Saturday, January 17, 2015

Applying for the JET Program: JET Interview Sample Questions

When I was applying to JET I decided to scour the internet and make a list of all the interview questions I could find that people were actually asked. I'm going to share the list I made below in case it helps anyone else. Note that these will widely vary based country and even consulate.

Additionally, certain situations will probably lead to different and more detailed questions. For example, a CIR or (mythical) SEA will probably get questions more specific to their job responsibilities. A family JET may get grilled about what their family members will do and how they will cope.

Protip! A lot of answers to hypothetical situation questions can be found in the General Information Handbook, under the work section. It's definitely useful to read those and get an idea of what they want to hear as an answer to those kinds of questions.

Also, if you're applying from Toronto, you can check out my personal interview experience.

Most Important Questions
You will be asked these or something similar, so know your answers and make them good!

1. Why JET?

2. Why Japan?

3. Why do you want to be an ALT?

4. What skills and qualities do you possess that will be beneficial to the JET Programme?

Other Questions
A note about questions regarding knowledge of Japan - don't stress too much about it. If you don't know things, that's fine. Just make sure you have a good answer as to why. For example, if you don't know the 4 main islands of Japan, just say something about how you're looking forward to having the chance to learn more about Japanese geography first hand.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

6. How does JET factor into your future goals?

7. You list X position as work/volunteer experience on your application. How do you think this position could help you as a teacher on JET?

8. How would you deal with working with an uncooperative Japanese teacher of English? An uncooperative principal?

9. X, Y, and Z are listed as your hobbies and interests on your application. How do these relate to your culture? How would you teach people in a Japanese community about your hobbies?

10. What are some famous places in Japan that you know?

11. Who are some famous Japanese people that you know?

12. What are the 4 main islands of Japan?

13. Who is the Prime Minister of Japan? The Emperor?

14. What would you do if you were receiving unwanted attention/being harassed?

15. How would you present your culture in a lesson?

16. What if your students don’t want to learn English?

17. What is your favourite part of Japanese culture?

18. What 3 props would you use to teach about your country?

19. Are you familiar with the current economic situation in Japan?

20. What’s happening in Japanese news?

21. Can you name two Japanese celebrities?

22. Describe current (your country)-Japan relations.

23. How can JET help (your country)-Japan relations?

24. Tell me about your teaching experience.

25. How would you motivate disruptive students?

26. Why did you request placement at x, y, z?

27. How would you handle being placed in a rural area?

28. How would you handle culture shock?

29. Teach us about animals/colors/food/holidays/numbers/abc/body parts/asking permission.

30. How would you work to interact with your students?

31. What age group are you interested in teaching?

32. Introduce yourself in Japanese.

33. What cultural event would you like to see in Japan?

34. Sing a song.

35. What did you learn about Japan from your visit? [If you've visited before.]

36. Tell me about your course on (subject). [If you've taken an Asia/Japan related course.]

37. What would do you if you are asked to make tea for your coworkers? [For females.]

Family JET Questions
I personally didn't get any questions like this except for number 5, but my mom also told me beforehand that is is illegal to ask those questions in Canada for job interviews, so maybe that was why? I know that many family JETs have written about this though. It is understandable, as a JET participant bringing along a spouse and/or child(ren) could be considered somewhat more prone to breaking contract if someone is unhappy. Anyway, I would recommend knowing the answers to these sorts of questions. Make sure you go into the interview prepared to explain the plans for your spouse and/or child(ren).

1. What will you do if your spouse hates Japan?

2. What will your spouse do in Japan to keep busy?

3. What will your child do or who will care for them?

4. What if your child has to deal with racism or harassment in school?

5. What if you have to go on business trips away from home?

6. What will you do if your child gets sick?

Ask Your Own Questions
Additionally, it is advisable to prepare a list of questions you want to ask. At the same time, try to think of questions during your interview that can relate to the people on your interview panel - for example, something you can ask an ex-JET or consulate worker specifically. Make the questions meaningful and show that you are thoughtful and interested in the program. Some ideas:

1. How many schools does a JET typically teach at?

2. What was the most valuable thing you took away from the JET program?

3. Do JETs have the opportunity to participate in school clubs?

4. What are some ways a JET can get involved in the community outside of school?

One last thing - good luck!

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