I guess that graduating college really DID pay off. I’ve been looking for jobs in the Syracuse area to no avail. They all said I didn’t have enough experience, or that I’ve had too many driving tickets (for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, of course), or they’ve turned out to be scams (I ALWAYS look thoroughly into places where I’m going to be employed) or just not good enough pay for even someone as lowly as a recent college graduate. But now, I have an interview to teach English in Japan. It’s clear in its qualifications: I need to have a bachelor’s degree, I don’t need to speak Japanese, and I have to be able to spend a year in Japan without any problems. And now that I have this opportunity, now that I’m good enough to even get the interview, I’m scared shitless.
I have no idea what to do. The only job I’ve interviewed for was with Best Buy, and I wasn’t wearing a pinstriped suit, then. Does anybody that has had experience with job interviews have advice for me?
I’m actually intending to take a gap year before college to teach English over there. I’d go.
If you’ve never been to Japan, I can assure it’s not really hard to get around, whether or not you know Japanese; English is currently a massive fad in Japan to the point that it will actually be spoken to you more than Japanese, especially if you’re obviously American, and especially by kids. I had a conversation at a hotel where I spoke entirely Japanese and a Japanese guy spoke entirely English for about fifteen minutes before we realized that we were doing it. Most signs have smaller signs telling what they are in English, as do most menus. (Simply thinking of menus, if you order a hamburger and are not fond of mayonaise, ask for it held regardless of whether or not it says it has mayo. It was on every single one I saw, pretty much, and in truly revolting quantities.)
There are a lot of ideas that they aren’t accepting of Western Culture (which is total bullshit), westerners, or tourists (which, as a Teacher, you wouldn’t be, but still), and those may have been true in the past, but I certainly never found them when I was there. A group of ReJ (Japanese Reggae subculture) kids took me under their wing for the week I was in Kyoto and showed me most of the city’s underground culture. I got hit on every five-fucking-minutes at a mall in Tokyo. So the people I met were far from unaccepting and unaccomidating. Of course, looking quickly into cultural taboos (don’t kiss in public, generally; don’t eat while walking unless you are eating ice cream or, sometimes, a crepe, which are excepted for reasons I do not fully understand; don’t leave a tip unless you’re in a western restaurant; et ceteras) won’t hurt anything.
In short, it’s incredibly easy to get around in, regardless of your knowledge of Japanese, and I didn’t meet anyone who wasn’t incredibly friendly if you were polite to them. Most of the myths about Japanese people being stuffy or hostile are totally false, and any tales about being lost in a foreign land certainly are. In smaller towns, they may be more true, but big cities are open, accepting, and accessible.
EDIT: I seem to have misread the “experience” part slightly. I’ve got nothing much on Job interviews to give.
Act confident, but not aggresive. Make sure to make eye contact when necesary, and do your best to answer questions without awkward delays.
I’ve had a few job interviews, Ken, and I can tell you: just be yourself. If they don’t like you odds are that you wouldn’t be happy working for them anyway. Besides, if you go all worried to the interview you might just say or do the wrong thing. Just relax and deal with it. From what I know about you, I think you’d make a great teacher- you’re a writer with a tendency to question the standards. That’s the kind of open-minded mentality that needs to be taught more, in my opinion.
P.S. If you do get the job, how would you go about moving to Japan and living/working there?
There are a bazillion sites with interview tips but if you are scared shitless the best advice is to calm down. You fit their needs, you managed to get an interview and if you are relaxed you’ll project a better image, give better answers and show them why they should trust you with the job. If you can find some extra info about the company you’ll be also able to tailor your answers for them. Best of luck.
Good thing the job won’t require speaking English, since you seem to have some difficulty with the difference between the words “English” and “Japanese”.
That sounds like an excellent opportunity. The Japanese are fascinating in that, more than any other people, they seem to have built their entire society around aesthetics.
I’ve been looking for a summer job in my home town for the last couple weeks, and I’ve been surprised to find almost all of the ones I’m interested in require you to apply totally online. There’s no chance to make a good first impression or even face to face contact before an employer accepts you. Since when did employment become an internet personality quiz? Can I just email them a picture of a knight in shining armor and tell them I’m Lawful Good?
Actually, Vorpy, when I was looking last year for organizations to teach through, a lot of them don’t require you to know English or Japanese. (You learn along with the class, I guess? It would keep you from moving too fast, at least.). I would guess he meant Japanese, too, but don’t be so quick to assume.
Silhuoette: That’s an interesting idea, about aesthetics. You should PM me about it, so as not to clutter up the thread. I want to know your reasoning. I’ve never thought of it before, but I guess it could make sense.
That sounds mighty cool, Roun. Good luck! I can’t give you many tips on how to act since I haven’t had many interviews myself, but you could try to keep in mind that the person who interviews you may be very nervous too. That might help you feel calmer
Take a glock and be all like “Gimme this job fo’ I BLAST yo azz, mothafucka!”
Worked for me.