teaching experience. I've heard countless stories of applicants with years of teaching experience, a full TEFL certificate and or highly proficient Japanese ability that are straight up slashed before the interview stage. Conversely, I've read and heard stories of applicants that have no teaching experience, no Japanese knowledge, or never stepping foot on a plane that have been short-listed. Of course this isn't always the case but it happens more often than not.

I think it's important to remember that JET is first and foremost an exchange programme, teaching is secondary. JET are probably more interested in applicants that they believe will offer an invaluable perspective on their own culture and in EXCHANGE, learn more about Japan through their own experiences. This is why they don't want applicants who have lived in Japan for 5 or more years; because it may perceived that those applicants...or applicants that are steeped in Japanese culture/knowledge won't have much to offer or learn. I also think there might be a degree of arrogance that comes off from applicants that pertain extensive knowledge about Japan or have a high proficiency in the language. They may write 'I deserve to be on the programme because I've studied Japanese for 6 years straight, all my friends are Japanese and I've been there 5 times a year for 10 years straight'...or something along those lines. It's all about how the applicant comes across when trying to convey this information in their statement. Conversely, those that don't have relevant experience are likely to say 'Even though I've never been to Japan/ studied Japanese, I'm willing to take on the position with an open mind and greatly look forward to learning Japanese' This is exactly who JET are looking for; those willing to try new experiences with a certain degree of wide-eyedness.


Also, as far as the 'having teaching experience goes' it may not be as helpful to your application as one would assume. I'm personally still waiting to hear back from JET regarding whether I've made it to the next stage(*RAGE*), but from the accounts I've heard and blogs I've read, being an ALT doesn't require much in the way of teacher training. To that extent, a qualified teacher with years of experience may be bored with the mundanity of being a 'human tape recorder', and I'm sure the JET reviewers are already aware of this issue and try to screen out the ones they deem unsuitable.

triumphtr79
January 22nd, 2014, 12:00
PaddyPakku: I think your analysis of their preferred candidate is spot on and I no longer fit that profile. I think I'll pass on the 2015 application process and opt for grad school. I've already experienced quite a bit of Japan and I think they realize that.

Jiggit
January 22nd, 2014, 12:32
Ahh, but think about it like this. How many people were at your consulate/embassy? Now multiply that number by all the interview locations in that country. Now multiply that number by the number of days the interviews are held. It gets pretty big pretty quickly, and some locations interview FAR more people than others.

For instance, I guessed the total number of interviewees at Ottawa, Canada was about 200. I know that Toronto did at least three times that total number. Add in montreal, vancouver, calgary, and winnipeg and you get probably about 1000-1500 interviews at least, for at most about 200-300 positions that open up annually for our country.

There's only one interview location in England.


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Gizmotech
January 22nd, 2014, 13:03
There's only one interview location in England.


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Right, but aren't there more locations considered part of the UK applicant pool? Like edinburough?

Jiggit
January 22nd, 2014, 13:06
Oh god I forgot some poor schools end up with Scottish ALTs.

Wasabi
January 22nd, 2014, 13:10
Using Gizmo's numbers you'd have at worst a 13% acceptance rate. All in all it means you have a better chance with JET than with most other jobs out there. I applied for one a few years back where they used a standardized test to whittle down 120+ candidates to 10 interviewees all for 1 placement. Statistics - yay!

Jedirust
January 22nd, 2014, 14:00
I'm not 100% sure on the teaching experience disqualifying you. I've been teaching for over 5+ years with an advanced degree in Education along with a TEFL certificate. I actually thought that made my application look stronger. However, what I do lack is any experience visiting Japan or knowledge of the language.

Who knows.. maybe it's eeny meeny miny moe in who they pick?

triumphtr79
January 22nd, 2014, 14:14
Who knows.. maybe it's eeny meeny miny moe in who they pick?

I would say with the number of applications they receive, a bit of that would be inevitable.

par92186
January 22nd, 2014, 14:18
I'm not 100% sure on the teaching experience disqualifying you. I've been teaching for over 5+ years with an advanced degree in Education along with a TEFL certificate. I actually thought that made my application look stronger. However, what I do lack is any experience visiting Japan or knowledge of the language.

Who knows.. maybe it's eeny meeny miny moe in who they pick?

@Jedirust: Honestly, I don't have the slightest clue about their criteria for the interview stage, but on paper you sound more than qualified. Perhaps you were a little (or a lot lol) overqualified. I also have a degree in Education with teaching experience in the U.S. and 2 years ESL experience in Korea where I live currently. I don't have any linguistics background in Japanese, although my heritage is Japanese (my mother and grandmother were born in Japan)and I have travelled to Japan before. I was fortunate to receive an interview, but I did slip in a hundred dollar bill with my app lol. Who knows how this whole process works.

aoma
January 22nd, 2014, 14:29
PaddyPakku: I think your analysis of their preferred candidate is spot on and I no longer fit that profile. I think I'll pass on the 2015 application process and opt for grad school. I've already experienced quite a bit of Japan and I think they realize that.

I'm a first time applicant, but I thought I'd comment. If it's something your heart and mind is set on and you really want to see this thing through, I'd support your efforts to reapplying. Consider going through every detail of your past application experiences - how was the interview? Do you have good interviewing skills/were you able to sell yourself and show personality? Did you fully complete the latest application/follow directions? Did you explain your "growth" from the first time you applied to this latest time in your essay? There's so many factors to consider. I agree with a lot of PaddyPakku, but there's always exceptions.

Despite all that, sounds like you've done a lot of good things in and outside of Japan with teaching and traveling, so maybe grad school is the next step for your life. Maybe the big man upstairs is telling you something and pushing you to it. Good luck with whatever you do.

ihatefall
January 22nd, 2014, 15:07
I think something that is important to remember is that there is no golden ticket. Nothing ensures entrance. If you have experience, some certification, of course it it will help. But its not the be all and end all, every year I met or read about people with experience getting denied an interview. I really think that a lot qualified applicants are denied because they didn't try hard enough during the application stage. It seems that a lot of them think that their experience alone will carry them to the interview stage. One mistake in filling out the forms could have your applicant thrown out. Then they come on here and say, "...but, but I was the prefect candidate."
I am not saying this was/is your case but what I am saying is that you have to want this 100% from the day the applications are released.
I applied in 2004 for the 2005 and didn't get an interview (I wasn't going to graduate in time). That taste of defeat sparked a flame in me. I thought about my SOP for months before hand and I had 3 different people look over my application for errors. (They found a few) I got it in early as well, interview spaces fill up. They only have so many slots over 3 days.
I applied that same flame to the interview.
Apply next year and really go for it!

Nell
January 22nd, 2014, 16:44
Guhhhh that worries me. I put whatever 1 was but I can only really recognise most kana and say very basic things. Nowhere near conversational. Maybe I should have put none.

She asked me first if I could introduce myself instead of just launching into Japanese, so if you say you only know a few words, give it a shot anyway!

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Nell
January 22nd, 2014, 16:49
What makes you think there are so many people being interviewed? It was quiet when I had mine today...

Yep pretty much what Gizmo said, but there were at least 10 people hanging around during the hour and a half I was there and that was just one morning out of maybe 6 weeks' worth of interviews. But statistics don't matter that much in this case because it's less about probability and more about who are considered the strongest applicants, if ya know what I mean.

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ihatefall
January 22nd, 2014, 17:00
Six weeks? Dude Boston had just 3 days of interviews


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yingyangryder
January 22nd, 2014, 17:05
He`s talking about the UK. I can`t remember if we have interviews in Edinburgh aswell but England only has one interview location, London which has interviews over a period of about 6 weeks.

Hi everyone btw, long time lurker.

Nell
January 22nd, 2014, 17:10
Yeah Edinburgh does have interviews but I doubt it's even half as many as London.

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triumphtr79
January 22nd, 2014, 18:45
Despite all that, sounds like you've done a lot of good things in and outside of Japan with teaching and traveling, so maybe grad school is the next step for your life. Maybe the big man upstairs is telling you something and pushing you to it. Good luck with whatever you do.

