For many of us, applying for a teaching job in a foreign country can be a daunting task – ranging from doing extensive research on a country's culture and living standards to see if you can adapt, to having a look at expected earnings and deciding which company or organization is the right fit for you. Although there are many diverse opportunities within the ESL industry, they all tend to have one thing in common: the interview.
For the most rational among us, they would suppose that a job interview for a position in a foreign country is like a normal interview for a job at home, and they would be right, to a certain extent. However, an interview for a teaching job overseas may possess certain aspects that you might not be aware of.
In this piece, we will offer you some tips on how to ace that interview.
For most budding job applicants, they are still in their home countries when making applications for teaching jobs overseas. So, they would typically need to partake in a video interview using video conference software like Skype. One aspect that needs to be considered when doing a video interview, is to take note of your immediate surroundings and making sure that it is presentable. As you will be using a camera, the interviewer can typically see you and a portion of whatever is behind or next to you. Therefore, participating in an interview with your messy bed and poster-covered walls in clear view is perhaps not the best way to present yourself as a professional candidate. Aim to put yourself in a neutral or tidied location instead, with good lighting and minimal opportunity for sound intrusions.
Hiring a candidate for a teaching position is more-often-than-not a time-consuming process which also incurs some cost on both sides – to you, and to the company or organization in question. Thus, it is not unusual that they would perhaps like to briefly test your skills and knowledge to confirm that you do indeed have the competencies, or possess the aptitude to fill the offered teaching role. Do not be surprised if you are asked to explain certain teaching methodologies or concepts, or even provide a brief mock-up teaching session to your interviewer, who will pretend to be a student. Instead, refresh yourself on the skills and knowledge you have learned from your experiences, TEFL or other similar teaching certifications, and show the interviewer that you have what it takes.
Just like the more common face-to-face interview, body language is just as, or if not more important to pay attention to. Many common studies out there have pinned that around 65% of communication is nonverbal, and as a webcam typically cuts out the bottom-half of you, that puts you at some disadvantage to use your body language to full effect. As a compromise, do attempt to make the body language of your upper-body as positive as possible. Sit with a straight posture, keep your hands on the desk (if they are visible on camera), maintain ‘eye contact' by looking at the camera lens, and do not forget to give the interviewer your best smile from time-to-time! Every little thing counts when trying to ace the interview for that teaching job you want.
Like traditional interviews, most interviewers will be curious as to why you want to join their particular organization or company, or see what you know about them already. Do not be the person who looks stunned like a deer in headlights when faced with such questions. Instead, do some research beforehand on the organization or company you want to join, and get an overall idea of their core values, philosophies, and operations! For bonus points, try to come up with a couple of questions yourself and try your best to make this part of the interview more of a natural conversation, rather than a Q&A session. Further, because the teaching job you are applying for will be in a foreign country, you will also most likely have a conversation with your interviewer as to why you want to teach in the country of your choice in particular. Use that opportunity to show off your enthusiasm and personal interests whether it be in culture, language, food, opportunity, travel, and the like.
With these tips in mind, you will have a pretty good shot at acing your foreign teaching job interview.