What will a TEFL employer ask in an interview?
Being interviewed for a TEFL related position is much like any other interview situation; it can be an intimidating prospect. However, if you do your homework and prepare for some general questions in advance, you can remove a great deal of worry from the whole process. Unfortunately you cannot predict exactly how any interview will unfold but most will include a similar range of questions that are aimed at assessing your suitability for joining the existing workforce. So what questions should you expect to be asked?
The employer will certainly want to form an impression of who you are as a person, so expect questions such as: What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? If the job is outside of your home country you can also expect some questions regarding how you will adapt to a new environment. Typical questions might include: Have you travelled abroad before? What cultural differences have you encountered on your travels and how did you cope with them? Why do you want to work in this school/country? This last question provides a great opportunity to make a good impression so don’t be afraid to flatter the interviewer regarding their home country or place of work.
Your previous work history is certain to come up so you should be prepared to answer questions about your past responsibilities, what you have learned from each position and why you want to leave or have left your last job. If you are an experienced teacher these questions may include: What ages and language levels have you taught? What course books have you used in the past? Have you experience using teaching aids such as interactive whiteboards, video and DVDs etc… Other questions in this area will also be relevant to new teachers who have completed a TEFL certificate course. How would a one-to-one lesson differ from teaching a group? How would you approach a class that had mixed language levels? How would you deal with a disruptive student in the classroom? If you are also able to relate any of your answers to specific occasions in the classroom then your credibility will be greatly enhanced.
Due to the nature of international English teaching, every job interview will be different. They could be face-to-face, on the telephone or via Skype and can last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour or more. If it is a face-to-face interview you may also be expected to teach a trial lesson there and then so it is advisable to ask about this in advance and to ensure you are fully prepared. As with any job interview, if you look and act professional and are well prepared with solid answers to a wide range of typical questions, you have a good chance of landing that dream job.