This was the last time I decided to throw my hat in the ring. I don't know how I landed an interview in 2008 with zero experience and get loads of experience both teaching and of Japan and don't even get an invite. There are so many factors, some as simple as a different human's take on your SoP, etc. I also take a med that might have spooked them even though I disclosed the same info before and got interview. Again, it could just be another person's judgement. Or they could have kept note of the less than stellar interview I gave last time. Who knows. One can only speculate.

It could be my age, I'm coming up on my mid 30s, perhaps JET themselves think I should be persuing another path at this stage. Perhaps they're right.

Anyway, if you got an interview good luck! This brings me a lot of closure and I do have another ESL job opportunity secured so I'm not upset and I'll be sure to make my annual visit to Japan!

ihatefall
January 22nd, 2014, 18:50
Damn London! Really taking your time with the 30 JETs you send every year huh?


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PaddyPakku
January 22nd, 2014, 20:06
Actually, I think the UK only has 4 weeks worth of interviews. Interviews started this week and last until mid February.
The notification period is 6 weeks.

johnny
January 22nd, 2014, 20:36
I thought my year in Korea was my big selling point. Maybe it was the best of both worlds. I had experience teaching abroad, but not in Japan so I still had a lot to learn.

TomOmnomnom
January 22nd, 2014, 21:53
Damn London! Really taking your time with the 30 JETs you send every year huh?




Does London really only take that many JETs!? I suddenly feel a lot less confident about next week...

ihatefall
January 22nd, 2014, 21:57
Does London really only take that many JETs!? I suddenly feel a lot less confident about next week...

Sorry dude I was being sarcastic. It's on the official site, I think America has 3,000+ and the UK has around 1,200 so I was just playing at that. The states has a lot more interview locations it seems, so it makes sense that the UK takes longer.
Good luck man! I don't want to be the cause of anyone's loss of confidence.


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TomOmnomnom
January 22nd, 2014, 22:07
Haha, no worries! I guess text isn't a very good medium for sarcasm, but I should have expected it from these forums! Probably should have used my common sense too...

Shiro_Kuma
January 22nd, 2014, 23:55
Well, just got out of my interview and it was so rushed! The grammar test was ok but I didn't manage to fill the very last box :(

People were running almost 40 minutes late for their assigned time, but it gave me an opportunity to ask the ex-jet some questions as I had to wait a bit longer than the others. Though as I suspected, they did ask about my masters in Animation (~_~)

I can't really say how the interview went. I think panel had the best poker faces I've seen in my life! Well, now I have the gruelling wait till March/April for results so here's hoping I've not shot myself in the foot!

Edit: Kudos to the chap who waited with me! Chatting with you eased my nervousness a little

Jurassyk
January 23rd, 2014, 00:19
I just wanted to say thank you to the few of you who helped us newbies out with the SoP reviews and the advice. I know it helped.

PaddyPakku
January 23rd, 2014, 00:33
What kind of questions did they ask you?
How many people on the panel and who were they comprised of? Were you nervous? Do you mean that other applicants were running late?
Sorry for all the questions.
Oh and congrats on the interview! Best of luck! I'm just twiddling my thumbs waiting for a response either way *urgh*

Shincantsen
January 23rd, 2014, 00:44
Keep in mind that at least in the US, you sign a form before the interview which says that you won't discuss what was asked. I know everyone here is just helping each other out, but it's probably best to keep things vague.

Shincantsen
January 23rd, 2014, 00:49
There are people every year who claim that their teaching experience or their Japanese experience disqualified them.

Speaking broadly, applications are usually going to be disqualified for technicalities (forgetting a signature, not having a physician's form after mentioning an illness, transcript errors, etc), for poor writing skills in the SoP, or for showing a lack of motivation or passion for Japan.

Experience which is highly relevant for the position will never hurt you. The JET Program won't turn people away because they've learned too much Japanese, or had too much experience in the classroom.

Edit: Didn't mean to be a debbie downer. Congratulations to all those who got interviews! If you didn't get an interview, don't be too down - plenty of very qualified and fabulous people aren't offered interviews every year. It doesn't mean you're any less than others - you'll just have more experience applying if you do it again next year.

tiger_claw448
January 23rd, 2014, 00:52
Good luck to all those who proceed to the interviews, and don't give up hope if no interview, there's always next year. I gotta dish out an entire month's salary to buy a plane ticket, and take a no pay vacation from my current job in Asia to go home for the interview.....

Shiro_Kuma
January 23rd, 2014, 01:21
Keep in mind that at least in the US, you sign a form before the interview which says that you won't discuss what was asked. I know everyone here is just helping each other out, but it's probably best to keep things vague.

Hit the nail on the head there.

I was told not to discuss anything sadly so can't answer your questions until everything is done and dusted.

I was absolutely terrified but excited at the same time. I'm not sure who was running late, but the entire process was running late in on itself (so possibly a bit of both?). But it went by so fast! The best thing though the ex-jet showing us was from Shiga (which was my first prefecture choice) so we chatted about that for a good while :D

Nell
January 23rd, 2014, 02:36
Hit the nail on the head there.

I was told not to discuss anything sadly so can't answer your questions until everything is done and dusted.

I was absolutely terrified but excited at the same time. I'm not sure who was running late, but the entire process was running late in on itself (so possibly a bit of both?). But it went by so fast! The best thing though the ex-jet showing us was from Shiga (which was my first prefecture choice) so we chatted about that for a good while :D

Was his name Ramzi? If so, he was the one leading me around the embassy too haha.

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Shincantsen
January 23rd, 2014, 02:54
Was his name Ramzi? If so, he was the one leading me around the embassy too haha.

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I know that guy! He's a good egg.

CrouchingMouse
January 23rd, 2014, 03:00
Since this thread says interview "advice" as well...I wasn't sure whether to make a new thread about this but I'll just ask here:

This will be my first big-boy interview with a large organization. I'm assuming we need to wear something really nice, but since I've never had an interview this big before, I don't actually own any clothes for something like this and I'm not sure what to look for when I go shopping. Men can just wear suits I guess, but I'm female - should I get a nice suit as well, or some more feminine business-type clothing? Do I have to wear a skirt in this freezing weather? Any advice would be great.

Shiro_Kuma
January 23rd, 2014, 05:07
Was his name Ramzi? If so, he was the one leading me around the embassy too haha.

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Yes it was! He was fab and totally unbiased about Shiga being awesome :lol: He told us his love (and competitiveness) for touch rugby.


Since this thread says interview "advice" as well...I wasn't sure whether to make a new thread about this but I'll just ask here:

This will be my first big-boy interview with a large organization..... but I'm female - should I get a nice suit as well, or some more feminine business-type clothing? Do I have to wear a skirt in this freezing weather? Any advice would be great.

As a fellow female (saying this feels odd for some reason), as long as it's formal wear, a dress/skirt & shirt should be fine. Please be sure that it's not crazy revealing. I wore a blazer, shirt and trouser combo as I look terrible in a dress (woo scoliosis!). Also no mad heels I suspect but please correct me on that front if I'm mistaken.

There was another applicant who was in my interview slot who wore a lovely business dress (I was jelly about her figure :(). If in doubt, just check some online stores/catalogues to see what will be a good idea.

Tzvi
January 23rd, 2014, 05:45
Yes it was! He was fab and totally unbiased about Shiga being awesome :lol: He told us his love (and competitiveness) for touch rugby.




I had that guy as well! I thought he was great and made me even more excited about the programme (although considering how the interview went I wish he hadn't).

Shiro_Kuma
January 23rd, 2014, 05:52
I know :( Well now just comes the long wait till results day I guess

Nell
January 23rd, 2014, 06:06
EDIT:
I had that guy as well! I thought he was great and made me even more excited about the programme (although considering how the interview went I wish he hadn't).
Haha that's awesome. Yeah he was really nice and completely took my mind off the whole thing, as did the other ex-JETs who were there. So by the time I was waiting outside the interviewing room for my grilling I was barely aware of it at all! Which could be a good thing, although afterwards I kept thinking of things I'd wanted to say and had forgotten. But yeah I'm just going to forget about it and I'm actually assuming I didn't get in, just so that I make an effort to find other things to do with my life!

