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Interviewing for a potential job teaching English overseas overseas? Wait! Before you get to it, check out my 11+ tips that every prospective ESL Teacher should know before doing an interview with an ESL employer.
Yes! Make sure you are conducting a video interview with any ESL Employer so you can get a good idea of who you are actually speaking with. Not to scare you off, but it's vital to know that there are tons of scammers in the ESL job market, lurking behind computers, posing as ESL employers, and preying on gullible prospective teachers that don't know any better. Scammers may try to ask for a simple written interview, tell you "You've got the job", then request that you send them money. That's a clear sign of someone not to trust.
Pow Wow With a Current Foreign Teacher
Request that a current foreign teacher or manager sit in on your video interview. This will not only help add more of a sense of security, but you’ll be able to ask them direct questions about their experience with the company. Plus, make sure to ask the teacher for their contact information so you can ask personal questions outside of the interview.
Smile ... A lot
C'mon, we all know that smiling can make a great first impression. It can suggests that you are joyful, energetic, optimistic, sociable, youthful, and goofy. Here's the truth: In some high-demand regions like China, for instance, your academic background won't matter. Employers just want to make sure their students will like you, parents won't ask any questions, and that you'd get along with the staff. That you are presentable and can make them loads of money. Go the extra mile and smile!
Previous Teaching Experience
Be ready to thoroughly talk about your previous teaching experience, if any. Previous teaching experience is always a plus as it eases employers’ minds that they will not have to start from scratch to train you. They'll ask about your previous students' ages, the teaching content at your school, and your teaching style. And if you don't have any? ...
Show Us What You Got
Be prepared to teach a short lesson or perform a song. Oh boy, I usually hate this one. ESL employers will often request this to get a glimpse of your personality, your teaching style, and your energy. Some may put you on the spot, and others may give you a topic, let you prepare for 15 minutes, then call you back to 'perform.' I've learned to have a short video of my teaching in the classroom already prepared so I can just send it to them and escape the whole fiasco. Hey, it's worked in the past!
Remember to incorporate these keywords when speaking of your previous job experience or describing yourself: Responsible, energetic, reliable, organized, team player, fun, positive, multi-tasker, manager, supervisor, trained, adapted, social, traveler. Ah, guaranteed to blow their socks off!
Dress the Part
Please, please, please, dress appropriately for the interview, whether in-person or via video. If teaching adults, business attire is a must. If teaching children, business casual is normal. But you know what's funny? As a manager at an English training center in China, I interviewed a teacher wearing pajamas, and we still hired her! Here's why ...
English Teachers Wanted ... Badly
Again, some regions have a high-demand for English teachers, so don't rush to sign a contract with an ESL employer. Who knows? Maybe their current teacher suddenly canceled their contract early. Maybe a summer camp or new semester is fast approaching and the school just hasn't had any luck finding any suitable candidate. Hey, it happens, and it happens a lot. With that, schools may try to do whatever they can to persuade you to join their team. Even if they're aggressive, make sure to take your time to figure out which situation is best for you.
Questions, Questions, Questions
This one's a no-brainer. Have specific questions about the contract, position & company, ready to be asked. This is interviewing 101, for any job. Not sure what to ask? Check out my list of 20+ questions to ask your ESL employer before signing your contract.
Do Your Research
Do your research on your potential ESL employer before and after conducting the interview. There are plenty of websites and forums online that you check for reviews and comments about ESL organizations. Knowing as much as your company from former or current teachers ahead of time can save you loads of potential trouble.
Fail to Prepare, and You've Prepared to Fail
Here's a list of sample questions most ESL HR recruiters will ask in your interview:
Why do you want to become an ESL teacher?
Do you have any teaching experience? Talk about what you taught, how you taught, and the environment you created in the classroom.
Can you perform a sample class? For example, teach a song, or teacher conversation (What's your name? My name is ... / How's the weather today? It's sunny. It's cold ... or Teach a letter & 3 words).
Have you ever lived in another country?
Tell us about a time where you had the chance to experience another culture.
Why do you want to teach in _____? Do you have any goals you want to accomplish here?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Do you have: Valid Passport, Diploma, Letter of Recommendation, Criminal Check, TEFL Certificate, Employment Verification?
When can you start working?
And there you have it folks! My list of 11+ things every prospective ESL teacher should know before doing an interview. Did I leave anything out? Well, let the world know down below! Safe & happy travels!
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