Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a certification course that qualifies a person to teach English abroad to non-native English speakers. For example, teaching English to Korean people in Korea.

TEFL online certification course has opened a plethora of job opportunities for people who wish to teach students abroad. But, with the increasing number of applicants for a job, the competition out there has never been easy. So, the recruiters are ultra-careful with their recruitment and interview process.

Preparing in advance for the interview will help you boost your confidence and secure the opportunity first hand. Below are the top ten tips on preparing for a TEFL interview.

Points to remember while scheduling your TEFL interview:

1. Check for the Interview Platform:

Most of the TEFL interviews nowadays are online-based. The clients will use a video communication application/ platform for the interview process. Always check for the application that is preferred by the company you are being interviewed for.

Most common applications used for video communications are Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Vidcruiter, vRecruit, etc. Many companies sometimes prefer only a specific video platform for the interview process. So, always enquire and research about the video platform.


2. Check Your Bandwidth:

Most online applications require a certain amount of bandwidth to work efficiently. Ensure your internet connection is stable and the bandwidth supports the preferred interview application. Always check the connection before the interview for an uninterrupted experience.

3. Email Requirements:

Firstly, make sure you mail the client with your proper username ID for the preferred interview video platform and contact number, in case they wish to contact you for further details or any queries. Secondly, mention the teaching program you are interviewing for. Making it easier for the client with everything mentioned before the interview always counts. Lastly, always write a follow-up mail post the interview.

4. Check the Time-Zone:

Online TEFL recruiters vary from region to region that contributes to some slight time-zone differences. Always check for the time-zones the interview is scheduled for. Avoid major time differences ( For example, if it’s night at your location and morning at the recruiters’ location) as it may compromise your confidence and quality performance. Since Mondays are always busy and Fridays are mostly rushed, as for the weekend holidays. Try to schedule the interview on weekdays between Tuesday to Thursday.

Do your Research on the Following before the TEFL Interview:

1. Country:

TEFL is a course exclusively designed for teaching students abroad. The top trending TEFL courses are China, Japan, South Korea, UAE, Vietnam, Italy, and Spain. Research the country you wish to teach for, know their culture, etiquettes, and as mentioned earlier check for the time zone too. This will give you an idea about the recruiters’ ethnicity and help you prepare and practice for that particular region.

2. Company:

Each TEFL hiring company has a different process for applying for the job and conducting an interview. Go through the requirements of the preferred company thoroughly, revise their recruitment policies and enquire any queries before the interview. Research what is their work process and how they operate.

Enquire for the interview schedule and interview platform. Check for the ratings & reviews by their former candidates and also the affiliated firms. Go through blogs, articles, and interviews about their company.

Never attend an interview without having some knowledge about the company, the client expects you to know about them and why you chose them.

3. Course Curriculum:

The TEFL certification course does cover your lesson planning and teaching skills. But, when you apply for a certain company check for their course curriculum. Apply only if you are certain that the course is compatible with your ability to teach.

Most of the companies have their customized lesson planning and curriculum resources. For beginners, I would suggest you opt for those companies that provide ready-made course curriculum as it will help you gain some hands-on practical experience at lesson planning.

4. Size of the Classroom:

The size of your classroom is usually already mentioned on the site. The number of students could be one-on-one, one-and-two, or a maximum of 6 students. Apply for the class you are most compatible with. Apart from this, check for their age-group, and cultural background, because, that will help you prepare your dialogue delivery, mutual understanding and discard language barriers.

5. Tech Requirements:

As mentioned earlier, the hiring policies and recruitment process vary from company to company. Most companies prefer tutors/ teachers with specific technical requirements. The essential common technical requirements for a TEFL job are:

  • A fast and reliable computer: This is important especially if you are teaching online. Teaching online means relying on your home computer/laptop/device. You must have a minimum of 8gb RAM or a 4gb RAM with i7 processor or i5 processor. Compromising with the processor and RAM will further hinder your teaching experience causing lags, low-quality video format, etc.
  • Internet Speed: Minimum requirement for internet speed is 10 Mbps and maximum or above 20 Mbps. Like mentioned earlier, check if the internet speed is compatible with your video platform. If not, an upgrade is essential.
  • Microphone: A clear and audible microphone is a must. Check for the audio clarity and its range.

