TEACH ENGLISH ABROAD: Read up On My amazing adventures as an ESL Teacher in South Korea & China For Over 5 Years!
Interviewing for a potential ESL job overseas? Well, before you get to it, make sure to read my 11 tips that every ESL Teacher should know before doing an interview with an ESL employer.
1. Make sure your internet connection is good! The worst thing you want is to continuously get dropped from your connection during important talking points in the conversation. If your connection at home is bad, try conducting the interview at a place that offers better speed, such as a quiet spot in a library.
2. 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. Scammers in the ESL Job world may attempt to conduct written interviews, tell you "You've got the job", then request that you send them money. (Read more about Identifying ESL Jobs Scams).
3. Request that a current foreign teacher or manager sit in on your video interview. Not only will it help add more of a sense of security, but you’ll be able to ask them direct questions about their experience with the company. You should also make sure to ask the teacher for their contact information so you can ask personal questions outside of the interview.
4. Smile. Smiling makes a great 1st impression. It suggests that you are joyful, energetic, optimistic, sociable, youthful, and goofy. The wider the smile, the more these qualities will stand out for you. Most training centers require teachers to perform demo classes and open houses for parents, so they do check for the type of energy you'll bring along.
5. 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. Employers may ask you about your previous students' ages, teaching content with your organization(s), and your teaching style.
6. Remember to incorporate these keywords when speaking of your previous job experience or describing yourself: teacher, students, responsible, energetic, reliable, organized, teamwork, excelled, fun, positive, multi-tasked, managed, trained, adapted, social, traveler. Advertise yourself as a well-rounded individual.
7. Though not always the case, be prepared to teach a short lesson or perform a song. Employers will often request this to get a glimpse of your personality, your teaching style, and your energy. I've learned to prepare a short video of my teaching from my previous ESL jobs so that I can escape from the pressure of performing on the spot during a video interview.
8. Don't rush if you don't need to. In my experience as an ESL Teacher & manager I've learned that most ESL employers are usually in a rush to find teachers. Maybe a current teacher suddenly canceled their contract early, or maybe summer camp is approaching and the school has had no luck finding any suitable candidate. With that, schools may try to do whatever they can to persuade you to join their team. Despite their aggressiveness, make sure to take your time to figure out which situation is best for you. And if you feel you can, try to make a situation you're interested in better by negotiating reasonable request.
9. 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 or business casual is normal. Regardless of the situation, you can’t go wrong with business attire!
10. Do your research on your potential ESL employer before 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.
11. Have specific questions about the contract, position & company, ready to be asked. This is interviewing 101, for any job. Don't forget to ask about any visa concerns, as well. Here's an idea of what to ask your ESL employer.
12. Have a set time ready for when you'd like to move abroad before heading into the interview. If the employer likes you and you'd like to give them a chance, be prepared to negotiate an arrival time.
Interview Questions Every ESL Teacher Should Prepare For:
In my experience, most HR recruiters are mainly concerned about your overall energy, fluent english ability & clarity, qualifications, and availability. Here's just a few samples of questions you can expect in your interview:
Why do you want to become an ESL teacher?
What’s your teaching style? Can you offer any creative ways to teach the kids, such as games, music, or dancing?
Do you have any teaching experience? Please talk about what you taught, how you taught, and the environment you created in the classroom.
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?
What type of visa do you have and when does it expire? (If already in the country)
For more information, check out Applying For ESL Jobs.
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About the Author: Don is from Los Angeles, CA, USA and has served as an ESL Teacher & Foreign Department Manager in both China & South Korea!
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