Corvus
January 23rd, 2014, 06:26
Congratulations to everyone who has been waiting, and good luck to those who are still waiting on their embassies. :038:

Extra shout outs to therealwindcity, Aayl1 and coop52 for their comments on my SoP, I know every little bit helped and I'm grateful for it.

grub
January 23rd, 2014, 07:23
Since this thread says interview "advice" as well...I wasn't sure whether to make a new thread about this but I'll just ask here:

This will be my first big-boy interview with a large organization. I'm assuming we need to wear something really nice, but since I've never had an interview this big before, I don't actually own any clothes for something like this and I'm not sure what to look for when I go shopping. Men can just wear suits I guess, but I'm female - should I get a nice suit as well, or some more feminine business-type clothing? Do I have to wear a skirt in this freezing weather? Any advice would be great.

My previous part time office job and internship didn't require me to wear anything formal so I'm pretty much in the same boat.

On the week I got my interview notification I went to a few stores to check out the formal wear and tried on a lot (Did I mention how much I don't like shopping for clothes?). Initially I was just looking for a suit jacket as I had a collared shirt and pants at home but when I tried them altogether at home, it looked quite horrendous! So I tried it with various other pieces I had it home and it still looked equally bad. Luckily I also bought a skirt and it looked better with a blouse and stockings, so needless to say I'll be wearing that unless I find something better.

Moral: If you have other pieces at home, wear them or bring them along with you!

I think it's more important to find a suit (pants or skirt) that you feel comfortable and look good in! If you can, bring a family member/friend who can give you some real honest advice. My mum was working but when I showed her the first outfit I thought I was going to wear, she took no time to shoot me down. Also, if you're trying on clothes in the change room, be sure to get the whole set of the suit or else you can't really see what it looks like properly. The two pieces I bought weren't from a fancy store or anything, so I'm not sure if I should get a better one...

On the other hand, I'm thinking about the make up side of things. I don't wear/own any so I'm thinking of just leaving it like that. What does everyone think?

ihatefall
January 23rd, 2014, 07:50
For girls the gap has a bunch of suits that are mix and match.


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CrouchingMouse
January 23rd, 2014, 08:22
Shiro_Kuma and grub, thanks for the advice. Definitely going to bring someone with me when I go shopping this weekend. There's a few places around town I can try that'll hopefully fit the bill.

I don't ever wear makeup either, and I certainly don't plan on learning just for the sake of an interview, hah. People tell me my natural look is great anyway.

yingyangryder
January 23rd, 2014, 08:25
Good luck to all those who have had/will be having interviews. Just a note, last year the UK had around 140 - 150 new JETs. I can`t remember the exact amount, I know the numbers differ each year. Also it appears that interviews have started 2 weeks later than last year.

PaddyPakku
January 23rd, 2014, 08:40
Good luck to all those who have had/will be having interviews. Just a note, last year the UK had around 140 - 150 new JETs. I can`t remember the exact amount, I know the numbers differ each year. Also it appears that interviews have started 2 weeks later than last year.
2 weeks later than last year would mean they had interviews just after New Year's Day in 2013, that doesn't sound right to me...

yingyangryder
January 23rd, 2014, 08:59
I had my interview on 14th Jan last year and I believe I was on the first day. Ok maybe a week then. I thought they started this week this year? Could be wrong, I haven`t been following this year`s timeline too closely.

PaddyPakku
January 23rd, 2014, 09:10
Oh sorry, I believe interviews started on the 20th Jan this year. May I ask, what happened last year? Were you accepted into the programme? Are you re-applying this year?

yingyangryder
January 23rd, 2014, 09:12
Yeah I was shortlisted, currently sitting at my desk right now lol. From what I`ve briefly read, it seems the interviewers this year are a bit more stern. I really enjoyed my interview, of course I said some silly things that I later regretted but genuinely enjoyed talking to my interviewers.

PaddyPakku
January 23rd, 2014, 09:19
Ah I see!! A very much belated congratulations! I hope to be sitting at my desk in Japan next year talking to aspiring applicants too :(

Jamie Solo
January 23rd, 2014, 09:29
Finally got back an hour ago from London! The former ALTs were awesome and really did help put your mind at ease.

Looking back, I wish I elaborated on some stuff - especially the first question, but it was a case of getting in the zone I suppose at that point. I have no idea how it went, but I will say that it is nowhere near as bad as what you are expecting, and it will feel like you were only in there for 5 minutes.

johnny
January 23rd, 2014, 09:41
I wouldn't worry if you feel the interview didn't go well. Everyone feels like their interview went badly.

The last comment I got from the lead interviewer was "just so you know, there are other ways to get to Japan. Don't be worried if Jet doesn't work out". That really threw me for a loop.

Now, I was picked as an alternate, so maybe the interview didn't go too well, but I was the first alternate and apparently it was an almost certainty that I was going to be short listed eventually, so the interview couldn't have gone too badly.


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Gizmotech
January 23rd, 2014, 13:23
@triumphtr79 (http://www.ithinkimlost.com/members/triumphtr79.html)
I would probably guess it was a clerical error on your part in following instructions which disqualified you.

I have a degree in linguistics
Most of said degree was on Japanese grammar
I have a minor in Japanese language (kinda goes with the ling degree)
I have taught in public esl classes
I have a university Teacher in service certificate for TESOL
I have taught at university
I was 27 years old when I applied
I had never been abroad in my life
I have a previous college diploma in Information technologies
I had no volunteer experience
I had a mediocre GPA (barely enough to enter a bottom end masters program)
I was (and am again...sob) a fat,tall, broad, white guy w/ a beard (not neck).

With all of that I was shortlisted. Sooo, it's not about being over qualified, or having things for them to discriminate against, but more likely there was some type of paperwork error in your application.

therealwindycity
January 23rd, 2014, 14:50
I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he did his application properly. Telling him that he probably screwed it up is kinda twisting the knife don't you think?

Gizmotech
January 23rd, 2014, 15:24
I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he did his application properly. Telling him that he probably screwed it up is kinda twisting the knife don't you think?

Why not? It seems far more likely that there was a small mistake and the anal retentive embassy employees scrapped the app than he was over qualified for the job. It's either that or they wrote the worst SoP of all time, because with all the other boxes he should be ticking off from experience and qualification, he should have had an interview, given he had one before.

Jiggit
January 23rd, 2014, 15:25
I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he did his application properly. Telling him that he probably screwed it up is kinda twisting the knife don't you think?

I'm sure it's better to just assume you seemed unprofessional, incompetent or weird.

therealwindycity
January 23rd, 2014, 15:47
As util? has pointed out, apps are thrown out for all kinds of reasons. I get the feeling that if someone is concerned enough about it to come on here to find ways to improve their app, they care enough to make sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed.

ihatefall
January 23rd, 2014, 15:59
Can't you call the embassy in April and find out?


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Gizmotech
January 23rd, 2014, 16:02
No. They do not give details about why an applicant was rejected.

triumphtr79
January 23rd, 2014, 17:22
Why not? It seems far more likely that there was a small mistake and the anal retentive embassy employees scrapped the app than he was over qualified for the job. It's either that or they wrote the worst SoP of all time, because with all the other boxes he should be ticking off from experience and qualification, he should have had an interview, given he had one before.

It's too bad if they toss out entire applications over trivial/human mistakes if everything else is solid. Having said that, I double checked everything twice, it's still possible I made a mistake somewhere but who knows. A previous poster mentioned having experience teaching in Korea which brings to mind something I think may have hurt me. I taught in Korea for nearly 4 years and used a former principal as a reference. However, reference letters here are quite strange compared to western style. They're very vague and not personal, they merely highlight common sense qualities you'd want in an employee such as "This employee was never late and always performed his/her best." Not only that, but signatures are also seldom used, my referee may have used a stamp with her name in chinese characters rather than an old fashioned signature.