Most of the time, the interviewers do ask questions about your computer technicalities. So, you must be aware of your computer/ laptop/ device that you will be working on.

Now, Let’s head to the basic characteristics you must follow during the TEFL interview:

1. Be on Time:

Before the day of your interview, get an ample amount of rest. Sleep well, meditate, clear your head of all sorts of things and focus on the big day, the day of your interview. Always set the reminder or alarm for the scheduled interview.

Never be late for the interview, better early than late. Check for your internet connectivity before the interview, you can’t give excuses for being late as this would mark as a bad start. Be at least 10-15 minutes early for the interview.

2. Relax and be Genuine:

Relax your body and mind. Put on a genuine smile and do not forget to greet everyone. Be respectable in your approach right from the start. When you are interviewing for TEFL, the clients or interviewers will study your confidence, your body language, and how comfortable you can make others with your presence and approach. 

This is because your job will include teaching/ tutoring students of all age groups and the clients want their employees to create a safe space. So, your body posture, your hand gestures everything counts. Remember, your energy will always translate into your language so be confident and optimistic. Most importantly, be honest.

3. Focus and Listen:

Be extremely focused and attentive during the interview. Listen to the questions asked by the interviewer with utmost attention, engage in a confident eye-contact, process your response, think about your response and then answer.

Be patient with interviewers throughout the interview process. Make sure you’re looking into the camera when you’re interviewing online.

Mentioned below are some important things to remember while preparing for the TEFL interview:

1. Introduce Yourself:

The first thing your recruiter would want to know is your background, qualifications and past work experience. Prepare for your introduction before the interview. Jot down all the points you want to add in your introduction.

Do not over exaggerate and be humble with your approach. Keep the introduction as short as possible, clear and see if it covers all the necessary points.

Most of the hiring sites ask for a pre-recorded self-introductory video to be submitted before the interview. Enquire for the requirements, video quality, and time-span of the video. 

Following are the points you must look for in your self-introductory video: 

  • Mention: 1. Your full name. 2. Your qualifications. 3. Your past work experience in any field or the relevant field. If you’re a beginner or a fresher, always mention it in the introduction itself. 4. Your teaching skills, classroom management and lesson planning skills.
  • Speak clearly and crisply. Avoid using jargons or difficult words. Be confident in your delivery of the speech. As a teacher, the interviewer will look for your ability to speak, vocabulary, and proficiency in the language.
  • Make the video in a minimal, and noise-free background. Make sure the lighting is good and you are dressed formally. Go through your video and check for any errors. Make sure you revise/ correct all the flaws before the submission. Most importantly, make sure you have enquired for the link or platform to submit the self-introductory video.
Also Check: Top 15  TEFL Certification Online Free in 2021

2. Dress Formally:

Whether you are interviewing online or in-person, you must dress formally. Look presentable, groom yourself before the interview. Avoid vibrant colours while dressing for the interview, always go for soft and solid colours or pastels. Avoid wearing a transparent or translucent dress/shirt.

If you are a man, pair your shirt with a blazer, wear solid colours or pastels. Always wear a formal tie and never leave your upper buttons open. Be well-groomed with your hair and if possible clean-shaven. Do not wear excessive jewellery.

If you are a woman, wear a formal dress or solid/ pastel coloured sleeved blouse paired with pants or a formal skirt. Be subtle with your make-up, do not over-do it. Avoid wearing excessive jewellery. If possible, tie your hair in a neatly combed hair-bun or ponytail.

