Lexi Ward

A TEFL interview isn't the same as a traditional interview. In most traditional interviews, candidates are expected to dress formally, visit the place they intend to work, and meet someone face to face. As most TEFL jobs are abroad, it is a little bit trickier to do this. TEFL interviews usually take place on Skype, and may even include a demonstration element. If you have never had a Skype interview, or a TEFL interview, then this could be tricky. Luckily, in the video and transcript below, we have collected our best tips from our most experienced recruiters to help you land your dream job.

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Today we're going to talk about TEFL interviews and basically how to land that job. So the first thing is obvious, but I will say it anyway. To get a job, you will need to start applying for a few jobs. The application process is usually very easy, but you will need to make sure you have a few things covered so that you are successful in getting an interview.

How To Secure An Interview

Make sure that your email is looking good meaning that it's not a weird name, like flower_gal.

If you have an old email from your school days that is inappropriate, make sure you change your email address to something that is a little bit more professional. It should just be your name or some variation that is easy to recognise.

You should also update your CV. Make sure it has been checked for spelling and grammar.

Once you send in your application, you might get some communication back. You might get a phone call; you might get an email. So you want to be making sure that you can pick up phone calls, and keep an eye on your emails.

Check emails and look at them, but more importantly, check the junk! Often these emails go into a junk folder, either because it's not a recognised sender, or it has an attachment.

Following Up With Email Communication

With email communication, you want to be making a good impression. You should try and ensure that you check your spelling and your grammar. Remember, you're applying for an English teaching job, so they will be looking at that. Also, don't forget your CV/Resume, try and get someone to give it a quick read because it is easy to miss some errors in there.

Other Methods of Communication

We've talked about emails and phone, but there are other methods of communication that you will need to think about. WhatsApp, Skype, WeChat, FaceTime, these are all ways that people might try to reach out to you for an interview. If you're interviewing for a job with someone who is in China, they're not going to fly over just for that interview; it's just going to happen using modern technology. Video calls are the preferred method of communication, and mostly Skype, but sometimes Skype's not that reliable. If you have it, you may need to use FaceTime or possibly WeChat.

Preparing For Your Interview

Dress Code

Just like anything, you'll probably want to prepare for it a little bit. So dress well maybe not a bathrobe; I have encountered that before, which was a little strange. I think the candidate didn't expect it to be a video call, or maybe didn't know the video was on. Also, take off the beanie, or take off the big scarf or the hoodie. Business casual is fine. You probably don't need to go to a full Tux or anything like that. A tie never hurts, but perhaps a collared shirt. Dress like you would do for your first day of work: it is a professional setting.

Location and Setting

As well as what you are wearing, the interviewer is going to see what's behind you. So if you have some interesting posters, you might not want to be sitting in front of that. I had a guy interview in the bathroom once. That was very strange, just uncomfortable I imagine, but also a car is kind of a weird place too. If you have to squeeze in the interview in some way where you're not going to be at home, make sure it's a place that is quiet, and you have a secure internet. Also, test the internet and make sure it works; log in 15 minutes before your interview. All of these things show that you are serious about this, it's your credibility.

Other Things To Remember

You want to demonstrate that you are serious and you're going to see this all the way through. Keep in mind that the company that is considering hiring you will need to secure your visa, which has a large time and money investment, so you want to show them that the effort is worth it. It's a few things. Motivation, personal credibility, we like to hear about past experiences and how you react to changing work situations and things like that.

The Demo Lesson

When you are interviewing for a TEFL position then you'll probably have to do a demo lesson; they are very common. You may have to pretend to teach a little bit of a lesson to the interviewer as if they were a student. You will be provided with information about this beforehand, and again, take it seriously, just prepare for it. Don't worry too much about experience, or if you have done it before. I didn't have any experience, but I researched a tonne, and I brought a lot of enthusiasm to the lesson. I also accepted the feedback that I was given and was willing to try again. There is a trial and error process, but as long as you show that you're happy to do it again, that's good. They might not expect you to know exactly how to teach for an entry level position, but they want to see that you are willing to learn.

After The Interview

So after the interview, the same rules apply as before. You need to keep checking those emails and look for a response. You'll probably have a response in a week at the most. If it goes past that, and you haven't seen anything, then check your junk mail again, because it could have ended up there, and that's the worse because you just miss it. Or just reach out to the TEFL interviewer, there's nothing wrong with just saying “hi, thanks for the interview, I just want to check in and see if you have any feedback, or you have made adecision". Probably don't do this the next day, maybe just follow a three-day rule.


To wrap up, some important points:

  • Check your email and pick up your phone after you apply for a job.

  • Download Skype or WeChat, especially if you're coming to China.

  • In the TEFL interview, make sure you are dressed professionally, and you are in a suitable environment.

  • Prepare, take it seriously and make sure you're ready for the demo lesson.

  • After the TEFL interview, make sure you check your email again, answer your phone, and if you haven't heard anything after three days just send a polite email.

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Lexi Ward

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