Japan: The Interview

So, after waiting a week or two after applying for different jobs, I got a phone call one morning from one of the schools. They were calling me just to check if I had a foreign accent. At first I felt a little bit offended but, to be honest, they should check this kind of thing.

Anyway, after the phone call I received an email saying that they would love to invite me for an interview. As their office was in London and that’s where I live, it was easy to arrange a time that suited both parties. Then they told me about everything I had to prepare for the interview.

Now, remember that I’ve been comparing my experiences with my friend Fred. Both our interview requirements were very similar. Basically, it’s a very long interview. The difference between mine and his is that he actually has to go to a seminar with other prospective employees.

Both interviews consisted of an English test, a normal question and answer session, a presentation about the company and a sample lesson. In his case, he has the option of recording it or doing it during the seminar. What the lessons include was slightly different, but both include singing a song. Mine was only 3-5 minutes, so it wasn’t anything glamorous or complicated.

I showed up for the interview early and they immediately gave me the English test. It was 15 minutes long and I had to identify kinds of mistakes and write a small essay on what kind of teacher I wanted to be (there were different kinds of questions you could choose from). While I did that they photocopied all the documents they had asked me to take in with me: passport and diplomas.

After that was finished we moved to a conference room and they showed me a DVD about the company and they went through all the information related to the work hours, students’ average age, wage, taxes, etc. They even showed me a clip of a lesson, which we both commented on while it was playing.

Then they left the room so I could set up my lesson, and even gave me a box of materials I could use. To be honest, I didn’t need much as I had made a poster for the occasion and just needed to open it up. They came back, one of them pretended to be my 5 year old audience (and did it splendidly), and then we had the q&a session. Questions involved how I would deal with specific situations in the classroom, situations with the parents and how I would deal with being homesick.

In case you want to see it, here’s the poster I made.


After that we had a little bit of a chat, they told me that the head of HR would call me soon in order for him to check if I had an accent again, and that was it. I left feeling like they had liked me and hopeful that I would get the position.

The following week was spent in agony as I waited for the head of HR to finally call me. When he did, it was 9am and I hadn’t even had my coffee (I start work at 12). I might have mumbled a bit, but he was nice enough, asked me about the difference between Brazilian and European Portuguese and how I had become interested in Japan.

That was on Friday. The following Monday I received the offer, promptly accepted it and proceeded to tell my boyfriend, family and friends.

As for Fred, he was interviewed for a company online via Skype, and he’s going to the seminar of a different company this weekend, so I can tell you if he had a similar experience or not later.

Next time, I’ll tell you about everything I had to get ready after I accepted the position. I really hope this has been useful and please, tell me what you think about the posts and ask me any questions you might have in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,



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