What do I need to know about TEFL job interviews?

It is increasingly common for EFL teachers to be recruited before they leave home, with interviews conducted over the telephone or via webcam. However, there are still many countries where traditional in-person interviews are the norm. While it is impossible to predict the exact contents of any job interview, there are a few basic rules to be aware of if you want to have a good chance of securing the job.

What basic things should I do during a TEFL job interview?

One commonly known statistic is that we form a first impression of someone within the first seven seconds of meeting them. Bearing this rather scary statistic in mind, it is vital that you follow a few basic interview techniques if you want to avoid disaster before you have even answered a single question. Although it should go without saying, you should always ensure you arrive in plenty of time for an interview as poor time keeping has ruined many teachers chances of landing a job in the past. On entering the interview room you should introduce yourself and always do your best to smile no matter how nervous you might feel on the inside. By being polite and offering a warm smile you can show you are confident and positive in your general approach to life and the workplace.

One of the main things the interviewer will be trying to gauge is how serious you are about teaching and whether you will see out the full length of your contract. Throughout the interview you should do all you can to be positive about the job on offer, the school you will be working in, and the country/city where it is located. By following these simple steps you should give a positive impression of yourself as a person and demonstrate that you are a professional teacher who would fit into the school environment perfectly.

What should I wear for a TEFL job interview?

The bottom line here is you need to show the interviewer that you are professional in your approach to the workplace. Regardless of the outside environment, you should take every teaching job seriously as that is what the employer will expect. It might be a steaming hot day outside, but that is still no reason to turn up to an interview in shorts and a t-shirt. For men, a suit or a collared shirt and tie should be normal attire, while women are usually expected to wear a business suit, smart dress, or knee-length skirt and blouse. If you have long hair it should be neatly tied back and any tattoos or piercings should be covered where possible.

What language should I use during a TEFL job interview?

Considering the nature of the job you are interviewing for, it is always important to consider the type of language you use during the interview. Firstly, it is best to speak a little slower and clearer than your natural speech as the interviewer is likely to be a non-native English speaker. In these situations it is a good idea to use the same type of language and delivery that you would employ in the classroom. If you want to really make a good impression it might be worth learning a few basic words and phrases in the local language of the interviewer. A few simple pleasantries in their native language might well add to the overall good impression that you want to portray.

Do I need to know about any cultural issues when interviewing for a TEFL job?

To avoid making any embarrassing mistakes during a job interview it is highly recommended that you do a bit of basic research into the culture and customs of the country where you are looking for work. For example, in some cultures there are certain ways of greeting strangers or specific hand gestures that are considered rude. By avoiding these mistakes and showing you are aware of how things are done in the local environment, you can further demonstrate that you are a professional person who is committed to their new life in a new country.

What will the interviewer ask about my teaching knowledge during a TEFL job interview?

Trying to predict how an individual interview will go is impossible, but it is fair to assume you will be asked some questions regarding your ideas on language teaching. Before an interview you should prepare to answer questions on a few important subjects such as lesson planning, teaching methodology, and classroom management. It is also relatively common to be asked to teach a demonstration lesson on the school premises. To ensure you have time to prepare, it is important to confirm if this is necessary well before the interview date.

What do I need to know about TEFL job interviews?