Online ESL Interview: 5 Tips for Success

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Have you got an online ESL interview on Skype or Zoom? Here are 5 top tips to help you ace it!

Working in the ESL industry means that you may be applying for roles all over the world and not able to attend a face to face interview. Face to face interviews are nerve-wracking enough without having the added pressure of relying on technology not to fail, language barriers and anything else that could go wrong.

You’ve done all the right things, you’ve made a good first impression as a candidate, submitted a great resume, and now you’ve been asked to participate in an online ESL interview on one of the many communication platforms.

Congratulations, but now you have to ace the interview! 

Here’s our top tips on surviving an online ESL interview.

Online ESL Interview - 5 Tips for success

1.     Look Professional

Remember that just because the interview is being conducted via video chat and you are likely to be sitting at your desk or kitchen table doesn’t mean it is a social call. Ensure you are dressed as you generally would be for an interview. Shave or wear make-up if you usually would, ensure your hair is brushed and your clothes are ironed.

It can be tempting to wear shorts or pajamas since it is unlikely your interviewer will see this; however dressing from head to toe in a professional manner gives you the psychological edge of being fully prepared.

2.     Prepare the Background

So you have worked out what you are going to wear and know you are going to present yourself in the best possible light, now for whatever else the interviewer can see and hear. No-one expects that you are going to have an office in the background but there are steps you can take to show you are professional and taking the interview seriously.

If you can have a blank wall behind you, that is your best option. If this is not easily done, ensure that the area behind you and anything visible on the desk or table if not able to be removed is neat, tidy and inoffensive.

Advise others in the household that you will be conducting an interview so they don’t accidentally interrupt, play loud music or provide any other distractions.

50+ Budget-Friendly Background and Prop Ideas for Online Teaching

3.     Prepare your Devices

You are interviewing for a role where it is imperative to communicate effectively and to be able to show you can engage with others, it would be disappointing if your skills were overshadowed by technology concerns.

Check your webcam works, is at the right height so the interviewer can see you easily, and that it provides a good picture. If you can use a headset with a microphone, this will give you the best performance.

Ear buds with a microphone also will be adequate. If you have neither of these, test your microphone with a friend so you can make any adjustments to volume or positioning.

4.     Practice, Practice, Practice

If you’ve never had an online ESL interview before it can be quite an unexpected change to a face to face interview. Most people find video interviews to be quite awkward, where do you put your hands? Where do you look?

All the general rules of interview skills apply, such as not fidgeting and looking the interviewers in the eye when answering questions. Record yourself talking into your webcam and if necessary adjust it, or at least find out where you should be looking so that you are directly facing the interviewer.

Practice several times either recording yourself or with a friend who can give you some feedback.

5.     Be Yourself!

You may have to present a professional front, but you can still be yourself. The interviewer knows you have the skills and experience to be able to do the role from your resume, now they are looking to see if you have the communication skills and personality to succeed.

Interviewers are looking for happy and personable candidates who will be able to interact well with students no matter their age, and who will adapt well to the new culture they will be living in. It can be difficult to build a rapport with someone when you are not in the same room, so smile and engage with the interviewer as much as possible.

Following the above simple steps will help you succeed in your online ESL interview.

Find out the most common ESL job interview questions and how to answer them.


Further Reading:

Teaching English Online: Don’t Let Not Having a Degree Stop You

Teach English Online: The Easy Guide to Getting Started

QKids – A Comprehensive Guide for ESL Teachers


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