ESL Jobs: Preparing For Your Interview To Get The ESL Job

Preparing for your interview is crucial if you want to land a good quality, well paid ESL job. A little preparation can help you show your skills to the full and get the ESL job offer you want

Following on from my previous post about submitting a CV or resume for an ESL job, what should you do to maximise your chances of a job offer if you are asked to attend an interview? As the manager for a corporate language training company in Bangkok I have the task of recruiting new teachers. I have endured many colorful, frightening, enlightening, and spectacularly bad interviews and demonstration teaching sessions. I thought after having had all of these ‘experiences’ I could share what I have learned and hopefully make life less painful for those of you who are seeking ESL teaching posts.

The Actual Interview

    1. Don’t show up late without calling (10-15 minutes in Bangkok is no big deal but more than that warrants a call.)

    2. Please don’t show up super early – it is almost worse than being late (again 10-15 minutes is fine)

    3. Bring a copy of your CV (please not sweat-soaked)- have a look at some CV tips on Top 10 CV Tips

    4. Know a little about the company that you’re interviewing with. (A quick Google search will do)

    5. It’s not a good idea to talk in a negative light about previous employers. (Makes you seem like a complainer)

    6. Listen to what the interviewer is saying. (Asking questions that have just been explained in detail 2 minutes later isn’t a good sign.)

    7. Come prepared. (If you were asked to bring a sample lesson plan something written on the back of recycled paper doesn’t look great)

    8. Ask questions about the employer. (Interviews are supposed to be a 2-way street)

    9. Try to put a positive spin on previous employers and your experience. (Highlight your strong points)

    10. If you taught kids and hated it, don’t call them ‘little bastards’

If you are doing a demonstration lesson:

    1. Prepare ahead of time

    2. Bring an actual lesson plan – see this page on for a sample of a lesson plan

    3. Ask questions if you are unsure about the demo lesson (class size, level, previous knowledge of grammar points)

    4. Build a good rapport with the students

    5. Be friendly and explain what you are going to cover (write it on the whiteboard or blackboard)

    6. As you are unfamiliar with the class, check that they understanding before moving on to the next point

    7. If you haven’t taught in the country before try to keep things relevant to the age and culture of the students – don’t assume they understand the same cultural references as you. Keep it clear and simple and explain your actions

    8. Always preface what you are about to do to ensure the class understands what is expected of them

    9. Have a definite warm-up activity to break the ice with the students

    10. Wrap things up by reviewing what you have covered in the lesson and let the class ask questions

I have interviewed and attended more than my fair share of demo classes and must say that I have had some great interviews but also many that took some very odd and sometimes bizarre twists and turns. I think the most important thing is to be professional and not a stark raving lunatic who spits and waves their arms around wildly in an interview. I would like to think that common sense would dictate behavior, especially in an interview. Remain polite and professional and you should be fine. Good luck in your next interview!

Read more about finding a ESL job in Japan, Korea and Thailand


  1. really helpful tips! In my first job interview, I looked like some dumb-o because I got nothing much to say… I was really unprepared (the questions they asked me were really surprising…) thanks for these!

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