Dos and don’ts of ESL/EFL job interviewing

Posted by | December 3, 2012 | Uncategorized

Dos and don’ts of ESL/EFL job interviewing, but of course these job interview tips and tactics work across the board and should help you get some work so take heed! Yes, some are hit you over the head obvious and yet every day I come across TEFL teachers who make these mistakes. One of the most ridiculous is to upload a resume or cover letter that actually states skills that relate to teaching for example young learners yet the position advertised specifically states that this is an adult ESL job. What’s worse is that the applicant has actually used the name of another employer in the cover letter. I wish I was joking but I see this once every couple of months. People either make mistakes when cutting and pasting or saving. Whatever the reason, be sure to save each cover letter and resume addressed to the specific company (including your name) after you are happy with it and then close the file and program. Come back 30 minutes later, open the file and read it again to check for errors and overall wording and format. If you really care about landing this job then send it over to a friend to proofread, especially for those mistakes a spell-checker won’t get like; your – you’re, there – their – they’re, its – it’s and the million other careless typos we all make and yes you do! There are many other things covered by the lovely informative graphic below so click and have a read. This post will cover a few key ones, but of course when getting a job or not is on the line they are all key.

{Click for full Job Interview Infographic}

It may seem elementary the importance of dressing up not just your appearance but also your language during a job interview and how you should know the lingo or jargon of the TESOL and TEFL industry despite just how extensive it is. That said, it seems that knowing the company you are applying for seems to be an after thought for many. With the advent of this little thing you may use more than a toothbrush, “the internet” there really is no excuse for not knowing simply loads about the company (and the country if applicable) that you are hoping to work for. Those that don’t know this will be found out by any interviewer. Simply hearing you stumble about why you want to work for the company will tell them in an instant that you aren’t really that bothered about this position and you go down the list if not off it. It is so easy to gather an incredible amount of information on the company from regular channels like their corporate website but also through forums and other social networks that you should know the company and its culture well enough to talk about it at length with the interviewer and naturally to say why you’d be an absolute magnificent addition to their faculty.

One other key from the picture above of Johnny super interviewee is to avoid asking questions that could be answered with a simple internet search or even worse from reading a page or two of the company’s website. Please, please, please don’t ask questions covered on the careers section which fall under FAQs because you will enrage your interviewer with your bloody stupid time-wasting question that is covered in great detail on their website.
OK, that may be taking it a bit far in tirade above, but gosh dang it that one really drives me up a wall! Conversely of course, I’m terribly impressed by those that know the pages of the corporate site and of course the job posting itself inside and out. I shouldn’t be so impressed as that is kind of basic yet sadly still not standard so give yourself a leg-up on the competition out there and do that.

Other do’s and don’ts of the job interview that are relevant for ESL and EFL teachers are to smile. Yes, simple as that. Remember the interviewer is trying to gauge just what you’re going to be like in the classroom with their paying customers. Smiling, carrying yourself with confidence and using a bit of that ‘teacher voice’ would be rather wise to employ. Also, do remember to ask for the job or at least next steps after having asked a question or two about the company (not about pay, but perhaps training, orientation, opportunities for professional development and about current teachers and what types of teachers are successful there and then say why that it is you!) so you can show that you are indeed interested. Don’t wait to the interview either to think about references as you know most employers will want those, so have them ready in pdf form if you have scanned letters or an email ready to send with full titles and contact details of at least 3.

The other part of the job interview infographic deals with some common questions which this blog has covered a bit with our top 5 job interview questions and the classic tell me about yourself post so have a read or reread of those.

If you have any tips or stories to share about good and bad interview experiences please leave a comment as we will all benefit from those and would like to hear them.




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4 Responses to “Dos and don’ts of ESL/EFL job interviewing”

  1. Comment made by Phyl on Dec 9th 2012 at 7:20 am: Reply

    What about, before teaching people how to land a job, check your own grammar mistakes in your article!!!

    • Comment made by admin on Dec 10th 2012 at 12:54 am: Reply

      Good point. I do blog a bit carelessly when trying to get out my thoughts. Which bit in particular?

  2. Comment made by Carissa on Dec 10th 2012 at 9:31 pm: Reply

    It is a great list for interviews! Here are some things I came up with it to keep in mind with your EFL resume

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