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altkaren
February 13th, 2015, 05:45
I need some advice about where to go from here... I got rejected from Interac.

Basically, all throughout college, I was thinking that I'd go to Japan via JET. I applied last November but didn't make it past the paper application stage. I won't go into any details about it, but the reason JET rejected me is because of something that I can't change in the least, so even if I were to apply again next year, it'd come to the same result. So then I decided to apply for Interac. It went really well at first - I sent in my online application, got a call back two days later: they want to schedule a phone interview with me. I go through with the phone interview - my recruiter wants to invite me to a seminar. I spend all my spare time preparing for the seminar - practicing my demo lesson, reviewing for the interview, gathering my documents. The seminar goes really well. Not to toot my own horn, but out of the five people at my seminar, I think that I did the best job out of all of us in terms of the demo lesson. My recruiter also said that it went really well, and she liked my energy and enthusiasm. So I do the interview in the afternoon - it goes well, and my recruiter seems very optimistic about it. One thing that I thought was weird though, was that she asked me if there was anything that would cause me to terminate my contract and leave Japan early, and I said that probably not, unless there was some sort of family emergency, like a death of one of my close family members or something, but that since my family members are all pretty healthy, I didn't foresee anyone dying. (my brother is 26 and no major health problems, my parents both eat well, exercise daily, and get checkups religiously.) I submitted all my documents to her at the seminar - resume, background check, photos, the works. The only thing I didn't give her was my transcript, but that's because I haven't officially graduated yet and so would have to wait until I received my degree.
After the seminar, there was no word from them for several weeks. (the seminar was at the end of January). But the other day, I got an e-mail from the Tokyo office that said, "We are unable to process your candidacy at this time. It is company policy to not reveal anything about an applicant's rejection..." and the whole spiel about not being able to tell me why I got rejected.
I have tons of questions, but I guess the foremost one on my mind is has this happened to anyone else - been rejected by Interac after going to a seminar? If so, how did you deal with it? Would it be worth my time to try and reapply for Interac and hope for different results, or should I just move on and find another way to Japan?

word
February 13th, 2015, 10:08
You're skirting around something here that may prevent us from being able to accurately answer your question.

It sounds to me as if you either have a criminal record or a serious medical condition of some sort. Either of those could easily result in rejection from JET and even rejection from Interac in the manner you've described here. If either of my guesses are true, I doubt you'll be accepted under any circumstances, and it may prove to be quite difficult to get a visa no matter what method you use to get here.

Jiggit
February 13th, 2015, 10:20
Right. We won't pressure you to reveal any kind of personal information about yourself, but I agree with word that it seems as if that is the cause of the issue for you.

It may be that you are able to get to Japan through another means, but I think that if it's the case that Interac rejected you for the same reason you were rejected by JET, they will likely reject you again for the same reasons. If it is something like a criminal record, it may just be the case that it's just an automatic dismissing factor unless there is no-one else available. I think this is how a lot of companies work, and it really isn't particularly fair, but that's probably how it is. Discrimination is particularly severe here - with how low crime rates are (or are perceived to be) in Japan, those who are seen as criminals are treated with little sympathy, regardless of the nature and circumstances of the offense.

The only other explanation is that somehow you're presenting yourself in a negative way that you're just not picking up on. Seems unlikely, but without more to go on, that's all I can suggest.

Either way, good luck.

Gunjumero
February 13th, 2015, 10:38
I applied last November but didn't make it past the paper application stage. I won't go into any details about it, but the reason JET rejected me is because of something that I can't change in the least, ?

Isn't that a perk of having aliases on the web ?
You could go into details and if you ever want to stick around on the forum, create a new account and be karalten and no one (well don't take this one now) will know.

But...to be more helpful

If that's something you really want to do, well to me it's worth your time.

I don't know how long it takes to apply and get a reply from Interac, someone here probably know, then you could decide if it's worth trying (if it doesn't take TOO long).

