So you've got an interview coming up hey? That's great! Job interviews can feel so daunting, but don’t worry, you’re making a good move by looking into how to prepare for your interview. As they say, prior preparation prevents poor performance! Here are 5 steps you can take to prepare and feel more at ease with your interview: 1. Read over your own resume - it is a simple step that is often over looked. Can you remember what you did in that job five years ago? More to the point, can you remember what your resume said you did? While it’s not good to lie or over exaggerate on your resume, sometimes you may be asked to elaborate on a point that you’ve written. It won’t look so good if you’re stumped to remember what you meant when you wrote it. Have a read over your resume and make sure you can explain everything that’s on there.
2. Do your research - learn as much as you can about the organisation you’re interviewing for. Try to find out what sort of English they teach. Is it conversational English? Academic? IETLS prep? What learners do they target? Adult learners, young learners, teenage learners? Think about some points you can make about why you’d be suited to the role and how you would adapt your teaching strategies to suit those learners. If the information isn’t available on their website, no problem, you can ask about it! Asking about the type of learning needs you’ll be assisting with can show your knowledge as well as adaptability.
3. Practice answering common interview questions - You may feel a little silly talking to yourself, but practicing verbalising your answers can help you sort out your thoughts and wording. Have a good think about what experience you’ve got and how to phrase it. If your only experience is your practical placement - that’s ok! Talk about where you did prac, the learners you worked with, what you enjoyed the most about it. For example “I did 12 hours of practical placement at Language Training Institute. During my time there, I worked with beginner ESL learners from a variety of cultural backgrounds. It was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed not only working one-on-one with the students, but also applying my knowledge around lesson planning and delivery. I was mentored by a supervisor and was able to hone my skills further. I’m extremely passionate about teaching English and am hoping to work with your organisation and it’s students to achieve their learning goals.” There are some great resources on YouTube such as this one by Big Interview explaining how to answer the basic question of “So, tell me about yourself?”.
4. Plan how you are going to get there or test out technology - You don’t want to be late because of bad traffic or have a technical glitch (if it’s a video conference interview). Getting to your interview with time to spare means you can have time to calm your mind and focus. You don’t want to walk into an interview already stressed because you’re 5 minutes late. Stress hormones inhibit your neurones from firing correctly and can make it difficult for you to think clearly. If you find yourself feeling stressed before your interview, try this: breathe in for 10 seconds, hold that breath for 10 seconds, breath out for 10 seconds (note: you don’t have to time it, simply counting to 10 in your head will do).
5. Remember your manners - not just please and thank you, but also keep in mind your body language. Slouching, crossing your arms, looking around the room while the person is talking, etc. can all send the message that you don’t really want to be there. Also, try to avoid bagging out your previous employer. Rather than it reflecting badly on them, it will reflect badly on you and may appear that you’re hard to get along with. This is an obvious one, but don’t use profanities or obscene language. It won’t be appropriate in front of your employer or the English students that you’re going to teach. Try to sit up straight, look the interviewer in the eye, smile (of course) and talk about your past experiences in a positive light.
Remember, an interview is also an opportunity for you to make sure that the job is the right fit for you. Relax, be curious about the position and if it doesn't work out, keep trying. You will get there :) Good luck with your interview!