How to prepare for the perfect TEFL job interview?

With the chance to travel the world while getting paid to teach, it’s easy to see why the TEFL market is so competitive. That’s why standing out from the crowd and perfecting your TEFL job interview is so important. 

Preparation is the key to success when it comes to your TEFL job interview. You should start putting the wheels in motion as early as the application process. And this begins with your CV.

To show your potential employers that you’re the best person for the job, you must have a stellar CV and cover letter to prove it. So, be sure to research the school, its teaching practices, and the position thoroughly to create an application that meets their criteria. 

Here’s how to make a great first impression with your CV and top tips on nailing your TEFL job interview.

Top tips for writing a TEFL CV 

Many teachers believe their TEFL job interview is the first place where they can make their mark in the employer’s eyes. This is not true. 

Your CV is the first place your interviewer will get a feel for you. If your resume isn’t showcasing your employability or teaching skills and experience, then it will be very difficult to land an interview. So, it’s critical that you create a CV geared towards the position you are applying for.  

Make sure your CV is clear, concise and organised. You should aim for it to be one or two pages – anything longer probably won’t get read. Cut out any work experience and information that doesn’t relate to teaching or your teaching qualities. If it’s not relevant, don’t include it. 

Remember, your interviewer isn’t going to care if you worked in a bar for four years but they will care if you spent a summer teaching in an English camp.

This is the information you should include in your CV:

  • Your name and contact information, including your Skype address
  • Next, put your TEFL qualifications 
  • List your education 
  • Include work/community experience and skills that are relevant to the teaching position.

Always remember to proofread your CV to look for any typos or grammatical errors. Asking a family member or friend to read it is also a good idea.

If you’re unsure about how to maximise your TEFL teaching CV, contact us today. We offer a CV building service to create the perfect resume for you. 

Always include a cover letter

Similarly to your CV, your cover letter must be tailored towards the position you are applying for. But, that’s where the similarities stop. Don’t repeat the information that’s on your resume in your cover letter. 

The purpose of your cover letter is to give your interviewer an insight into who you are as a person, your teaching methodologies and your day-to-day teaching experience. For instance, if you have experience creating curriculums or providing report cards for your students, this is where these skill sets can be mentioned. 

If you’ve never taught before, it can be difficult to know what to include in your cover letter. But you’d be surprised how often your own passions and hobbies can make you a suitable teaching candidate. For instance, if you’re applying to work as a kindergarten teacher, you must be able to create fun and engaging lessons. So mention in your cover letter how you can integrate your love for music and drama into your lessons through your use of English songs and English-speaking games. 

Examples like these indicate that you are creative and enthusiastic, which are desirable characteristics for any kindergarten teacher. 

Many English schools and companies don’t require you to submit a cover letter with your application. However, you should always include it as a pdf file or in the email the CV is attached to. Cover letters can make you stand out from the crowd, so take advantage of this because TEFL teaching is a competitive industry.

Preparing for the perfect TEFL job interview

Now, let’s move onto the interview process. The perfect job candidate is the one that’s prepared. Although your interview may be in person or through Skype, the same level of preparation is necessary for both if you want to have the perfect interview.

1. Do your research

Be sure to look over the information you previously gathered on the school, its teaching principles and the position you’re applying for. 

Read over your CV and cover letter as your interviewer may refer to them during the interview. You can also expect to be asked about previous teaching experience and how you would handle certain situations in the classroom. It’s a great idea to prepare answers for these types of questions in advance. 

Popular TEFL interview questions include:

  1. What is your teaching style?
  2. Do you have any teaching experience?
  3. How do you deal with an uncooperative student?
  4. How would you deal with a class with varying levels of English?

successful interview

2. Present the best version of yourself

Interviews are short. You have only 30-60 minutes to convince your interviewer that you are the ideal candidate for their teaching position. Therefore, you must present the most professional version of yourself. 

There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Be on time. Nothing screams unreliable more than being late for your TEFL job interview.
  • If it’s an online interview, make sure you find a quiet space with a good internet connection. This will ensure your interview isn’t interrupted by loud noises or bad connection.
  • Dress to impress. Dressing professionally means being dressed appropriately from head to toe. Your interviewer doesn’t want to discover you are wearing pyjama bottoms with your shirt and tie.

Being on time and looking the part will show your potential employer that you take this position seriously and that you should be taken seriously.

3. Prepare for a demo lesson

Often you will be expected to do a demo lesson for your TEFL interview. It may be a pre-recorded demo lesson or you will have to do it during the interview. Try not to worry about this. 

You will be provided with the materials needed for the lesson prior to your interview, so you will be able to plan the lesson in advance and practice doing it in the mirror. This will help calm any nerves you have beforehand, so just remember to throw yourself into it.

When doing your demo lessons it’s important to keep certain things in mind, such as: 

  • Be aware of who you are teaching; are they young learners or adults? Make sure you adapt your teaching approach accordingly.
  • Display time management skills.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Use TPR – Total Physical Response is the use of hand gestures to indicate what you want the student to do, i.e. listen, repeat. 
  • Use props for young learners.

4. Ask questions 

The TEFL interview is the perfect time to ask any questions you may have about the job, the contract and the country that position is in. Asking questions will show your potential employer that you are interested in the position and eager to learn more. However, don’t go overboard – remember you are the one being interviewed, not them.

Questions to ask at an interview include:

  1. What is the length of the contract?
  2. Is there a set curriculum?
  3. What is the average class size?
  4. What resources and teaching aids are available?
  5. What is the payment schedule?


5. Have a good attitude

Enthusiasm is one of the key attributes most English schools are looking for in their teachers. If you’re warm and friendly, it gives them an insight into what sort of teacher you will be. They want someone who is passionate about teaching English and who will be able to develop a good rapport with their colleagues and students. 

Lastly, try to stay relaxed. TEFL job interviews are always nerve-wracking experiences but if you have prepared in advance, you’re ready to do it! Take a few deep breaths before the interview begins and remind yourself to talk clearly and calmly. This is especially important if English isn’t your interviewer’s first language. 

Even if you don’t get offered a job the first time, don’t let it deter you. Just try again. Every TEFL interview is an excellent learning experience and perfection takes time.

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