It can be hard to interview for one job while you are still working at another. I mentioned that I was still employed at the time of my JET interview, but fortunately the interview location was a ten minute walk from my office, and my appointment was at 1:00 so I just “took a long lunch break.”
- Don’t worry about brushing up on your Japanese, unless you are applying for CIR.
- I’m sure I completed turfed the Japanese part of the application. They didn’t explain to me that it was bonus, and when they asked me to read out loud, I was so nervous that I just started annunciating every syllable, instead of silently scanning the passage then reading it.
- Be prepared to answer situational questions
- Envision yourself in the classroom, and know how you would handle certain situations. These could be both positive and negative. It’s ok, if you don’t have teaching experience. Remember, you’re an ALT, so you can always defer to the Japanese instructor, who has way more experience and understand the culture better than you do anyway. Don’t try to make up new rules or pretend like you know what you are talking about when you don’t.
- Be prepared to address uncomfortable or controversial questions
- I spent quite some time rehearsing responses to these types of questions. Fortunately, I only got asked one questions, and it was exactly the one I had prepared for. Basically, the interviewers may try to test your composure by asking you something way out of line. They want to see if you freak out or remain calm. They also want to make sure you are not going to make a scene in the classroom.
- Be professional, but personable
- This is still a job interview, proper dress is a must, but it’s not accounting for god’s sake. Show some character. Be fun, friendly, happy. Try not to take yourself too seriously. For me, smiling and chatting is the way I deal with being nervous. Before the interview I went around the lobby and introduced myself to all the other applicants. Chatting with people helped calm my nerves, and nothing is more nerve-wrecking than sitting in a silent lobby with a crowd of nervous people.
- Know your application
- I have been to many job interviews where my interviewer barely glanced at my resume, and I felt like I need to repeat basic details about my qualifications. This was not the case with the JET interview. My interviewed could practically quote from my application. Re-read it the night before, and be prepared to discuss any element of it in great detail.
- Have fun!
- This was a fun interview for me. From what I have heard, when JET interviews go wrong, you know it. And when they go right, you also know it. I left the interview feeling very energized and enthusiastic about the program. I was in a great mood all week. Then of course later on I started relaying my responses in my head and getting paranoid wondering if I said the right things.
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