But if you do find other ways to get to Japan, does this could also come up somehow ? Maybe not if they don't dig too deep ?

BifCarbet
February 13th, 2015, 13:09
Interac executive staff members have individual company facebook pages. You might be able to get one to talk to you.

altkaren
February 13th, 2015, 15:04
Thanks for all your quick replies. I don't mind talking about it, because it's not something that I should be ashamed of, but I didn't mention it in my original post because I didn't want to get all rambly and everything. I was born with Asperger Syndrome, which you may or may not have heard of. I was diagnosed in grade school and received educational interventions to help me with making friends and relating to others - I've never needed a doctor to treat me for it. The reason I was rejected from JET was because of this - even though the ADA exists in all its glory, JET used a loophole to force me to reveal it at the paper application stage and then rejected me for it. On paper I was the ideal applicant - in-depth knowledge of Japanese culture and language, outgoing, previous experience in the classroom, and I had even been an invited speaker at a graduate-level class and a conference. I had also done a study abroad in Japan and stayed with a host family - I remember reading somewhere that if you stay with a host family, that shows that you can be fully accepted into Japanese society (or as much as a gaijin would be able to) but I can't remember where I heard it.

Although JET never tells you why you're rejected in the first place, I realized that it was because of this - for the Interac app, I gave basically the same information I had for JET: same references and same SOP; I just took out mention of JET and added a few sentences at the end talking about how Interac's educational philosophy really rang true with me. Of course, Asperger's isn't something that can be cured, and as long as Interac didn't use that as a reason to reject me and actually looked at me for who I was, I didn't give a crap what JET thought. I don't have a criminal record of any sort - hell, I don't even have any parking tickets or anything - but when I was in high school, one of my teachers used my Asperger's as a reason to exclude me from her class, and the newspaper did an article about it, and even though that was eight years ago, if you Google my name, it pops up as the fifth result, right after my Facebook and Linkedin profiles. Would that have anything to do with it, perhaps?

word
February 13th, 2015, 15:29
I'm virtually certain that JET didn't reject you on accounta your Aspergers, unless it's severe to the point that you would be unable to function effectively in society without assistance. That doesn't sound like anything along the lines of what you've described here. I've met all sorts of folks in JET, and I might even venture a guess that, amongst ALTs, Asperger Syndrome (at the more functional end of the spectrum) is fairly common (relatively speaking).

If there was an incident which received media attention, however, I can certainly see such a thing impacting your candidacy for either program, depending largely on the details of said incident, of course. Japan doesn't really like it when someone rocks the boat (even if they're quite right to do so).

If it was revealed that you deliberately concealed or withheld information pertinent to your mental health from your JET application, your candidacy would almost certainly be negatively affected as well. I'm uncertain as to the specific nature of Interac's hiring policies, but I strongly suspect they, too, would view lack of early disclosure rather negatively.

uthinkimlost?
February 13th, 2015, 15:34
even though the ADA exists in all its glory, JET used a loophole to force me to reveal it at the paper application stage and then rejected me for it

ADA only applies in America.

johnny
February 13th, 2015, 16:18
I agree that it might have helped if you had you mentioned your Aspergers in the first place. I know that coming from America, it doesn't seem fair, but you're not looking for a job in America.

Uthink is right too. Unfortunately the hiring laws of your country or state are not applicable to either the Jet Programme or Interac since the job is in a different country.

Maybe PM MC or SFC and ask them what your chances are on Jet if you reapply next year, but disclose all medical information.

uthinkimlost?
February 13th, 2015, 21:27
I think I've only known one ALT with Asperger's. (At least I'm pretty sure he had the condition. Never asked.) He seemed to have quite a bit of difficulty interacting with his schools, but he stayed on for a few years.

It isn't impossible.

haitch40
February 13th, 2015, 21:34
I am starting to think they rejected you on personality. You are blowing your own trumpet quite a bit throughout these 2 posts saying you are the perfect candidate.

