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Thread: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

  1. #1
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    Default The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Hey guys,

    Long time lurker, first time poster.
    This forum has helped me out a lot during the application process and in preparing for the interview.
    Today I just took the interview in the japanese cultural centre in Toronto.

    I was interviewed for a full 30 minutes by 2 ex jets who work for the consulate (a white guy and a japanese canadian), and some of the questions they asked were:

    Why jet?
    what traits or characteristics do you bring to the ALT position?
    name 2 famous japanese person.
    what else do you know about the JET program?
    Jets are sometimes placed in a rural setting, and often times they would be the only non japanese person in the village. How would you deal with this?
    What was one of the biggest challenges you had to face in your life/work experience and how did you over come them?
    How would you react to different teaching styles of the leading japanese teacher?
    I see you are chinese, why didnt you apply to schools in china?

    There was more but I can't remember.
    They also asked me to do a 1 minute lesson to complete beginners about fruits.
    I was cut off half way through, but I did take more than 1 minute. Heck it took more than 1 minute just to learn their names.

    They also gave me 2 pictures and asked me 3 questions in japanese and told me to answer them. I got 0/3 because I don't know japanese well enough beyond the simple greetings and expressions.

    The questions I asked them were:
    What was the biggest unanticipated challenged you guys faced upon first landing in japan as first time jets?
    Which received a frankly unimpressive answer of "It was very hot" from one of the guys.

    If I started this job tomorrow, what would be something that would surprise me about the position?
    At first they turned the question around on me, after a bit of pressing I was given another frankly unimpressive answer of "The class size, maybe?" as the two interviewers looked at each other with a confused expression on their faces like they didnt expect to be asked questions.

    Was there anything that I have or havent said during this interview that would leave you to have any doubts as to whether or not I am the appropriate candidate for this position?
    They looked at each other again and said nope then showed me out.


    And with that my interview was done.

    so what did I screw up on?
    I couldn't name TWO god damned famous japanese person. I immediately thought of president Abe, but I completely blanked out on trying to come up with another name. As someone who doesnt follow japanese media (mainly because I dont speak the language), I only knew Shinzo Abe's name from world news. I know I am a complete idiot for not being able to come up with 2 on the spot, I can think of several other now that its over and done with. I know it was in the list of questions that may be asked, but I just couldnt pull up any names on the spot.

    Also when they asked me what else I knew about the JET program, I blanked out for a bit before saying that I knew jet also offer CIR positions, and its a program designed to bring international influence into japanese classrooms. I don't think they were impressed with that answer either.

    These two questions were asked early on when I was still quite nervous, the rest of the interview went smoothly however.

    So I guess the question is, am I screwed? I heard the acceptance rate from the toronto consolate is really low, considering there isnt a lot of spots for toronto in the first place.
    Would that single screw up not being able to name 2 famous japanese person autofail my interview?
    Feel free to respond and reply with your own interview experiences as more of you guys start to take them.

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    I don't think the naming two famous Japanese people would necessarily disqualify you, they asked me if I'd seen anything in the news about Japan recently and I had to confess that I hadn't. I remember feeling the same irritation as you at drawing a blank on it. I'm sure if we asked you now you'd be able to roll off at least 4-5.

    Not knowing about the JET programme sounds like a bigger problem. That really looks poor for a lot of reasons, I'm afraid; again, maybe you just got flustered, but you should have shown that you were interested in the job and had researched it properly.

    Those interviewers kinda sound like jackasses, and tbh I'm glad my interviewers mostly weren't ALTs, but for future reference if your interviewer doesn't invite you to ask questions then don't push them to answer a lot of them for the sake of it. Also it's kind of unprofessional to try and get them to hint at whether you got the job or not.

    At this point I would put JET into the back of your mind and continue on with your life as usual. Don't assume you got in or were rejected, just let it happen and decide what to do about it afterwards.

  3. #3
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Two Japanese people, doesn't sound like a fail to me.

    Not knowing other things about the JET programme? That sounds like a decent flub. That being said, you never know. Go have a brew down in the port south of rogers centre, relax, and come back in a couple of weeks to tell us if you got shortlisted or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Going to ditto the celeb thing, sounds like a perfectly normal thing to not know if you are not into Japanese media. Not like Western media imports tons of Japanese (nonanime) media on a massive public scale so I would not expect people to know any to be honest. Least you did not name random Asian celebs that are clearly not Japanese. Now that would be bad on multiple levels lol.

