JET Application (Part 4): The Interview

JET int tips mem

Hi all, by now they should have announced (or will soon) who made it to the interview stage. Congratulations to those of you that made it to the next stage, and for those of you that did not,  don`t give up! Try again next year!  Now there are a few things to do before your interview, and the requirements could change, but what I remember is needing to have a passport photo attached to a sheet with my general information on it that you hand in upon arrival.  If you already have passport photos, but don`t like what they look like, retake them,and not the morning of the interview … like I did… that is one headache you don`t need!

What to Wear

      If you are wondering how formal or informal you should be, this is a good rule of thumb for any interview; dress for the occasion.  I recommend business professional as the definite go-to-move here. You do not want to be the sloppily dressed one at the party.

Mental Preparedness

It took me 4 trains and almost 2 hours to get to the embassy. So, be sure to leave well ahead of when you need to in order to ensure that you arrive with time to spare. I recommend stopping by a local cafe beforehand, grabbing your favorite choice of tea or coffee, whatever soothes the soul and your nerves.  Sit down, and drink it while relaxing little by little.  It won`t help you to be so high-strung that you can`t even say your own name without getting tongue tied. (P.S. If caffeine makes you jittery, skip it….and yes, decaf has caffeine.

The Interview

For my interview I was expecting a 1 on 1 setup. I was way off. There were actually 5 interviewers in the room with me and a few of the others said they had 4.  This is not to say that it will be exactly like this for you, but it should help you prepare mentally at least.

This is the layout that seemed to repeat itself:

  • 1 volunteer (typically a previous JET [non-Japanese]) that asks questions, will be asked to give their opinion of you, and will help with translating any difficult questions/ responses as needed.
  • 2-3 representatives asking you direct questions (typically a program employee [Japanese])
  • 1 person sitting towards the back of the office observing [Japanese] not sure what their purpose is.

I had spent a good hour or so reviewing my self-introduction, as well as how to state my reasoning for applying to JET Program in Japanese, only to find out that the majority of the interview was in English. They will likely have read your short essay and don`t want to sit through a spoken version of it as well, so try to have a summary of it in mind if they ask you “Why are you applying for JET?” or such.

If you stated that you have moderate to advanced Japanese on your application, they will likely switch into Japanese and ask you a few questions towards the end. The main thing that racked my nerves a bit was that they can ask you to do a 1 minute demo lesson for any age group that they see fit.  If they don`t specify the age of the students, I would ask, and adjust your language use and talking speed to the age group. You could also state the age group of students you are doing the demo lesson for as an alternative.

As with any good interview, you should have one or two questions that you would like to ask after they have asked their questions. I would even recommend getting the business card or contact info of one of your interviewers. (I chose the previous JET/ volunteer.)

Notes/ Disclaimer

To be clear, I cannot go into too specific of detail as the JET Program(me)/  CLAIR specifically requests that you do not. In addition to that, everyone is likely to have a different experience, so don`t stress if it`s a bit different. I will be posting a quick comparison for the CIR interviews as well with a bit of help from a few friends. If you have any other questions, post them below and I will be sure to respond!

Good luck!


About mindofryan

spontaneity - check open minded- check optimistic- check 一期一会 - check I am a College grad, managing the daily work load, a social life, and personal hobbies. I love martial arts and am interested in seeing the world and it's cultures.

Posted on January 27, 2016, in JET Program(me), Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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