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Thread: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

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  1. #1

    Default Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    I realize that for some (myself included) the wounds of the interview may be too fresh to discuss at the moment, but I know many (again, myself included) are dying to hear other people's experiences. By now all US interviews should be over so lets discuss!!

    unfortunately I don't feel too confident about my interview. I had the misfortune of catching a cold a few days before my interview and it really killed me. I didn't take any cold meds the night before for fear of have a late groggy morning and as a result I couldn't sleep (plus there were some...."defects" with my hotel room...). At any rate, I was pretty tired, but my interview was at 11 so I shaped up. What really killed me was my cold. I ended up taking some meds so I could avoid sniffling and such during the interview. It fogged my head up a little and I also had a slight fever so I'm sure I appeared very nervous (between the nerves, blazer and 100.7 fever I was flushed and sweating some). Plus my throat was sore and my voice suffered. I felt like all of my answers were good but my delivery was lacking. I was not as sharp as I wanted to be and couldn't quite get to the words I wanted at some points. I also completely bombed one question. They have me a brief Japanese assessment, and praised my proficiency but as we all know, that is far less important than the rest of the interview.

    All in all if I had to rate my performance I would give it an 80/100. I just feel like I isn't put off the presence I needed to, even if my answers were solid.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    I came out of mine feeling like I did the best I could've done and that I handled myself relatively well. Of course, since then I've been replaying all the most awkward moments over again in my head and I'm not sure what to think anymore. I kinda wish I could go into hibernation or cryogenic sleep or something until April so I don't have to keep thinking about it. I've been stressed about the whole process since the night I mailed my application. xp

  3. #3
    Member Shelia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Personally I felt that mine went well. My panel of 3 was composed of an ex-JET dude (who I'm now convinced is the president of my local JETAA) and 2 Japanese ladies (one older and one younger). The ex-JET pretty much asked most of the questions but there was a Japanese section where the older Japanese lady took charge.

    I managed to get a few good laughs from them especially during the Japanese section where they gave me pictorials and asked me to provide the conversation. I had a lot of fun doing so and they commented on how I brought the conversations to life. There were also 4 or 5 simple Q&As in Japanese ranging from what did you have for dinner last night to if you had to choose from a newly renovated mansion or an old but characteristic apartment which would you live in. At the end I was given an opportunity to ask them questions during which I again made them laugh by asking for tips on how to make the next 2 months go quicker, but I also had a couple of more serious questions lined up, which turned into a discussion on JET experiences / lifestyle which I feel is a good sign, and they recommended me to take the Advanced Japanese course offered by JET should I be accepted.

    The other questions I got asked were very much based on what was in my application / SOP and there weren't really any curveballs so I won't go into further detail, but I did head straight to a bar after my interview and wrote down my questions over a nice cocktail.
    Last edited by Shelia; February 22nd, 2014 at 05:49.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??



    Actually, I don't think it went that badly. However, we won't know how things went until we hear back in two months. The "Interview Questions and Advice 2014" thread has pretty much turned into a conversation about how the interviews went. If you are interested, check out the last five pages or so. There are tons of accounts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelia View Post
    I managed to get a few good laughs from them especially during the Japanese section where they gave me pictorials and asked me to provide the conversation. I had a lot of fun doing so and they commented on how I brought the conversations to life.


    I wonder if I was too straight laced in my interview... I was very professional, composed, and measured. Which means that I was able to speak relatively articulately, but it really diminished any sense of personality. I mean, it is a great method for interviewing for security jobs, but maybe it is less appropriate for this type of interview. Well, nothing I can do about it now. However, it will be something to think about if I don't get the job.
    Last edited by spman2099; February 22nd, 2014 at 05:53.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    They're gonna burn you inside a giant wicker anpanman.

  5. #5
    Member Shelia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Quote Originally Posted by spman2099 View Post

    I wonder if I was too straight laced in my interview... I was very professional, composed, and measured. Which means that I was able to speak relatively articulately, but it really diminished any sense of personality. I mean, it is a great method for interviewing for security jobs, but maybe it is less appropriate for this type of interview. Well, nothing I can do about it now. However, it will be something to think about if I don't get the job.
    I think it just depends on your panel, the atmosphere in mine was relaxed and casual, the interview itself was conducted in a small meeting room with lounges and a coffee table with water provided, and the flow of the interview was far more conversational than rigid so to me that called for a natural approach whilst being professional and articulate in my answers. If I walked into a room with 3 people staring me down across a table I would be straight laced too!
    Last edited by Shelia; February 22nd, 2014 at 06:09.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Mine felt like a bit of both. I was sitting on a chair halfway across the room from the interviewers, who were behind a long table. I had to keep leaning forward so I could hear them properly. But they were all pretty friendly and asked me a few questions to break the ice before getting into the harder stuff, and it felt semi-conversational at times, which helped me relax.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Just by the responses of many of you, I really doubt I'm going to Japan this year. The whole discussion I had about promoting diversity took a big turn that pretty much destroyed any of my credibility. That happened pretty early in the interview, but I also felt I was too casual and unprofessional for an interview. I made the interviewers laugh a bit, but I don't think it helps me much. My only good points came from my passion for teaching I suppose.

