5 Tips To Ace Your Teaching English Abroad Job Interview
Are you getting ready for your first interview of teaching English overseas? You’re in the right place! Whether it’s a face-to-face, phone or Skype video interview, you need to present yourself professionally, sell your qualifications and convince the employer that you’re the best candidate for this job. Here are 5 tips to help you nail your ESL teaching abroad job interview:
1. Present Yourself Professionally
First off, make sure that you’ve met all the necessary qualifications and are prepared to talk about them. Most schools would require a TEFL/TESOL certificate and a Bachelor’s degree. Though optional, prior teaching experiences would win brownie points. If you don’t have them, you must be able to explain relevant experiences or other credentials to prove that you’ll be a good ESL teacher.
Secondly, dress appropriately in a nice interview outfit. This doesn’t always need to go as far as a suit and tie for a man, and a dress blouse or suit jacket for a woman, but it a least a business casual to show your professionalism.
The interviews are usually conducted via a video call since you won’t be flying to the country you’re teaching at. In this case, Zoom and Skype are common software apps. Double check your Skype profile picture (avatar)! For video calls, don’t forget to choose a place with minimal distraction in the background, somewhere quiet with a good Internet connection.
2. Do Your Due Diligence
Before the interview, research carefully the school that you’re interviewing with. You can find online reviews about the school’s salary, schedule, students, and teaching environment. You can find local school info here or join our Teach English Abroad Jobs Facebook group can be resourceful as it does not only have job postings but also school and program reviews contributed by fellow ESL teachers.
It’s also important to learn about the country you’ll be living in. What’s the weather like? How about food, language, and culture? Study some of the etiquettes or cultural norms you’re expected to perform as a foreign ESL teacher. Does that sound like an ideal destination for you to work and live abroad in? Explore all of your teaching English abroad options in this comprehensive country-by-country guide.
3. Be Aware of Time Zones
When you’re scheduling your phone or Skype interview, notice the time differences between your locations (use Google!). That way, you can set up the interview time correctly. To avoid any confusion, always confirm in writing the interview time in both time zones.
4. Do Mock Interviews
As with any job interviews, you should definitely do mock interviews with a friend or family member, just to hear some objective feedback. Here are some sample questions for you to practice:
- What are your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher?
- Why do you want to be an ESL teacher?
- Why are you interested in teaching in (name of the country)?
- How would you introduce the past perfect tense to a group of 10 students?
- What are the challenges you’ve faced in a classroom and how did you handle them?
- How would you handle a class of students with various English levels?
- Have you lived or traveled abroad before?
- Can you prepare your own teaching materials and curriculum?
There’s no wrong or right answer for all of these. You shouldn’t sound like a robot either. Just be yourself! However, practicing in advance will help you feel less surprised as well as answer more smoothly and consistently.
5. Prepare to Ask Questions
Don’t skip this opportunity to “grill” your interviewer back to completely feel confident that this job fits you before any contract is signed. This is a huge opportunity and a big change! Don’t be shy to use this chance to clarify any important details that you need to understand. Here are some suggestions:
- Are there other foreign teachers working at your school?
- What are the working days and hours? What’s the hour requirements for teaching, lesson planning, and other work if any?
- Will I be paid overtime if I teach more than this number of hours?
- Is there a dress code?
- Will the work visa be sponsored?
- Is housing provided? If so, ask what’s included. If not, ask them whether you can get any assistance finding accommodation.
Are you looking for opportunities to teach English abroad in Vietnam? Check out our Teach English Abroad Facebook group for daily job listings.