    In general it sounds like you did not do too bad. Sounds kinda like how mine went last week. Lots of the answers I gave felt half explained and thought out compared to what I wish I said/would be a better way to say something. I assume they realize its a high pressure interview for a lot of people and take that into consideration but still, even after a week and talking to others here and on another board who tell me it sounded like I did well, it still feels like I completely bombed it. I half blanked on a bunch of questions too, its just how it goes for some people and sadly... nothing we can do about it anymore.

  5. #5
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Nobody has a perfect interview. They know that too. I wouldn't worry too much about your answers. I think they care most about how genuine and capable you are. College grades matter. Your statement of purpose matters. Every part has a certain weight, and you didn't disqualify yourself. Don't worry.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; February 5th, 2015 at 12:07.
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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    College grades don't matter at all. This has been said more than one time (By coordinators), that the only purpose of the transcript is to prove graduation status for the VISA.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Meh, I don't know how famous they are, but I'm aware of a few names in my desired field.

    I'd imagine things like those is what they are looking for, ways to link your goals with Japan.
    Last edited by Zolrak 22; February 5th, 2015 at 12:08.

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    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    College grades don't matter at all. This has been said more than one time (By coordinators), that the only purpose of the transcript is to prove graduation status for the VISA.
    Oh. OK. That wasn't REEEEEEALLY the point. I was just kind of trying to say that it's a comprehensive review of your candidacy, not a "do or die" interview.

    Really I was just trying to be positive and calm some nerves.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; February 5th, 2015 at 12:06.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    I dunno, I can see why people would panic and think "I don't know Japanese pop culture!" but if you think about it they don't have to be actors or pop stars.

    Hayao Miyazaki? Akira Kurosawa? I know all JETs are basement-dwelling nerdhermits, but you probably know a couple Japanese sports players or athletes. Especially if you're American. Writers? Haruki Murakami, Natsumi Souseki, Kazuo Ishiguro (I guess he's British)? Fashion Designers? Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto? Hell, even if you are allergic to all non-nerd culture, it shouldn't reveal you as too much of a weeaboo if you say Akira Toriyama (Dragonball), Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo, Mario creator) or Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon). Hell, even if you're just a music nerd, say Yoko Ono and have a chuckle about it.

    If I were the interviewer I would probably allow for drawing a blank in a panic, but if you really can't name two famous Japanese people at all... not only does it show a lack of knowledge about Japan, it kinda shows you're not a very well-rounded individual in general.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    I dunno, I can see why people would panic and think "I don't know Japanese pop culture!" but if you think about it they don't have to be actors or pop stars.

    Hayao Miyazaki? Akira Kurosawa? I know all JETs are basement-dwelling nerdhermits, but you probably know a couple Japanese sports players or athletes. Especially if you're American. Writers? Haruki Murakami, Natsumi Souseki, Kazuo Ishiguro (I guess he's British)? Fashion Designers? Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto? Hell, even if you are allergic to all non-nerd culture, it shouldn't reveal you as too much of a weeaboo if you say Akira Toriyama (Dragonball), Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo, Mario creator) or Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon). Hell, even if you're just a music nerd, say Yoko Ono and have a chuckle about it.

    If I were the interviewer I would probably allow for drawing a blank in a panic, but if you really can't name two famous Japanese people at all... not only does it show a lack of knowledge about Japan, it kinda shows you're not a very well-rounded individual in general.
    Come on now. Let's be supportive.
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    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    The truth is supportive.

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    Default The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    I was never asked the question, but I had Abe, Ichiro, Miyazaki, miyamoto, Akihito and Matsui at the ready.

    I just got my first Murakami book by the way. I'm excited to read it.

    As for the interview, what's done is done.

    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

    A good tip for any job interview is to research the company or organization before the interview.
    Last edited by johnny; February 5th, 2015 at 12:46.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    I just got my first Murakami book by the way. I'm excited to read it.
    Which one did you get? An original or is it translated?
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    I've never been "sigged" before, someone teased me once saying they would, but it didn't happen.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Quote Originally Posted by PuddingHead View Post
    Which one did you get? An original or is it translated?
    Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

    My brother loves that book so he gave it to me as a Christmas present.

    Also, it's definitely translated. I'm still trying to get through my first Doraemon manga.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

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    Senior Member PuddingHead's Avatar
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

    My brother loves that book so he gave it to me as a Christmas present.

    Also, it's definitely translated. I'm still trying to get through my first Doraemon manga.
    Yeah, it'll take a while before I'll be able to get through an entire novel.
    The first book of his I read was A Wild Sheep Chase. I'll have to give Hard-Boiled Wonderland a shot if it's someone's favorite.

