Most ESL and TEFL teachers these days are being hired after going through an online interviewing process via Skype or other video applications. There are many Dos and Don’ts online interview tips for teachers that can make the difference between you working at a highly sought after position or just a run of the mill ESL teaching job.
Also, don’t forget that getting to this interview process is easier when you have put together a solid and professional resume including a digital demo. Read more about ESL resume tips and a digital demo here.
I have conducted around 150 in person and online interviews for ESL teaching positions at my language schools in Taiwan. The resume and interview process is important and truly separates those who are successful in getting work and those who always appear to be looking for work.
As I have said in other articles, getting any job is possible with minimal effort. But, if you want a good job at one of those good schools, then you need to work a little harder and be more professional to get it.
Take a look at my tips below that can help you prepare and present yourself well when interviewing online.
Online Interview Tips for Teachers #1: Get a Skype Account
Skype appears to be the most popular app for conducting online interviews. It is free to download, works on all platforms, and can be used with a PC, laptop, smartphone, and tablet.
My first online interview tips for teachers is to sign up for a SKYPE handle and list it on your resume. Read HERE about that.
DOs: Sign up for SKYPE and have that on your resume ready for an employer to see.
Don’ts: Wait until an employer has to ask you for your SKYPE handle.
FIND A QUIET ENVIRONMENT WITH GOOD LIGHT TO INTERVIEW-Online Interview Tips for Teachers #2
Personally, nothing turns me off more than a person who is sitting in a loud environment trying to conduct an interview and listen to my questions and then me straining to hear their answers. Online interview tips for teachers #2 is about environment.
True story, I set up an interview with an American who answered the video call while talking and walking through the Madrid metro! After several minutes, I politely cut off the interview.
True story #2, a Canadian teacher answered my call from a cocktail bar with dark lighting and no separate microphone. Bye, bye.
An interviewer can easily tell how serious you are about the job by how you take the interview and the interviewer’s time.
Dos: Find a quiet place to conduct the interview with good lighting and no interruptions. This way, you can hear questions and the interviewer can hear you.
Don’ts: Be in a noisy or crowded place. Don’t walk around while interviewing.
KNOW THE SCHOOL AND JOB YOU’RE APPLYING FOR-Online Interview Tips for Teachers #3
The aforementioned American Madrid MRT walker made the second big error of asking me where my school was. This is a big turn off for interviewers.
Due some research before the interview and have a list in front of you. Where is the school? What city? What kind of students will you have? These are usually listed in the job ad.
You can always confirm this information during the interview by asking “So, the ad says the position is for high school students. How old are the students exactly?”
Be prepared. Does the school have a website? Then go and read up about the school. Does the school have a social media presence like Facebook? Then go read up about it.
Dos: Know the basic information about the job. Do some extra research as well. Appear that you are interested in the position.
Don’ts: Ask basic information that has already been described to you in the job ad. Serious schools will not take you seriously.
HAVE A GOOD INTERNET CONNECTION- Check Your Tech-Online Interview Tips for Teachers #4
When I conduct interviews with teacher candidates, I do it from my fastest connection which is my PC. One of the most important, yet least thought of, online interview tips for teachers is the tech.
There is nothing more annoying or a turnoff than having the technology portion of the interview fail on you. If I can’t hear a candidate, or the connection continues to buffer, I will eventually give up on the interview and either reschedule or move on from that candidate.
Wherever you are, find that strong signal, and conduct your interviews from there. In addition, make sure your devices like speakers, microphones, and camera are working properly and don’t fail during the interview. As for microphones, avoid using your phone without headphones and the external microphone. Speaking directly into the phone may create clarity problems.
Dos: Check your tech! Internet speed stable? Are microphone, speakers, camera, device all in working order?
Don’t: Have a tech failure during the interview. This could lead to a less than inspiring interview and cause you to be left off the top of the hiring list. Use your phone or tablet microphone and speakers without an external hook up.
BE ONLINE EARLY AND READY TO GO ON TIME-Online Interview Tips for Teachers #5-
When I am interviewing, I usually have several lined up in a row in 30 minute intervals. When I set a time for an interview, I expect the candidate to be there at that time.
Be early online, send me a message that you’re ready to go so we can begin. The best is when interviews actually START EARLY. I love that.
If you are late to the interview, it is definitely bad form. It is showing lack of respect for the interviewer and no real interest in the job. Also, if you can’t be on time for a SKYPE interview, then you may not be on time for classes.
Dos: Be online early and ready to go for the interview. Send a quick message to the interviewer beforehand to let them know you are ready.,
Don’ts: Be late. Nor get online the last minute. If the interviewer has to wait, he/she will not be pleased. (This works both way as well.)
ASK QUESTIONS-Online Interview Tips for Teachers #6
Candidates should have some questions prepared for the interview. As I mentioned before, you should do some research about the school, position, and city you may live in. From here, you can formulate some other questions regarding daily schedule, curriculum, training, and what kind of support the school offers for new staff.
Please avoid questions only about money and vacation. Asking only these questions tells me you don’t care where you end up working, as long as you’re paid. Remember, high quality schools are looking for high quality staff so they want people who are generally interested in the job.
Dos: Ask questions about the job based on your research of the school.
Don’ts: Don’t NOT ask any questions and don’t ask questions only about vacation time and salary.
ANSWER QUESTIONS TO SHOW YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF TEACHING OR PREVIOUS JOBS-#7
As a director, I want to know about your experience at your last job. It is surprising to me how many teaching candidates can NOT explain to me much about their previous teaching job. What books did you use, what was your schedule, and what were some activities you liked using in the class are a few examples.
Many times, teachers do not have sufficient answers for these questions. If you were unaware of your last job so much that you can’t remember or explain what you did, I am not going to want you teaching at our school. Even if you haven’t taught before, you can still highlight your past experiences.
Sit down and think about your experiences. Practice saying them out loud and be ready to relay them to someone in an interview.
Dos: Prepare answers about your previous jobs. Be able to explain in detail what you did and what you learned.
Don’ts: Give short answers and appear to have no memory of what you did in the past.
FINAL: POST INTERVIEW FOLLOW-UP#8
One last online interview tips for teachers is the follow up.
So, your interview went well. You liked the school and the vibe. Don’t just wait. Within an hour after the interview, send a thank you note to the interviewer and let them know you enjoyed the talk and are available for any additional questions. This shows you are serious about the job.
After a week of not hearing anything after an interview, send a follow up not asking if there is any information or progress on the job. Many schools might just ignore you, I never do that, so in that case, just move on. Be aware, sometimes hiring takes a little time.
As always. Be motivated, be professional, and be patient. Don’t give up. You’ll be surprised how many people do.
Dos: Follow up within a hour of an interview. Follow up after a week if you haven’t heard anything.
Don’ts: Do nothing.
I hope these online interview tips for teachers are helpful Good luck on your job search and finding that good school and good teaching job.