Teach English in Japan with GABA – The Interviews

Hi, this is D! I am back again. This time, to share with you about the interview process with Gaba.

I have just completed my 2nd and final interview with them today and thought it’d be good to document it down in case any of you intend to apply with them. The information I got off blogs and Glassdoor really helped me to know what to expect for the interviews (albeit the info may be different from different sources and some are really old information) and in a way, helped me to prepare, so I hope this can help you too if you are applying. 🙂 Do note that this is accurate as of 2018 April, so if you are reading this some time in the far future, please take it with a pinch of salt!

First Interview: Day 1, in person at information seminar

As mentioned in the first writing about Gaba, I applied through the information session and my first interview was conducted in person in Singapore. Some others may have gotten their first interview done via Skype if they applied online. In any case, the first interview is probably similar be it Skype or in person. I believe that in this interview, they are more keen to know about you, how you speak, how you carry yourself, your disposition, as well as your personal motivation for wanting to teach with Gaba and to work in Japan. A bulk of the session will be spent managing your expectations and giving you information about working with Gaba.

The most challenging part for most is probably the role play at the end, where you have to act as a teacher to teach a low level beginner student something quoted by the interviewer e.g. interesting vs funny, carry vs hold, close vs near etc. The good thing though, is that this is mainly to give you a taste of what is expected in the 2nd interview if you are selected for one. Feedback will be given at the end for you to prepare for and incorporate into your 2nd interview. The interviewer stressed that this demo will not affect the chance of getting a 2nd interview and though I find it hard to be 100% true, I kinda agree that it does not play a huge part because most inexperienced candidate will probably jump straight into explaining without using Gaba’s methodology and that’d be considered normal. So unless you do an amazing job, which will add brownie points, otherwise it should not foil your chance of a 2nd interview as long as you explained correctly.

Sadly, I am not in contact with the other people I met during the session who went for the interview, so I do not know what’s the success rate of passing the 1st interview. I suspect it is not very difficult, as long as you carry yourself well and speak properly, as skills do not seem to be the major factor at this juncture.

Interview Task: Day 8, Email

After the 1st interview, I received an email from the recruiter to complete an interview task. The purpose of the Interview Task is to give them an idea of your teaching abilities/skills and assessment. In this task, questions include creative writing, where you have to write an essay/composition, as well as answer some scenario-based questions on how you will teach students of different profile. Personal thoughts from me to you: try to incorporate the personality and profile of clients into your teaching. Use their hobbies as examples in your teaching, tweak your vocabulary to fit their English level, as this is what Gaba encourages and advocate as part of their teaching methodology. Ensure clients have lots of chance to speak and it is best if they are the ones who arrive at the answer themselves, such that our role is more of guiding them to find the answer and not feeding them with answers, which is not as effective for knowledge retention and not as fun as well. At the end, they also ask about what adjustments you will need to make to adapt to life in Japan and what is important to you in a workplace etc, which should not be hard to answer.

I was given 4 – 5 days to complete the task (to be precise, 4.5 days). After this task, together with their assessment of your 1st interview, they will contact you if you are selected for a 2nd interview.

Second Interview: Day 25, Skype

My interview was scheduled for 930am and I had to add the Gaba recruiter’s contact before the interview. Do adjust your laptop screen and ensure your Skype is working before the interview starts! This time round, the recruiter is a different person from the 1st interview’s and he is specifically there to assess your teaching skills, which is the main focus for this 2nd interview.

Some sources online stated that you will be interviewed by a blank screen. However, I was lucky because my interviewer did show his face and I could talk to an actual person, hahaa.

As it was my first time being interviewed over Skype, it felt really odd to me. I was literally in formal wear for my upper body and in denim shorts (HAHA) because well, only my top matters, lol. The interviewer, an Englishman I presume by his accent, was really nice though and he made it comfortable by being friendly and easy to speak to. He gave a clear agenda for the interview and dived straight into the main action: assessing my teaching skills.

The first assessment basically involved asking me to re-do my role-play in the 1st interview and of course, I was expected to factor in the feedback from the 1st interview in this role-play. He gave more feedback after the role-play and from there, he jumped to the 2nd role-play.

Now, this is when all hell broke loose for me, lol. I had thought he’d ask me to deliver one of the scenarios I had prepared in the interview assignment but who knew, all he did was pick a profile among the 6 in the assignment, tweak the personality and threw in a completely new scenario for me to role-play with. Basically, I was completely caught off guard. I was given 2 minutes to prepare and that’s it, I had to deliver the lesson.

Come to think about it, of course right, since in actual lesson, there’s no way I can have the luxury of preparing till the cow comes home before I teach the person sitting in front of me.

I was told to teach 2 alternative ways to say “Can I…” to a low-confidence low-level client. I shall not share how, erm, mediocre my performance was because I ended the role-play prematurely. The upside is that I did factor in the feedback given though the lacklustre delivery was a regret.

But man, I tried my best. What really helped was how encouraging the interviewer was. He was not stingy with compliments and feedback and I’d even say the interview was kinda fun and enjoyable while being adequately challenging.

The assessment ended faster than I thought and all I felt was relief after that. He went on to ask about what the first interviewer asked about before, perhaps to tally the information and ensure that all is in place.

The interviewe ended in approximately 40min for me and I was informed that the final outcome will be made known in 10 business days. So now, I wait.

In conclusion…

Factoring in 2 weeks for the results to be out, the whole interview process would have taken 6 weeks. Gaba’s interview process is not exactly easy but I would say it isn’t that hard either. It seems like they are interviewing more for personality and motivation, as well as teachability on top of teaching skills. At this point, I am truly clueless if I stand a chance at getting the job or not because the interviewers were all so nice and encouraging but at the same time, I know my teaching skills are mediocre at best given how inexperienced I am. All in all, I did enjoy the whole interview process and I think Gaba did a great job appointing their recruiters because I have a really good impression of Gaba so far based on my interactions with them.

So now, wish me luck and join me on my waiting game, lol. I’ll update again when the results is out!

Till then,

Edit: I found a podcast where this guy interviewed a Gaba recruiter. Give it a listen if you are interested. 


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