Ah well, better luck next time. I had (and now have) a solid backup plan in case things don't work out and they didn't so no worries. I'm even taking a vacation in Okinawa next month and I'll finish off seeing all the Japanese baseball stadiums later this summer! That was a 5 year project in itself. I have a while to think about whether I'll try applying again...

Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt "therealwindycity" :)

johnny
January 23rd, 2014, 17:51
No. They do not give details about why an applicant was rejected.

I can understand why too. It would be a tonne if work to respond to all those emails and phone calls.


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Shiro_Kuma
January 23rd, 2014, 20:38
Shiro_Kuma and grub, thanks for the advice. Definitely going to bring someone with me when I go shopping this weekend. There's a few places around town I can try that'll hopefully fit the bill.

I don't ever wear makeup either, and I certainly don't plan on learning just for the sake of an interview, hah. People tell me my natural look is great anyway.

No worries :) Yeah it's not worth it if you know you'll be fine without it. But a nice formal wear goes a long way regardless

Illuria
January 23rd, 2014, 22:56
Finally got back an hour ago from London! The former ALTs were awesome and really did help put your mind at ease.

Looking back, I wish I elaborated on some stuff - especially the first question, but it was a case of getting in the zone I suppose at that point. I have no idea how it went, but I will say that it is nowhere near as bad as what you are expecting, and it will feel like you were only in there for 5 minutes.

Can definitely agree with the objective stuff in this comment. The former ALTs were really nice and really welcoming, helped me feel comfortable at every stage they could, she even got me a cup of water after the interview because my mouth was dry =)

I think the interview went well, but I usually do with interviews. I think I came across well though and I'm pretty sure the older English guy liked me so that would help I guess. Also I managed to fuck up my Japanese and say 'I am Britain' rather than 'I am British'. I did mention it had been 3 years since I'd done any Japanese and I had indicated 'introductory' Japanese on my form. I think he respected the confidence to even try XD

EDIT: Oh, and he suggested bringing a bag of dice to lessons, which makes me think he thought I would be a good fit.

Gizmotech
January 24th, 2014, 00:22
It's too bad if they toss out entire applications over trivial/human mistakes if everything else is solid. Having said that, I double checked everything twice, it's still possible I made a mistake somewhere but who knows. A previous poster mentioned having experience teaching in Korea which brings to mind something I think may have hurt me. I taught in Korea for nearly 4 years and used a former principal as a reference. However, reference letters here are quite strange compared to western style. They're very vague and not personal, they merely highlight common sense qualities you'd want in an employee such as "This employee was never late and always performed his/her best." Not only that, but signatures are also seldom used, my referee may have used a stamp with her name in chinese characters rather than an old fashioned signature.

Ah well, better luck next time. I had (and now have) a solid backup plan in case things don't work out and they didn't so no worries. I'm even taking a vacation in Okinawa next month and I'll finish off seeing all the Japanese baseball stadiums later this summer! That was a 5 year project in itself. I have a while to think about whether I'll try applying again...

Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt "therealwindycity" :)

I'm glad you have a back up plan. I'm not trying to "not give you the benefit of the doubt", just I know how anal retentive Japanese bureaucracy is and often it's the tiniest little thing that throws shit for a loop w/ japan. I think that your references if they were like you described were probably great to be honest, because a lot of the references that they probably see are the wishy washy bs packed crap.

I do wish you the best, and hope that you don't think negatively on yourself because of this rejection. Just dismiss it as a "well shit, I probably goofed somewhere, lets go be awesome again elsewhere".

triumphtr79
January 24th, 2014, 12:10
I'm glad you have a back up plan. I'm not trying to "not give you the benefit of the doubt", just I know how anal retentive Japanese bureaucracy is and often it's the tiniest little thing that throws shit for a loop w/ japan. I think that your references if they were like you described were probably great to be honest, because a lot of the references that they probably see are the wishy washy bs packed crap.

I do wish you the best, and hope that you don't think negatively on yourself because of this rejection. Just dismiss it as a "well shit, I probably goofed somewhere, lets go be awesome again elsewhere".

One area I didn't "play by the rules" was proof of study in Japan (or abroad?), I only have one "diploma" from the language school I studied at in Japan and they wanted 1 original and 2 copies. I wasn't going to give them my original because I paid a lot of money for it :P So I gave them 3 copies instead. I figure if 3 copies of proof of JLPT certificate are good enough then so are 3 copies of study in Japan. I figured if they're that anal and they would toss out my app because of that then so be it.

I can think of minute details all day as to why they didn't offer me an interview but it's time to move on.

ihatefall
January 24th, 2014, 12:47
Sometimes the extra $20 would have been worth it


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Tetsamajigger
January 24th, 2014, 13:14
One area I didn't "play by the rules" was proof of study in Japan (or abroad?), I only have one "diploma" from the language school I studied at in Japan and they wanted 1 original and 2 copies. I wasn't going to give them my original because I paid a lot of money for it :P So I gave them 3 copies instead. I figure if 3 copies of proof of JLPT certificate are good enough then so are 3 copies of study in Japan. I figured if they're that anal and they would toss out my app because of that then so be it.

I can think of minute details all day as to why they didn't offer me an interview but it's time to move on.

Can't you get a certified copy done? I had to send in all my educational shebangs and since I don't want to dispose of my diplomas and whatnot, I photocopied them and got them confirmed as 'true copies' and away they went. There's gotta be a way to do it where you are.

On a side note, I got confirmation that I made it past stage 1 and have an interview coming up (chuffed). Times and dates not yet organised, but that's cool.

Better re-read my SOP and see what they know about me.

Congrats to the crazy kids that made it.
Condolences to those that didn't.

Jintor
January 24th, 2014, 19:38
I'm amazed that interviews elsewhere are already up and running - I called up my local embassy (Sydney, Australia) because I'm going to be out of the country urgently for a few days (family stuff) and they said not to worry, our interviews aren't going forward until midway through Feb. Blame Australia for delays I guess! Oh well, more time to practice.

Aurano
January 26th, 2014, 05:50
Seems I didn't get an interview offer. Unless they are still dishing them out for UK applicants then I think that's my chances of ever being a JET over. I feel too old now to re-apply in November.

This forum was interesting and fun though!

Illuria
January 26th, 2014, 05:56
Seems I didn't get an interview offer. Unless they are still dishing them out for UK applicants then I think that's my chances of ever being a JET over. I feel too old now to re-apply in November.

This forum was interesting and fun though!

They're giving two weeks notice, so there may still be a chance. Don't give up hope just yet!

undisputed2020
January 26th, 2014, 09:27
I'm happy to say I was chosen amongst others on the USA 2014 candidate list. Lately, I've just been thinking about the amount of people listed by application ID. I keep counting how many are listed, and it comes out to 1772 meaning that there are 1772 potential USA candidates, if I am right. What makes me so curious is the fact that according to the statistics (The JET Programme--Official Homepage of The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (http://www.jetprogramme.org/e/introduction/statistics.html)) there were 884 US 1st year candidates last year. It's the first time I applied, and I didn't think I would get the interview, so now I'm just stressing out.

Jamie Solo
January 26th, 2014, 09:54
Seems I didn't get an interview offer. Unless they are still dishing them out for UK applicants then I think that's my chances of ever being a JET over. I feel too old now to re-apply in November.

This forum was interesting and fun though!

Illuria is right! There's still maybe 2 weeks left of notifications being dished out - 3 if they go to the end of February with interviews, so only half the invitations have been sent out so far.

littleanemonefish
January 26th, 2014, 10:59
Last year I didn't get an interview last year, but I got one this year, and I sent in practically all the same stuff this year, so I feel like it comes down to some pretty small things. I had one different letter of rec. That was the biggest change. Last year I forgot a college transcript, so I'm quite certain that was my downfall. Made sure to get that way ahead of time this year. Also, though, this year I sent a letter of expected graduation, but I didn't send a proof of current enrollment, because even though I haven't graduated, I wasn't enrolled in any classes while I was applying either. Kind of surprised they overlooked that, but I guess it might now be that important.