Ini
February 13th, 2015, 21:45
I am starting to think they rejected you on personality.
If thats true then theres clearly no point in you bothering to apply.


ignore the haters altkaren. get your nutty self to japan if thats where you want to be. try the other ALT companies if necessary.

haitch40
February 13th, 2015, 21:47
If thats true then theres clearly no point in you bothering to apply.


No there isn't. My life dream is to sell the big issue.

Virgil
February 13th, 2015, 22:19
If thats true then theres clearly no point in you bothering to apply.


ignore the haters altkaren. get your nutty self to japan if thats where you want to be. try the other ALT companies if necessary.
That almost sounds like encouragement.

Gunjumero
February 13th, 2015, 22:28
That almost sounds like encouragement.

I too was surprised.

But seriously,
Ini must be above criticizing someone for being born with something he/she never asked for and seeing it used as an excuse to exclude you from trying to have the same experiences and opportunities as everybody else.

Send a PM to miamicoordinator or that other one , SFcoordinator (something like that , sorry I forgot), one of them (or both) will probably be able to tell you if you could have made it if you had mentioned it initially when applying.

altkaren
February 14th, 2015, 03:09
I'm actually pretty high-functioning at this point, and there's nothing related to my having Asperger's that would make me unable to perform the functions of an ALT job. Heck, I'd say that having Asperger's actually makes me a better candidate - I have great auditory and visual memory, so if I hear or see something once, I remember it. Because I have limited interests, I've studied Japanese exclusively for seven years and can now speak, read, and understand it really well. I'm planning to take NJLPT level 1 this year, as well. My biggest challenge at this point is making friends, which has absolutely nothing to do with being an ALT. I can still teach English and relate to my students as much as the next girl.
When I applied for JET, I was intending to disclose it once I got past the paper application stage so that I could explain it in person without them developing prejudices, but I did end up disclosing it at the paper application stage; I contacted my local embassy and asked about it, and they said that if I tried to hide it and they found out about it later, I would be disqualified from participating on JET. I played it up as a strength in my JET app, instead, talking in my SOP about how having Asperger's has given me a different view of the world and how I've been able to focus on studying Japanese because it's one of my limited interests. I didn't hide anything about it in my JET application.
For Interac, it was a completely different story. On the online application, all they asked about was if I was aware that some prescription drugs weren't available in Japan and if I could perform the physical capabilities required to do the job (walk up several flights of stairs without trouble, lift up to fifty pounds, etc.) Not a single question on the Interac application related to mental health or disabilities in any way. (I know that I said in my previous post that I used the same SOP as I had for JET, but I actually took out the part of my SOP that mentioned that I had Asperger's.) When I did the phone interview, my recruiter didn't ask a single question about whether or not I had a disability. And when I went to the seminar, all my recruiter asked me in the way of health was if I was aware that certain drugs are unavailable in Japan and if I would be okay with that. I know that Interac has offices in both America and Japan, but the ADA definitely applies here because Interac America is located in America, has more than fifteen employees, and hires American citizens. As an American citizen with a disability, the ADA protects me from discrimination on the basis of my disability - and autism is actually specifically stated in the text of the ADA as being a disability. I shouldn't have to disclose it, nor should they be allowed to reject me because of it. JET was allowed to ask about it because it was technically run by the Japanese government, but Interac never asked about it, nor was it pertinent to my being able to live and work in Japan.
Here are the health-related questions from the online application:

Checking the accompanying box indicates that I understand the physical requirements for working for Interac may involve: lifting up to 50 lbs/ 23 kg, walking for up to 30 minutes, climbing flights of stairs, standing and/or being active for prolonged periods of time up to 5 days a week.
Have you been convicted of a criminal offence in the last 10 years, or are there any criminal charges outstanding against you?
Are you aware that many prescription drugs available in the US, Canada, Great Britain etc. are not available in Japan?
Would you be willing to submit to a drug test during your employment with Interac?
Is anyone traveling with you to Japan?

Take from that what you will, but I don't see how my having Asperger's would ever interfere with being able to teach English in Japan.

