Job interviews are the most important step that you will take in your search for a perfect ESL job. For some, meeting new people, answering challenging questions and selling yourself as a perfect candidate makes for a stressful encounter. However, Job interviews can also be exciting. They are a peek into new opportunities, new colleagues, and new challenges that will change your career path. Whether you have several interviews coming up or maybe just one that you are waiting for, it is an important chance for you to make a good first impression.

Most of the ESL job interviews are conducted over the phone or by Skype. How can you make sure that they pick you when it comes to the final selection from the dozens of equally qualified candidates? Don’t panic, read on instead: we have collected the solutions to your most pressing issues of the job interview. Here are 4 tips to ace that ESL interview:


  1. Tailor Your Tactics for Better Engagement

Not only your resume and cover letter need to be targeted to a specific school but also your interview persona should be tailormade. That does not mean to not be yourself, but craft your answers in better words, i.e. your answers will give interesting and insightful responses about your experiences, accomplishments and goals which will give a friendly flow to the interview. Familiarize yourself with the school to tailor your answers to the need of a particular school through getting a lot of information about the school by just checking the website of the school, such as its students, curriculum, expectations of the school and the methods used for teaching and disciplining. The more you know about the school and the position, the better you will be able to answer the questions and demonstrate your skills that match their needs.


  1. Backstage Rehearsing and Set-up

Preparing your interview is the key to success and a well-polished presentation can give you an edge over others whose credentials might just be better than yours. Be sure to prepare well in advance until you feel confident, but also making sure that you don’t sound too rehearsed or stiff. Based upon your understanding of the culture and needs of the school, anticipate the kinds of questions they may ask you. Prepare answers to these questions, but don’t worry about memorizing them. It will be easier to build rapport with the interviewer if you allow to speak yourself. Remember, the interviewers are used to hearing pat responses, so crafting up a response more tailored to a specific school is what comes in here. Finally, grab a friend or a colleague to do a mock interview.

While you are rehearsing for the play, don’t forget to set-up the stage for the play. If it is a video interview, then make sure to check the surroundings. Set up your webcam in a quiet distraction-free area. make sure you have the following checked:

Skype account – Before the interview day, make sure you have a Skype account. For ESL jobs in China, most of the interviews will be conducted on Skype or WeChat. Make yourself familiar with how to make a call on Skype or WeChat in advance.

Equipment check – Make yourself familiar with the webcam and microphone. The camera should be set at eye level and the audio and video must come through clearly.

Background check – Make sure the background is free from clutter and embarrassing items like laundry piles. Choose a setting which more clear background in a room. Try to avoid too much background noise like cars passing or ticking clocks.

Lighting check – Lighting to be behind your camera instead of facing the camera as this will illuminate your face.

Appearance – When it comes to video interviews appearance is an important factor to consider. Even though you are not doing a face-to-face interview, but you should still wear business attire.


  1. Exhibit Enthusiasm for teaching

ESL Administrators are aware of the difference between active job seekers and passive ones, and the enthusiasm that an individual shows can be used as a gauge of this factor. Therefore, you want to show as much excitement about the prospect of attaining the position as possible. Many ESL schools have admitted that an enthusiastic and approachable personality is more important in a teacher than a strong understanding of grammar or a structured lesson plan. Strong candidates exhibit enthusiasm, knowledge and positive work ethic in their interview.

There are different ways to show enthusiasm during interviews:

  • One way is to share positive examples of your passion and commitment to the job. Individuals with a passion for their position, or just a commitment to excellence, will be willing to put forth a greater effort than other workers who may not be as enthusiastic about the position.
  • Keeping your energy high during the interview. Also, it’s important to be aware of your nonverbal language/body language throughout the interview to ensure it accurately conveys your enthusiasm for the job. Simple things like making eye contact, smiling, and nodding are key.
  • Another way is through showing excitement in sharing your career goals. Those with a plan for their future would be taken more seriously than those who do not have a clue what they want to do past the interview.


  1. Culture considerations and etiquette

When working in multicultural contexts, be aware of cultural factors and social rules that govern appropriate social interaction. One of the biggest concerns for a Chinese employer when it comes to hiring a foreigner will be how well you’ll fit into the Chinese working environment. If you can demonstrate cultural awareness by following a few simple rules in the interview you’ll already be steps ahead of your competitors.

Dress right

It is important to demonstrate good appearance as clothing set a perception about the person to the world. Dressing up in a right way empower individual to set precedence and establish how that person wants to be perceived by others. In China it is important to dress up neatly and conservatively. Business or western suits are appreciated when it comes to an interview or in any official capacity.

Arriving in time

In Chinese culture it is considered very disrespectful to be late, therefore, it is important to arrive at least 10 or 15 minutes early to present yourself as calm, relax and well put together. If it is an interview in person then arrive early enough to allow yourself time to settle in. If it is a Skype interview then log-in in advance and test your device before the interview start to avoid any faults and disturbance later.

Body language

China culture favours indirect communication in the interest of creating social harmony. Knowing how the interviewer is receiving what you are saying is crucial to interview success. Concentrate on keeping your posture straight and speaking slowly and clearly rather than showing off your extroverted personality. It is considered improper to be too extrovert. When it comes to gestures, Chinese don’t tend to much with hand gestures so try keeping gestures small. Also, don’t gesticulate, make too much eye contact, shakes hands too firmly or display too much emotion. Chinese relationships are built slowly over time, and coming too strong may lead to suspicion.

Right attitude

Chinese company often hire foreigners because they are the right “attitude fit” for the company rather than the right fit in terms of qualification. Modesty is most important cultural value in China, unlike interviews in Western culture which is all about selling yourself. Talking about your skills that you can bring to the role but avoid boasting or sounding too full of yourself. Instead of extolling your qualifications, you might instead talk about how excited you are to take the new challenges the company offers or how excited you are about the prospect of working with them. During an interview, try to understand what your interviewer is looking to hear. It is important to be balance being modest about your skills with an optimistic outlook on potential to grow and land a great opportunity.