TACKLING THE JET PROGRAM (PART 5): THE INTERVIEW

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JET interviews are coming up soon and I’m sure the lucky few who landed them are getting more and more nervous as they wait.

I debated recounting my interview experience…but it wasn’t really that interesting. Plus, I tend to ramble and nobody wants to read that haha.

SO! What do you need to know about JET interviews? How can you nail it? How can you knock it out of the park? How can you tackle it and make it your bitch?

The JET interview is definitely pretty intense in that you have about twenty minutes to convince three people why they should accept you into a program that will send you to Japan. I know that I was super stressed about my own interview – I think it’s totally natural to be! The key is to take that stress and let it fuel you to do your best!

Here is some advice that seemed to work for me:

DOs: 

– Look amazing. Throw on your best suit/skirt/whatever. Make sure you’re well-groomed and look professional.

– Know your shit. The interviewers will each have a copy of your entire application in front of them. They’ll have read it before you enter the room and will be asking you specific questions from it. Know your application forward and drawkcab!

– Know their shit. It definitely does not hurt to be knowledgable about both JET and Japan. Know how long the program has been around. What are some things that the JET Program has done for Japan? What does MEXT stand for? CLAIR? How many JETs were sent over last year? Who’s the Prime Minister of Japan? Does your city have any Sister City ties with Japan?

– Ask a thoughtful question. At the end of my interview, the panel asked me if I had any questions for them. To be honest, I can’t remember what I asked but it’s good to think of something if you are given the opportunity. Something like ‘I see that the number of JETs accepted every year is declining. What do you think the reason is for this?’ is a good question rather than ‘HOW MANY PPL R U SENDING OVER THIS YEAR?’.

 

DON’Ts:

– Talk about anime. Just don’t. Trust me on this.

– Expect them to be nice. If you get a nice panel, great! Know that there have been stories of people playing the ‘bad cop’ during interviews in order to see how applicants do under pressure. My own panel was nice, but they also had great poker faces. I never knew if I was saying the right thing or not.

– Freak out. Part of the interviewers’ objectives are to try and trip you up. Stay composed and be ready for anything. They might make you give an impromptu lesson on Halloween. They might make you sing for them. They might even make you dance! Just be prepared.

After my own JET interview, I was second guessing myself hardcore. You might feel the same. It’s easier said than done but…don’t worry about it. Pack it away in your mind somewhere and wait until April.

As always, if anyone has any questions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them as quickly as I can 🙂 Just keep in mind that I’m not affiliated with the JET Program and all the knowledge I have just comes from my own experiences as a JET.

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