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    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    The last words I heard as I was walking out of the interview room were a, "Well he was...!" I could hear the tangible exclamation mark in the sentence, but the last word(s) were shut out.

    At first it sounded like an enthusiastic recommendation, as in, "Well he was... Interesting! Fun!" However, the dreaded self doubt set in merely a few hours later and I know I'll fall to sleep tonight to the imagined scene of my three interviewers shutting the door and laughing about what an awful candidate I had proven to be.

    All in all I'm glad it's over. I messed up a bit, but I also made my panel laugh and I certainly held nothing back. If I get in, it's because they liked me flaws and all and I'll be happy. If not I'll know that it may not have been meant to be (at this point in time) and I will look to something else with the knowledge that I at least didn't let an opportunity go by without chasing it as far as my legs could take me.

    Thanks to everyone on the forums for keeping the rest of us up to date with your adventures, and let's hope this isn't where any of them end!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Yea one thing I really regret is lack of specificity. In my current job, there are so many legal pressures when corresponding with clients that I am so used to giving vangue, pc, abstract answers. I think that really came through on a few questions in the interview and looking back I know I should have given actual examples.
    Last edited by jmejia019; February 22nd, 2014 at 13:47.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    I'm actually fairly confident in my interview. Of course I've read the horror stories of how hard the interview is, but I've had much more difficult job interviews in the past.

    Strange thing in mine was that they didn't ask if I had any questions at the end. While waiting in the lobby with the other interviewees, the former JET talking to us said that they weren't bothering taking questions during the interviews...but it felt so off for me that I ended up forcing a question through them anyways. I think it turned out to be a good idea, as it ended up sparking discussion amongst my interviewers.

    The interviewers also seemed genuinely surprised when I told them that I intended to stay on the program for the maximum amount of time I'm able to. The question I asked pertained to that, so hopefully it showed that I wasn't just saying "I'll stay on for as long as you like!" just to sound good.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    I was given a chance to ask questions after one of the interviewers said the interview portion was over. Afterwards though, right before leaving one of the other interviewers mentioned "oh, before I forget," with another question for me about a hypothetical teaching situation.

    I'm divided between "Great, they enjoyed my company enough to want to know more," and "Dammit, they probably rejected me and cut the interview short, and he was probably being polite."

    I'm certainly overthinking it, but it's the #1 thing stuck in my head. This is gonna haunt me to April.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    My interview seemed to go all right. My panel was made up of two JET alums and a Japanese lady and they were all very friendly. I made them laugh a few times and they seemed to like my questions at the end. The time flew by, it felt like five minutes rather than twenty. But of course later that day the doubt starting creeping in so I guess we'll see in April.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Quote Originally Posted by jmejia019 View Post
    All in all if I had to rate my performance I would give it an 80/100. I just feel like I isn't put off the presence I needed to, even if my answers were solid.
    In my university if you can swing an 80, you have earned yourself an A. Having an 80 average when you graduate will be enough to graduate with distinction. So, congratulations.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    They're gonna burn you inside a giant wicker anpanman.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Quote Originally Posted by spman2099 View Post
    In my university if you can swing an 80, you have earned yourself an A. Having an 80 average when you graduate will be enough to graduate with distinction. So, congratulations.
    I hope that's the case. I just keep thinking how even if my interview was an 80, we all know that there are far less slots than applicants so 80 might still be too low.

    Anyone know a roundabout proportion of how many interviewees get in? 1 in 3? Probably heavily dependent on the location too.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Quote Originally Posted by jmejia019 View Post
    Anyone know a roundabout proportion of how many interviewees get in? 1 in 3? Probably heavily dependent on the location too.
    Someone at my location asked that question. They said something along the lines of 1 in 9. Some years it's 1 in 6. And as for dependent on location, they said it could be as few as 8 or as high as 900 getting in through where I was interviewing at.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Quote Originally Posted by jmejia019 View Post

    Anyone know a roundabout proportion of how many interviewees get in? 1 in 3? Probably heavily dependent on the location too.
    I have a rough idea for Toronto, I think...

    So, there were four applicants at my location when I interviewed. My interview was scheduled to be twenty minutes long. Thus, if this was all standard, there would be twelve interviews every hour. So, if they were all working a straight eight hour day without lunch, they will have interviewed ninety six people a day. We know that they interview for three days, so the overall total would be two hundred and eighty eight interviews. This sounds about right, as I have heard that Toronto does about three hundred interviews. Now, my understanding is that Toronto gets about seventy positions. If all the above holds true, and some of it may not, that means that one in four get hired. That, however, should be a relatively high estimate. Surely some people didn't show up, it is likely that there is a lunch break, and it isn't guaranteed that all three days are eight hour days.

