Published on:
June 13, 2017

by: Will Perrins

7 tips to nail your TEFL interview

You’ve searched far and wide and finally found what could be the TEFL role of your dreams. The school has invited you to a skype interview, but there’s one problem; you’ve never interviewed for a teaching role in China and need to consider how to best present yourself and your experience. Here are 7 tips to ensure you succeed with your interview to teach in China.

You can start your TEFL journey in China by filling in our very short Application Form. 

All experience is good experience


One of the more common mistakes made by teachers is downplaying their experience. Classroom experience is far from the only teaching relevant experience around! Think about any roles or experiences where you’ve developed  presentation skills. Any experience you’ve had leading small or large teams and bringing out the best in each individual. Experience interacting with children, be they your own, your family’s or your friends’. Have you ever coached or led workshops? Directed a play or been a College ambassador? These are all experiences that breed essential skills for teaching, organization, presentation ability, leadership and confidence!

Examples are good, anecdotes are even better


Giving clear examples to highlight experience and transferable skills is great. Painting a real picture of those experiences is even better. When describing past experiences, go into detail and speak about how it made you feel, using names and details to set the scene. It’s much more interesting and engaging to hear an in-depth, entertaining or even amusing story related to your practical  experience, than just a list of facts. Remember, as a teacher, a vital part of your job is to be as engaging as possible! Check out some of Teacher Testimonials for a closer look at the stories our teachers in China have to tell.

Personality is key


It seems brutally obvious, but a confident and friendly attitude will shine through above a quiet, overly serious or confrontational attitude. This is particularly true for TEFL roles that involve working with children. Teaching is a role that requires a high level of energy and enthusiasm, so demonstrating this through confidence and passion is key. It’s also a great idea to put a real focus on your skills of engagement, presentation and flexibility!

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Do your research


This is important, not just to display your knowledge of the company, but of teaching itself. Reference your research in your answers to interview questions, bringing up individual elements of the job that appeal to your strengths, for example “The small class sizes at XXX School really suit my experience tutoring a small group of young English students when I was in college”. Read up on articles about best practice for English teaching and bring them into your descriptions and motivations to really sell yourself!


Not yet completed a TEFL/ TESOL/ CELTA course? Not a problem.


Following on from the above point, if you have not yet started your TEFL course then it’s a good idea to research some core concepts, for example; how to engage ESL students of your preferred age group, different learner types, example activities, and challenges that teachers may face in an ESL classroom.

Opportunity China have a partnership with TEFL Express to provide discounts on 120 hour online TEFL courses. Find out more here


Keep your questions constructive


Living and working in another country is an enormous life-decision, and you will naturally have a plethora of practical questions regarding accommodation, salary, tax and visas. But, it’s important to remember, also, that your opportunity to ask questions to your employer is an opportunity to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the post. Questions about the school’s ethos, curriculum and atmosphere are always appreciated. Again, working-in any research you’ve already done for these questions is a great idea! Opportunity China are always on hand to assist with the more practical questions.

Dress to Impress


Finally…If you are interviewing to teach abroad, chances are it will be held over Skype. This can be a bit nerve-racking, as it will most likely be your first formal interview online. It’s really important  that you treat it exactly as though it were a real interview. Dress smartly from head to toe (no pyjama bottoms, just because the camera’s chest-up!), prepare your notes and questions and make sure there will be no disturbances from outside.


Opportunity China strive to assist every individual candidate with their interview technique, before their school interviews. If you are still on the lookout for your ideal teaching role in China, check out our Job Board.





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