Get that job!
Acing your interview - for teachers; How to prepare for a job interview in English - for students; Personal experience - Dina Fadeeva
ACING YOUR INTERVIEW
There are different ways for a teacher to get a job, and when some choose to be self-employed and find students themselves, others seek the security and perks of working for a school. In the case of the latter, you will undoubtedly go through at least a dozen of interviews until you and the school of your dreams find each other. Let us share our experience about how to make the most out of that!
Update your CV
As simple as it may sound, your CV should include only relevant experience and qualifications. Your potential employers will not be interested in the fact that you have worked part-time as a barista for 2 years or used to be an estate agent. The most important things are what other schools you have worked with, what kind of private practice you have done and what certificates or degrees you have related to teaching. List the kinds of courses you have taught - General English, Business English, English for Specific Purposes, what students you have had - adults, teens, or kids, and what levels you have worked with. Also, note if you have taught groups or only individuals, online or offline. Another aspect that should be mentioned is the materials and Course Books you are familiar with - some schools require teachers to use a particular one. And finally, it is always an advantage to have experience preparing students for international exams such as FCE, CAE, IELTS, or TOEFL.
Do the research
Once you are contacted by a school to arrange an interview, try to find out more about them. Visit their website and social media accounts, watch videos and read how they present themselves. Usually, you can get a pretty clear picture of what the school is like by that information and prepare accordingly. And if you mention to your interviewer (commonly a DOS), they will be immensely pleased by the interest you are taking in the school and are sure to note that down, too.
And it goes without saying, that you should carefully read the job listing itself. What kind of teachers are they looking for? What are they offering in terms of students, methodological support, training, what their requirements are.
Even if you are having an online interview, it doesn’t mean that you needn’t think about the way you look. It never pains to make a little extra effort to at least brush your hair and wear a nice shirt or a jacket. Think about your background, ideally, it should be a blank wall or a bookcase. Check your camera and microphone, make sure there are no noises or people walking and talking behind you.
Be on time
We shouldn’t even be talking about it, but if you are late for your interview (even as much as 5 minutes), your potential employer may decide you will do the same with your lessons. And that will not go in your favour.
Try to smile and be friendly. Being a teacher, you have to work with people, and having good communication skills, the ability to get on with different kinds of people are essential in our profession. Listen carefully to the questions and do not stray too much, answer on point. Mention the approaches you use (PPP, TTT, Guided discovery, Task-Based, Lexical, DOGME, and of course Communicative), but be ready to explain what they mean and how exactly you use them.
It shows you are invested and interested in this position, but the kinds of questions you ask are also important. Inquire about the training, methodological support you may receive, whether you can observe other teachers' lessons. Ask about what kind of admin work they may require you to do apart from filling attendance and how time-consuming it is.
A rare thing, but always adds bonus points to a candidate, is when they send a follow-up email, where they thank for the interview and express their hope for the future collaboration. They will love it, trust us!
What are your tips for having an interview with a school? What was your best or worst interview?
HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR JOB INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH
Preparation is key
Prepare for your English language job interview just as you would for any other interview. This may include researching the organisation's history and mission, determining the travel time needed to promptly arrive at your interview location, organising your materials, and choosing an outfit.
Some companies may require you to take an English skills test during your interview. To help you prepare at little or no cost, several websites offer free online English skills tests.
Anticipate potential questions
Most interviewers have a set list of questions to determine whether you would fit the position and organisation as a whole. Sample questions might include:
How would you describe yourself?
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Why do you want to work here?
Take some time to determine how you would answer these and other interview questions in English, and be prepared to provide real-life examples that reference your job history. Refer to the job advert itself for keywords and ideal candidate qualities that you can highlight. Avoid memorising your answers in order to sound as natural as possible during the interview.
If you find yourself struggling to answer a question, do not be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat or reword their question. This is completely normal and happens in many interviews between fluent English speakers.
Role-play the interview
One way to practise your language skills is to role-play the interview. Find an English-speaking friend who can act as the interviewer by reciting sample interview questions in English, and providing feedback on your answers. Alternatively, record yourself (on your mobile phone, computer, or another recording device) asking and answering the questions in English. Play back the recording to see how you can improve your responses.
During your role play, pay attention to the speed and clarity of your speech to ensure that your answers are properly delivered and comprehensible. Individuals tend to speak faster when nervous, so by practising speaking slowly and clearly during the role play, you will feel more relaxed and confident during the actual interview.
Don’t underestimate the importance of body language
Psychologist Dr. Albert Mehrabian suggests that only 7 percent of communication involves spoken word. According to Dr. Mehrabian, 55 percent of communication is based on non-verbal behaviours (like posture and eye contact), and 38 percent is based on the tone of voice.
It’s unlikely that your interviewer will penalise you for pronouncing a word incorrectly. By ensuring that you speak with confidence during the interview, you can make a positive impression.
Being multilingual is a major asset
In today’s global job market, the ability to speak multiple languages in the workplace is a major asset. According to a report by New American Economy, the number of online job postings targeting bilingual workers has more than doubled between 2010 and 2015. Job recruiters are actively seeking individuals who understand more than one language, so you can rest assured that your language skills will be valued.
Learning a new language takes patience and dedication, two traits that can set you apart from other job applicants right from the start. You can even consider sharing your language-learning story as an example of the skills and personal qualities you can bring to the organisation.
Have you ever had an interview in English? How did it go?
Can you remember any particular job interviews you've had? What advice would you give to teachers who want to get a job with a school?
My name is Dina, I’m 20 y.o. I’m a student of the Higher School of Economics, 3rd year of Bachelor's in Foreign Languages and Cross-cultural Communication, majoring in Teaching Foreign Languages. In my spare time, when I don’t have to do my studies or to work, I enjoy travelling (however, there is a necessity to reconcile often), watching films or reading books (so trite), going to the gym. One fun fact about me is that I’ve been to 13 towns in Russia this year; my favourite one is Roza Khutor in Adler.
Last year I found my first students and at the same time, I was hired by an educational startup as a tutor, where at first I had to be interviewed. It was my second interview ever (unfortunately, I don’t remember the first one clearly, I was 15 y.o. then), however, I passed it with flying colours. It was a face-to-face meeting in zoom; I had a small talk with an HR person. I introduced myself (as at the beginning of this text), next, I had to do a task and then explain a topic in English. The next interview to a bigger online platform was more interesting — all the applicants had a group meeting with an interviewer so that we all had to listen to each person’s story. There I told a little bit more, because I’d already had some working experience, a lot of material for the classes, a base of appropriate approaches and methods of teaching even students with some health issues.
My main recommendation is not to worry. Even if you’re not prepared, the interviewers may like you because of your confidence. Otherwise, they may think that you will be that worried in class with a student, which is not appropriate for a ‘good’ teacher. The second thing to advise is to prepare. Think of some peculiarities which reflect your personal style of teaching or you as a person. All in all, find something that makes you different from the rest. I assure you, there is definitely something.
Would you like to become a contributor and be featured in our newsletter? Let us know!
That’s all for now!