Anyway, I'm happy I got an interview this year, because I don't really want to have to resort to my backup plans.

par92186
January 26th, 2014, 15:05
I'm happy to say I was chosen amongst others on the USA 2014 candidate list. Lately, I've just been thinking about the amount of people listed by application ID. I keep counting how many are listed, and it comes out to 1772 meaning that there are 1772 potential USA candidates, if I am right. What makes me so curious is the fact that according to the statistics (The JET Programme--Official Homepage of The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (http://www.jetprogramme.org/e/introduction/statistics.html)) there were 884 US 1st year candidates last year. It's the first time I applied, and I didn't think I would get the interview, so now I'm just stressing out.

If you've made it this far I'd say you're about 75% in the door to Japan. Just to receive an interview is a huge accomplishment. There are literally thousands of applicants whom fought just for one of those 1772 spots. At this point, you've got about a 50/50 chance. Those are far better odds than the first stage of applying and At least this time you can sell yourself a little better in person, rather than just on black and white paper. Good luck


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kbui
January 27th, 2014, 03:05
Last year I didn't get an interview last year, but I got one this year, and I sent in practically all the same stuff this year, so I feel like it comes down to some pretty small things. I had one different letter of rec. That was the biggest change. Last year I forgot a college transcript, so I'm quite certain that was my downfall. Made sure to get that way ahead of time this year. Also, though, this year I sent a letter of expected graduation, but I didn't send a proof of current enrollment, because even though I haven't graduated, I wasn't enrolled in any classes while I was applying either. Kind of surprised they overlooked that, but I guess it might now be that important.

Anyway, I'm happy I got an interview this year, because I don't really want to have to resort to my backup plans.

I don't think forgetting a transcript is a "pretty small [thing]."

kbui
January 27th, 2014, 03:06
If you've made it this far I'd say you're about 75% in the door to Japan. Just to receive an interview is a huge accomplishment. There are literally thousands of applicants whom fought just for one of those 1772 spots. At this point, you've got about a 50/50 chance. Those are far better odds than the first stage of applying and At least this time you can sell yourself a little better in person, rather than just on black and white paper. Good luck


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Where are these numbers coming from? Are they rough guesses? Real calculated data from somewhere?

PaddyPakku
January 27th, 2014, 06:26
Where are these numbers coming from? Are they rough guesses? Real calculated data from somewhere?
I can confirm that this year, 1772 applicants were accepted for an interview in the US. You can get this number by counting the number of applicants on this list on the US homepage.
I'm not sure where 'par92186' is getting his 50/50 figure from, but I think you can extrapolate it from the fact that JET US typically send 700-900 applicants to Japan every year.

spman2099
January 27th, 2014, 07:56
I can confirm that this year, 1772 applicants were accepted for an interview in the US. You can get this number by counting the number of applicants on this list on the US homepage.
I'm not sure where 'par92186' is getting his 50/50 figure from, but I think you can extrapolate it from the fact that JET US typically send 700-900 applicants to Japan every year.

I wish Canadians had access to that sort of data... I mean, we know how many new JETs get hired every year (approximately 150), but from what I have heard there may be a larger amount of Canadian applicants than would be expected.

For instance, there are 1772 applicants entering into the interview phase for the Americans. So, if Canada matched those numbers (per capita) we would have, approximately, 177 entering into the application phase (since we have about a tenth of the USA's population). However, someone who actually conducted interviews one year said that Ottawa alone had 200 interviews; Ottawa isn't the only consulate conducting interviews in Ontario, and apparently they have about a third of the traffic that the Toronto consulate has (which is the other consulate conducting interviews). If these numbers hold up, and they did come from someone who is informed, then it seems like there are MORE Canadians being interviewed than Americans, and for about a sixth of the available positions. So yeah, it seems like there is significantly more competition for Canadian applicants, at least judging from the limited information I have been able to collect.

It makes me sorta anxious; I envy American applicants.

uthinkimlost?
January 27th, 2014, 09:15
I wish Canadians had access to that sort of data... I mean, we know how many new JETs get hired every year (approximately 150), but from what I have heard there may be a larger amount of Canadian applicants than would be expected.

For instance, there are 1772 applicants entering into the interview phase for the Americans. So, if Canada matched those numbers (per capita) we would have, approximately, 177 entering into the application phase (since we have about a tenth of the USA's population). However, someone who actually conducted interviews one year said that Ottawa alone had 200 interviews; Ottawa isn't the only consulate conducting interviews in Ontario, and apparently they have about a third of the traffic that the Toronto consulate has (which is the other consulate conducting interviews). If these numbers hold up, and they did come from someone who is informed, then it seems like there are MORE Canadians being interviewed than Americans, and for about a sixth of the available positions. So yeah, it seems like there is significantly more competition for Canadian applicants, at least judging from the limited information I have been able to collect.

It makes me sorta anxious; I envy American applicants.

I would be hesitant to put too much stock in the estimate he gave you. People are prone to hyperbole, and, even though they will hint otherwise, the people on the panels are often just those with a free day looking to pick up an extra ¥.

If you look at the numbers of participants, it seems that they are generally pretty related to the population of the country. (Which probably relates to the number of applicants.) If that's the case, everyone should have a pretty similar shot once they reach the interview stage.


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johnny
January 27th, 2014, 09:18
There were was something like 37 people hired out of Vancouver (maybe a couple more) and the word was we had over 150 interviews. So your chances in Vancouver were apparently under 33% after the interview stage. That being said, the word was that Vancouver had over 1,000 applications! So making it to the interview stage to begin with!


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aoma
January 27th, 2014, 12:44
This was the last time I decided to throw my hat in the ring. I don't know how I landed an interview in 2008 with zero experience and get loads of experience both teaching and of Japan and don't even get an invite. There are so many factors, some as simple as a different human's take on your SoP, etc. I also take a med that might have spooked them even though I disclosed the same info before and got interview. Again, it could just be another person's judgement. Or they could have kept note of the less than stellar interview I gave last time. Who knows. One can only speculate.

It could be my age, I'm coming up on my mid 30s, perhaps JET themselves think I should be persuing another path at this stage. Perhaps they're right.

Anyway, if you got an interview good luck! This brings me a lot of closure and I do have another ESL job opportunity secured so I'm not upset and I'll be sure to make my annual visit to Japan!


I did get an interview, thank you! I agree, there's so many speculations. I too am certainly no stranger to living in Japan or speaking the language, so I'm not sure what happened to your app this time around. Nevertheless, good luck with your other ELS option!

littleanemonefish
January 27th, 2014, 13:28
I don't think forgetting a transcript is a "pretty small [thing]."It was from when I was in high school though... So I'm not even sure it was necessary.
Hard to say. I did send my main university transcript.

SticksPrime
January 27th, 2014, 13:35
Interviewees also need to remember the Japanese Government, in particular MEXT, has confirmed that by 2020 the number of participants in the JET Programme would be 10,000; currently there are 4,372. This dramatic increase will have an immediate effect for the number of successful applicants and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw an extra 1000-1500 JETs being sent for 2014/15.
So, take a deep breath and relish in the fact that (probably) our intake has the best possible chance of being accepted so go crush the interview and stop worrying about how many people you have to beat.

uthinkimlost?
January 27th, 2014, 13:41
Interviewees also need to remember the Japanese Government, in particular MEXT, has confirmed that by 2020 the number of participants in the JET Programme would be 10,000; currently there are 4,372. This dramatic increase will have an immediate effect for the number of successful applicants and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw an extra 1000-1500 JETs being sent for 2014/15.
So, take a deep breath and relish in the fact that (probably) our intake has the best possible chance of being accepted so go crush the interview and stop worrying about how many people you have to beat.

Budgets have been cut at boes, not increased. Nothing has been finalized.

