Notes for Overseas Applicants
ALTIA CENTRAL generally does the bulk of its recruiting and interviewing within Japan, but overseas interviews are becoming more and more common for us as well. For a number of years now we have had a London-based interviewer, as well as interviewers in Chicago, Los Angeles and Charlotte, NC, and in the spring of 2016 added new interviewers based in Tampa, Florida and Seattle, Washington to meet applicants in those local areas. And each year we try to travel overseas to other locations such as Michigan, Texas, New York, Northern California and other locations as our schedule permits.
Interviews are always done in-person, and overseas applicants successful at this 1st face-to-face screening interview are then invited to have a 2nd online interview with the ALTIA CENTRAL Recruiting Manager to complete the interview process.
We typically employ around 10 to 20 overseas applicants at the beginning of the school year each April, and another 5 to 10 or so in September, the start of the 2nd semester here in Japan. Overseas applicants are also especially important during the semesters as we like to utilize their flexibility to fill those positions which suddenly open up during the semester for one reason or another. These types of replacement positions tend to happen in the months of May and June, and then again possibly in October and November. Please understand that overseas applicants are responsible for booking and paying for their own airfare to Japan as see this as part of your investment in, and commitment to this adventure!
The first face-to-face interview will take place at a central city location or near the local airport, usually over coffee in an upscale hotel coffee shop. We will confirm the exact location and what to prepare in a detailed confirmation email once the date and time of the interview have been set. Interviews are conducted either by ALTIA CENTRAL staff from our Nagoya, Japan head office or our local representatives based in that city. The interview will last about 1 to 1 1/2 hours and though very professional and thorough, is also rather informal at the same time. We do of course request that you dress formally in business attire. Most applicants come away feeling like it was less of an interview and more of friendly, informative conversation and that the time flew by and we hope you will too.
You will not be asked to do a teaching demonstration at this overseas interview, but preparing and going over a lesson plan will be required. As well, you will be asked to bring a hard copy of your updated resume and cover letter, contact information for a couple references, as well as copies of a variety of documents so we can get a head start on any visa application etc that may be necessary. We'll let you know exactly what to bring well before the interview.
We do of course ask you for your location and type of location preferences, and will try our best to meet your needs rather than just arbitrarily drop you in a remote part of Japan of our choosing. This is not just for location of course, as we need to find out about your level preferences, transportation preferences and available starting dates etc as well. Nothing can be guaranteed of course, especially at the time of the interview, but we will try hard to find a suitable place to meet your needs and skill set. Of course, as we are interviewing hundreds of in-country, experienced applicants as well, the more specific your request is the more difficult it may be to meet and the more flexible you are as an overseas applicant, the easier it is to place you.
ALTIA CENTRAL ALTs generally start their contracts from April 1st, the first day of school being around April 3rd or 4th for most ALTs, and finish near the end of March the following year, somewhere around March 25th or so. April is the beginning of the school year in Japan, but we also tend to fill a number of contracts from September 1st as well, at the start of the 2nd semester in Japan. Our ALTs generally arrive in late March in time to undertake the first 4 or 5 days of Orientation/Training in Nagoya city. Our training is held by dedicated staff with many years of experience in Japan and is designed to orientate you to the school system in Japan, and to get you ready and feeling comfortable for the first month of school. Our Orientation/Training, and Follow Up Training as well, is designed to ensure that you have a greater head start, and better understanding of your role and the expectations of the schools, teachers and students.
Just as a mechanic needs tools to fix a car, a teacher also needs resources to help them teach! ALTIA CENTRAL, provides you with an excellent resource pack, everything you will need to get going. Everything from flashcards to music CDs to storyboards, Junior High school text books and supplementary lesson plan books. And add to that our website, which is loaded with more ideas and downloaded resources at your fingertips. You can also exchange teaching ideas, lesson plans and and tips with your fellow ALTs via our website. The amount and quality of our teaching resources is a major strength of ALTIA CENTRAL and we are very proud we are able to offer our ALTs so much.
On-Going Professional Training
We offer ongoing training throughout the year with our Follow Up Training events for our new ALTs, and our Professional Development seminars which we hold for all of our ALTs. We want to ensure that, as a teacher, you have multiple opportunities to continue learning, receive great new ideas and be inspired to do more with your students or your community. On top of that it's also a good time to socialise with your fellow ALTs and catch up with those friends you met and became close with at the initial Orientation/Training.
A real native English Supervisor!
Another great benefit is the support system we have at ALTIA CENTRAL with our very talented and dedicated supervisors. Each of our ALTs are allocated a Native English speaking Supervisor who has lived and worked in Japan for many years, has extensive experience as an ALT and understands how the schools and Boards of Education operate and what they expect. They are responsible for supporting the ALTs in their schools, visiting the ALTs to observe lessons and giving feedback to the ALT based both on their own observations and also from school and teacher feedback from the school. They are also on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, within reason of course, if you need any after-hours support.
The COE, or Certificate of Eligibility, is the first step to getting a visa for an overseas recruit and is applied for by ALTIA CENTRAL to the Immigration office here in Nagoya. To apply we need 2 passport photographs, a copy of your degree, copies of any previous Japanese visas and exit stamps you may have in your passport, a signed contract (solely for Immigration purposes at this point) and a copy of your resume. Once the COE is applied for by us, it usually takes between 3 to 4 weeks to be issued to us. From there, as soon as we are confident we have a position for you, the COE will be sent to you by FedEx, and then you must take it to your local Embassy of Japan or Consular Office to process it into an Entry Permit in your passport. This usually takes another 4 or 5 working days. And finally, once you have your visa in your passport, you can come enter Japan to work. From date of issue of the COE, you will have 3 months to process the COE and come to Japan so we tend to try to apply for most COEs in early January for April start positions, and around the beginning of July for our September intake.
This is the tricky part! For overseas recruits, we ask that you are as flexible as possible with placement, whilst keeping in mind any preferences you may have for placement location, type of location (rural vs urban etc) and level (Junior High/Elementary/Mix of both). Placement is like a giant puzzle for us and we do not just place everyone anywhere at random! We take into account the contract area and level and the customer's needs, the history of the contract and background and abilities of the applicant and try our best to make the right match that will keep all parties happy! This is incredibly important. If we have the wrong match, we will create problems on many different levels and we really don't want that. Placement can be confirmed well ahead of time or perhaps not until either just before you arrive or even, in rare instances, after you have arrived. We try very hard to let you know before you leave of course and would never expect people to come over to Japan without a guaranteed position. As many contracts and positions are not decided officially until quite late though, we have to ask you to be patient and understanding. Keep in touch with us and we will be happy to let you know how things are moving along.
Before you arrive, you will be officially introduced to several other people here in our head office who will guide you through the final part of the process. They will inform you of where and when to go for Orientation/Training, how to get to your hotel or apartment and what to bring and/or prepare. We will take care of all the details regarding your BOE and schools, and of set up your apartment as well. After you have arrived at Nagoya Chubu International airport (or possibly via another part of Japan if you come early to visit old friends perhaps) we ask you to make your way to central Nagoya city for Orientation/Training. It's incredibly easy to catch the train right at the airport and arrive in Nagoya in less than an hour and we will be in contact with you several times before and after you arrive to ensure you are heading to the right place and the right time. Please just be sure to confirm all Orientation/Training and other dates with ALTIA CENTRAL before booking your tickets. Safe flight and see you soon!