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Teach Away & Berlitz Interview

Thursday April 24th, 2014 at 12:51 am

I had an interview with Teach Away a couple weeks go. I found them through a Google search and they had a job that was in a location I liked and also was hiring all the way up to July (which is as early as I could leave). I didn’t find out until a bit later that Teach Away is a recruiting agency in Toronto. Job postings on the site are done by companies who use Teach Away to find applicants overseas but Teach Away takes care of the initial screening process to find eligible applicants. Since I was dealing with a recruiting agency, the overall process was a bit more drawn out since there were extra steps and interviews I had to go through. When I was first contacted, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire and read the FAQ. It was then that I realized what company I was actually applying for, which was Berlitz Japan.

The questionnaire was pretty straight forward, basic questions as well as some more detailed questions. The entire time I’m filling it out, I’m thinking “This pretty much is the interview!” Now, I know stuff like that is for people to get an idea of what your goals and preferences are and a little bit about yourself and the interview is built upon that…which it was. This was probably the quickest interview I had. It was only around 20 minutes but we mostly discussed what was already written on the questionnaire.

I was told immediately after the interview that it was a go to move onto the next step and someone from Berlitz would contact me within a week. I sent the required documents but never heard back. Now, this was also the same week that I almost had a nervous breakdown (okay, it wasn’t that serious). I’ve had a rough couple of weeks with my teaching classes and I was super stumped over my lesson plan that week (which turned out to be my best lesson yet). In between all of this, insert working full time, spending time in TESL class, dealing with life, still taking care of responsibilities, etc. So the fact that I heard back from Teach Away or Berlitz in a week made me think that I never got another interview. I just wasn’t in a good mood.

I think someone in the world felt my anxiety because I received an email from Teach Away maybe a couple hours later. It was my interviewer asking me if I was still interested in the position since it’s been a week. Turns out she never received my documents for whatever reason. Maybe they got sent to a spam folder or maybe it got lost in cyber space. Who knows, stuff happens. I resent them and heard back very soon after from Berlitz and set up an interview.

The Berlitz interview was longer, almost an hour. I thought some of my answers weren’t straight forward but I guess they liked me well enough. I was asked to set up another interview (yes, 3 interviews at this point) with the management team of the location(s) I’ll be working at. That interview turned out to be more of an information session/Q&A but it was very informative. One thing I respect about Berlitz so far is how honest they were during the interview. Or I thought so at least. I was then told I would find out by the end of the week whether not they would offer me the position.

And one day later…..

I GOT THE JOB!

That didn’t take long at all. Course, I’ll never know how many other people were interviewed or exactly the reason why they hired me but who cares. I have a job in Japan! They say everything happens for a reason and maybe that’s right. I was originally really bummed out about not even getting an interview with the JET program but had that happened, I would most likely be on my way to a very small, rural town in the middle of nowhere instead of being placed in a really good location and working with a great company.

Of course, I also have my worries along with my excitement but that comes with making a huge decision to drop everything here along with spending a lot of time and money moving to a foreign country. Teaching in Japan isn’t exactly a dream job for whatever reason, whether it’s culture or expectation, but it’ll always be an adventure…good or bad, and a learning experience. Berlitz, like any other company, isn’t perfect but most of a person’s experience with anything depends on the person. I’ve spent enough time on the internet reading horror eikaiwa stories and such but I’m ready to make my own story. One thing I signed up for when I decided to move to a foreign country is that, move to a foreign country. I can’t expect everything to be like the US, otherwise it’d be the US.

The next two months will fly by fast I’m sure. There’s plenty to do and maybe not enough time to do it. I wish there was someone out there who will tell me everything will be okay but this is a journey I start by myself.

Japan, I’m ready for you and Berlitz Japan…THANK YOU.

Posted Under: Japan, Japan: Interview, Japan: Job Searching
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Joy Talk Interview

Thursday March 20th, 2014 at 12:16 am

Long time no blog (again)…

I’ve been rather busy since I started my TESL classes. Most of my free time either goes to practicing Japanese, attempting to find time to work out, playing Pokemon, or sleep. I’m supposed to be finishing my lesson plan, which is due tomorrow afternoon. It’s hard to believe that my practicum starts in 2 weeks!

But the point of this post is that I had the pleasure of having my first interview for teaching in Japan tonight! Since I don’t have a lot of teaching experience, I didn’t think I would land one so quickly.

The company is Joy Talk and it’s for an ALT position. I found them through Gaijin Pot. They were one of the few jobs I could find that had a start date later than April and they provide visa sponsorship. I applied for job about a week ago and woke up yesterday morning to find an email asking me to schedule an interview. The interview was over Skype and conducted at 9 PM CDT (11 AM JST).

I honestly haven’t had much practice with interviews in the past, mainly because I landed my current job rather quickly and it was the first and only job I applied to at that time :/ That was almost 4 years ago! So I was really nervous. Overall, I think the interview went great. I later thought of some questions I wished I had asked but I can always ask them later if I land the job. It was a 1 on 1 interview and lasted for about an hour.

The questions were pretty straight forward and no big surprises. I was asked questions such as (in no specific order) why I want to come to Japan, how long do I plan on staying, what can I use from my previous work experience in teaching ESL, what age group would I prefer to teach, where would I prefer to teach, what is my expected salary, what kind of foods can I not eat or do not like to eat, why I decided on a career change to teaching ESL, what do I know about teaching English in Japan, etc. The interviewer was very nice and helpful.

I wasn’t asked to do a mock class but I was asked to sing a children’s song since it’s common for songs to be used in class to teach. The first song that popped into my head was The Itsy Bitsy Spider, so that was interesting.

The start date of the job is a bit too early since my lease doesn’t end until September. I could make it work, it would just be expensive. Everything else about the job sounds great and its around the area where I would like to start off. Not too sure what I’ll be getting out of this but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Posted Under: Japan: Interview
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