Finally, you’ve earned your TEFL Certificate, applied for a few TEFL jobs abroad and now panicking about how to prepare in a way that will actually award you the dream job. A TEFL interview may be different from a traditional one and you can expect not to meet the interviewer in-person but via Skype or a phone call while sitting in a different country. But one thing which is common in all the interviews is that they all are kind of nightmarish! No matter if you are experienced or a newly certified English teacher, the preparation time can be stressful. That is why we have created this post to offer some of the most practical and tips and tricks to help you excel in your upcoming TEFL job interview.
First of all, keep in mind that if you’ve made it to the interview stage, it means that you really have the guts to become what you want. Now, you only need to prove it by creating a nice first impression. Know how to sell your qualification and how to convince the recruiter that you are the one they are looking for.
So, let’s find out the tips and strategies that will enhance your chances of success!
Research the TEFL School
This will boost your confidence level as you will be having meaningful information regarding the type of academy and its activities. The more knowledge you gather, the better it would be to answer their questions. The best way to do this is by exploring the official website of the school you are going to work with, in case you get hired. Also, check the social media pages they might have. This practice will familiarize you with their curriculum, academics, student profiles, sports, and other co-curricular activities and you will be in a better position to give appropriate responses by quoting your research as a reference. Because the typical, generic replies no longer work in a world where everything has become customized. You can prove your worth only if you have enough information about the type of teacher they need and what are their mission and values.
Be Careful About the Timing
It is quite obvious that you shouldn't be late at that big day, that's why showing up early for the interview is a good idea but arriving too early can also be a big turn off. According to the experts, a person should reach his destination before 10-15 minutes and this time would be enough to acclimate himself with the place around and to complete the paperwork if any. You should consider the fact that the interview is arranged at a specific time for a reason and you might not want to sound too desperate or a burden for the staff.
And if the interview is planned over skype (as TEFL is a career that may want you to relocate), try to keep yourself updated on the time difference between you and recruiter’s location. Always confirm their time zone while scheduling for a skype interview to avoid any inconvenience.
Dress to Impress!
The dress code makes up an important part of your personality. As far as TEFL course is concerned, every school has its own attire depending upon their culture and rules. We would advise you to play safe and choose business attire for your interview. Avoid wearing revealing tops, short skirts, jeans, and other extra flamboyant outfits. Piercings, scruffy and unshaven facial hairs would also not help to create a great impression. Remember that your dress and personality will convey the message of what type of person you are. Dress professionally, so that the recruiter may get an idea of your commitment to the job.
Same goes for the interview arranged online. It will not only portray yourself as a professional but you will also feel more confident and psychologically ready to communicate with the TEFL interviewer. Don’t miss the chance of making them realize that it is a SERIOUS business for you!
Personality is the Key
Some people are of the belief that having a confrontational and strict personality can help to effectively control the students. But in fact, they will be less likely to openly respond and interact within the class. That is way, having a friendly and welcoming attitude is a must for the teachers. This very same warm attitude and passion will help you to shine through the interview. The recruiter will always prefer a teacher who is enthusiastic and approachable over the one who has a vast knowledge of grammar and lesson planning.
Teaching is a profession that requires lots of positive energy and devotion. You may need to tell the employer that how much you love to adopt this career, tell examples that how it makes you happy to help students and how this experience has enriched your life. Also, use body language to express your dedication to the position. This approach will definitely make you stand out from the crowd as a TEFL teacher.
Give Examples, Personal Anecdotes are Even Better
The interviewers also want to know that what kind of person you are in addition to your professional qualification. For that sake, you can tell them the examples from your past teaching experience or even a real incident that you handled in the past. This would highlight your strengths as an educator. The recruiter might ask behavioral questions that how you handled particular behavior of a student or a situational question that how you will act and respond to a possible future situation in the class. In both cases, you can use personal anecdotes to demonstrate your ability to find solutions or achieving success. Your main focus should be on the resulting outcome from your action.
Such questions provide an opportunity to prove yourself as the best TEFL teacher by telling the in-depth details of your own practical experiences.
Less is More!
When it comes to answering the interview questions, try to keep your responses succinct and precise to make it easy for the recruiter to process all the information. You just need to back your answers in light of your qualification and experience by eliminating the unnecessary details. Although, the main purpose of an interview is to let the employers know about you but you also need to prove yourself a good listener when it’s their turn to talk. Teachers also have a bad reputation that they talk too much but TEFL teaching profession requires that you must be an effective listener to improve student engagement. Additionally, when a person talks more than usual, it normally gives the impression that he is nervous and you surely don’t want your interviewer to assume such things about you!
First, be very clear that the TEFL certificate that you hold is considered as the most important professional certification to teach English in Spain or anywhere abroad. Do not underestimate the power of your TEFL degree that officially makes you a TEFL professional. You just need to present it in a way that convinces!
Ask yourself questions such as, “What qualities make me stand out from the rest?”, “How I can outperform to make sure my candidacy gets consideration by the hiring managers?”, “Why I’m the best fit for their school” and so on. If you can confidently answer questions like these then the chances of success increase many times. Because these are the exact things the recruiter wants from you. You should be able to explain why you are qualified and experienced enough to be awarded this job. Prove your reliability by telling how much you are committed with this profession and will not leave in case things go south. And reassure them on some solid ground that why you want to move to an entirely different country and to become a seasoned TEFL expert.
Remember that your inexperience won’t be a problem for them as long as you are flexible to learn and progress towards betterment.
Ask Appropriate Questions
At the end of your interview, you will be asked to raise your queries regarding the job. But don’t be shy to ask them even if you were not prompted to do so. These questions will not only clear out your doubt and concerns but will also tell the employer that how much serious and committed you are to avail this opportunity. Your questions should not be very simple and self-explanatory as it will give an impression of lack of research at your end. Therefore, it’s better to prepare a list before the interview so that you may not mess them up during the interview. For example, you might want to ask about the potential support and development provided to the teachers, working hours, dress code, culture and climate, and other activities to do after the school hours.
If you are ready for this adventure and begin working in a cool country like Spain, this is your chance! Start teaching English in Spain with TEFL Madrid, now!