If you are interviewing in person, wear polished formal shoes. Always wear a subtle deodorant or perfume so that you smell fresh. If you tend to get overly sweaty use an anti-sweat deodorant. Check if your hands are dry before the handshake or while greeting. Make sure your breath smells fresh, if required, carry mints.

Wear clean clothes, make sure your clothes are ironed. Avoid touching your face and hair now and then.

3. Eat Healthily:

Do not eat heavily to digest or fried foods before the interview. The day of your interview can be stressful, and an unhealthy diet will contribute to a feeling of nausea and gas. Also, you don’t want to find yourself burping in front of the employees. 

On the contrary, always have a light meal or a salad before the interview. Do not attend the interview with an empty or hungry stomach. The pressure of the interview will contribute to a feeling of dizziness and a growling stomach is a big no. So, Always have a light meal or carry munchies or snacks.

4. Speak Clearly and Listen Carefully:

When it comes to interviewing for TEFL, the most important thing the recruiter will look for is your language clarity, vocabulary, and speech. Make sure your tone is friendly and enthusiastic. Practice your speaking on the microphone, check for the audible range and quality. 

Make sure you are not speaking too fast. Be patient, Be attentive. Try not to stray away from the topic and avoid unnecessary details.

Since the world is getting more digital, we tend to spend most of our time on social media and are used to slang. Avoid using such slang words or internet language. Speak in a formal language.

If possible practice in front of your mirror, notice if you’re making a lot of hand gestures. Make sure your facial expressions are subtle, not too neutral and not overly smiley.

5. Prepare Yourself for a Demo Class:

While interviewing for TEFL, expect the recruiter to ask for a demo class. A demo class is a presentation of your teaching skills “live” to the specified audience. The audience could be anyone or the recruiters themselves. For your demo class, the recruiter may ask for a specific topic or a specific lesson, so, be prepared in advance.

Prepare a demo that covers all your teaching skills, is grammatically correct and you are confident and comfortable with. Choose a lesson plan that you can mold in your favor if the recruiter asks for a specific topic. A sudden demo on a specified topic may hinder your confidence, so, it is advised to practice all the basics related to your teaching skills.

The demo class plays a crucial role in your recruitment, so, make sure you focus on all the key factors required for teaching i.e., vocabulary, classroom management, lesson planning, and your tone.

Never forget to practice for the demo class before the interview. Above all, do your research on the company, their work process, and the course curriculum. Design your demo lesson accordingly.

6. Know your Strengths and Weaknesses:

As mentioned earlier, research the company and the country it is located in. This will help you understand their thought process and work pattern. While revising the job description, make sure it fits in your comfort zone, especially, if you are a beginner. Practice your teaching and know what your strengths and weaknesses are.

During the interview make sure you mention your strengths and weaknesses first hand. Because this will help the interviewer in the recruitment process and you won’t have to hide your weaknesses in the future when in practice. Be honest with the interviewer.

7. Go Through your Social media Platforms:

Since everything is shifting online, the recruiter may search for your online presence. Make sure your profile does not contain any offensive statements or pictures. Go through your profile and revise/ archive/ delete any content that you think might affect your recruitment process or professional life.

Mention or highlight in your profile work experience, participation in any field, achievements and workshops if attended any. If possible, create a separate professional profile. Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile, because most clients may access you through LinkedIn.

Mentioned below are some Important Things to Remember While Preparing for the TEFL Interview:

  • Make sure the device you are interviewing on, is fully charged. If you are interviewing on your phone, make sure the notifications are turned off. 
  • Check for your internet connection, if possible, get yourself a WiFi Dongle or WiFi USB adapter.
  • Make sure you go through your resume / CV. The recruiter will most possibly have your resume/ CV in front of him and might interrogate you based on it. 
  • Choose your interview space wisely. Make sure the background is clean from any unnecessary and vibrant stuff.
  • Make sure your interview space has good lighting, is noise-free, and free from any interruptions.
  • Check your webcam and microphone.
  • Make sure you have a notebook and pen with you, in case, you are required to jot down some points.
  • If you’re living with children make sure you have an elder to look for them while you’re appearing for the interview. 
  • Relax your mind and body. Breathe in, Breathe out.
  • And last but not least, log in on the interview platform at least 10 minutes early.