Zolrak 22
February 14th, 2015, 03:17
Having a hard time making friends might be a factor.

Being in a foreign land with no one to talk to/depend on etc for a year or longer will most likely cause depression and any other number of troubles.

This might be what they were thinking. [emoji53]

Gunjumero
February 14th, 2015, 03:29
Having a hard time making friends might be a factor.

Being in a foreign land with no one to talk to/depend on etc for a year or longer will most likely cause depression and any other number of troubles.

This might be what they were thinking. [emoji53]

If that's the case that's sad. They won't tell you the reason since if they do, it becomes illegal (maybe ?).

But if the Intererac application didn't ask about it, how they did find out ?

Zolrak 22
February 14th, 2015, 03:33
But if the Intererac application didn't ask about it, how they did find out ?

Her social interactions during the group conversations?

(Guessing at this point)

johnny
February 14th, 2015, 03:50
I know that Interac has offices in both America and Japan, but the ADA definitely applies here because Interac America is located in America, has more than fifteen employees, and hires American citizens. As an American citizen with a disability, the ADA protects me from discrimination on the basis of my disability - and autism is actually specifically stated in the text of the ADA as being a disability. I shouldn't have to disclose it, nor should they be allowed to reject me because of it. JET was allowed to ask about it because it was technically run by the Japanese government, but Interac never asked about it, nor was it pertinent to my being able to live and work in Japan.

Were you applying for a job with Interac America or to work in America? I think you were applying for a job to work in Japan for a Japanese company so from what I under Interac America need only abide by Japanese law for the hiring process.


Mind you, what do I know?

A have a friend who does some international law. I should ask him.

moonbeam
February 14th, 2015, 07:20
Making friends is part of the exchange part of JET though. It's what allows you to be a better part of the community because you're getting to know it at a grassroots level. Making a lasting impression--a good one--is important to JET. And having Japanese as one of your limited interests is good...but I'm sure JET also wants people to be interested in a variety of things. It's outgoing people who aren't afraid to go outside of their comfort zone that they look for.

Why do you think they rejected you for it though? What loophole could they have found? It's not like they release this kind of info for you to know.

uthinkimlost?
February 14th, 2015, 09:01
Your Asperger's was not the reason. Like I said, I've met an ALT with a pretty obvious case. You need to examine other aspects of your application.

ADA does not apply. Interac America just represents the Japan branch. That is your actual employer.

Penguee
February 14th, 2015, 09:01
Well, if you've been rejected twice now, I'd say that if you really want to go to Japan and get experience, try a private English school. If it's a smaller one they would sponsor you and help you out. And then you'd get some experience and then maybe after a year you could apply to go as an ALT again?

MikeCarter
February 14th, 2015, 10:51
Sounds like you're using your disability as a scapegoat tbh.

"I played it up as a strength in my JET app, instead, talking in my SOP about how having Asperger's has given me a different view of the world and how I've been able to focus on studying Japanese because it's one of my limited interests."
"My biggest challenge at this point is making friends, which has absolutely nothing to do with being an ALT."

These two points are kind of worrisome. Did you actually tell them you have limited interests and have problems making friends? The first point may be the reason your app for JET was rejected (how is someone supposed to represent their culture if they only have limited knowledge of it?), and the second point is a really big flag.

I mean, you'd be going to a new country, alone, and surrounded by people speaking a new language. Isolation could be a real problem, and if you already have problems with social situations, depression is very likely. I'd worry about sending someone like this too. You want to send determined, well-rounded people who can deal with changes easily (in theory at least). You don't sound like one of those people unfortunately.

That can change though. If you're able to deal with your disability as easily as you claim you can, then all you need to do is explore your own country a bit first. Maybe work on your social skills as well (not sure how they are, but if you have trouble making friends then I'd guess not the greatest).

