Job Interview Questions
Your entire life has been getting you ready for this moment. Use everything you’ve got to create a future that is your dream. - Barbara Winter
If you want to prepare for a job interview, this is the best place to start. Study job interview questions below. Although answers are provided at each question, some of them may not be suitable for your case. Give your own answers to each question in writing. Before you do it, conduct research about your potential employer. Study carefully the employer's website, job description, job selection criteria and try to give as accurate answers as possible. Practice responses both to yourself and with a colleague who is competent in your field.
ESL Job Interview Questions and Possible Answers
There are many types of interview: competency focused interview, panel interview, behavioral interview, biographical interview, general structured interview, stress interview, critical incidents interview, group interview; pre-arranged or ad-hoc telephone interview. Competition is high. A prestigious institution seeking to fill a well-paid ESL position usually interviews a lot of applicants, perhaps as many as twenty, thirty or more.
The good news is that it is possible to study the most common job interview structures, prepare answers to common questions and succeed. Below you will find most commonly asked job interview questions – the questions that are asked at most types of interview. Before you go through these questions (and especially the answers!) you should note that most employers want original thinkers. They will probably not employ you if you give an answer like 'I plan my lessons by looking in the textbook' or 'I teach according to standards'.
THE QUESTIONS THEY WILL PROBABLY ASK YOU
Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation. – Michael Jordan
Most of the following questions will be asked at an ESL job interview:
1. Tell me about yourself.
Your answer should include your basic skills. Relate your answer to the position you are applying for. Briefly describe your education, areas of knowledge and work experience, tell about your greatest achievements, indicate your strongest skills, explain briefly how your potential employer could benefit from your skills. Do not repeat the facts from your CV. Never read or recite your CV.
2. Tell me about yourself professionally.
After I completed my student teaching at ___________and graduated from ____________ I became a high school teacher at ____________. While there I ____________. Then you should talk about other teaching jobs, especially those that are closer related to the job you are applying for. You should mention your accomplishments/achievements. In addition, mention extra curricular activities. Do not read your resume or CV.
3. Describe yourself.
I am an enthusiastic teacher who looks for opportunities to tie academic goals and standards to practical and memorable situations.
4. What do you know about our institution?
Before attending an interview, try to get as much information about your prospective employer as possible: study the website of the institution and if possible talk to some people who worked in that institution. Employers feel impressed if you know much about them.
5. Tell me your teaching success story.
You need to sit down, take a pen and write down your teaching success story so that you would not need to stammer at a job interview.
6. How do you teach?
Try to relate this question to your own teaching philosophy. You can answer in this way (this is an example only – please think of your own, better answer): “I always tell my students: 'If you want to learn to speak you must speak'. I believe that content-based communicative way of teaching is the most productive way of teaching. Students must use the newly learned words (which are actually passive words) in practical situations until they become active, 'their own words'. One of the most efficient ways of dealing with large size classes is by subdividing, for example, 25 students into smaller groups, i.e. 5 subgroups of 5 students. Each subgroup is given a topic for discussion. Now and then, I walk up to each subgroup, brainstorm them and ask questions. Students work on their topics and later one student from each subgroup gives a presentation (5 students). This is student-centered approach of teaching and it always works well. Students are exposed to natural communication. I usually make up lists of active vocabulary and different patterns for each subgroup in advance, depending on their levels. In this way, a well organized twelve week intensive ESL course could teach an average student approximately 2500 active words.”
7. What kind of technology have you used in the classroom?
You should mention your knowledge and experience in teaching courses related to CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning).
8. What do you like about the job of an ESL teacher?
Tell about new challenge or the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the school and to share your experience with others for example, ‘I have a great passion for learning and learners, and I think that the best way to learn is by teaching. I belong to the category of those persons who are not satisfied until they have shared all that they have gained with their students. I believe that teaching is a continual bilateral process of learning and sharing, especially in an ESL classroom where I use a combination of communicative, content-based and kinesthetic method of teaching.’ You can also reflect on the following: ‘An ESL teacher’s job is based on imagination and creativity. It is also related to a great variety of stimulating activities and unlike many other jobs, has no real monetary value. The profit is in my learners. In my opinion ESL teaching is a very satisfying job.’
