A TEFL job interview is unique from the norm – one-candidate, one-interviewer meetings are few and far between. You’re more likely to be in a room with an audience of fellow tutors, speaking over the phone at bizarre midnight hours, or dealing with a troubling connection on Skype.
By no means approach it like any other; an English language teaching interview can be a gruelling process, so be very, very prepared. Here are some of the best tips we’ve mustered up, so that your job prospects don’t end with your résumé.
Just like your résumé, you need to tailor-make all preparation for the interview. Employers want to know that you’re familiar with not only their academy, but the country and city that it’s in. A candidate who can fit in and adapt to company and country culture, is a candidate who will get hired.
Most academies will have a website, full of information on their class sizes, yearly intake, teaching objectives and styles. Find as much as you can from here, and search and ask questions on teaching forums.
Dress well – over Skype
Sure, it’s basically a universal no-brainer that you’ve got to dress to impress in a job interview. But many people drop the ball when it comes to video calls. Dress as if you were going to the office, even if it’s on the other side of the world. All countries have their varying dress codes, but neat and presentable always transcends borders.
Get your technology in order
A faulty connection can completely overshadow a brilliant interview. Considering most TEFL jobs you’ll be applying for will be overseas, it’s important to be reachable; either by phone, email or Skype.
Make sure everything is in working order before the date – even Skype with a friend if need be. Then, find a spot to take the interview that’s both quiet and well-lit, and be ready for the call early. Remember; the beauty of the Skype and/or telephone interview is that no one can see you looking at your notes.
Don’t let your desire for the job put a brain block between you street smarts and decision making skills. Always ask questions; make sure the job is contracted and above board, that it will give you an in to live legally abroad, and that the hours aren’t too strenuous.
Most experts agree that 24 weekly class hours are at the highest end of the schedule scale, anything more and you’re desperately treading water. For every unique class you’ll need a good hour of preparation time, so make sure that’s also included in the salary. It’s nice to think everyone’s got good intentions, but there will always be someone out there who wants to take advantage of you.
Here the age-old anecdote is appropriate: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Remember your TEFL job interview is as much your chance to judge the employer as it is they to you.
Confidence is key
You may have the qualifications, the experience, and the kick-ass C.V, but if you can´t speak in front of a group, you can’t get a job as a TEFL teacher. Speak confidently and clearly in your TEFL job interview – the same way you would speak to a learner – but without patronising the interviewer.
With many face-to-face interviews, you’re not only expected to speak to the head of studies, but also fellow teachers, HR people and school directors. Show them that you’re not intimidated by large groups, and let your personality shine through. They’re not after a TEFL-teaching robot, but rather a human being; one who can both relate to and guide the students in their academy.