Welcome to the big list of TEFL interview questions to get a job. After you get your World TEFL School accredited certificate, you also get to use our lifetime, worldwide job placement service.
This article helps you prepare for job interviews, helps you ace job interviews and get the job.
Applying for a TEFL job
If you have a WTS International Certificate in TESOL and TEFL, applying for jobs isn’t an issue. You just tell our WTS job placement staff where you want to work and we send your CV to the hiring managers in the region you choose. It’s that simple. With our help, you will pass your TEFL job interviews.
These days the majority of jobs teaching English as a Foreign Language are found online. There are loads of different jobs boards and social media you can use to find EFL/ESL jobs. In most cases, you send a cover letter along with your CV to the email supplied and wait for a reply. If you make it through the first round, the next step is a Zoom or Skype interview. Depending on the hiring company, you can be offered the job after your zoom interview.
If you prefer to teach face to face classes or are already in the country where you want to teach, you can go to the schools you want to work. For example, you studied your CertTESOL or TEFL course with a school that offers a job placement service. The school will be in charge of sending your CV to hundreds of language schools who will call you for an interview. The same interview process will apply, though: if they like your CV, they will contact you for an interview.
TEFL interview questions
A few different things may happen in a TEFL job interview. The first step, of course, will be introducing yourself. The Director of Studies (the person usually doing the interview) will ask you about your experience. They might have asked you to prepare a demo class (for example, prepare a lesson to teach the present continuous to a class of 10 personal assistants in an international bank in Spain). If you were to do a demo class, the school would ask you to do a practice run with them. They will need to see how you will teach their clients. This will give them a good idea of whether they would want to hire you.
They might also ask you to do a demo class online. They will give you the topic, lesson aim, students' levels, and you teach a demo lesson before you are allowed to teach their clients.
TEFL interview questions you will be asked
Why do you want to teach English?
Don't say that you want your English teaching wages to pay for your adventure travelling the world. However, suppose you are interviewing for an EFL teaching job for young learners. In that case, you could mention something like you love working with kids and you find it satisfying seeing them learn and improve their English.
Why do you want to teach English abroad?
This is very similar to the first one of your TEFL interview questions, but it could be a trick question. It is best not to talk about all the countries you want to visit and the cultures you want to explore. If you do, the interviewer may think that you won't be in the job for very long. Don't go into personal stuff, like running away from a toxic relationship or getting over a broken heart or wanting to move out of your parents' home. Instead, focus on the teaching aspect and how there are many teaching opportunities abroad than in your country. Talk about how teaching abroad could make you better prepared culturally, making you a better EFL teacher.
What teaching experience do you have?
This one shouldn't be a surprise. If this is not your first teaching job, talk about your current and past EFL teaching jobs. Talk about the improvements you brought to the company. Did your classes give you good reviews? Did you get any awards? Any commendations? Talk about how much better of a teacher you are now after your past EFL jobs. Talk about what you can do for your new company based on your experiences from other language schools. If you did not end well with any of your old companies, refrain from bad mouthing them. If, however, you have never taught before, don't let that worry you. If you studied on a CertTESOL or TEFL course, talk about the course. What did you learn? Talk about your teaching practice classes. How many levels did you teach? How many students are in a class?
What makes a good TEFL teacher?
This is similar to another question you might get asked, What are your strengths and weaknesses? When you answer this question, the interviewer will be able to understand your teaching style. When you answer this question, make sure you mention the different responsibilities of a TEFL teacher. Teaching is the obvious answer but you should also mention things like classroom management, discipline style, rapport and communication.
Define your discipline style?
This question is especially relevant for teaching young learners. This is not only a good TEFL job interview question, but it's something you should think about anyway. The interviewer may ask you what you would do in certain situations. An example is if a student refuses to stop speaking in their first language. Another example is a student who refuses to do any homework or is disruptive. Think of situations like these and rehearse the answers for them.
Finally, there is one more question you are likely to be asked, and that is: Do you have any questions for us?
Remember, no matter what they may throw at you, remaining cool, calm and collected is your best bet for acing a job interview. Good luck!
TEFL interview questions you should ask when you are asked, “do you have any questions for us?”
What type of age range and social groups will I teach?
The age range and social groups that schools want you to teach will vary from one school to another. If you get hired to teach a specific set of students, you should know what type of students you will teach.
Where are the classes, and how much travel is involved?
Ask about travel time, distance and location. Travelling takes time and costs money. Imagine that you have to travel for an hour, teach for one hour and then take another hour to get to your next class. You got paid for an hour but used 3 hours of your time. Excessive travel is a problem. Ask the school to give you more English classes to teach in the same area. If they cannot, the job is not worth accepting.
What is the class size?
Classes with more than ten students are hard to teach unless they are in a state school (K to 18).
Am I taking over an existing class?
If the answer is yes, ask if you can speak to the previous teacher. When the previous teacher is no longer around, ask where the class finished in the syllabus. You need to make sure that you do not repeat work or plan lessons that do not match the class skill level.
Do you or the student(s) provide all the learning material (books, photocopies, etc.)?
If the school tells you that you have to pay for textbooks and photocopies, forget the job. Textbooks are expensive. You should only provide material at your own cost if you want to.
Is there a syllabus to follow? If there is, what is it?
Expect to be given a syllabus. K to 18 schools will expect you to follow a syllabus. Private language schools may or may not give you a syllabus. It depends on their teaching methods. You may also find that you teach using a textbook. Most quality textbooks have a "How to use the book" guide at the beginning. The "How to use the book" section is a rudimentary syllabus showing the author's recommended way to use the textbook.
Do you also teach Business English classes?
Any language school has the possibility of offering Business English classes. If you do or do not want to teach Business English, tell the interview. Note that many language schools incorrectly classify Business English as teaching English in a business environment. The correct classification of Business English is a subset of ESP (English for Specific Purposes).
What is your class cancellation policy?
Most companies have a 24-hour cancellation policy. Classes cancelled with at least 24 hours notice usually get rescheduled. You should get paid if classes get cancelled with less than 24 hours notice. The last thing you need is to suffer because your student(s) didn't show up for class.
Do I have to turn in a timesheet or attendance sheet?
Always get signed attendance sheets. The client will win every argument about attendance if you do not have proof of attendance. The result is that you will not get paid. If you turn up for an empty class, find someone who can sign your timesheet (or any other documentation) that proves you showed up and the students did not. Failing to get a signature means that you run the risk of not being paid.
When and how do you pay me?
Payment frequency depends on the country where you work. When you get paid, you may need a bank account. Most schools pay by bank transfer. However, cash payment is still a possibility.
Do you group students by skill level?
You may have problems with mixed-ability classes because they progress slowly. If the expectation is that all students improve their English, you may run into difficulties.
How do you handle taxes and social security?
Depending on the country where you work, you will either get hired on-the-books or off-the-books. Getting paid on-the-books means the school must register all withholding against your tax/social security number, so you'll need to get one. If you are hired off-the-books, the school should NOT withhold anything.
Will I have to make multiple daily visits to the same place?
If there is a chance of more than one visit to the same class location on the same day, ask whether the teaching hours can run concurrently so that you only have to go there once.
Good luck and you can do it!
Remember, no matter what TEFL interview questions they may throw at you, stay cool, calm and collected and you'll ace the interview.