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Another AEON/Amity Interview Story.

 
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furenchitoasto



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 7
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:29 am    Post subject: Another AEON/Amity Interview Story. Reply with quote

Well, I suppose this would be a good time to go over the Interview process that I just went through over the last 4 weeks. I haven't seen too many threads on Amity per se, as most of them are focused on the AEON side of things, so hopefully this will be a good resource for those wondering what to expect from an Amity interview.

After submitting my online application, I got an e-mail from the local Amity*AEON recruiting office letting me know that I was invited to a group interview, and that I should prepare a 15-minute lesson plan and that I'll be preparing at least 5 minutes of it. If you're looking for a lesson plan, there's tons around this site, so I would suggest checking somewhere on the site. Luckily, my friend (who happens to be an elementary school teacher) helped me out with my lesson plan, so I felt "safe" with mine...

Saturday, February 25, 2006 - Day 1

955am:
In the sitting area, there was myself and 4 other applicants. I tried making small talk with them, but they were all looking as nervous as I was.

1000am:
Recruiter welcomes us and takes us to a small room with a U-shaped table in it. On one wall is a whiteboard and markers, which is to be used later for the lesson plan if desired. We're all given information booklets on AEON (as they don't have any for Amity yet), and we go through some brief information outlining the company.

1015-1040am:
We watch a video about AEON and it covers the day in a life of two teachers for AEON. The video looked like it was circa 1998, so it was a bit old looking. Briefly talked about Amity, but nothing in detail. Followed the video with a 10 minute break.

1100am:
Recruiter covers the duties and responsibilities of being an Amity teacher. Recruiter then covers the Contract Stipulations in detail and answers any questions concerning the contract. After that, we are then required to fill out an information sheet and at the bottom it asks if we wish to continue on into the group interview, or bail out with no hard feelings. All of us opted to stay. We submit our information sheet, resume, lesson plan, essay (that was turned in when we submitted the application online), and another, more formal looking application. One guy forgot all of his prepared items at home...which I felt bad for, but hey, at least that's one less guy I would have to compete with. So, what should you learn from this? DONT FORGET YOUR STUFF.

1200pm:
Started group interviews. Recruiter wanted to see you do your lesson plan as if there was a real classroom full of kids in front of you. This means that you can't explain your lesson plan, because well, they're all "Japanese kids." Each person presents for about 5 minutes. There is a whiteboard for each applicant to use, if so desired. My suggestions for making the lesson plan work...SMILE. ALL THE TIME. LOOK SILLY. DONT BE AFRAID TO GO ALL OUT. I designed my lesson plan around learning time, so I pretended to be a superhero named Captain Clockman and wore a clock around my neck. Crazy, yes. But hey, I got a 2nd interview (which I will get into later). Oh, and make your lesson plan looking like a real lesson plan...or at least try to pull it off. One guy turned in a paragraph...that's it. Yeah, don't do that.

100pm:
Group interviews conclude. Recruiter goes over 5 things each applicant should be aware of:
1) Financial Stability - Basically, have $2000-3000 saved up before departure to get you started. Also, do not have financial obligations back here at home over $500/month. Again, this is all their suggestions, not mine.
2) Dress Code - You're always going to wear a suit/business clothes. That's good I'm HOT in a tie. haha, jk...kinda...
3) Emotional Stability - "If you're doing this to soul search, or run away from your problems, then this isn't for you." Enough said.
4) Documents - Current passport, and proof of graduation required.
5) Committment - Just be...committed?

130pm:
Interview/Information Sesson concludes. All applicants will be reached within 2 weeks (exactly) to let them know if they will be offered a one-on-one interview.

13 days later, I got an offer for a 2nd and final interview. It happened 2 weeks later.

Saturday, March 25, 2006 - Day 2

800am:
[By the way, I was SO nervous, I had the crappiest time trying to go to sleep...I hear it's normal though. So, don't worry.] Met with same recruiter as before. We go back into the same room as before, but it's just myself and her this time. She carries a black clipboard to write all the notes in, but makes sure to keep it hidden throughout the entire interview.

First thing she asks was how I thought about my lesson plan. I asked her honestly and told her I thought it got the point across. She agreed, told me what I had to work on (which was to speak slower, and to try not to over-explain everything). By the way, for the group interview, you should have the students talking 70-80% of the time. With my faults explained, she gives me another chance with what I've just learned about myself.

I was given 10-minutes to prepare a 10-minute lesson plan. I was handed a preparation sheet, an example learning concept from a page from the textbook, and told that I will be teaching a 8-year-old Japanese child who has been going to Amity for only a few months (which is played noneother by the recruiter.)

Yeah, it was tough, in my opinion, but do your best and CONTINUE TO SMILE LIKE ITS YOUR BIRTHDAY. Keep cool, and just be patient with it all. Trust me, it's one of the quickest 10 minutes of your life.

