Interviewing Basics

It’s exciting to interview for a job you are interested in doing; however, simple things send subtle signals that you may or may not be so excited about the job. Here are some tips to help you put your best foot forward and improve your chances of getting hired. Little things mean a lot.

  1. Show up on time. The idea of what “on time” means varies from culture to culture. if you’re interviewing to be an interpreter, teacher, or anyone else who needs to be punctual because others will be waiting for you, then showing up on time might actually mean showing up at least fifteen minutes early in the parking lot of the place you’re going to so you have enough time to gather your thoughts, look in the mirror, and then walk in the door. Showing up late tends to signal that you don’t care about the job or that you are presumptuous about getting hired. Life happens. If you must be late, call as soon as possible.

  2. Smile. You are preparing to interview somewhere you would like to work. You may be nervous, but people like to be around people who have a pleasant demeanor. This is especially true if you are interviewing for a job that requires you to be around other people. No one wants to hire a sourpuss.

  3. Avoid complaining. I once interviewed an interpreter I will never call on simply because she tossed her purse on the interview table, complained about the landscaping in front of the building, and then complained about how difficult it was to come to my office. People tend to hire people who are going to represent their company well and not cause embarrassment or a negative work environment. (See number 2.)

  4. Avoid wearing heavy cologne, after shave, or other perfumed products. Less is more. Some people are allergic to heavy scents and also prone to migraines. Deodorant is fine (and encouraged), but anything else may be too much.

  5. Dress the part. Think of what you would expect someone to wear if they were doing the job you are applying for. Dress shoes, slacks, a button-up shirt, dress, conservative top, and skirts are fitting for most interviews. Assume a more formal atmosphere and discuss the dress code after you get the interview. Conversely, if you get a second interview, don’t assume that you can wear casual clothing. It is better to be overdressed than under-dressed.

  6. Read about the company before the interview. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about what you may be doing and how you might contribute in other ways to the company.

  7. Ask not what the company can do for you, but ask what you can do for the company. In other words, don’t start discussing salary and benefits until you have shared how you would be an asset to the company.

The above tips also hold true even after you’ve been hired. Ask yourself how you can add value to the company. This may open doors to you even after you’ve been hired and can lead to greater responsibility and pay within the company.

Register for American Sign Language Classes

Register for American Sign Language Classes

Register to learn some basic American Sign Language. Learn finger spelling, greetings, simple conversations, and also about deaf culture in this six-week course that will meet on Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM.

Get Language Access in Over 200 Languages 24/7/365

Do you need interpreters in a variety of languages on short notice?

Contact us about setting up an account. After you have your account, you may use the telephonic interpreting services on-demand or you may schedule your over-the-phone interpreter in advance. Please note scheduled interpreting over the phone requires a payment of a minimum of 30 minutes. On-demand services are only billed for the minutes used.

Contact us if you have further questions.

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Simplifying Your Trip to Japan

Traveling to a new country is always exciting and often comes with some challenges. There are ways that made navigating the land of the rising sun a bit easier. This post will cover a few new things I incorporated into a recent visit to Japan that made this trip different from my last journey nearly twenty years ago.

I recommend using the Japan Rail pass. This simplified my travel expenses and the time it took to go from station to station without having to figure the cost of each leg of the trip. It is useful for traveling long distances. On my recent trip, I used the JR Pass to get from Tokyo to Nagoya, Nagoya to Kyoto, and then to get back to the Narita Airport. The pass is only for people who do not live in Japan. You receive a JR Pass form in the mail. When you arrive in Japan, you show this and your passport to get the actual pass. Instead of feeding a ticket into the machines each time to enter the train stations to catch your next train, look to the edges of the ticket areas and you will usually see a JR booth where you show your pass to the employees. The employees are helpful when you ask where your next train is. You may purchase a Japan Rail Pass (also known as a JR Pass) in advance on this website, the Japan Experience. https://www.japan-rail-pass.com/

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If you are traveling across the country, you have the option of reserving your seat. During late July, when it was extremely hot in Japan, this was unnecessary as there were plenty of seats available. If you want to view Mt. Fuji from your train, keep in mind which direction you will be traveling to plan which side of the train you would like to find a seat.

At times, I found myself wanting to go places where the JR Pass could not take me. For that, I used the subway system. I have created a short video to help guide you on how to use their automated ticket machines. If you need additional help, there is actually someone who works behind the machines who can do just that.

 

While you are on the Japan Experience site, you may want to rent and reserve a pocket Wi-Fi. I picked mine up at the Narita Airport after reserving it online. It comes with instructions in English, a charger, a carrying case, and a return envelope. The pocket Wi-Fi enabled me to use the text feature on my iPhone and also use FaceTime. Some people may opt to use a SIM card instead.