    Enjoy!
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    I've never been "sigged" before, someone teased me once saying they would, but it didn't happen.

  16. #16
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    Default The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Quote Originally Posted by PuddingHead View Post
    Yeah, it'll take a while before I'll be able to get through an entire novel.
    The first book of his I read was A Wild Sheep Chase. I'll have to give Hard-Boiled Wonderland a shot if it's someone's favorite.

    Enjoy!
    I'll get to the Murakami book in the next day or two, but I'm not sure when I'll get to the others. I'm reading some history books right now. I'm on a Roman history kick right at present. I'm also reading se books on Japanese history.

    I also want to finish Gai-Jin and read Noble House.
    Last edited by johnny; February 5th, 2015 at 13:06.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  17. #17
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Ever read I am a cat?

    I don't know if the original is as amusing, but I quite a enjoyed the translation.
    Last edited by Zolrak 22; February 5th, 2015 at 13:20.

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    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    I don't think the naming two famous Japanese people would necessarily disqualify you, they asked me if I'd seen anything in the news about Japan recently and I had to confess that I hadn't. I remember feeling the same irritation as you at drawing a blank on it. I'm sure if we asked you now you'd be able to roll off at least 4-5.

    Not knowing about the JET programme sounds like a bigger problem. That really looks poor for a lot of reasons, I'm afraid; again, maybe you just got flustered, but you should have shown that you were interested in the job and had researched it properly.

    Those interviewers kinda sound like jackasses, and tbh I'm glad my interviewers mostly weren't ALTs, but for future reference if your interviewer doesn't invite you to ask questions then don't push them to answer a lot of them for the sake of it. Also it's kind of unprofessional to try and get them to hint at whether you got the job or not.

    At this point I would put JET into the back of your mind and continue on with your life as usual. Don't assume you got in or were rejected, just let it happen and decide what to do about it afterwards.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    I was never asked the question, but I had Abe, Ichiro, Miyazaki, miyamoto, Akihito and Matsui at the ready.

    I just got my first Murakami book by the way. I'm excited to read it.

    As for the interview, what's done is done.

    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

    A good tip for any job interview is to research the company or organization before the interview.
    Thanks for the advice guys,

    Its not so much that I didnt know about the JET program. It was more of I wasnt sure they were asking specifically with such a general question so I sat there like an idiot for a good 15 seconds, and instead of asking them to clarify or for specificity I just blurted out whatever that came to my head at the moment. As for the japanese figures, I realized afterwards they didnt mean just celebs from pop culture, and as soon as I walked out that door I had names popping up into my head.

    I guess I was just pretty dazed for not being able to come up with 2 names on the spot and it just really didnt sit well with my already on edge nerves (these were 2 of the first questions they asked me). It wasnt until they started asking questions about me that things started to normalize

    And its also true im not as crazy about japan as some other applicants here. To me japan is just another country with a unique culture I would like to experience, the program being as competitive as it is I guess its a good thing that spot will probably be going to someone who deserve it a lot more than I do

    Like several people have already said, whats done is done
    Time to cut my losses and apply for EPIK
    Last edited by jakjak4161; February 5th, 2015 at 13:36.

  19. #19

    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jakjak4161 View Post
    T It was more of I wasnt sure they were asking specifically with such a general question so I sat there like an idiot for a good 15 seconds, and instead of asking them to clarify or for specificity I just blurted out whatever that came to my head at the moment.

    Like several people have already said, whats done is done
    Time to cut my losses and apply for EPIK
    This is what happened to me lol. The guy's phrasing was really general and in retrospect I can think of what he might have meant more specifically, but at the same time as the interviewer he did not correct my line of answers so -shrug- who knows. But yeah I had the "saying something is better than going "ummmm" for a few seconds" interview. I wish I would have said give me a second or I would have to think about it, but instead I just kept saying things without thinking too much or as much as I would have liked.

    And ditto for the EPIK thing haha, been mulling that over too.

  20. #20

    Default Re: The obligatory I did x on the interview am I screwed thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jakjak4161 View Post
    So I guess the question is, am I screwed? I heard the acceptance rate from the toronto consolate is really low, considering there isnt a lot of spots for toronto in the first place. Would that single screw up not being able to name 2 famous japanese person autofail my interview?Feel free to respond and reply with your own interview experiences as more of you guys start to take them. Thanks
    Hey Jakjak, fellow Toronto JET here. What's done is done. Congrats for making it to this point and goodluck in the future. I hope you get in. Looking back, how do you think you would have prepared differently?
    2010-2015 Toronto JET | Gunma-ken | thejetcoaster.com

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