ESL Job Interview in China

As in, "Tell me why you want to work here." The typical response is money, but you obviously can't say that. This is the first step of the Chinese ESL interview process. ESL instructors of all experience levels often struggle with the interview process. Here's how to master your ESL job interview in China, with the help of some lessons I've learned the hard way. Luckily, I've made most of the errors you can make.

Private, for-profit secondary schools

You won't have to go through much of an interview process if you're applying to one of the numerous small or medium for-profit English teaching institutes in China. This kind of institution will recruit you based on the fact that you are a native English speaker from a nation that they often identify with the English language.

This may also be a helpful red flag; if the school has lax hiring practices, it probably has weak organizational skills and its children have behavioral issues. Don't put your career at jeopardy by instructing there.

The good news is that if they do want an interview, it will probably be rather casual. When my acquaintance went to interview at a private training institution, he was questioned why he was dressing so formally.

The majority of the time the only things these "interviews" are testing for are whether or not you are a native English speaker and whether or not you have any glaring character flaws. The interview is less likely to be a test of your mental prowess and more likely to be a description of the school and its salary/benefits.

Teachers that are extroverted, can make lessons interesting, and engage students are in high demand at for-profit, smaller schools since they are primarily concerned with attracting new students and keeping current ones.

Make an effort to come off as enthusiastic and interesting throughout the interview; any queries concerning your teaching approach or philosophy should revolve around these themes. Keep your demeanor upbeat, confident, and courteous.

Comprehensive universities and colleges around the country

An English training program that serves the whole country of China will have a more rigorous interview procedure. However, big businesses in China have such a high instructor turnover rate that they are continually hiring new staff just to keep up with demand.

This suggests that the school needs you more than you need them, despite the more formal interview process. Have a few canned responses ready, but ultimately, try to remain calm and assured.

Elite universities

Is it possible that these institutions are merely using marketing and salary increases as an excuse to cynically attract native teachers? By the sheer nature of their trade, they all must be yes.

Some institutions, however, are involved in global initiatives, collaborate with prestigious colleges abroad, or strive to maintain a particular reputation. As a result, they hold themselves to higher standards than their competitors and will be pickier in who they hire and more rigorous in their screening processes.

The best and brightest educators are sought after by these prestigious institutions. Typical ESL job interview questions can be, "Why do you want to work here?"

Just what is your approach to the classroom like?

Where do you start with classroom management?

In what ways do you ensure that your lectures are interesting?

The questions you pose here may be as crucial as the ones you answer. What I mean is that you should inquire about the class size, class duration and frequency, academic standards, and disciplinary policies, as well as the students' English proficiency and workload. Asking questions like these will demonstrate that you take your teaching career seriously and provide you with useful information as you consider accepting the position.

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