After that, we talked about the interview and she goes over what could be improved on, and also my strongest points, which happened to be my enthousiasm and energy.

845am:
After the lesson plan, she went into what it's like to work for Amity. She told me what a normal work-week looks like, how many classes on average one would teach, what the school year looks like, and continued with detailed responsibilities for each teacher.

After that, she asked if I could get a letter of recommendation, proof of graduation, where I would prefer to be placed (city, suburb, or rural), and if I wanted to be placed in a branch where there's another foreign teacher, or if I wanted to be the only foreign teacher there. Whether this means I got the job, or if this is just standard questions, I don't know. But hopefully it's the latter.

1030am:
Interview concludes. With me STILL smiling, she tells me that I will be contacted sometime before April 8th...two more weeks. Sheesh...

So that's that. I hope it helps, and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed until then.

=]


Last edited by furenchitoasto on Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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angiestar



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
Posts: 17
Location: shiroi-shi, chiba prefecture, japan

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's too bad this wasn't posted before my interview last sunday. i think if i'd smiled more i might've been called back. the competition was fierce, though - there were at least forty of us.

congratulations to you, and good luck!
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stillnosheep



Joined: 01 Mar 2004
Posts: 2068
Location: eslcafe

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The competition is not that fierce. Aeon and Amity must have to replace nearly 500-1000 teachers annualy.
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angiestar



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
Posts: 17
Location: shiroi-shi, chiba prefecture, japan

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The competition is not that fierce. Aeon and Amity must have to replace nearly 500-1000 teachers annualy.


Without knowing the number of people they interview to fill those positions, those numbers are fairly meaningless.
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stillnosheep



Joined: 01 Mar 2004
Posts: 2068
Location: eslcafe

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry angiestar, when I wrote my post it hadn't properly registered that you'd not been invited for a second interview. I was probably reacting more to a couple of aspects of the, otherwise informative, previous post
I'm (french) toast wrote:
One guy forgot all of his prepared items at home...which I felt bad for, but hey, at least that's one less guy I would have to compete with.

It is a standard advertising ploy to construct an air of desirability around the product. cf the Stella Artois beer campaign in the UK (Stella Artois. Reassuringly expensive). In this case the product is a job at Aeon.

The sad fact is that Aeon are probably the best of an extremely indifferent bunch of large eikaiwa chains in Japan and they treat their staff, on the whole, slightly better than do their competitors. Nonetheless real problems exist there.
dudelebow wrote:
The head guy who runs the EAST division and name rhymes with mr. teriyaki is a nutcase. so is their highest ranked western representative who has a familiar speech impediment 'uhh uhh uhh' and last name rhymes with the word 'filler'. the foreign training staff is (sic) either fearful for their jobs or have suffered a cult like brainwashing. or perhaps they have just been in japan too long. who knows. anyway.....it all depends on your branch office and managers. if you get on with them, you can get away with anything. if you don't, you better be a 'yes-man' or you can kiss your chances for contract renewal goodbye. they evaluate teachers on the following: teaching, interpersonal skills, and business support. the latter two are just ways if they need to reject a contract renewal offer even if you're a standout teacher. they are not honest and forthcoming about your work performance. if you didn't get along with your manager, then it's your fault and you lacked the interpersonal skills or cultural sensitivity. if you didn't sell enough self study materials, then you lacked the business support. it's a crap shoot. my first 6 months with them, despite the head office's attempt at mental control, was excellent. after the new area and branch manager stepped in, it was downhill for me from there on. proceed with caution

Aeon West Japan (AWJ) are much better, in my experience and that of others, but some aspects of inital traing amount to subtle attempts at cult-like brainwashing, support for staff having problems adjusting can be abysmal, and, at the end of the day, you would just have been another easily replaceable cog in a large and well-oiled machine.

The sad fact is that Aeon train their teachers to use their materials in a manner that is excellent for producing students who are very good at getting through an Aeon lesson, and not awfully good at anything else. You are expected to follow a very exact lesson plan, each part of which is timed to the minute, whether or not it is appropriate for your students. Of my students, the one who made by far the best progress was the one to whom I gave private lessons where we threw away the book and got down to some real student-centred learning.

Yes. Maybe you would have been invited back for a second interview if you had been prepared to behave like a clown or smile like an idiot throughout your first interview. How happy would you have been trying to keep up the happy smiley image - if it was not genuine - for an entire year or three in a strange and potentially unsettling environment in order to fit into a corporation who seem to value the possession of a happy smiling 'genki' image over the ability to help students make real progress in their learning of English

Aeon's presentation of themselves as a corporation is very professional, as is their treatment of new staff upon arrival in Japan and their initial training package. The reality of working at a branch can be a very different story.

paulh (in another incarnation) wrote:
A recruiter of a big English-teaching company is hit by a bus and dies. She is met at the gates of heaven by St. Peter who says, owing to an administrative hitch, they are unsure where to place her - heaven or hell. Instead she is to be given the choice herself by spending a day in each and then deciding.

