7 Tips: How to Prepare For a TEFL Interview

So you’ve finished your TEFL course, applied for a few jobs that you REALLY want to get, and now you’re panicking about preparing for a TEFL interview.

When it comes to TEFL, there are a range of different interviews too. You may not be in the same room as the recruiter, or even in the same country… with airfare expensive to the more far-flung destinations, a lot of interviews do take place over Skype.  It may not be something you’ve ever experienced before, so follow our top tips to ace your TEFL interview and secure yourself an amazing teaching job. So, how do you prepare for a TEFL Interview? Let’s find out!

Sell yourself

Like any other interview you’ll need to be prepared to talk about yourself!  The employer is looking to find out whether you’ll fit well into their school or academy; so not only will they want to hear about your qualifications and potential experience, but they’re also looking to test your reliability and adaptability.  In other words, they’ want reassurance that you won’t freak out and leave them stuck with a school full of eager learners and no teacher.  Make sure you clearly get across the reasons why you’re suited to teaching in their schools and why you want to move to your chosen country, which also shows your dedication by the research you’ve done.

A Smile Goes a Long Way!

…it really does!  First impressions are really important in any interview, so by showing that you are cheerful and polite you are demonstrating that you have the perfect attributes to become a fantastic TEFL teacher.  Also remember to look into the camera – whilst it may feel more natural looking at the employer’s face, all they will see is you looking down, which could make you look unsure of yourself.  Like a face-to-face interview, eye contact is key!

Present Yourself Well

It’s really important to present yourself well at your interview physically: avoid the smart shirt and PJ bottoms by dressing professionally head to toe.  Imagine if the doorbell rings, or if you’re asked to perform an impromptu demo lesson…!  Also, whilst it’s tempting to check yourself out on Skype to see if you’re looking your best, employers will be able to tell you’re doing this by lack of eye contact!  You wouldn’t constantly look at yourself in the mirror at a regular interview, would you?  To an employer, this can make you seem shy, vain, or even worse, disinterested.

The other thing to remember is to spring clean your surroundings.  Wherever you’re sitting, make the effort to tidy it up as it will show employers how organised you are – and think how awkward it could be if your prospective employers could see your dirty underwear sprawled on the floor…

Speak Clearly

Speaking slowly and clearly is important in a TEFL interview; and as it will be likely your interviewer’s first language isn’t English, you’ll need to make sure you’re understood.  A reliable internet connection is key: if it’s likely to be slowed down by your house-mate downloading a box set off Netflix, then either pre-warn them not to do this, or go elsewhere!  A quiet corner in the library perhaps, or even you’re parents’ house?

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

The good old saying fail to prepare, prepare to fail is extremely relevant when it comes to your TEFL interview.  If you attend the interview not knowing much info on the school or country, you won’t make a good impression!  Additionally, have a think of some questions your interviewer may ask, and have some ideas of how you would answer (without sounding too robotic!).  Here are some example questions i-to-i TEFLers have come across:

Do you prefer to use text books or your own materials?

How would you settle a group of lively students at the beginning of the class?

Is this your first visit to xxxx? How will you adjust to life in another country?

Which levels do you prefer to teach?

Have you ever taught before?

Do you prefer to teach adults or children?

When it comes to preparing for a TEFL interview  – the more educated your answers the more likely it is that you’ll get the job!

Show an Interest

No one is going to want to hire someone who doesn’t appear to be interested in the school or country; so be sure to sound keen!  By showing off your knowledge of the country, you’re demonstrating how much research you’ve conducted, thus how you’ve thought about whether or not you’d fit in, and you’ve come to the conclusion that you would, and so won’t do a runner when you get a bout of homesickness!

Ask Questions!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions as it shows you’re interested in the role.  There are loads of things you could ask, but don’t go overboard – you don’t want to be interviewing the interviewer! Here are some things you may want to ask:

How big is the school – how many teachers/students are there, and how long does the typical English teacher work there for?

What is the dress code, working hours, climate, the local life and potential activities you could be involved in after-school hours.

How long is the contract for?

And finally, remember that even though the interview is online, it is still an interview.  With lots of preparation, appropriate attire, and a demonstration that you are enthusiastic and friendly, you should be able to land that dream TEFL job.

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  1. Sheela

    Hi, Thanks for the article about jobs for English teacher skype. I would like to try your service to compare it to my previous experience. I did lessons by skype http://preply.com/en/skype/english-tutoring-jobs. I was pretty satisfied with the quality.

    • Elle Pollicott

      Hi Sheela – thanks for your message, can I just check – did you teach English online, or were you a student who learnt English online? If you have previously taught, we aren’t a recruitment agency so don’t offer TEFL positions directly, but you can find online opportunities on our jobs board here: http://www.onlinetefl.com/tefl-jobs-abroad/. The same goes if you have learnt English online – as we provide TEFL courses to people who want to teach English, we don’t offer English courses directly; so I would suggest having a Google and seeing which companies/teachers offer online courses. Hope this helps, Elle

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