That, coupled with the accelerating contraction of the student population, would indicate the 10000 JET plan is smoke and mirrors for a good show.

kbui
January 27th, 2014, 14:50
I hope they send out the interview times and dates tomorrow. I want to buy my plane tickets early.

epikzwei
January 27th, 2014, 15:21
I happened to pass by my interview location today on the way home from work, haha. :^_^:

johnny
January 27th, 2014, 15:45
Budgets have been cut at boes, not increased. Nothing has been finalized.

That, coupled with the accelerating contraction of the student population, would indicate the 10000 JET plan is smoke and mirrors for a good show.

In Yamaguchi-ken , some Jets have schools with classes that have as few as two students. It's crazy. Given the small number of students at many schools, I don't see how this prefecture can increase the number of ALT's without fundamentally changing the English curriculum to include more English classes and more conversation based learning.

That being said, my average class has 33 students, and that might increase next year.



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uthinkimlost?
January 27th, 2014, 16:02
In Yamaguchi-ken , some Jets have schools with classes that have as few as two students. It's crazy. Given the small number of students at many schools, I don't see how this prefecture can increase the number of ALT's without fundamentally changing the English curriculum to include more English classes and more conversation based learning.

That being said, my average class has 33 students, and that might increase next year.



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The inaka is downright riddled with school husks. Loads of empty houses. The whole thing's a bit spooky, really.

par92186
January 27th, 2014, 16:03
I can confirm that this year, 1772 applicants were accepted for an interview in the US. You can get this number by counting the number of applicants on this list on the US homepage.
I'm not sure where 'par92186' is getting his 50/50 figure from, but I think you can extrapolate it from the fact that JET US typically send 700-900 applicants to Japan every year.

That's exactly where I got my numbers and estimations from. Thanks for clarifying paddy. :)


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johnny
January 27th, 2014, 16:05
The inaka is downright riddled with school husks. Loads of empty houses. The whole things a bit spooky, really.

I've seen movies of people who have broken into closed-down schools, and it was crazy. It really seemed like a Hollywood style abandoned haunted school.


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AVN
January 27th, 2014, 20:09
A school closed just before I arrived in my town and another closed while I was working there.
In my three years my town went from three little wee grocery stores to just one.

Oli0
January 27th, 2014, 21:12
Not surprising, Japan's population is forecast to decrease from 128m to 82m by 2060!

uthinkimlost?
January 27th, 2014, 21:22
Not surprising, Japan's population is forecast to decrease from 128m to 82m by 2060!

What is surprising is to actually watch it happen. It actually occurs fast enough to see it, as AVNicholls suggested.

I can't even begin to fathom how things are going to shake out over the next 10-20 years. I'm actually pretty worried about my students' futures.

johnny
January 27th, 2014, 23:45
Assuming that Japan keeps up its exports, I guess there will be jobs for a lot of these kids.

Also, if they want the Japanese people to have more kids, try encouraging them to work less than 14 hours a day. Maybe they'll have time to pop out a few more kids.

PoorYorick
January 28th, 2014, 01:37
Not surprising, Japan's population is forecast to decrease from 128m to 82m by 2060!

Isn't that the thing with advanced societies? Kids are looked at as economic burdens rather than assets, because they aren't going to be free field hands or assistants at work.

kbui
January 28th, 2014, 07:22
Just received the interview email and just scheduled for Feb. 22! Unfortunately, that's the same time as my birthday. I hope God will take mercy on me for sacrificing it for the JET interview... lol.

LaVie
January 28th, 2014, 07:30
Just received the interview email and just scheduled for Feb. 22! Unfortunately, that's the same time as my birthday. I hope God will take mercy on me for sacrificing it for the JET interview... lol.

Where are you interviewing out of?

kbui
January 28th, 2014, 07:36
Where are you interviewing out of?

Chicago. You?

LaVie
January 28th, 2014, 07:41
DC, but I haven't heard anything yet. Im sort of worried that we were supposed to pick the consulate that served our state; I'm originally from so that would be Atlanta, but I go to school in (served by ). It wasn't feasible for me to get to either of those consulates, so I picked DC, where I have friends who could give me a place to stay...

aoma
January 28th, 2014, 08:11
It doesn't matter where you interview at, as long as you can get there.

The sign up is live; I just signed up for my time slot.

PoorYorick
January 28th, 2014, 08:17
Anyone else interviewing at the Miami consulate? I haven't heard anything from them and I tend to get antsy about things like this. I just wish I knew when the damn thing was going to take place.

kbui
January 28th, 2014, 08:23
DC, but I haven't heard anything yet. Im sort of worried that we were supposed to pick the consulate that served our state; I'm originally from SC so that would be Atlanta, but I go to school in Pennsylvania (served by New York). It wasn't feasible for me to get to either of those consulates, so I picked DC, where I have friends who could give me a place to stay...

I don't think which consulate matters. But some consulates have less/more applicants in their pool, so as long as you're on that interview list you are golden. Though I would also check the spam folder in your email.

johnny
January 28th, 2014, 08:26
I don't think which consulate matters. But some consulates have less/more applicants in their pool, so as long as you're on that interview list you are golden. Though I would also check the spam folder in your email.

This is a really good call. I've followed this advice and it's saved my bacon. I guarantee you they consulate won't care if you use the excuse "the email went into my spam folder". Procedure is super strict until you're short listed and even after that it's still very strict.


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Oli0
January 28th, 2014, 08:28
Isn't that the thing with advanced societies? Kids are looked at as economic burdens rather than assets, because they aren't going to be free field hands or assistants at work.

Yep, it is happening in many developed countries, but at an incredibly fast rate in Japan.

LaVie
January 28th, 2014, 08:39
Haha thanks y'all, I got the e-mail. Made sure to go into my settings and make sure anything with the word "JET" attatched to it gets sent to priority.

itsabird
January 28th, 2014, 08:58
Anyone else interviewing at the Miami consulate? I haven't heard anything from them and I tend to get antsy about things like this. I just wish I knew when the damn thing was going to take place.

Did you reply back to the email they sent out asking what day you wanted your interview on?

PoorYorick
January 28th, 2014, 09:22
Did you reply back to the email they sent out asking what day you wanted your interview on?

My number is on the list, but I haven't gotten an email from them on either one of my specified email addresses, even in the spam section.

itsabird
January 28th, 2014, 09:49
My number is on the list, but I haven't gotten an email from them on either one of my specified email addresses, even in the spam section.

Definitely give the consulate a call. I was talking with them the other day and they said they didn't send out the interview schedule yet due to people not replying back with which time they want. You should have received an email with the few interview dates as well as what they needed you to reply with. But I'm sure if your number is really on the list, a call will get it sorted out. Just make sure you do it soon before they send out the second set of emails letting us know what time our interviews are. Good luck!

PoorYorick
January 28th, 2014, 09:59
Definitely give the consulate a call. I was talking with them the other day and they said they didn't send out the interview schedule yet due to people not replying back with which time they want. You should have received an email with the few interview dates as well as what they needed you to reply with. But I'm sure if your number is really on the list, a call will get it sorted out. Just make sure you do it soon before they send out the second set of emails letting us know what time our interviews are. Good luck!

Oh my! I sent them an email a moment ago and I'll call them tomorrow. Thanks for letting me know, I would have died if I missed this chance because of faulty email services.

littleanemonefish
January 28th, 2014, 11:30
I got an email from the Seattle consulate last week saying the interviews here were gonna be held on the 20th and 21st and asking to confirm my participation, but they're assigning the times themselves. Haven't gotten a response yet, but it's only been a couple of days. Anyone else here interviewing in Seattle?

Also, went shopping for my interview today. Just need to decide what I'm gonna wear now.


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itsabird
January 28th, 2014, 11:40
I got an email from the Seattle consulate last week saying the interviews here were gonna be held on the 20th and 21st and asking to confirm my participation, but they're assigning the times themselves. Haven't gotten a response yet, but it's only been a couple of days. Anyone else here interviewing in Seattle?

Also, went shopping for my interview today. Just need to decide what I'm gonna wear now.


