How do I prepare for an interview for teaching English abroad?

In some situations, ESL teachers are recruited from within their own country via an interview using a phone or webcam. However, in many countries employers prefer to interview potential teachers in person within their own school complex. Although every interview is likely to vary to some degree, there are a few simple rules you should stick to in order to have the best chance of success.

What are the basic things to remember for a TESOL job interview?

It is commonly believed that people form a first impression of someone within the first seven seconds of meeting them. With this in mind, it is very important that you get a few basic interview techniques right to avoid ruining your chances before you have even started answering any questions. It may seem obvious, but being late for the interview has been the downfall of many job hunters. Once you enter the room you should introduce yourself and make an effort to smile even if you are nervous. Simple politeness and a warm smile are two basic ways to demonstrate you are a confident, positive person with an outgoing personality. During the rest of the interview, one of the main things the interviewer will want to find out about you is whether you are serious about teaching and are you likely to complete a full contract. At every opportunity you should try to be enthusiastic about the job, the school, and the country you are in. These basic steps should ensure you give a great first impression and show that you are a professional teacher who would be an asset to the school.

How should I dress for a TESOL job interview?

Always keep in mind that you need to demonstrate you are a serious and professional teacher. No matter where you are in the world, any teaching job needs to be taken seriously. Even if you are in the tropics and it is steaming hot outside, there is no excuse for turning up to an interview in shorts and a t-shirt. Men should wear a suit or at least a collared shirt and tie, while women should go for a business suit, smart dress, or knee-length skirt and blouse. You should also remember to tie back long hair and cover any tattoos and piercings that you might have.

What language should I use in a TESOL job interview?

As the very nature of an ESL job is language based, it is important to consider the way you speak during an interview. The main thing is to always speak slowly and clearly and only use the kind of language you would use while teaching in front of a class. In many cases, the interviewer will be a non-native English speaker, so you should avoid being overly clever with your vocabulary. Although most schools will only allow English to be used while you are teaching in the classroom, it can be a good thing to learn a few basic words of the local language before an interview. Being able to say 'hello' and 'goodbye' in the interviewer?s native language is likely to come across in your favor.

What cultural issues should I be aware of during a TESOL job interview?

As you are likely to be teaching in a new and unfamiliar environment it is a good idea to do a bit of research into the local culture and customs before you arrive so you can avoid making any unfortunate mistakes during the interview. Some cultures have specific rules regarding handshakes, how to sit, the use of hand gestures etc. By demonstrating that you are aware of these issues you can further show your intention to take your job and new environment seriously and respectfully.

What teaching related questions might I be asked during a TESOL job interview?

It is very hard to predict the exact set of questions you will be asked, although you can assume that you will be asked several questions relating to your own ideas regarding teaching. Subjects that you should be prepared to talk about include lesson planning, teaching methodology, and classroom management. In some cases the interview will involve you teaching a demonstration lesson, so you should confirm if this is the case prior to the actual interview day.

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