An interview for an ESL position is much the same as any other interview situation. It can be a scary prospect for many people, but if you have prepared for the most likely questions you should have little to worry about. Although it is impossible to predict exactly how an interview will unfold, most will be based on a similar range of questions that are designed to assess whether you would fit into the existing workforce.
What are the most common questions to expect in a TESOL job interview?
One of the main purposes of any job interview is to get some understanding of you as an individual person, so you should expect questions such as: What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? If, like many ESL teachers, you are applying for jobs outside of your home country you should also expect several questions relating to living in an unfamiliar environment. Questions in this area might include: Have you travelled abroad before? What cultural differences have you encountered on your travels and how did you cope with them? Why do you want to work in this school/country? With questions like this last example you have the perfect opportunity to make a good impression by being positive and even flattering towards the country and individual school.
What work related questions should I expect in a TESOL job interview?
Your previous experience and work history is guaranteed to come up so it is important to be fully prepared to answer questions regarding your past responsibilities, what you have learned from previous jobs and why you decided to leave your last (or current) job. If you have plenty of experience as a teacher, you can expect questions such as: What age groups and language levels have you taught? What course books have you used? Have you used teaching aids such as interactive whiteboards, videos and DVDs etc? First-time teachers are likely to be asked questions that should have been covered in your TESOL certificate course, such as: How would a one-to-one lesson differ from teaching a group? How would you approach a class that had mixed language levels? How would you deal with a disruptive student in the classroom? It is always good to back up your answers to this type of question if possible with an example from your teaching career or TESOL training course.
Is there such a thing as a typical TESOL job interview?
As ESL jobs are available worldwide, it is no surprise that interviews can vary enormously from one employer to the next. Many are conducted face-to-face, while an increasing number are now completed via phone or webcam. The duration is also hard to predict as interviews can be as short as ten minutes or as long as an hour or even more. Some employers who expect a face-to-face interview might also expect you to teach a trial lesson during the same visit. To ensure you have time to fully prepare for this possibility, it is advisable to clarify the details in advance. As in any walk of life, if you turn up looking and acting professional and you are well prepared with answers to the most common type of questions, you should have a very good chance of securing the job.