So, you’ve completed your TEFL certification and now it’s time to look for a job. This is exciting! Knowing what to expect before your first TEFL interview can help a lot. I remember my first TEFL interview..I was so nervous! I definitely could have used some pointers before heading into it.
Interviews are inherently stressful, which is why we’re going to lay out some of the crucial things you need to know in order to ace your TEFL job interview!
The first things to note is that you must dress to impress! Before your interview even begins, your interviewer will see your appearance. As shallow as it may sound, how you look speaks a thousand words. Is your hair knotty and messy? Do you have chipped nail polish on your nails? Are you wearing ratty, old sneakers? All of these things play a part. Of course, each school differs, so do a little research beforehand about the school’s specific dress codes. Some are much more formal than others, but it’s always better to be more dressed than not enough!
Below are two lists, one for the guys and one for the ladies, of what to wear for your interview.
For the guys:
- Button-down shirt
- Slacks (make sure they aren’t wrinkled!)
- Nice dress shoes
- Hair combed nicely
For the ladies:
- Dress or skirt (not too short, of course!)
- Nice sandals (not flip-flops) or dress shoes
- Neat hair
Note: Regardless of the school, never wear jeans, shorts or flip-flops to an interview.
Tips: During the interview
It is so important that you enunciate your word very clearly. You are applying for a job to teach English, so yours must be perfect! Upon introducing yourself to your interviewer, be sure to give him or her a firm handshake while making eye contact. (Always a good way to make a great impression). Have your updated, printed resume with you and ready to hand over to your interviewer upon arrival (and make sure all grammar and punctuation is pristine).
Try to stay cool, calm and collected throughout the entirety of the interview. If you don’t know how to answer a specific question, it’s okay. You can be honest and declare that at this point you’re not completely sure. But, I will suggest practicing some answers to a few common questions that are almost always asked during a TEFL job interview. Here’s a list of some frequently asked questions:
- What previous teaching experience do you have?
- Why do you want to teach English abroad/Why do you want to teach at this institution?
- What is something unique about you that can you offer to our school?
- Have you ever taught [specific age group] before?
- How would you deal with an unruly child?
- Do you have any questions for me?
- What are your goals as a TEFL teacher?
And now, here are some questions that you should prepare to ask your interviewer:
- How many classes per week will I be teaching?
- How many other teachers work at the school?
- Are there any teacher housing accommodations available?
- What is the safety of the city?
- What is your offered salary?
With these under your belt, you should be prepared to have a good, easy-flowing conversation with your interviewer. Remember the more prepared, the better and the less nervous you will be. However, you won’t be able to memorize some questions and that’s okay. Just take your time while answering so you don’t seem like a robot.
Preparing a sample class for your interviewer
Many times, you will be asked to teach a 15-minute segment of a class to your interviewer. This is probably the most crucial part of your interview. This is where you get to use all of the skills you learned during your certification course. This is your time to shine!
For this portion of the interview, choose a lesson that you feel totally confident in! Maybe that’s a grammar lesson or a reading exercise. Doesn’t matter really what it is as long as you know what you’re doing. It is likely that your interviewer will pretend to be a student and will interrupt and ask questions during your lesson. When this happens, try not to get flustered and simply answer the questions as if it was a student asking.
Again, stay cool and calm! You know exactly what you’re doing… 🙂
Upon completion of your interview, leave with another firm handshake. A few hours later, it’s important to send a follow-up email to your interviewer. In this email, confirm your interest in the position, thank them for their time and let them know that they can contact you at any time with questions.
The part after this is the hardest…waiting to hear back can be an excruciatingly stressful period. During this time, it’s important to continue looking for other jobs and continuing brushing up on your TEFL skills. The call will eventually come whether you got the job or not, and once the call comes, life goes on.
If you end up not getting the job, learn from your mistakes and what you can do differently in the next interview. Maybe you need to practice answering some potential questions better, maybe you just need to relax a bit more, maybe you just had an off day. It’s not a great feeling when you’re rejected from a job, but take it as a learning and growing experience. It can only make you stronger.
Good luck on your next TEFL job interview!