Japan · JET Programme

JET Programme: Post-Interview Anxiety

After a job interview, feelings like anxiety and uncertainty as to how you did are usually experienced. Normally you don’t have to wait too long before finding out if you’ve got the job. However, in the case of the JET Programme interview results, the waiting period, along with those feelings of apprehension, hang around for a bit longer. Having to wait around two months for the results can be mentally tough, especially if getting onto the programme has been a long-term goal and you have planned your year around the possibility of moving to Japan.

Post-Interview Feels

I can still remember how I felt immediately after my interview back in 2013.

Once I came out of the interview I was asked by other applicants (and even the security guard) in the waiting room as to how I thought I did. My answer was 50/50. This became the standard answer to everyone who asked as I couldn’t say how I really felt: 30 (pass) / 70 (fail). I suppose I didn’t want to get my hopes up, and for the most part the interview seemed to go quite well. But on the other hand I felt that, at times during the interview, I had given nonsensical and irrelevant answers that I believed would deduct the much needed points required to get short-listed.

I found myself re-evaluating every answer I gave. Maybe I could have answered the hypothetical scenario questions better? Maybe the way I unintentionally repeated myself (because of nerves) while answering lost me points? Or perhaps I didn’t elaborate enough on specific answers? Was I able to get through to the interviewers how much I really wanted to become an ALT on the JET Programme?

All these questions and more plagued my thoughts for at least 2 weeks after the interview, and then just like that I was okay. I realised that there was absolutely nothing more I could do to convince JET that I really wanted to teach in Japan. I had done my best and it was now out of my hands. Also, I realised that every interview is different and applicants are asked questions based on their own experiences and what they wrote in their application form and essay so trying to compare my interview experience to others was a waste of time. Having accepted that, I was able to continue on with life and didn’t think (too much) about JET for the rest of January and February.

However, it was a different story when March rolled around.

Post-Interview Waiting and Making Plans

From all the research I had done prior to my interview, I knew that the results would be released any time from mid-March through to early-April, approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the interview.

The beginning of March was okay, but by the second week I was starting to feel anxious again and kept a constant eye on the JET forums for any signs of result notifications. Once again my mind started doubting my performance at the interview. I had been putting it off, but I knew that sooner or later I had to face reality and accept the fact that I might not be chosen and needed to start thinking about a plan B if I was not short-listed.

In fact, I hadn’t even thought about what I would do if I wasn’t short-listed. What was my plan if I was rejected or made an alternate? These questions I had never even considered until March.

If I was rejected, then I would have continued with my part-time job and try to gain more skills and knowledge about teaching and speaking/understanding Japanese, and then reapply come September. The fact that I had made it to the interview stage meant that the area where I lost points was probably during the interview, so reviewing questions, researching other people’s questions online, and doing mock-interviews with friends would be part of the plan.

I knew that there were alternative ways to teach in Japan, such as going through a private company or applying through other programmes like Interac, but I had set my heart on JET and had known about it three years prior to applying it would take a lot of convincing for me to choose another path.

If I became an alternate (put on the waiting list), I probably would have gone the same route as being rejected as I had not heard of many South Africans being upgraded from alternate status  it didn’t seem like a common occurrence. Of course I would hold out some hope of being upgraded, but I think being an alternate is quite trying as you have to wait even longer to receive word of a potential upgrade (which can come as late as January the following year).

I would have been quite upset and disappointed with myself and my interview performance if I had been rejected or made an alternate, but I knew that JET was the right direction for me to head in, so no matter what the result I wasn’t going to give up that easily.

And neither should you if you are currently waiting for your interview result. If getting onto the JET Programme is your future goal, then definitely don’t lose hope if you are rejected or made an alternate make plans now as to how you would use the rest of the year to build up and improve your application form, essay and interview.

If you would like to know more about the interview results and the significance of ‘short-listed’, ‘alternate’, and ‘rejected’, then have a look at this article I wrote last year.

In the meantime just try not to think too much about the imminent results… well, at least until mid-March. Best of luck to you all!

