Two posts in a day! Crazy right? You’ll never see this much activity from me. Or maybe you will and I’ll end up posting five things in a day and then nothing for months, that’s more my style. Anyways, on to the post!
I wanted to write this and add my voice to all of the others out there that people look to as a resource because I know I was just trolling through them this morning. I have always found lots of advice through reading blogs and it’s only right in my mind to share my experience too.
As I am sure you have seen before the Interac Application has three stages to it. You first submit an online application through their site. It’s fairly easy to get through, if a bit long. Everything is straightforward enough and the part to worry about the most is the little essay/cover letter you are asked to write(2500 characters including spaces). Just focus on why you want the job and why you would be good for the job. If you’ve ever applied to JET before, because most people applying to Interac have at some point, then it’s fairly similar to your SOP. That should really be the trickiest part. After you click submit you get a confirmation that it’s been sent and then you wait. Probably not for very long though unless you are applying at peak times, like say after you find out you didn’t get a JET interview. In my case I submitted my application on June 1st at like 9 or 10 at night and I received a call the next afternoon. This call was very simple and quick. They just want to confirm a few details from your application and they will probably ask a few questions along the lines of ‘Would you mind a rural placement?’ and ‘Would you be willing to drive?’. Be as honest as you can and unless you have a really serious reason why you can’t then you should say yes to the driving and rural questions as your chances will improve. If they like what they hear from you in this call, which they most likely will because they called you, then they will probably ask to schedule a time for a phone interview. Mine was scheduled for today at noon.
After you get off that first call they will send you a few documents to look over. One is basically just the FAQs that you can find on their website. Read it over carefully though as there is tons of info in there about the job you are applying to do that you should know. The other is a document about working as an ALT and gives details about the schedule and expectations of the job. Read it carefully because they do ask you about it in the phone interview.
The phone interview itself is pretty straightforward and really laid back. The first they they will do is ask if you have any questions so if you have anything that the FAQs or other documents have brought to mind then ask them, they don’t mind. Personally I asked about tattoos because well, I have one, and the wording in the documents from Interac is not encouraging on that front. The recruiter I was talking too was very understanding though and to sum it up the message is, you can have tattoos but you can’t show them at work or in the community you are living in. So I guess that means no shorts in the summer, ne? Not too likely with how hot Japan is supposed to be in the summers but I have no problems investing in things to keep it covered while I am there.
After my question we jumped right into the interview. The questions really are what you hear about from other people. Why Japan? Is rural okay? Is driving ok? Remember that ALT sheet they sent you? They will ask a few things about it like what you think the typical responsibilities would be in a day and what makes a good ALT. These are the ones I would make notes on over anything so you don’t sound like you are fumbling for an answer. They will ask you about your teaching experiences if you have any as well. They will also ask you about money and whether or not you will have the money they recommend. It was all really straightforward and the interview questions maybe lasted 10 minutes of my 20 minute call in the end. The only thing that surprised me was that I never got the school lunches question which I had heard about on other blogs and videos. Goes to show that every situation is different and all.
After the questions part was done I was given the offer right away of moving to the next stage of the process(Yes!). Now here’s where this might get a bit different. Normally they next stage is you attend a seminar with several other applicants where you have to do a grammar test, demo lesson, and in person interview. Now I live kinda far away from the nearest seminar locations(I’m talking like full day drive, $300 dollar min. flights far), so instead I will be having a Skype interview. This also means that I am on my own to create the demo lesson and I have to film and upload it to them before my interview can happen. I am a little disappointed to not get the chance to meet other applicants but I am also glad I don’t have to find my way to Toronto or Vancouver. It also cuts down the wait time I thought I’d have as the Toronto seminar is next weekend and there is no way I could have made it and the Vancouver one was all the way at the end of August. So less waiting but also less help I guess? I am just glad that things are moving forward!