Points to Remember Just after the Interview :

1. Write a Follow-up Email After Your Interview:

After the interview, write a follow-up email thanking the interviewer or the hiring company within 24 hours. Because, this will show your enthusiasm for the job, gratitude and social skills. If you were interviewed by multiple people make sure you email each of them in a customized format. Do not send a similar note to all of them.

Make sure you ask the interviewer their full name and check for their mail IDs. If possible, ask for their business cards. You can’t be making any errors in the name of your interviewer while mailing them, and an error in mail ID will land your thank-you note into someone else’ inbox.

If you feel the need to clarify some things that happened during the interview or wish to tell some additional information, you can mention it in the follow-up mail. Go through the mail before sending it and make sure it’s clean from typos and is grammatically correct.

There are many follow-up email samples available on google sites, but do not imitate and forward the same. Look up to these emails only for an idea or an example. You can always customize them at your convenience.

2. Check-in Mail :

Even after the follow-up mail is sent, you may not hear from the recruiter for days. Be patient with the process, and do not lose hope. You can always send a check-in mail preferably to the recruiter/ hiring company only.

A check-in mail is a polite way to ask for an update on the recruitment process. These mails are usually short and to the point. End your mail with a thank you and your signature. You can also mention if there are any necessary details they require for the process.

But, remember to avoid spamming through mails.

Also Check this Video

Most Common Questions Asked During your TEFL Interview:

  1. Introduce yourself/ Tell me about yourself? (The first question will always be about you. The interviewer will want to know your background, qualifications and your past experience first. Most of the time, the next following questions are about your introduction. So, make sure you are prepared with your self-introduction.)
  2. What qualities according to you a good teacher must possess? / What makes you a good teacher?
  3. How will you manage/ deal with your classroom? 
  4. What is your teaching experience? / Do you have any past teaching experience?
  5. Why did you leave your previous job? ( Make sure you don’t criticise your previous job or sound rude. Be formal in your approach. )
  6. Are you familiar with ( the country you’re applying for ) culture? Why did you choose ( country name)?
  7. What is your objective? Why did you choose this job?
  8. What do you expect from our company?
  9. What are your strengths and weaknesses? ( Be honest )
  10. What age group are you most comfortable teaching?

Listen to the questions asked keenly, think before you answer. Be firm and confident while answering. Try not to give vague answers or take pauses while answering. Because when it comes to TEFL interview your dialogue delivery, speech, and vocabulary matter.

Questions You Can Ask the Interviewer:

  1. If you are travelling abroad, ask for the legal requirements, your Visa, etc.
  2. Ask for their terms and conditions, policies and period of the contract if any.
  3. What is their code of conduct, work ethics?
  4. What are the teaching, lesson planning resources? Ask if there are custom made lesson plans already available.
  5. What is their leave request policy? How will it affect your salary?
  6. How will this job benefit you?

On an ending note, be patient and keep practicing.

It might take weeks to even a month for you to hear from the recruiter even after the follow-up and check-in mail. So, be patient. The answer about the recruitment may or may not be in your favour but, one interview, good or bad, does not define you. So, start preparing for your next step and keep practising.

Analyse your weak points through your interview, learn from your mistakes and most importantly, try to improvise them in your next. Remember, there is always room for practice.

Prepare your lesson plans, practice them regularly. Keep an update on the TEFL industry and job recruitment opportunities. Be active on all your social media platforms especially LinkedIn, keep making professional connections.

Remember, all good things take time. All the best!

Recommended Read:
What is TEFL Certification
Top 10 TEFL Certification Program in 2021
Top 5 Programs to Get Your TEFL Certification in South Africa
Top 50 Best TEFL Certification Courses


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