A reader recently asked:
How do I increase the odds of getting hired for a position?
Most of the comments here are going to be related to Asia and Latin America, where the great majority of EFL teaching positions are located.
After the obvious points of meeting the minimum requirements for a position, there is a big issue hiding in most of these interviews.
Harmony in the workplace is a huge value in Asian culture and also in much of the non-Western world. This is partly due to the lack of job mobility. Many people work at the same job for much of their lives. So it is important that we get along with each other.
In the Western world, we move around a lot more. So – if I don’t like working with you, no big deal – either you or I will likely be working somewhere else by next year.
Language schools and universities – to a large extent – want to know first and foremost if you will get along well with them and their current staff/faculty. That can be pretty subjective.
Probably the best thing you can do is communicate that you are (if you are!) flexible, friendly and willing to work as a team member.
A second issue is that there is always opportunity for cultural misunderstanding and miscommunication when working in a foreign country.
Employers want to get a sense of if you can handle those types of circumstances in a patient and diplomatic way or if you are going to get upset and self-destruct and bail out on short or no notice (some people do).
How do you convey those things? I don’t think you can artificially communicate them. Probably the very best way to approach it in an interview or any kind of communication is to be sincere and to answer questions truthfully. Ask questions about anything that concerns you.
Be open, frank and honest about what you like, don’t like or even those things about which you will reserve opinion.
If you fit, you will likely know it and they will too. There is no good reason that I can think of why you would/should force your round-peg personality into their square-slot organization. Better to let an interview or communication go where it goes.
Now . . . none of that means don’t give it a good go and present yourself favorably. Merely asking thoughtful questions helps say you are probably a good candidate. That kind of attitude is in your favor.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Be careful about Western over-assertiveness. We’ve addressed the issue many times on this blog. Learn to express your opinion or any disagreement in gentle terms.
- Teaching Internships in China
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