4 Tips for Acing the JET Programme Interview

jobsinjapan.com -- Mar 14

In this article I’ll tell you the 4 tips I used to pass the Jet Programme interview not once but twice!

The JET Programme will be your golden ticket to Japan for many of you who want to live in Japan. It offers a very reasonable salary, 20 paid days off a year, and total immersion in a country that fascinates many.

For me, the JET Programme looked like an English teaching job that wasn’t a scam amongst the sea of suspicious-looking ads. I didn’t have much interest in Japan specifically, but now I’m in my 4th year here and I absolutely adore this volcano-covered island chain, with all its weird and wonderful quirks.

I originally applied to the JET programme in 2017 and was accepted then. Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances, I had to turn down the job offer. But in 2018 I reapplied and was accepted again. I don’t mean to sound like a big dog, but I’m probably one of only a few people to have done the JET interview twice and been approved both times. That leads me to today’s post, 4 tips on how to nail the JET interview.

1. Show You Won’t Jump Ship

Hiring a new ALT on the JET Programme is quite a financial commitment for the Japanese government. Rather generously, the government pays for your flight over to Japan, training, and setting you up with all the essentials of daily life, not to mention all the extra resources you’re offered by your individual Board of Education. If you stay longer, you make all that time, money and effort invested by your contracting organization worthwhile.

With that in mind, the main thing you should be conveying in your JET interview is, “I will stay in Japan for a while”. How can you do that? Prove that you don’t just love Japan for its pop culture. Show that you have experience living a long way from home, or that you have a hobby that you’re keen to pursue in Japan that might lead to you forming a strong group of friends. I remember one interviewer went off on a speech about how he had a rugby team that got him through his time, before asking me, “…so what hobbies do you think you have that’ll get you through?” I answered my love for music would do that, and lo and behold it has. I’ve managed to worm my way into the music scene in my city, performing on the regular with my Japanese mates and having many a fun night out.

In both of my JET interviews I was asked, “What experience do you have living abroad?” and “How do you think you’ll overcome culture shock?”, so it’s obviously a priority that they take on people that are likely to stay long term.

One mistake I think a lot of people make is thinking a love for anime/manga is enough to get you through your time here. It’s a big part of the culture here, but it’s certainly not going to make you want to stay long-term. Show you can cope with living a long way from home for other reasons.

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