This blog post provides 10 tips that will help you succeed when interviewing for a teaching position in China!
Tip 1 – Do Your Research
First things first, do your research! In order to make a good impression during the interview, it’s essential you have a good understanding of the position you’re interviewing for, along with some knowledge of the school you’re interviewing with. Make sure you read the job description thoroughly beforehand, highlighting any part of it you might want to discuss during the interview. Please take a look over the school’s website to gain an understanding of who they are. Look for important information that could be discussed, such as the curriculum they teach, and what their mission/ethos is.
Tip 2 – Communicate With Your Recruiter
If you’ve used a recruiter to help you find the teaching opportunity, then make sure you communicate with them prior to the interview. Your recruiter should have a great understanding of the school you’re interviewing with, and will most probably have had teachers interview there before. Therefore, they should be able to give you some advice that will help you succeed, such as what the format of the interview will be, and what type of questions to expect.
Tip 3 – Be Punctual
It goes without saying, be punctual! Many schools throughout China receive a large volume of teacher applications and interview multiple candidates for each vacancy. If you’re late to your interview, then this won’t bode well for you and could be a factor the school uses when determining their final decision. If you’re going to be late, or you need to rearrange the interview, then communicate with your recruiter and the school well in advance.
Tip 4 – Be Friendly and Enthusiastic
Personality is something that most schools evaluate when interviewing a teacher, with many schools wanting to hire someone they think their students will enjoy being taught by. Therefore, try and be as friendly and enthusiastic as possible during your interview. If two teachers with similar levels of experience interview for the same position, it’ll most often be the more friendly and enthusiastic teacher who’s made an offer!
Tip 5 – Go Into Detail
When asked questions during your interview, go into detail with your answers. It doesn’t matter if it’s a question about your experience, an academic/teaching question, or even just a question about why you’re looking for a new opportunity. If you go into detail with your answers, it’ll enable the school to gain an understanding of who you are and whether you’re suitable for the opportunity that they have.
Tip 6 – Make Your Answers Relevant
As well as going into detail, try and make your answers to any questions relevant to the position you’re interviewing for. For example, if you’re interviewing for a position teaching primary school-aged students, and you’re asked the question “Tell me an activity that could be used in the classroom to engage students?”, make your answer relevant to primary school-aged students, and don’t give an example of an activity that you would use in a kindergarten or high school environment!
Tip 7 – Give Examples
Try and give real-life examples when answering any academic/teaching questions that are thrown your way. Using the same example question as in Tip 6 (“Tell me an activity that could be used in the classroom to engage students?”), your answer could include a real-life example of an activity you’ve used in the classroom previously. You can then go into detail explaining what topic this activity was used for, and how the students reacted to it. If you’ve not got any previous teaching experience, and you’re interviewing for your first position, then give an example of an activity that you learnt when studying for your TEFL Certification, and try to go into detail about how this could be used in a classroom.
Tip 8 – Speak Clearly
When interviewing for a teaching position in China, it’s extremely important to speak clearly! If the person interviewing you is Western, then this tip may not be relevant. However, if you’re being interviewed by a Chinese national, then make a conscious effort to be clearly understood when communicating with them. If you have a strong accent, there’s a chance the person interviewing you may struggle to understand you at times, especially if you speak quickly. If they can’t understand what you’re saying, then the school is unlikely to offer you the position, as they may have concerns about whether their students will also be able to understand you fully. Speak clearly to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Tip 9 – Ask Questions
Your interview is a two-way street. On the one hand, you’ve got to impress the school and make them think you’re the best person for the job. On the other hand, they’ve got to help you understand whether their opportunity aligns with what you’re looking for. During most interviews, you should be provided with information about the school, the position, the schedule, the location, the benefits (and possibly the salary), and much more. Make sure to ask any questions you have, and to get as much information out of the interview as possible. It’s important that you leave the interview feeling confident with your understanding of the opportunity, and in the right frame of mind to either accept or reject an offer that the school might make to you.
Tip 10 – Rehearse Your Demo
Some schools in China will require you to provide a demo lesson during the interview process. The school will provide you with all of the materials you need beforehand, and your recruiter should help you prepare the demo to an acceptable standard. It’s important that once you have your demo lesson ready, you rehearse it multiple times before the interview, either with your recruiter or with a friend. The more you rehearse your demo, the more confident you’ll be during the interview, and the better it’ll go!