TEFL job interview questions you should ask

TEFL job interview questions and advice for EBC graduates and anyone else interested in interviewing for an English teaching job abroad.

The advice and list of TEFL job interview questions is taken from our TEFL course job seminars. The TEFL job interview questions have been built up over the years based on our own experience interviewing candidates and EBC course graduate feedback from the TEFL job interviews they have attended.

Ask and answer the TEFL job interview questions with confidence.

Be dynamic and SMARTLY DRESSED. Most language schools want a teacher with a professional, outgoing personality who looks presentable. If you are teaching private classes to children, you’ll have to meet the parents first and they can be even more demanding than language schools.

The following is a check-list of TEFL job interview questions that you should ask when you go for your interview.

TEFL job interview questions – teaching questions

  • What type of age range and social groups will I teach to? You’ll find that the age range and social groups that schools will expect you to teach to vary on a school-by-school basis. If you are hired to teach a specific set of students, for example: you are hired to teach primary school children aged 5 to 11, you’ll know beforehand what type of students you’ll have to teach. If not, you’ll have to find out at the interview.
  • Where are the classes and how much travel is involved? This is important from a purely financial point of view if you are working freelance for several language schools. Imagine that you have to travel for an hour, teach for one hour and then take yet another hour to get to your next class. You just got paid for one hour’s work but took up 3 hours of your time. In these cases, ask if more hours can be added. If not, it’s usually not worth accepting the class.
  • How big are the classes? Big classes (10+) are hard to teach unless they are in a state school (K to 18).
  • Am I taking over an existing class? If the answer is yes, then also ask, “May I speak to the previous teacher?” If the previous teacher is no longer around, ask about where the class had got to. You need to know this in order to avoid repeating work that has already been done or planning a class that is beyond your students current skill level.
  • Do you or the student(s) provide all the learning material (books, photocopies, etc.)? It’s important that you know this because if you are told that you have to pay for text books and photocopies, then forget the job. Text books are usually quite expensive. You should only provide material at your own cost if you REALLY want to.
  • Is there a syllabus to follow, if so what is it? Having to follow a syllabus is always a possibility. It depends on the school that hires you. If it’s a K to 18 school, then there’s a very good chance that you’ll be expected to follow a syllabus. If it’s a private language school, it depends on the school’s teaching methods. You may also find that you will teach using a text book. Most quality text books have a “how to use the book” guide at the beginning. This is a rudimentary syllabus showing the author’s recommended way to use the book.
  • Do you also teach Business English classes? Any language school has the possibility of offering Business English classes. If your preference is to teach Business English or you do NOT want to teach Business English, then make it clear from the start so that you don’t waste your time. Please note that many language schools incorrectly classify Business English as teaching English in a business environment. The correct classification of Business English is a subset of ESP (English for Specific Purposes).

TEFL job interview questions – logistics questions

  • What is your class cancellation policy? Most companies have a 24 hour cancellation policy. If the class is cancelled at least 24 hours before its scheduled time, it gets rescheduled. If the class is cancelled less than 24 hours, you usually get paid and the class is billed to the client even though it wasn’t given. The last thing you need is to suffer because your student(s) didn’t show up for class.
  • Do I have to turn in a time-sheet/attendance sheet? If the school insists that you get the client to sign time sheets – DO IT . If you don’t and there is a dispute, the client will win and you will not get paid. If you turn up for a class and the students don’t, find someone who can sign your time-sheet (or any other documentation) that prove you showed up and the students didn’t. If you don’t, you run the risk of not being paid.
  • How and how often will I get paid? Payment frequency depends on the country you work in. When you are paid you may need a bank account as payment is often done by bank transfer or cheque. Cash payment is not unheard of but cheques and transfers are much more common payment methods.
  • Are the classes arranged by level? If they aren’t, you may have problems because mixed ability classes progress slowly, if it all. If the students are expected to improve, you may run into difficulties.
  • How do you handle taxes and social security? Depending on the country that you work in, you’ll either get hired on-the-books or off-the-books. If you are hired on-the-books, the school will need to register the withholding against your tax/social security number so you’ll need to get one. If you’re hired off-the-books, the school should NOT withhold.
  • Will I have to make multiple daily visits to the same place? If there is a chance of multiple visits to the same place on the same day, ask whether the teaching hours can run concurrently so that you only have to go there once.

If you have any other important questions that you ask that are not on our list of TEFL job interview questions, let us know.

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I am very pleased with my experience at EBC Madrid. Professor John was an amazing mentor that really prepared my classmates and I to teach English. I feel confident going into the job market and finding a teaching job.
Elizabeth Wohlford
15:28 08 Mar 18
EBC Madrid had equipped me with the necessary knowledge and skills I need to be better in teaching. William is so nice and is very accommodating to us students. And, John is the best teacher who can simplify and make the students understand even the most complicated grammatical concept. Kudos!
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14:42 08 Mar 18
The course is very intensive but it helps a lot to bring out the best in me. John is an amazing teacher and he is very professional. I'm very thankful for all the guidance and help that I received from EBC. I highly recommend it.
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14:42 08 Mar 18
The course is really useful. It makes you equipped with the right knowledge, training and attitude. Things you need to have that confidence to go out and face the world as an English teacher. Highly recommended!
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14:25 08 Mar 18
This is a great place to get your TEFL certification. The staff is kind, organized and very helpful. It was such a comfortable learning environment that I enjoyed very much. I liked the personalized attention and I got a lot more confidence and experience to be an English teacher. Thanks for everything!
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10:35 02 Feb 18
I found the instruction throughout the course to be very effective and I finished the course feeling excited and prepared to begin teaching. There is nothing fancy about the EBC facility, however this doesn't in any way reduce the overall quality of the course. John, the instructor, has extensive experience (both as an TEFL teacher and a TEFL course trainer), which is evident in the thoughtful organization of the course. My class had only five students, which created lots of time for personal attention and advice. Make sure you come prepared to work hard!
Adam Schreiber
12:06 14 Dec 17
It was a great and intensive course! I learned and enjoyed this whole learning how to teach experience. Thank you very much for your time and knowledge. I feel well-prepared now. EBC Madrid, 2017.
Michele Buitron
11:57 14 Dec 17
I've just finished my EBC TEFL course. It was a great experience. I definitely recommend this course. John is an amazing teacher and he is very professional. It was just a pleasure. Thank you so much and good luck!
Natalia Egorova
15:04 10 Nov 17
The course has been really useful and the teacher, John, made the classes so much fun and very interesting. It is has been a great experience and has helped me realise how much I really enjoy teaching. It has also been a bit intense at times but I would recommend this course to anyone who would like to become an English teacher.
Natasha Jimenez
20:17 05 Oct 17
Class of August 2017.It's been a busy stressful 4 weeks but I am happy the group and I have all made it and we have TEFL certificates to show for all our hard-work and sleepless nights. Much thanks to our trainer John for his patience and ability to find solutions and guidance to help you find your way and energy throughout the course. EBC international is the best place to learn and share your knowledge of teaching. And for people like me who has no idea how to teach things like grammar and also to learn the grammar...this is the place to be!
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