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The Jet Programme

The Jet Programme interview can be a bit nerve racking as it is one of the most sought after ALT programs because of better salary and working conditions. Generally the interview lasts about 20 minutes and there will be a panel of three interviewers. Two former Jets and a Japanese. Generally when you are called in for your  interview you will have to wait outside of the actual room where the interview is conducted. 

As with most interviews, of course they will ask you some questions like "Tell me about yourself." Try to keep this short and sweet and just hit the main points.

The JET Programme & Interview QuestionsThe JET Programme & Interview Questions

Then you can expect some questions like " Why The JET Program?" It's best to be as straight forward and common sensible as you can be.

One thing that is noteworthy is that the more you talk about yourself the further you open the door to them asking you questions about what you just said. So if you're not the type that is happy, spontaneous and open you may find yourself getting into deeper water. Also don't bother hanging yourself by saying things like "I like sushi and manga". If you are asked what you like about Japan. More info. for Aspiring JETs.

The Jet Programme and Some Typical Questions They May Ask You During the Interview

These type of questions are meant to suss out your personality traits. Notice how they are not stupid questions like "What is your favorite color?" Other JET Programme questions to put you in the hot seat and see how you react are :

  • How does your previous work experience relate to teaching or how could you apply your prior work experience to a teaching position with the JET Programme. 
  • They often follow up with stuff like " Why do you want to switch into teaching from your prior area of expertise?"

  • "Could you demonstrate for us how you would teach a group of Japanese children".

  • They may even go as far as to ask you to demonstrate a simple game or exercise that you could do with the kids for example have them do a "Find Someone Who?" questionnaire where they ask their classmates questions from the handout to find some one who has been overseas, has a dog, a pet, has a brother, sister etc.

  • Which three things would you bring to represent America?

  • You may find yourself in a far-off, rural area, and you may find yourself feeling isolated. How do you do with being alone?

  • How will you be a bridge between your home country and your new town?
  • Tell us about a problem that you've overcome in teaching.

  • What are your strongest and weakest personality traits?

  • What interests you about Japanese culture?

  •  How do you see yourself benefiting the program and yourself if you were hired for a JET Programme position?

  • What skills and value would you bring to the JET programme?

  • What piece of pop culture from your country would you like to teach to your kids?

  • What would you do in a class of rowdy students?

  • How would you handle a student who does not speak in class?

  • How will you share Japanese culture with your home country when you return?

  • How would you deal with culture shock?

  • What would you do if the JTE made a mistake during lecture/class?

There are a few thing in general to keep in mind. They will scrutinize your application, resume and credentials and will ask fairly pointed questions about that so it's a good thing to try to envision what type of questions they will come up with based on the information you gave them and have meaningful response prepared.

They might even go into areas of current political events between your native country and Japan.

There is also a Japanese section of the interview where they will ask you some simple questions in Japanese. The level of difficulty will depend upon how you filled out your JET Programme application. 

If you indicate your spoken and written Japanese is basic they will ask you simple questions.  Something like "what is your favorite city in Japan and why?"  "What is your favorite season and why?" If you indicate that you have intermediate skills you should expect more difficult questions.

It's also a good idea to have a few questions of your own to ask the interviewers. Try to come up with something creative and not something that is so commonly asked. That way, they know you care enough or are serious enough about the job to ask a meaningful question.

One thing to keep in mind is that because the JET Programme is quite competitive (and they know this) you can't come across with wishy-washy answers. Like all other ALT programs out there and quite frankly all other companies that might interview you, they want to be assured that your going to be an asset to them. It's your job to sell yourself as competent, easy going fun and enthusiastic about joining their team to make your contribution.

Related Pages & The Most Common Eikaiwas Are...

  • Work Abroad as an ALT - The basics on on being an ESL English teacher in the public sector.
  • ECC- One of the bigger schools. 171 branches that employs over 600 ESL teachers in Japan. Also does well in the ESL forums in terms of few complaints.
  • Aeon - A monster of a school. 320 branches all over Japan with around 100,000 students under their belt. They focus on adults.
  • Amity - A spin-off of Aeon. It is their children's division with less than 100 schools throughout Japan teaching from toddlers to teens.
  • Peppy Kids Club - Focuses purely on children. Huge school with a presence in every prefecture except Okinawa.
  • The Basics on The JET Program - Working conditions, salary, employment locations, health insurance etc
  • Teach ESL Abroad With the JET Program - Another ALT program. Participating  countries. Do's and don'ts especially considering the application procedure.
  • Nova - The basics on working conditions, accommodations and visas / sponsorship.
  • Salary comparison chart for large English schools in Japan. 
  • TEFL Program - Online vs onsite programs. The pros and cons are discussed. Find out which is best for you.

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