BifCarbet
February 14th, 2015, 11:29
Supposing you are capable and would make a good ALT, it sounds like you misrepresented yourself. So if you do believe that you would be a good fit for the program, try again next year, taking all of MikeCarter's points into account. I'm not trying to be offensive, but it sounds like you treated Asperger's as something you needed to defend. I don't think they're interested in you going to Japan to overcome a challenge. Instead of defending yourself, next time (if you choose to reapply) just downplay it. Present yourself as a cool, fun person who's ready for an exciting new opportunity.
They probably read your statement as, "I've got this thing, but I swear to god it's not a big deal. You have to believe me."

webstaa
February 16th, 2015, 08:35
There are absolutely ALTs on JET who have disclosed ASD on their applications and still gotten in. Even those on medications who had to go off medications to take their positions.

BeckyJones
February 16th, 2015, 09:56
Heya.

First, There are plenty of Aspies on JET. Seriously. There is probably a higher portion of JET Aspies than the percentage of Aspies in the general population...

The problem with your application honey, and everything you've said so far is that you don't seem like the kind of person that can handle the JET program and the ALT gig. Being "into" Japan isn't a good point, especially to the point that you think it is. JET is looking for ALTs who are flexible, sociable, NOT Japanese and flexible. I said flexible twice because that is the biggest thing they want. From your posts, it seems to me that you have a singular focus, and drive for "ALT". Hell, your handle is ALTkaren. That, to me... isn't the desired person. They want someone who can say "? what you totally threw a curve ball at me for no reason? #YOLO why not... lets do this shit" instead of a person who is stuck in their ways.

Second, for the most part they don't want a Japanophile... They want an American, Canadian, Brit etc etc. So the more you trump up your "I'm so into Japan!" the less desirable of a candidate you are. If you are into Japan, that is fine... But if your sole interest is JAPAN, that is a RED FLAG for anyone hiring you. Why? that doesn't make sense! Well, a lot of us here have been here... a long... long .... long.... time....... And the people who flip out and have severe issues are the ones that are into JAPAN. Why? because life in Japan (your study abroad doesn't count... seriously... it doesn't) isn't and will never be 100% what you think it will be before you move here. People who have a singular focus in Japan, and Japanese culture tend to hit the wall... and hard... So most people who screen applications look for that. And to be honest with you, When I helped JET screen people, that was the biggest "NOPE NOPE NOPE" flag for me. Because the only suicide I've had the displeasure of dealing with, was a mentally disturbed JET who made JAPAN their life before coming here, and freaking out that it wasn't his dream...

Take some time and think about it, Ask yourself this question? "Would I mind teaching in Korea? China? Thailand?" If the answer is no, I don't want to teach anywhere but Japan... then you are probably not the candidate they are looking for.

Gunjumero
February 16th, 2015, 09:59
Take some time and think about it, Ask yourself this question? "Would I mind teaching in Korea? China? Thailand?" If the answer is no... then you are probably not the candidate they are looking for.

Didn't you just make a point about the importance of being flexible ?

Isn't saying no I wouldn't mind teaching in all those countries make you uber flexible ?

BeckyJones
February 16th, 2015, 10:01
Didn't you just make a point about the importance of being flexible ?

Isn't saying no I wouldn't mind teaching in all those countries make you uber flexible ?
sorry, not enough coffee... wording issue. That is the point, if you can say "yea... I'd do that" that makes you flexible, and makes you a better candidate. A singular focus on Japan, the holy land... the nerd mecca isn't what the type of person they are usually looking for.

Gunjumero
February 16th, 2015, 10:05
sorry, not enough coffee... wording issue. That is the point, if you can say "yea... I'd do that" that makes you flexible, and makes you a better candidate. A singular focus on Japan, the holy land... the nerd mecca isn't what the type of person they are usually looking for.

Yeah that's what I thought, thanks

Virgil
February 16th, 2015, 12:10
Wow, good post BJ.

johnny
February 16th, 2015, 13:24
BJ does bring up good points. Flexibility is really, really important. This is expected from employees in Japan. And that's what you will be if you're short-listed and placed, and employee of your CO.