    If anyone else interviewed at Toronto, and has some conflicting data (or supporting data), I would love to hear it. Better yet, if you were involved in the hiring process at some point you could give us even more insight.
    Last edited by spman2099; February 23rd, 2014 at 04:15.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    They're gonna burn you inside a giant wicker anpanman.

  17. #17
    Member nostos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    I was in Toronto on the last day, at the last time slot (3:15 - judging by the fact that the registration room was dark and empty when I left). My interview was supposed to be about 20 minutes; ran for more like 30. There were 2 or 3 other people interviewing at that time. I was surprised how empty it was! Oh, and my interview room was empty when I got there. Not sure if that's standard (maybe they schedule more time for interviews, but only use 20 mins) or if it was just because I was the last of the day and things were slow.

    Somewhat unrelated - did anyone else have an interview panel of only 2 people? Mine was just 2 Japanese guys. Kind of threw me off. I also wasn't given the chance to ask questions at the end, which is making me nervous. I didn't even realize at the time, I was probably too shell-shocked haha.
    Last edited by nostos; February 23rd, 2014 at 05:12.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Quote Originally Posted by nostos View Post
    I was in Toronto on the last day, at the last time slot (3:15 - judging by the fact that the registration room was dark and empty when I left). My interview was supposed to be about 20 minutes; ran for more like 30. There were 2 or 3 other people interviewing at that time. I was surprised how empty it was! Oh, and my interview room was empty when I got there. Not sure if that's standard (maybe they schedule more time for interviews, but only use 20 mins) or if it was just because I was the last of the day and things were slow.

    Somewhat unrelated - did anyone else have an interview panel of only 2 people? Mine was just 2 Japanese guys. Kind of threw me off. I also wasn't given the chance to ask questions at the end, which is making me nervous. I didn't even realize at the time, I was probably too shell-shocked haha.
    Likewise, I had two Japanese gentlemen. Maybe for Toronto there was no former JET used in the panel this year?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    They're gonna burn you inside a giant wicker anpanman.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    So I felt like I did the best I could during the interview. There were things I wish I had said but without knowing the questions, I came up with the best responses I could at the time. That being said, if it went poorly or well, depends entirely on how they took my answers. Which I couldn't quite tell if the answers were well received or not. They smiled and nodded but that could have just been the panel being polite.

    I did not have a mock lesson. I heard somewhere if you have teaching experience they sometimes skip that part of the interview. Which kinda bummed me out after the fact. At the time I felt lucky but later I thought that my mock lesson could have helped prove all the points I was making about my teaching ability. Ooooor I could have royally flubbed it up.

    And I was asked if I had questions at the end of the interview. I thought it was important that I provide some questions but for some reason I completely blanked on the questions I had prepared. So I asked some simple questions about the orientation process and how the contract renewal works until I could think of one of those prepared questions. I asked three questions and the last one I asked dealt specifically with a video I watched on their website. I could tell the other two weren't paying attention to the first two questions but with my last question, they perked up and started writing again. And the Claire Rep said "Oh! That's an excellent question." I hope that got me bonus points then.
    Last edited by HorseFeathers; February 27th, 2014 at 07:34.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Soooo.....how was everyone's interview??

    Quote Originally Posted by HorseFeathers View Post
    So I felt like I did the best I could during the interview. There were things I wish I had said but without knowing the questions, I came up with the best responses I could at the time. That being said, if it went poorly or well, depends entirely on how they took my answers. Which I couldn't quite tell if the answers were well received or not. They smiled and nodded but that could have just been the panel being polite.

    I was complimented on my experience at the start of the interview. The rep from Claire made an offhand comment that I certainly have more experience than usually seen which I'm not sure if that's good because they liked that or bad because they are wondering why I chose JET now.

    I did not have a mock lesson. I heard somewhere if you have teaching experience they sometimes skip that part of the interview. Which kinda bummed me out after the fact. At the time I felt lucky but later I thought that my mock lesson could have helped prove all the points I was making about my teaching ability. Ooooor I could have royally flubbed it up.

    And I was asked if I had questions at the end of the interview. I thought it was important that I provide some questions but for some reason I completely blanked on the questions I had prepared. So I asked some simple questions about the orientation process and how the contract renewal works until I could think of one of those prepared questions. I asked three questions and the last one I asked dealt specifically with a video I watched on their website. I could tell the other two weren't paying attention to the first two questions but with my last question, they perked up and started writing again. And the Claire Rep said "Oh! That's an excellent question." I hope that got me bonus points then.
    That would make sense. I did not have a mock lesson, but they went on and on and on about my previous student teaching experience!!

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