9. What are your strengths?
Select two or three strengths that are directly related to the requirements of the position you are applying for. Stay focused on the position you are applying for instead of trying to mention all types of strengths that you have.
10. What are your weaknesses?
Give a ‘positive’ weakness. The question does not require from you to tell a weakness that is related to the position you are applying for therefore you can give a weakness which is not directly related to the position. To achieve more objectivity, speak about your weakness from another person’s perspective, e.g. your colleague, spouse or friend. You can answer: ‘When I become very much focused on an important task I am very scrupulous about details. It takes some efforts and time from me to accomplish the task: I work overtime and sometimes miss appointments for dinners with my friends; my wife/husband argues that this is my worst weakness. Although I enjoy doing my job, others tell me that I am a perfectionist.’ Also, emphasize the steps and actions that you have taken to overcome your weakness: ’I have a diary in which I record my appointments; in addition, I ask my wife/husband to remind me about my weakness, whenever I am involved in my work’. Also, if you are a workaholic person, i.e. often spend long hours working till late at night - you can mention that being a workaholic person is your ‘weakness’ too, and your family members are not happy about it.
11. What is your weakness as a teacher?
I plan so many creative activities for my students and class time is limited. It is difficult to include all of the activities that I would like my students to learn from. After a while I have understood that it is very important to prioritize my lesson activities in order to enhance student learning.
12. Where do you want to be five years from now?
The answer greatly depends on your age, experience and qualifications. It would be logical to tell that what you would want to be in five years' time would depend on your job performance and employer satisfaction. If you are a young teacher with a TESOL Certificate, you could mention your ability to learn and seek for improvement, although you should not be too ambitious with the job that you have not been offered yet. Also, you should not demonstrate too much that you want the job because you want to learn from them (if you want to learn, you have to go to school and pay tuition fee).
13. What would you do if your superior tells you to do something that you know is not right in the way of doing?
There are a few possible answers to this question. Here is one: ‘I always accept the fact that people, from time to time, make mistakes, and I am not an exception in this case. I would bring to light the issue, explain my way of reasoning, and if my superior still insists I would follow his /her order. Afterwards, I would reflect on this matter and try to understand why my superior had chosen that approach. It often happens that there are two or more ways of doing the same job or solving the same problem - and both ways are very efficient. Perhaps this would be an opportunity for me to learn to apply new methods and techniques or gain some new skills that I never knew of before.’
14. If I call your present employer, how will he describe you?
You should probably answer that your boss would describe you as a fully qualified and enthusiastic ESL teacher who can work both independently and as a part of a team.
15. What do you think of the last school you worked for?
You should stress the positive aspects of your experience. Tell about the positive work experience that you gained and mention good qualities of that school. Tell what positive skills and experience you gained.
16. What would you say about your time management?
You can straightforwardly say that you manage your time well and never procrastinate. You always set goals and prioritize your tasks and spend a proper amount of time to accomplish each task.
17. Is there any workplace environment that is ineffective for you as a professional ESL teacher?
One of possible answers: ‘A lack of independence, creativity and no teamwork support. I do well when I can draw my own map, make my own schedule and prepare my own teaching materials to help my students achieve their learning objectives. I also like to work in a team, especially on assessment and material design issues. I believe that a lack of independence, creativity and no teamwork may result in ineffectiveness for any professional ESL teacher.’ You can also add the following if you like: ‘In my opinion, an ineffective workplace environment is usually based on micromanagement.’
18. What qualities do you think will be required for this job?
Job requirements are usually in the job advertisement. Study the job advertisement and ask yourself what additional qualities may be needed for that particular position. Additional skills may include ability to work independently as well as a part of a team, cross-cultural communication skills, leadership ability, supervisory skills, analytical skills, problem solving skills, creativity and student behavior management skills.
19. Why do you want this job?
Stress the positive aspects which have attracted you to apply for this job. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or the job that you are applying for. Mention such possible reasons as improvement opportunity, creativity and team work opportunities.
20. What can you contribute?
Study their website, their needs, and the job requirements in the ad, and tell about your accomplishments, responsibilities and achievements in your previous jobs; relate them to the job you are applying for.
You will find many more ESL job interview questions with provided answers in ESL DRIVE BLOG (you can get free subscription there, too). For more ESL job interview questions-answers in ESL DRIVE BLOG, click HERE...