TEFL Telephone Interviews

How to have a successful TEFL telephone interview

With the ever sinking price of international telephone calls and the free Skype to Skype calls, telephone interviews are becoming much more popular as schools look for their new teachers.

What’s up with a TEFL Telephone Interview?

Not to worry, it is a rare interview that tries to catch you with a tough grammar question.

The three most common reasons schools interview you via telephone are these:

1. They want to know if they can understand you when you speak

If they can’t, that’s not a good starting place for a new job. Find a quiet place, remove distractions, turn up the volume on your phone or Skype and speak slowly and clearly. Turn up the volume and remove distractions as sometimes you will have difficulty understanding the person interviewing you. And that is no good either.

2. They want to know if you are friendly

Believe it or not, there are not teachers who are not friendly. Who are not interested in their students or even in communicating with them. Answer your phone with a big smile. If you don’t like and enjoy people, don’t be a teacher.

3. They want to know if you will be easy to work with

I often call this Asia’s #1 hiring criteria. Harmony in the workplace is a goal in many cultures. Let your interviewer know that you are flexible and patient and that you can “go along to get along”. Because, if you can’t, you won’t experience much success abroad anyway. Cultural differences in the work place can be a very destructive force if you don’t learn to deal with problems using the cultural tactics of your host country.

Westerners often feel it is important to “Stick up for themselves”, “Show some backbone” or “Show them what you are made of” – when there are typically much more culturally appropriate ways to deal with the problems that come up on the job. Getting overly assertive is frequently the kiss of death for aspiring careers.

In non-first-world countries and cultures there are many ways to solve problems by working with people rather than riding roughshod over them. Get yourself some cultural finesse. It will go a long way toward ensuring your success abroad.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Speak slowly and clearly during your interview. Avoid using too much idiom or slang. Though you may be talking slowly, continue to speak correctly. Don’t start trying to oversimplify your speech or speak baby talk.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Do your interview in a quiet place and turn up the volume so you can hear well.

TED’s Tips™ #3: Answer your phone in a friendly manner and put a big smile on your face. Smiling is practiced by telemarketers as they know it increases the friendliness of their voice.

Follow those simple steps and your interview will be a success! Good luck!

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