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They had five days to choose from in Miami. But, likewise, you only picked around what time of day, the actual clock time is decided by them.

ihatefall
January 28th, 2014, 11:55
Also, if they want the Japanese people to have more kids, try encouraging them to work less than 14 hours a day. Maybe they'll have time to pop out a few more kids.

There is more to it than that. The whole edu structure and societal structure is really based on the stay at home mom. And really that doesn't work anymore. Japan is an expensive country. The government should realize this change. Offer affordable daycare for one. In my office there are tons of working ladies. But most of them don't want to have kids because it would be "muri" the 3 that do have kids have to rush out of the office by 6:30pm to get the kids. The daycare aren't understanding either, if you call and say you have to stay late, they bitch you out over the phone and usually charge extra fees.

So in most cases it a choice of become a house wife or the freedom of working for yourself.


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littleanemonefish
January 28th, 2014, 12:43
I, for one, will probably have a million questions and concerns in the 20-something days before my interview rolls around, and I'm sure others will too. So here's a thread for interview questions and advice. I'll start with what to wear for your interview. I went shopping today and got a suit and a few shirts. I guess I'd like some assurance that the suit is appropriate and looks good, as well as help picking which shirt to wear. Here's a link to my tumblr post with the images: this is ok to post, right? (http://sagaciousfish.tumblr.com/post/74791451655/super-excited-i-got-an-interview-with-the-jet)

LaVie
January 28th, 2014, 12:48
I, for one, will probably have a million questions and concerns in the 20-something days before my interview rolls around, and I'm sure others will too. So here's a thread for interview questions and advice. I'll start with what to wear for your interview. I went shopping today and got a suit and a few shirts. I guess I'd like some assurance that the suit is appropriate and looks good, as well as help picking which shirt to wear. Here's a link to my tumblr post with the images: this is ok to post, right? (http://sagaciousfish.tumblr.com/post/74791451655/super-excited-i-got-an-interview-with-the-jet)

Maybe on the conservative side, but it looks great!! Very appropriate. Mind if I follow you?

spman2099
January 28th, 2014, 13:24
I think that is incredibly professional looking. Very tasteful.

littleanemonefish
January 28th, 2014, 13:37
Maybe on the conservative side, but it looks great!! Very appropriate. Mind if I follow you?Sure, feel free :)

BeckyJones
January 28th, 2014, 13:42
Dress professional. This is a salary government position. Tshirts, Khakis etc are stupid so that means full business. If you don't own it, buy it. As for the interview itself. Be friendly, open and honest. And most importantly be flexible. don't remember canned answers or practice your "why I want to go to Japan " speech.

itsabird
January 29th, 2014, 12:38
Oh my! I sent them an email a moment ago and I'll call them tomorrow. Thanks for letting me know, I would have died if I missed this chance because of faulty email services.

Got another email today telling me exactly what time my interview was going to be. Any luck with your scenario?

undisputed2020
January 29th, 2014, 12:58
I'm a little concerned. I sent in my Day and Time preference last week, but I only put AM or PM, not specific times (like 10:00 AM or something). I'm going to be interviewed in Los Angeles, but they said they'll release specific time and dates on the first week of February. Just worried that any little thing could disqualified me as if the guy in charge is like "This guy didn't give specific times... GUESS HE DOESN'T WANT TO GO TO JAPAN! MUAHAHAHAHA"

epikzwei
January 29th, 2014, 14:30
Is anyone interviewing in San Francisco? I think all I can do now is wait. It seems we've so far only gotten the first email from the consulate, which said another email would be sent out in the coming weeks with information on how to sign up for an interview.

Also:
*As other consulates may have yet to contact their JET Program interview candidates and their interview dates may be different, please refrain from sharing interview information out to social networking sites just yet, as it may cause some confusion and ultimately more work for the JET Program staff.
Haha.

itsabird
January 29th, 2014, 16:55
Is anyone interviewing in San Francisco? I think all I can do now is wait. It seems we've so far only gotten the first email from the consulate, which said another email would be sent out in the coming weeks with information on how to sign up for an interview.

Also:

*As other consulates may have yet to contact their JET Program interview candidates and their interview dates may be different, please refrain from sharing interview information out to social networking sites just yet, as it may cause some confusion and ultimately more work for the JET Program staff
Haha.

I imagine it's only a problem cross-consulate. As long as you associate your information with other people applying from the same consulate, you should be safe. Within reason, obviously. I mean, don't freak out if someone from such-and-such consulate got an email confirming their interview date one minute ago and you still haven't received yours. OMG, OR MAYBE THEY FORGOT YOU ;). Judgment and being within reason...

Where was that bit posted by the way? The quote? I've read as much as possible from the emails I've been receiving and haven't seen that. Maybe I skipped over that one.

Kdes23
January 29th, 2014, 18:51
I imagine it's only a problem cross-consulate. As long as you associate your information with other people applying from the same consulate, you should be safe. Within reason, obviously. I mean, don't freak out if someone from such-and-such consulate got an email confirming their interview date one minute ago and you still haven't received yours. OMG, OR MAYBE THEY FORGOT YOU ;). Judgment and being within reason...

Where was that bit posted by the way? The quote? I've read as much as possible from the emails I've been receiving and haven't seen that. Maybe I skipped over that one.

I imagine that there still could be confusion.

Depending on the city and its size, interviews might be held over the course of a few days. That said, if one person says "Yay, my interview is on Thursday Feb 20th" and another person says "Wait!? Mines on the 19th! Maybe there's a mistake". They post this online and everyone panics and starts calling consulates and embassies around the globe verifying when their interview is.

I think every year, each consulate and embassy deals with at least 1 or 2 people that constantly call them up asking questions. This is my theory as to why they send out these notices.

Kdes23
January 29th, 2014, 19:37
How did you prepare?
I hadn't had an interview in over 5 years. I had been doing my current job at the time for so long that I forgot how interviews worked. So I first looked through the forums and got as many possible interview questions that I could find. I wrote them down. At first, I got my dad to ask me them. He was an employer in the government, and he was pretty honest about my answers.
I felt like that wasn't enough so I found some people on the forums who wanted to practice over skype. Practiced a bit with 2 other people that got interview invites. We're all currently on JET as ALT's.
Aside from that, I bought a suit. A WELL FITTING suit. I can't stress that enough. From a business or professional perspective, it's very obvious when a suit is too big for you. If you're suit looks even a bit baggy, try getting it fitted. It might cost around $50-$100, but it'll be worth looking like a million bucks.

How long did you prepare?
I prepared whenever I had free time. I probably prepared with my other JET friend over skype about 3 or 4 times. Some people will say that it's unnecessary to practice, but everyone is different and everyone has a different way to prepare for interviews.

What types of questions do you remember the committee asking you?
Why JET and why do you want to go teach in Japan?
What do you think that the JET programme is about?
How would you adjust to living in Japan? [asked by ex-alt]
Can you think of a time in the past where you were faced with a conflict, and how did you solve it? [asked by non-Japanese, non-alt]
So what are your plans for after JET? Will you remain active with the alumni community? [asked by ex-alt
So I see here that you know a bit of Japanese. Can you tell us a bit of what you know in Japanese? (I wrote elementary level Japanese on my application) [asked by Japanese lady]
Can you give us an example of how you would teach a class of young children? [asked by ex-alt... had to get up and do an on the spot lesson]**** be prepared for this one

Did any questions really throw you off?
The "what will you do after JET" question threw me off.

What do you think were the weakest points in your application and how did you address those in the interview?
I'd have to say that my weakest point was my lack of teaching experience (because people with full teacher degrees apply) and my lack of a teaching based university education. They never really bugged me about it, but I did try and sell myself and wave off this weakness as a strength.

