Published 10th May 2019


While the thought of teaching a class full of students who are hungry to learn the English language may excite you, don’t forget you’ll need to secure yourself a job first. Interviews can be nerve-wracking for some, but if you do your research and know what to expect, you’ll be prepared for the array of questions that are bound to be thrown your way.

5 Tips for Interviews

Do your homework

As with any interview, it’s important to research the school you’ll be teaching at. Look up the school or company beforehand to get an idea of what they’re expecting from their teachers. It will also raise some questions in your mind about who you are potentially going to work for, so jot those down so that you can ask your potential employer. Look out for issues around working conditions, visa requirements, and accommodation for teachers, amongst other things.

Ask questions

One of the biggest mistakes people make in interviews is not asking enough questions to the employer. While it’s good to want to secure the job and come across as personable and agreeable as possible, you don’t want to land a job and arrive at work only to discover it’s not what you thought it was going to be. Make sure you have a list of questions so that you interview the potential employer back. As much as you want to be the right person for them, they need to be the right employer for you.

Questions to consider include:

  • How big are the classes?
  • How many contact hours do I teach?
  • What coursebooks are used?
  • What is expected of me outside of contact hours?
  • How many foreign teachers are employed?
  • What is included in the contract?

Highlight the diversity of your experience

Of course, you can expect to be asked many questions regarding your teaching experience and it’s important to highlight what makes your experience different from the next person’s. While they don’t need to know every detail about previous jobs, it’s good to highlight the different types of students you may have taught in various situations and schools. Raising attention to the diversity of your experience is key in an interview process.

If you haven’t done any formal teaching, think of previous work situations where you may have taken a leadership role, such as au pairing, or managing kitchen or wait staff in a restaurant. Teaching practicals you completed during your TEFL teaching also count in this regard as they provide you with genuine classroom practice.

Prepare to demonstrate your abilities

It’s not always the case but some EFL schools and companies will ask you to give a demonstration lesson. It is probably the worst-case scenario as coming up with a lesson idea on the spot in front of people you are trying to impress can be incredibly daunting. Have some lesson ideas prepared beforehand so that if you are asked to do this, you’ve got something in the bag.

Interviewing for a TEFL job can be a fun process. Be yourself, ask lots of questions to ensure you are the right person for the job and it’s the right school for you, and you’ll be fine. Don’t forget that failed interviews should be viewed as practice for the next one!