 This is what you get when you rent a pocket Wi-Fi. It comes with a carrying case, a charger, and a prepaid return envelope.

This is what you get when you rent a pocket Wi-Fi. It comes with a carrying case, a charger, and a prepaid return envelope.

 Remember to return your pocket Wi-Fi before you leave Japan. The pocket Wi-Fi comes with a prepaid return envelope. There is a postal box inside the Narita Airport.

Remember to return your pocket Wi-Fi before you leave Japan. The pocket Wi-Fi comes with a prepaid return envelope. There is a postal box inside the Narita Airport.

Reduce the weight you carry with you by avoiding carrying a lot of coins. Buy a PASMO card. With the swipe of your PASMO card, you can buy drinks from a vending machine without having to dig through your change or even having to carry it to begin with. The downside to this is that you may not end up using any remaining credit on your card. I am still trying to figure out whether I want to bother with this or just give my PASMO card to someone else who may be traveling to Japan. I charged mine with $20 worth of credit and only used about $5.00 worth on a three-day trip traveling solo. The Suica card works similarly.

The ultimate in minimalist travel in Japan is to try out one of the capsule hotels. First Cabin is a chain that provides three sizes of cabins/capsules. The smallest, least expensive one has very low ceilings and runs about 4500 yen. Although I am not tall, I wanted something I could stand up in if I wanted to. I chose the midsize one for about 5500 yen. The largest size has a bedside table and a narrow strip of carpet along the side of the mattress, just wide enough for the table. As of July 2018, those cost about 6500 yen.

Although the screen door to the cabin does not close all the way in accordance with Japanese laws, it was very safe. Two floors are reserved for women only and two for men. To enter your floor, you must carry your badge with you to swipe the doors open. (Remember to bring your card with you in the middle of the night if you have to go to the restroom. It comes on a lanyard, which makes carrying it with you easy.)

 After a long day of walking, I was excited to arrive at my capsule hotel. Simply comfortable.

After a long day of walking, I was excited to arrive at my capsule hotel. Simply comfortable.

 This was in my capsule when I arrived.

This was in my capsule when I arrived.

The capsule has a lock box that is big enough for a briefcase or purse, but not large enough for a backpack or suitcase. The key for it comes on a plastic bracelet you can wear on your wrist when you go to sleep.

 The capsule comes with a television. To listen to it, you must use earphones to help maintain a quiet environment for all guests.

The capsule comes with a television. To listen to it, you must use earphones to help maintain a quiet environment for all guests.

The amenities included air conditioning, TV with earphones (you have to ask for the earphones at the front desk), vending machines that serve a wide variety of beverages, hot food, a breakfast lounge, and free Wi-Fi. There are restrooms on each floor and a spa/public bath for women on a separate floor. (There is likely a public bath for men, too.) Again, remember to bring your key card to operate the elevator to get to your floor or to the spa.

 In order to maintain a quiet environment, the hotel has equipped each capsule with an earphone jack to listen to the television without disturbing others.

In order to maintain a quiet environment, the hotel has equipped each capsule with an earphone jack to listen to the television without disturbing others.

 I wonder what formal frozen food looks like.

I wonder what formal frozen food looks like.

 There was a variety of drinks in this vending machine.

There was a variety of drinks in this vending machine.

 This vending machine sells beer.

This vending machine sells beer.

 The cabin was very quiet. The only sounds you might hear are those of neighbors pulling down their screens at night or opening them in the morning.

The cabin was very quiet. The only sounds you might hear are those of neighbors pulling down their screens at night or opening them in the morning.

Although it's possible to navigate the train system with a wheeled suitcase, it is simply much easier to carry a backpack as there are lots of stairs in the train stations. On this overseas trip, I first went to Guam for ten days. I emptied half of the contents of my backpack by sending it home via the U.S. Postal Service and did some laundry before heading to Japan. This enabled me to travel light and purchase a few new items to take home with me. In the summer time in Japan, be sure to stay hydrated (especially while doing cardio workouts with a backpack) and bring your Pasmo card with you!

Asian Fest

It was a beautiful, lively, day at the Indiana State Museum yesterday. There were three ethnic festivals happening simultaneously. We at Midwest Language Services, LLC enjoyed talking with many visitors and were mesmerized by the buzz of activity and of the costumes and giant dragon that we saw in the building.

Thank you, Jane Gehlhausen, for inviting us to be a part of this event. It was very well organized and a great success. We enjoyed meeting everyone and learned so much!

Here are some snippets of the day's events!

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