EDIT: Sorry, I just realized that I double posted. My bad.

johnny
January 29th, 2014, 23:47
Well my difficult questions definitely came from the non-jet, non-Japanese interviewer. The only question I remember from the JET was how I would deal with the constant compliments about how well I can use chopsticks and the compliments on how well I can say "konichiwa".

tiger_claw448
January 30th, 2014, 00:13
Hey guys,

On my application I put no preference for location, but on the candidate form I'm supposed to submit at the interview, can I fill in something in the location preference box? Also, will the interviewers see that form, or does it go straight to admin?

kbui
January 30th, 2014, 00:54
I'm so excited for the interview! :D

PoorYorick
January 30th, 2014, 00:54
I did not get that email either, but I called and scheduled it. I'll call them again today and make a new email account for them to send this stuff to. Thank you for letting me know! Was the interview slip attached?

itsabird
January 30th, 2014, 01:30
I did not get that email either, but I called and scheduled it. I'll call them again today and make a new email account for them to send this stuff to. Thank you for letting me know! Was the interview slip attached?

The slip was attached.

PoorYorick
January 30th, 2014, 01:43
Damn you email!

Mogambo
January 30th, 2014, 02:49
Hey guys!

I had a question for any applicants out of SLC, Utah - have you gotten an email from the consulate yet?
I've been checking and rechecking both my emails (and the spam boxes) and I haven't received anything from JET regarding my interview, although my number is on the interview list.
I know I need to call them, but I'm not sure where. Numerous spots on the JET website say that I will be interviewing at the location I selected (Salt Lake City, in my case) - but there is no Japanese consulate in SLC. There is one, however, in Denver, Colorado which "serves" the state of Utah as well. Should I go ahead and call the Denver consulate?
I'm probably overthinking this, but I'll be grateful for any advice!

Corvus
January 30th, 2014, 02:50
I'm a little concerned. I sent in my Day and Time preference last week, but I only put AM or PM, not specific times (like 10:00 AM or something). I'm going to be interviewed in Los Angeles, but they said they'll release specific time and dates on the first week of February. Just worried that any little thing could disqualified me as if the guy in charge is like "This guy didn't give specific times... GUESS HE DOESN'T WANT TO GO TO JAPAN! MUAHAHAHAHA" I don't understand what you're concerned about. The LA consulate email specifically says you aren't supposed to request a specific time, you can only ask for AM or PM.

Shincantsen
January 30th, 2014, 04:36
Hey guys!

I had a question for any applicants out of SLC, Utah - have you gotten an email from the consulate yet?
I've been checking and rechecking both my emails (and the spam boxes) and I haven't received anything from JET regarding my interview, although my number is on the interview list.
I know I need to call them, but I'm not sure where. Numerous spots on the JET website say that I will be interviewing at the location I selected (Salt Lake City, in my case) - but there is no Japanese consulate in SLC. There is one, however, in Denver, Colorado which "serves" the state of Utah as well. Should I go ahead and call the Denver consulate?
I'm probably overthinking this, but I'll be grateful for any advice!

Yes, I would call the Denver consulate. I think a couple consulates do satellite interview locations, so that may be what's happening in SLC.

Mogambo
January 30th, 2014, 07:08
Yes, I would call the Denver consulate. I think a couple consulates do satellite interview locations, so that may be what's happening in SLC.

Thank you! Called them and scheduled an interview - I guess somehow the email never came through for me.

epikzwei
January 30th, 2014, 07:28
Where was that bit posted by the way? The quote? I've read as much as possible from the emails I've been receiving and haven't seen that. Maybe I skipped over that one.
It was in the SF email.
Our interview dates are also Feb 19th-21st btw, for anyone who cares/was wondering. That's all I know so far.

PoorYorick
January 30th, 2014, 07:34
Thank you! Called them and scheduled an interview - I guess somehow the email never came through for me.
same happened to me out of Miami, I scheduled an interview but they sent out the list and interview form and I still haven't gotten that either. Keep an eye on your email and if it doesn't show up in the next few days give them another call.

Cbill1
January 30th, 2014, 07:51
Has anybody interviewing through Nashville been contacted with the interview time yet?

I got the original email, but all it asked was to respond from a preferred email address to confirm that the email was read, and said nothing about sending a preferred time or selecting a time online. It's only been a few days, but I want to make sure that I don't miss an important email.

Kdes23
January 30th, 2014, 08:18
Has anybody interviewing through Nashville been contacted with the interview time yet?

I got the original email, but all it asked was to respond from a preferred email address to confirm that the email was read, and said nothing about sending a preferred time or selecting a time online. It's only been a few days, but I want to make sure that I don't miss an important email.

If it's like previous years, the consulate/embassy will create it's own time schedule for interviews and inform you of when your interview is.

They'll make sure you know at least a week or two in advance.

LaVie
January 31st, 2014, 13:09
Small question for those who are interviewing or have interviewed: I have a full beard. Should it be shaved off before the interview, or is trimming it and keeping it neat considered professional enough for an interview?

ihatefall
January 31st, 2014, 13:15
At least trim it! Keep it neat, but shaving might be better. I had long hair and a beard... I cut and shaved both.


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Gizmotech
January 31st, 2014, 13:21
Trim it. I went in with a nicely trimmed full beard, no problem. That being said, I did see a few lumberjack neck beards go in, but never saw them again at orientation.

I also regularly wear my full trimmed beard in winter here in Japan. Haven't heard anything back except compliments, and it's especially popular with the younger kids because they've never seen a man with any form of substantial facial hair before.

Ini
January 31st, 2014, 13:24
but they have seen plenty of women with it?

ihatefall
January 31st, 2014, 13:46
I think you meant to say,"......because they've never seen a man of any form before."


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Ini
January 31st, 2014, 13:47
racist

ihatefall
January 31st, 2014, 13:50
That wasn't racism, that was being culturally insensitive.


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Kdes23
January 31st, 2014, 14:25
I had originally shaved because I over worried about what they would think.

Now though, after adjusting to Japanese culture, I think having a well maintained and trimmed beard will be fine. If anything, it might make you stick out and it might even help your chances. If I could go back in time, I would sport a beard. But I stress, make sure it's trimmed and well maintained.

I've been sporting a trimmed beard for the last couple months here in Japan, and they seem to like it.

Gizmotech
January 31st, 2014, 15:32
but they have seen plenty of women with it?

Have you seen some of the women in SHS? I'm pretty sure there's a girl in 2nd year who could rock a mustache as good as mine.... Good lord.

Jiggit
January 31st, 2014, 15:43
If you want a beard I would suggest going there with one. There's a guy with a long ponytail and goatee in my prefecture and they apparently think he's the bee's knees. It's one of those things you can just get away with as a foreigner.

However I think if you tried to grow one out while there some of the more anal schools might request that you shave "again". Whereas they'd probably be too scared to ask when you first came to change it. But I don't really know for sure.

Ini
January 31st, 2014, 16:02
If you want a beard I would suggest.....


...marrying lianwen. She's desperate enough to go along with it and turn a blind eye to your indiscretions

Shincantsen
February 1st, 2014, 01:09
Keep in mind that your panel is not actually composed of all Japanese people. For most, you will have one Japanese person on the panel, and two or three Americans. They're given guidelines by CLAIR (which is Japanese) but aren't necessarily going to judge you completely based off of Japanese sensibilities.

LaVie
February 1st, 2014, 09:31
Thanks to everyone for their input!

ihatefall
February 1st, 2014, 10:12
However I think if you tried to grow one out while there some of the more anal schools might request that you shave "again". Whereas they'd probably be too scared to ask when you first came to change it. But I don't really know for sure.

I went though different stages. I shaved for the interview but then regrew the first month I was here. I had and didn't have a beard a few times. I also re grew my long hair out when I was in SHS the students loved it


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Libellule
February 3rd, 2014, 06:43
Does anyone know how much of an effect being a little bit overweight might have on my chances?

uthinkimlost?
February 3rd, 2014, 06:44
I met a guy who was at least 200kg. I doubt it has much of an impact.

Gizmotech
February 3rd, 2014, 07:07
Does anyone know how much of an effect being a little bit overweight might have on my chances?

None. In my year there had to be a girl in my prefecture rocking 100-110kg, and I was 115 when I came over.