5 Tips To Prepare For An ESL Job Interview


Do you have an upcoming ESL job interview? Unlike other job interviews, the ESL teachers’ interviews are usually a little different. It could be either face-to-face (in-person) interview or an online interview. It would be wise on your part to be prepared (and research) in advance for a successful outcome. While there are many interview tips mentioned online, I am emphasizing on a few important tips that will make you stand out as a candidate and help you secure a teaching job abroad.

Remember: Just the fact that you chose to work in teaching already makes you a great candidate.

Tip 1: Make a good first impression

You should be aware that first impressions matter. Usually, interviewers have no clue who you are; as the only source of information is your resume. You should make sure to bring your enthusiasm and professionalism alive for the employer.

Positive first impressions will lead to interaction and the feeling of comfort, while a negative first impression will lead to prejudice and nervousness. Remember this and make sure to sail into the interview room with the aura of positivity and respect.

Do not forget that your professional outlook and good hygiene will play a great role in this. Appropriate dress or suit, modest hairstyle, little makeup will speak about your professionalism.

You do not want to come to the interview room with a super serious face, right? Smile and appear happy and motivated. Finally, politeness and tact will make people respect you.

Tip 2: Show that you are a great communicator

This is a skill that is crucial for every ESL teacher. Your knowledge will not mean anything if you cannot convey what you know to your students in an engaging and understandable way.

Remember teaching English is all about communication; we teach reading, writing, listening and speaking, and if we hone our communication talent, we will be ready to mentor and advise our students.

Showing that you are friendly and approachable is a good idea during the interview. Teachers have to be easy to talk to and easy to ask questions.

Secondly, this skill is essential because we have to communicate and collaborate with the colleagues and parents, so we must be adept at giving information verbally and in written form.

Tip 3: Show that you are an organized person

Organizational skills are crucial for planning and designing lessons, thinking about creative tasks and assignments. You will need to plan your day and lessons so that it fosters ultimate understanding.

You have to do a lot outside of the class; you plan, design, participate in professional development courses, communicate with colleagues and parents, think about assignments, plan assessment tasks. You may not manage everything if you do not have organizational skills.

To show that you are an organized person, bring with some extra copies of your resume, diploma or teaching certificate, samples of lesson plans, recommendations etc. In spite of the fact that interviewers rarely ask you to show these to them, bringing them to the interview will show that you are very tidy, careful and professional.

Tip 4: Anticipation: Know what the school or institution is looking for

You may, surely, be surprised if I tell you that your personal needs to be tailor-made, as you may assure that anyone needs to be open and honest at the interview. Yes, you are absolutely right, however, you should know what the employer is looking for.

It is worth to understand what the ideal candidate needs to be, and you should prove that you are just that candidate. If you know more details about the school and its students, the curriculum and the teaching vision, you can better prove that you have the right skills and personality for the position.

Most of ESL school or educational institutions are looking for enthusiastic and motivated personality. Those schools do not have an academic curriculum so they may not be very interested to test your academic knowledge. Whatever the case is, it is crucial to prove that you are an enthusiastic teacher.

Tip 5 :Ask questions

Usually, at the end of the interviews, you are asked: “Do you have questions for us?” It is a good idea if you think about this ahead of time.

Teaching is a very specific profession, and that is why the questions to be asked should be carefully thought of. Also, this is the last chance to impress the interviewers. Do not ask administrative questions; you should ask questions related to the education, methodology, general vision or strategy.

Do not ask about school and number of students. You should have researched information about the school before the interview. Show that you are aware of the school or institution you are going to work in.


With proper preparation and presentation you should be able to prove that you have an outstanding communication and listening skills. You should also be able to demonstrate that you have a good organization skills.

You have chosen the profession which assumes that you will be working against the clock, and you should be ready for that. This profession ultimately demands a positive outlook, and this will be checked during the interview.

Teaching profession involves helping others, and this is one of the most rewarding jobs ever in the world. You should prove that you can make a difference in your students’ lives, and this is what teachers usually are not aware of.

Note: Remember that ESL teachers are wanted all over the world and it is quite common that you can be interviewed by Skype or Viber or WhatsApp or any other online platform. All the tips discussed in this article will work in any type of interview. However, you will need a little different preparation if your interview is going to be conducted via an online platform. Most commonly, Skype is being used for such interviews. You should make sure that your headphones and microphone are appropriately set and ready. Additional noise and background may distract the interviewer, so sit in a quiet and well-lit place and focus.

Good luck with your coming interviews. Just relax and sound confident. Do not forget to act politely and positively.

This article was originally published in Jan-2019 and was last updated in Feb-2019.

Author: Lusine Stepanyan

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