Preparing for the post TEFL interview

Diary submitted by Damian L, Madrid

Preparing for the post TEFL interview:

Once having obtained the TEFL certificate the next step for most aspiring teachers is finding a teaching job, be that a permanent teaching position at a school or a more freelance position, such as teaching private lessons. Either way you go, you will most likely need to prepare yourself for an interview at some point in your teaching career, so it’s extremely useful to get some practice. No one likes being in an interview room with nerves running high, feeling completely unprepared and being forced to think on the spot. Thus, best spare yourself the trouble and find some time to really think about what they may ask you. In so doing, you will be able to give answers which are truthful, clear, and concise. 

Below are some of the key aspects I believe one should consider when preparing for the post TEFL interview: 

  • You’ll need to be able to sell yourself – make it memorable!

Some people can find it difficult to talk about themselves in this way as it can seem a bit pompous and self-important. However, it is essential to ensure the interviewer not only learns of your qualifications and potential experience, but also that you are a committed, reliable, and adaptable person which will fit in well in their academy. Nevertheless, one needs to strike a balance. It is highly advisable to avoid making exaggerated and far-fetched claims of one’s own achievements and skills. Otherwise, you may either find yourself being perceived as arrogant and daft or you might land yourself in hot water once you get the job and have to explain for your underperformance. Always best to be truthful!

  • A smile goes a long way.

Key to teaching is creating a comfortable and safe learning environment. Thus, the teacher’s approachability is of great importance to the interviewer and so it must show in the interview. It is therefore important to smile and be friendly whilst also maintaining a professional attitude during the interview. Working on your interpersonal skills may well help you deal with the variety of tasks teachers have to deal with inside and outside of the class such as having to deal with misbehaving students or upset parents.

  • Clarity of speech.

Clarity of speech and expressing one’s ideas well and logically is essentially the fundamental block to teaching. Therefore, achieving this will come across very well in an interview.

  • Your attire.

The manner in which you dress and present yourself is also very important. Recent scientific studies have determined that we form a first impression of someone within one tenth of a second. Therefore, dress smartly and be well groomed as this will demonstrate your professional attitude and that you care about your appearance. Interviewers may well associate this with being a conscientious worker.

  • Be enthusiastic, show interest, and demonstrate that you’re an eager learner.

Be sure to be energetic and demonstrate your inquisitive nature. For just like a student, a teacher never stops learning. This will also illustrate your passion of teaching and that you can empathise with the students. Lastly, be charming and humble. Being able to acknowledge one’s own weaknesses demonstrates confidence, resilience, and that you are willing to improve yourself at becoming a better teacher.


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