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Updated: Nov 18, 2020

So, you've just secured an interview to teach ESL at a school in China. Congratulations! Next comes the great battle — the interview. Today, we guide you to acing your next interview and beginning your ESL teaching adventure. With the right preparation and motivation, you'll be on your way to your dream job in no time. Here's everything you need to know about nailing your interview stress-free and on point.


Before you can ace your interview, you need to score one first. Martin, Head of the Recruitment Department at Houhai English, explains that the first thing you need is a great resume and a dynamic self-introduction video. When applying to any ESL position, the recruitment department will require these two pronto to be considered for a position.

"A resume should be very clear. Even if you don't have a lot of experience, the resume should be precise and clear to read. Get straight to the point. Be unique. I am going to look at highlights and the relevant experience and qualifications first to find if this is a great candidate." 

Martin explains that getting creative is important for a resume to stand out. Try not to simply list out your previous work experience. Instead, write about what was important about each position. Also, write about specific unique roles you fulfilled. Write about what you enjoyed doing. "We also want to see how you feel about your work experience. Writing about your work experience like this makes candidates stand out from others." 

Next, focus on making an energetic and effective self-introduction video. The self-introduction video is the moment you can shine off the resume page and bring your amazing self to life in 1-2 minutes. "Before recording that introduction video, make sure you are groomed and dressed well. Be articulate and say something interesting about yourself. Something that makes you stand out," Martin explains. 

Make sure to perfect your resume and self-introduction video, and you're sure to score great interview opportunities. If you don't get an interview after applying to several jobs, these two components need to be re-evaluated, or as Beyonce says, "Let's get in formation."


Once you get the interview, you need to prepare before it's show time. Houhai English's Head of Recruitment says, "One of the main reasons people fail in their interview is because of lack of preparation."

Find out as much information as possible about the company, the position, and how you can set yourself apart before your interview. Review the school's website and research what is particularly striking about the school and their teaching philosophies.

Martin adds, "How you prepare for the interview will show me that you are the kind of person that likes to be ahead, ready for the role, and works hard."


If you are prepared, you will make a great first impression. Your job interview begins the minute you switch on the camera or the minute you walk into the door. Practice how you will introduce yourself. Practice how you will walk into the office. "The main thing, learn about how first impressions work," Martin Says. "Be on time, dress, and groom yourself well; be aware of your body language. Negative body language can sabotage an interview. Don't do things that may hurt you without knowing. For example, always remember that giving a damn can go a long way. If you don't want to be at the interview, the interviewer will surely know it," He adds.

All the prep work involved before the interview will make a massive difference in the outcome. Being aware of these things makes for a positive interview.


It's essential to have an idea of what the interview questions that will be asked. Don't fear the interview questions; Instead, prepare for them. Play to win. Here are some common interview questions you will likely come across:

  1. How do you work with others?

  2. What are your great strengths? What are your weaknesses? 

  3. How do you exercise classroom management? 

  4. How do you challenge yourself as a person and as an educator?

  5. What is your teaching style & philosophy? 

  6. What drew you to teaching?

Martin assures me that it is okay to present your weakness, but it is important to clarify the urge to overcome it. "Be honest about the things you share, and it will go a long way. Talk about the things you do to overcome your weakness by being clear about how you work on overcoming it."

When answering interview questions, candidates can follow a specific pattern, Martin explains. "Candidates can follow the star technique, where the candidate has tailored responses to every question. But being creative and in the moment is always great when answering questions."

He adds that candidates should not be afraid to dance around questions they don't want to answer and avoid pitfalls. "Avoid oversharing and don't raise any red flags, particularly when it comes to your personal life."


"SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION IS A GOOD THING," Martin quips with a grin. Talk about your good qualities. Go off. This is the chance to show you have something unique and that you are a shining star. If you don't have much experience to call upon, showing your potential can be just as great. "Potential and motivation can sometimes be just as valuable as experience.", He adds. This is not the time to be modest. Go off.


This is your chance to not only make a great impression but to learn more about the job you're applying for. It's essential to ask the right questions. With the right questions prepared, you are always one step ahead. However, if you ask the wrong questions, you might not get the job you so wanted. 

Questions that are great to ask are usually about the job itself, what it's like working at this particular school, details about the curriculum, etc. These types of questions will show that you are a promising hire.


When the interview is over, send a simple thank you note. A 'thank you for taking the time to interview me. I look forward to hearing from you' can go a long way. 

If the interviewer informed you, they'd get back to you in 24-48 hours, and they don't? Don't be afraid to be the one to follow up. Send a simple and grateful follow-up message and put your lovey mind at ease.


HOPEFULLY, with the right preparations, things will go great. However, if you hit a brick wall and don't answer questions well, you can always request a second interview. Let them know you want to try again. Maybe you were plainly terrible, and they will pass, but some schools will give you a second chance.

If you don't get hired, it's okay to ask why the school decided not to move forward with you. Feedback can help you to ace future interviews.  

Happy interviewing!

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