Useful Tips for Your ESL Job Interview

Got an ESL job interview soon? Read on.

China is one of the countries that need English teachers the most, and while the chances are high for qualified candidates to be be accepted for any of the open positions, you will still want to be fully prepared for the interview that you will need to do.

After all, a successful interview is the best starting point of any careers including teaching English overseas!  

Here are some helpful tips to prepare for a successful ESL job interview when applying to teach English in China:

Presenting Yourself

Many of these interviews are held via Skype or WeChat, which means that there is an excellent chance that you will be seen by those who are interviewing you.

  • Dress appropriately

Therefore, one of the first things that you will need to do in preparation for your interview is to find something suitable and professional to wear. This is not the time to simply roll out of bed and show up in front of your computer in your pajamas!  

  • Confidence is the key

As you are speaking to your interviewers, you will want to converse in a clear and confident voice. Even if you are normally a quiet person, now is not the time to allow that to shine through.

  • Introduce yourself: background, experiences, hobbies

You can start out by introducing yourself and giving them a little background on your education. These are both easy things to do and should help you find your voice and calm your nerves a little.  After that, you can continue with your interests, hobbies, and past experiences.

Showing Your Interests (do your research!)

When you are going through your interview, you are going to want to make sure that the people who are asking the questions know that you are completely interested in the position that they have available. To do this, you should do a little research prior to your interview.  

  • Student age, Curriculum & School events

A few things that you can find out in advance include the ages of the students, the curriculum that the school uses, how many locations the school has, and what types of extracurricular activities are available.  

  • City environment

It is also recommended that you find attractions and destinations around the city or nearby the school, as it shows that you are interested in both the job and the area that you will be living in.  

You may also want to research the cost of living in the area and be aware of how your paycheck will cover your expenses. Of course, you may also want to find out what other benefits you can get besides your salary packages, such as housing, flight allowances, as well as support such as training and local assistance. These all together, can affect your final decision.   

Once you know all this information, you can plan for different scenarios that you may be presented during the interview. You may not know the answers to these scenarios without having done the research first, but you will after you do some additional research as to how to work best with the students.  

Technical Aspects

  • Make sure you have the right apps downloaded

Technology always works when you don’t need it to, but it can be a little off when you need it the most.  Prior to your interview, you should install the app that you will be using. This may be Skype, WeChat, or any other app that the school you are applying at uses.  

  • Familiarize yourself with the app

Once you have it installed, you will want to make sure that you have created a log in to use for your interview.  It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the app and maybe even test it out, so that you know you are ready when it is time for your appointment.  

  • Make sure the internet connection is strong

You will need a strong internet connection for your interview, so that there is no lag in the conversation or frozen screens. This is not the time to have everyone else in your home using bandwidth, so you may want to tell everyone that they need to stay offline while you are in your interview.

It is a good idea to check your internet connection when you are testing the app, as it will give you time to make necessary adjustments.  

Obviously, you should do both of those things at least a day or two before your interview and not a few minutes before it starts. Remember, technology can be very finicky!

  • Find a quiet place

A quiet place is another necessity for your interview and you will want to determine where that location is sooner than later. This will allow you to ensure that it truly is quiet during the time that you will need it.  

You may want to consider a space where the windows and door can be closed, so that outside interruptions are at a minimum.

You should also keep all ringing phones out of the space, so an unexpected phone call does not interrupt the flow of your interview. This includes your cell phone, but if you think that you may need it for something, at least turn the ringer off before proceedings.


These three tips are full of information that will help you prepare for a successful interview. A brief recap:

1. Presenting Yourself

  • Confidence is the key
  • Dress appropriately
  • Introduce who you are and education background

2. Showing Your Interests (do your research!)

  • Student age
  • Curriculum
  • School events
  • City environment
  • Cost of living  

3. Technical Aspects

  • Make sure you have the right apps downloaded (depending on the school, the interview might be conducted via Skype or WeChat)
  • Familiarize yourself with the app
  • Make sure the internet connection is strong
  • Find a quiet place  

Please consider them carefully, so that you can proceed to the next step, which will be flying over to China to teach your first class of students.