a merkypie in japan

I wrote a really detailed entry about my interview after I had went through with it. I pulled it down because I remembered I signed a waiver about not discussing the details of the interview. Considering I did not want to disqualify myself out of the running because of my excited feels, I decided to hold back on the interview posts. I might make them public again once I’m in Japan…. like a year down the road.

Everyone tries to rip apart the JET Program. Even I have had my moment of trying to rip apart the JET Program. How does it work? What makes it tick? Who are really behind this waiting game? No matter how many times you try to dissect that which is the JET Program, you’re always left with more questions. When the interview is brought up, people have so many theories on how it works. The paper application is simple, but once you make it to the interview stage, everyone has so many different ways on how to successfully tackle it.

And that’s because there are so many different ways to tackle the interview.

I don’t think people really understand this because for about 90% of the JET Program, majority of the applicants are fresh faces out of college. Of those 90% about, 75% have never had a real job. Those jobs that consist of going through a lengthy screening process in order to score a decent gig at a decent company. So when people think of the interview for the JET Program, people freak out over something that should be the easiest part to tackle.

Why easiest?

I’m not trying to make light of the interview stage. But, it’s harder to convey yourself on paper. It’s difficult to set yourself apart from 5,000 other applicants. When you’re at the interview, you have a moment to state your case and win your panel over. It’s your opportunity to defend what you put down on paper and sell yourself. The interview is all about selling yourself and trying to convince them on how you, out of fifty other people, are worthy of being an ALT/CIR.

I will admit that my interview experience was very pleasant. My panelists weren’t out to get me. I think all interviews are like that. The interviewer isn’t out to get you, they’re trying to figure you out. If you throw a wrench in the process then the interviewer is going to dig deeper to figure you out. Of course at this point in your mind you’re thinking your panelists are trying to rip you apart. That being said, if you’re a person that crumbles under pressure, than the interview process will also be a hurdle to overcome. The best way to approach the interview is to not look at it as something that’s against you but rather for you.

Interviews, not minimum wage work-a-jerk jobs but legit careers, are always tailor their questions towards their applicant. There’s always the standard questions that are job and company specific, but the interviewers are trying to figure you out. That list that out there full of interview questions will be completely useless once you walk into that room. If there’s something you have to study, let it be your SOP and actual application. The questions thrown at me were specific to my SOP and application. There were no ‘ list five things you’ll bring to Japan ‘ questions or ‘ who was the 10th prime minister of japan ‘ drill quizes. But, never to say they won’t pop up. There have been people I know that were asked those type of questions. What I’m trying to say is to not get caught up on what they’re going to ask but rather be focused on knowing you.

If you crack in front of three people imagine what will happen in front of 38 tweens that don’t even speak English?

They are trying to avoid an AWOL situation, or worst, someone having a nervous breakdown. They’re trying to avoid turn overs. It’s a logistic and financial nightmare when there’s a high turn over rate. The interview is the stage to figure you out. How does s/he handle pressure? How does s/he come off to strangers? How does s/he handle themselves in a stressful, unknown, situation? They want strong, independent individuals who will successfully carry out the program’s goals. People who can make a great fit with the JET Program.

If you didn’t make it past the interview, try to figure out what went wrong. What was it that you said? Didn’t say? If you’re going into the interview, try to figure out how would you carry yourself. How can you sell your experience? How will you introduce yourself? Set that lasting impression? Don’t walk in to that room with an air of arrogance but don’t walk in to that room with a defeated, timid, mindset either.

Ask questions, make jokes, be open and be likable.

You’re going to be a teacher on an exchange program, show them how you fit into that mission.

Anyway, someone from Okayama Prefecture said that their BoE hasn’t even begun picking from the shortlist. A CIR from Shimane said that they’ve already selected who they want and preds should hold off on contacting their successors until after May 31st. I will take that with a grain of salt. But I definitely do not see shortlist results coming out this week now… More like next week or maybe the week after….

  • ajisai

    Where did you hear about the Shimane CIR placements already being decided? How is that possible if the deadlines for the Reply form were a mere week ago?
    And, if they ARE already decided than why don’t they release them before May 31st??

    • Merkypie

      I heard about the Shimane CIR talking about placements on ITIL (http://ithinkimlost.com)

      Apparently, from my coordinator, placements start during the interview stage. So with the reply forms coming in, I’m assuming its more of finalizing placements. The COs now have our pictures, etc etc.

      Apparently the May 31st deadline is for when the predecessors can contact us? And COs? Apparently COs and Preds are not allowed to contact us until the coordinators do.

  • ajisai

    Thank you for the info! :)
    wow, placement starts during the interview stage? hontou ni? i just thought that placements were determined AFTER the reply forms were sent in…….

    drat, the COs have our pics now and can say, “well, on second thought, let’s pick another candidate,” hahaha

    here’s to hoping that the COs break tradition and email us out of the blue. It might be a good idea to check the spam settings on your email account so that you don’t miss their email.

    • Merkypie

      No problem 😀

      I think. I mean, no one really knows unless a representative from CLAIR drops by and says, ” Yes, this is how it happens! ” But, it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to believe that once Tokyo makes their selection they begin the pairing process.

      I hope I get notified early by some CO that breaks the rules. But that’s wishful thinking XD

  • ajisai

    good point! I’m just hoping we hear before the end of May!