Published 12th October 2015

tefl interview

If you asked us, on any day of the week, one thing we definitely did not want to do that day, having a job interview would be very near the top of the list. Job interviews are tough and can be a daunting thought which can cause sleepless nights and sweaty armpits. TEFL interviews can be just as challenging as any other job interview, but even more so if you don’t have a lot of TEFL experience, because you never know what may happen in a TEFL job interview. Be warned: these are not normal job interviews*. Let’s see what preparing for a TEFL interview entails!

Teaching English as a foreign language

Preparing For A TEFL Interview

TEFL interviews can be conducted in person, if you are lucky, but the majority take place over the phone or over Skype. On the plus side, the interviewer might not be able to see you squirm while you thumb suck an answer, but at the same time, the interviewer can’t be wowed by your pretty smile and great eye contact. Also, it can be more difficult to think on your feet: having an interview over the phone may lull you into a false sense of security, because it can feel more like a conversation than an interview. 

Face-to-face interviews

Face-to-face interviews, on the other hand, may seem more familiar, but be prepared for the unexpected. You may be given a grammar test or even asked to do a demonstration lesson off the cuff, with students or just with the interviewer. It can be especially fun if you are having the interview in a foreign country, because often the interviewers could do with a few English lessons themselves, or an interpreter can be involved, in which case you may have no idea what is being is said!

Do your Research

Regardless of the circumstances, though, preparing for TEFL interviews should be similar to any other. Firstly, do your research. Know what kind of teaching you will be required to do. Then, think about what experience you have which is similar, or what qualities you possess which will make you a good fit for the school or organisation. Think about why you want to work for them – and “wanting to travel Asia” is usually not a good answer. Make note beforehand of a few activities or games you have used both successfully and unsuccessfully in the past; think about reasons they turned out like they did, perhaps even ways you could have done better.

How you Deal with Discipline in Your Class

Always consider how you deal with discipline in your class, as this is bound to come up. Finally, brush up on your grammar if you are rusty but don’t be afraid to admit defeat if a question completely stumps you. Teachers often don’t know the answers to student’s questions but the trick is to come up with a way of saying you will look up the answer so you know the answer the next time it comes up, and employers like to know how you will deal with difficult situations. 

Possibly the best advice we can give you: fake it til you make it. Be confident in yourself and your teaching abilities and you’ll be able to convince your employers you’ll be the best thing to happen to their school since whiteboards. 

* A (true) TEFL interview question: What colour is your aura?