Couldn’t resist adding this one in 😉

12 thoughts on “JET Programme: Post-Interview Anxiety

  1. Perfectly sums up how I am feeling right now, both excited about finding out the interview results later this month – but I am also positively terrified!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. That first paragraph – that is EXACTLY what i’m going through now. I’ve applied for 2017 and all of the doubts and worries have started joining me on my daily activities. Its fantastic sitting in Jozi traffic with a bundle of your own anxiety in the passenger seat. -__-

    Your blog is great, especially RE dates and experiences from a South African perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear from a fellow Saffer!
      Hopefully your “anxiety passenger” will vanish soon as it’s not long to go now until you hear the results. Best of luck and thanks for reading my blog! 🙂


  3. I am such a bit ball of nerves waiting to hear back! Right after my interview I felt I did great, but since I’ve had all this time to go over everything in my head a million times, now I’m not so sure :/ I guess I’ll just have to wait and see! Thanks for all the amazing and supportive posts in your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get where you’re coming from! It’s hard not to overthink every single thing remotely associated with the interview, but hopefully your wait will be over soon. 🙂

      Thanks so much for the lovely compliment! I’m currently working on the next JET-themed post – aiming to get it up by the weekend.

      Thanks for leaving a comment and best of luck for the results!!! 😀


  4. Hi, I live in the UK and got my rejection letter today. Disappointed isn’t the word. This is because I felt the interview went so well. I applied for 2016 JET too and what felt like a bad interview actually put me on the ‘alternate’ list. What is the secret? It’s beginning to feel like luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Christopher, thanks for getting in touch.
      Really sorry to hear of your results. Unfortunately the competition for the programme is really high – and it doesn’t help when thousands of people apply each year from all over the world.

      I wish I knew the secret to getting in… that would be nice. 🙂

      I think one of the many factors that JET looks at is your background and if you have any experience in teaching, dealing with children/students, Japanese language proficiency, that passion and drive to share your culture and embrace another, things like that.

      It’s also down to how many points you accumulate during the application process. I don’t know the inner working of the points, but I think in the interview they award points based on your personality, way of speaking, how you present yourself, and your answers.

      So I think there are a number of factors to consider in regards to who gets chosen (though this is just my view on the matter).

      Will you reapply this year? I hope you don’t feel too despondent and will reapply – maybe there are ways in which you can make your application form stronger, such as gaining some teaching experience or doing a TEFL certificate – unless you have that already.

      If you do apply again this year, then feel free to contact me at a later date and I’ll be more than happy to proofread your SOP essay. 🙂


  5. Your speedy reply is much appreciated. It’s only ‘third time lucky’ that’s inspiring me right now. I do have a TEFL but if anything is letting me down it’s my lack of teaching experience. The interviews I had were like night and day; it went – felt like it went – so well and the Japanese interviewer looked so positive. The answers felt great. But why interview someone who doesn’t have the teaching experience (in the typical sense with children in a school setting) and never pretended to?

    I’ve been to Japan twice and have something of cultural awareness of it. My Japanese is virtually non-existent, though I hear this makes little difference. I appreciate your kind offer and will keep it in mind – gaining interviews does not seem to be the problem though. The process is so drawn out and the last week has been very tense waiting for a response.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like you have everything that they would look for in a shortlisted JET… perhaps it is really down to the number of people who apply, and maybe they have really strict guidelines this year, who knows?
      You’re right, the process is really drawn out and finally receiving your results can really be mentally tough after all this waiting.
      I do like your ‘third time lucky’ attitude! 😀


  6. Hi! Thanks for this. I am currently in this state of limbo. Don’t know if I’m coming or going. It’s really tough esp for us, South Africans because we aren’t on holiday during these months and if we don’t make it then we are almost sitting ducks for the year… I applied for masters which I’ve gotten and I’m working part time and for both I have let them know that I’m waiting on the JET programme but march/april is far into the year (lol kind of) and I just need to be able to give someone a straight answer. haha. also the fact that only like 30 SA people get taken on is stressful… but here’s to the wait.

    Thank you, your blog has been really helpful during the process!


    1. Hi Fatema, thanks for leaving a comment and I can definitely relate to how you are feeling!
      It is tough for us and I have known a lot of applicants (who made it to the interview stage) who put a lot on hold in case they got chosen – it really puts your patience and resolve to the test.
      The very best of luck for the results! 🙂


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