Arriving in hell for her Easter-day, she is met by the friendly faces of colleagues from her company, dressed exquisitely in designer casuals. They greet her warmly and show her around hell, which is a beautifully landscaped country club with golf courses and tennis courts. She has a fantastic day playing sports, dining on lobster and steaks, dancing and getting drunk with her friends. Everyone laughs at her jokes and she even gets to meet the devil himself, who is, dare she say it, kinda cute. It is with great sadness that she leaves in the evening.

The following day she spends in heaven. Here she hops from cloud to cloud, plays harps and generally hangs out with the angels. Again she enjoys herself very much. St. Peter asks her for a decision the next day. After great deliberation, she chooses hell over heaven. In hell you will spend eternity, St. Peter decrees.

When she arrives the country club and golf courses are gone. In their place is a filthy, desolate wasteland. Her friends are still there, but they are dressed in rags, picking up garbage and putting it in sacks. The Devil comes up and puts his arm around her. "I don't understand," she stammers, "yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a country club and we ate lobster and we danced and had a great time.

Now it's a wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable. The Devil looked at her and smiled evilly. "Yesterday we were recruiting you; today you're staff."


If being a happy smiley clown is neccessary to impress a company's recruiters then you are better off working for someone else. Don't let it get you down. Do what I did. Move on. Wink


Last edited by stillnosheep on Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:30 pm; edited 2 times in total
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in_japan



Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stillnosheep wrote:
The competition is not that fierce. Aeon and Amity must have to replace nearly 500-1000 teachers annualy.


It's not quite that high. AEON (incl Amity) employ around 800 foreign teachers. Over 50% (I can't recall the exact figure) renew their contracts.

So you would be looking at a maximum of 400 positions per year, which isn't a great number when you take into consideration the 40 odd people that may attend a single interview session.
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Jazz1975



Joined: 14 Feb 2006
Posts: 301
Location: Zama, Kanagawa

PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

in_japan wrote:
It's not quite that high. AEON (incl Amity) employ around 800 foreign teachers. Over 50% (I can't recall the exact figure) renew their contracts.

So you would be looking at a maximum of 400 positions per year, which isn't a great number when you take into consideration the 40 odd people that may attend a single interview session.


Thanks for putting this into perspective for all of us. Smile
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furenchitoasto



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 7
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

an update: i was offered a job on saturday!!!!!!! whoo!!

im glad i can be used as a success story now! oh, so many things to think about now. where to start??
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kdynamic



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 562
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats! do you know where you're headed?
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furenchitoasto



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 7
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not yet. wont know until i submit my proof of graduation this june. about how long does it take to process the visa until i can depart for japan?
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stillnosheep



Joined: 01 Mar 2004
Posts: 2068
Location: eslcafe

PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aeon normally work on about two months from agreement of Branch to flight out, if I recall correctly.

ps To put things into perspective Paulh's parable presented earlier (alliteration, alliteration) although it refered to recruiters in general, was originally part of a post on his experiences at Nova.

Who really are the pits. And in comparison to whom Aeon are saints and the majority of Aeon staff offered contract renewal do accept - of course non-offerance of renewal is not neccessarily any reflection upon your teaching ability. But do be aware of the reports of mad dogs at AEJ and the occasional piece of sub-Confucian nonsense at AWJ initial training.
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dbooster



Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 33
Location: Okazaki

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stillnosheep wrote:
But do be aware of the reports of mad dogs at AEJ and the occasional piece of sub-Confucian nonsense at AWJ initial training.


Curious.. what about ACJ? I was accepted and positioned in Okazaki, which is near Nagoya in central Japan. I've also heard horror stories of AEJ and relative praises of AWJ - but nary a thing on ACJ. I just checked and there is a Central office, which I am assuming is in charge of the schools in that area. Any word on them?
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dudelebow



Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:23 am    Post subject: saints? hardly Reply with quote

actually, lots of aeon east teachers are jumping ship just as I did.
and they do conduct unethical and shady business practices, especially when it comes to contracts. but their system is set up to fail. being managed by japanese staff is not always easy, and aeon has a system that pits the foreigners and japanese managers against each other. and you can guess who always wins.
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stillnosheep



Joined: 01 Mar 2004
Posts: 2068
Location: eslcafe

PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dbooster wrote:
stillnosheep wrote:
But do be aware of the reports of mad dogs at AEJ and the occasional piece of sub-Confucian nonsense at AWJ initial training.


Curious.. what about ACJ? I was accepted and positioned in Okazaki, which is near Nagoya in central Japan. I've also heard horror stories of AEJ and relative praises of AWJ - but nary a thing on ACJ. I just checked and there is a Central office, which I am assuming is in charge of the schools in that area. Any word on them?
Well Central Japan is located between East Japan and West Japan so presumably ACJ suffers from only the odd half-mad dog at HO and the very occasional piece of sub-Confucian nonsense at initial training... Wink
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