So the day has finally arrived â€“ the application process, the preparation that you've (hopefully) done, the dreams of sipping sake amongst the bright lights of Tokyo â€“ they all come down to this, the most important day of the JET application process. And it's not just the broad scope of the interview and language proficiency test that make today important â€“ it's the entire context of the day, and it's the little things that can make or break your entire application. But when you're well prepared, there's no reason to expect anything other than success.
Dress the part. You may feel that the best portrayal of yourself is in your jeans and favourite golfer. You may have images of yourself in rural Japan, decked out in cargo pants and a check short sleeve shirt, being a travelling teacher supreme. But you're in different territory now â€“ this is a job interview, and it's on Japanese soil. Chances are, when you are actually teaching in Japan, you may be able to relax your attire as the contracting organisation gets used to you (and you get used to the working environment) but the Japanese people take their work life seriously, and by dressing the part you will show that you are serious about the job you are applying for. Remember, the JET programme is a job, not a cultural vacation. Think "Japanese business man (or woman)" â€“ for men that means formal pants, a long sleeve shirt and a tie. For women, there are more options â€“ just keep it smart. This can be as stylish as you want it to be, just don't get overly flamboyant with your colour combinations. The Japanese business culture can be quite conservative, so a shimmering purple shirt with a bright orange tie and orange pants isn't going to give the impression you're looking for. You want to dazzle in the interview, but not because of the reflections that your outfit is creating. Keep it simple, keep it formal.
Arrive early. Well early. There's a reason why the words "Japan" and "efficiency" are often found in the same sentence. Arriving early creates a great impression, and don't think that they don't notice â€“ a little bird once said that the form where you sign in upon arrival at the Embassy for your interview forms part of your application. And it's not uncommon for applicants to be called in for their interviews anywhere from 15 â€“ 30 minutes earlier than expected. Chances are you'll be called in slightly earlier or bang on time, but don't risk being late. This is one interview that you want to arrive a full hour earlier for. Set the alarms, plan your route, leave time for any delays â€“ and get there early.
Get talking. Your interview starts as soon as you pull up to the boom gates that will lead your way into the Japanese Embassy. Be friendly, be respectful and speak clearly â€“ to everyone. The guy operating the boom, the security officer signing you in and anyone else you may come across. You never know who's connected to whom and by being on your best behavior you create a good impression with everyone. Not only that, if you keep talking it's a way to practice your annunciation and pronunciation, warm you up for the interview and shake off some of those nerves â€“ the other applicants are great for this too. You may find yourself sitting in a quiet room with other JET hopefuls, some looking like they're waiting their turn to be led to the slaughter. Start up a conversation â€“ get people talking about what you're all there for, which is the JET programme. You're all in the same boat, and everyone is at least a little nervous. By talking to your fellow applicants and discussing the interview, Japan or anything that may come up, a huge load of stress and tension will make its way off of your shoulders and out of the room â€“ and set you up for a much more comfortable interview. And who knows who might be taking note of the friendly, outspoken guy who got the room talking. You may be there for a solo performance, looking to outshine the rest â€“ but a little bit of strength in numbers will play to your advantage in this situation.
Time to Deliver
Up until this point, everything's going right â€“ you've been selected, you've prepared (for tips on preparing for the interview, see Part 1: The Build Up), you've made a good impression upon the arrival at the Embassy (and in doing so, shed some nerves) and now it's time to step into the interview arena and deliver â€“ and that's exactly what you can expect to do, particularly if you follow the advice given in Part 3: The Interview. Then it's a simple process of patting yourself on the back and reading Part 4: After the Interview.