Do Well in an Interview for Teaching in Japan

If you've been thinking about teaching English in Japan, but aren't sure what big English conversation schools are looking for, read on to find out how to do well in an interview.


  1. First, it’s important to understand what your employer wants. Whether it’s a giant chain school like Geos or a smaller one with just 2 or 3 branches, they all want the same thing. More students. Given this, this is how you can approach your interview.
  2. Sound the part. If you'll be calling a prospective employer to ask if a job is still available or to follow up on a resume submission, it's important to sound enthusiastic. Sounding tired or bored will make finding a job in Japan an up-hill battle. Sounding enthusiastic is perhaps the most important interview tip of them all. After all, if you can't get in the door for an interview, you can't get a job.
  3. Look the part. Perhaps even more important than sounding the part is looking it. Don’t dress in jeans. Wear proper attire. The same as if you were interviewing for a job in your home country.
  4. Act the part. Most schools are looking for up-beat, energetic teachers who will teach a lesson with enthusiasm or who can breathe life into a boring lesson. Knowing grammar etc. isn’t as important as being positive and optimistic. Keep in mind there are limits. Don’t be all over the place. Be spunky and smiley but don’t finish people’s sentences or be aggressive.
  5. Prepare. In addition to showing up 5 to 10 minutes early for your interview with an extra resume or two in hand, think about what they might ask.



  • If you are interviewing in Japan, bring your passport and foreigner registration card (if you have one).
  • In Japan being "on time" means being 5 to 10 minutes early.
  • Boasting and bragging isn’t looked upon very favorably by the Japanese. So one of the best interview tips is to keep it real, keep it simple and keep it up-beat.
  • If you have little or no teaching experience and this fact is brought up you need to switch gears. Instead of caving in or admitting what you don’t have during the interview, it’s best to talk about what you can do.
  • Do not look a Japanese person directly in the eyes. It is regarded as a gesture of challenge or defiance.
  • Image is extremely important in Japan. You must adhere to conventions regarding dress code. Many non-Japanese people don't realize how conservative business dress is in Japan. Did you know you should always wear an undershirt and socks or tights? To skip on either is quite serious. The dress code also changes over the course of the year, with specified start and end dates. Do plenty of research about dress code beforehand.


  • Do not come off as a huge Anime/Manga geek. It is fine if you like these things, but English educators in Japan are not interested in hiring people who are just making a pilgrimage to the land of anime.
  • Cover all tattoos. In Japan only the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) have tattoos so most Japanese people distrust anyone with a tattoo. This is slowly changing, but it is still best to cover your tattoos.
  • Men: be clean shaven. Some companies, such as Geos, forbid their employees from having facial hair.
  • Women: wear a conservative top. You might be surprised at what some Japanese people consider "low cut".

Related Articles