We've talked in recent posts about some of the things recruiters will be looking at when reviewing your application, and today's post takes a closer look at commitment.
As we've mentioned before, your qualifications are important, but they really aren't the most important part of your application. What recruiters are really look at is your personality.
Commitment is a big part of this. A lot of effort goes into hiring a teacher, preparing for their arrival, and training them when they arrive. Lots of schools also provide assistance with getting set up in your new country as well.
While this is great for you, it means schools are only going to hire those people who they feel will stick to the job and fulfill their contracts. It's common sense, but something that you're definitely going to be judged on.
This article will cover some of the questions you might face, and other ways that an interviewer might be judging your commitment levels. If you take these things into consideration, you'll have a great chance of avoiding raising any red flags.
What Kind Of Questions Will You Be Asked?
As well as any questions you might have to fill-in during the initial application, you'll definitely be asked commitment-related questions in your interview (this could be done in person, or via Skype).
A common question is about your future plans, for fairly obvious reasons. Recruiters will want to know whether you have anything coming up in the next year (or however long the contract is for) that might cause a clash in schedules. This could be things like a wedding, a family reunion, a holiday, or further study.
A lot of teachers who initially have a TEFL are looking to make some money and then study for a PGCE or higher level teaching certificate. If this is your plan, make sure you're able to finish your full contract before doing it, otherwise you might miss out on the job.
A lot of schools find it difficult to grant holiday/vacation requests during the first 3, or even 6 months of a new contract. As such, if you have plans for this period, it's important that you either let the school know in advance, or try to change plans. You wouldn't want to end up in a position where you are faced with a choice between fulfilling your contact or continuing with your plans, and neither would the school.
What do your family and friends (or partner) think of your plans? If you're heading abroad against someone's wishes, there's a good chance they'll persuade you to come back early or cause you to back out before you leave. These aren't things that are going to please a recruiter, but it's important that you are honest about them.
On the plus side, if your friends and family ARE supportive, then this is a plus, and you should try to mention it in your interview. If you are committed, and have no foreseen obstacles, you should definitely take the opportunity to mention as much as possible in your interview, as it will help the recruiter know that you're a prime candidate.
Have You Done Your Homework?
Another thing you'll be tested on is your knowledge of the teaching position. This could involve the details of the contract, facts about the country or city you're applying to teach in, or any other finer points.
Chances are you will have been given a briefing or welcome back prior to conducting your interview, so showing that you've read through it and learned all the facts is definitely a plus. It's probably one of the biggest signs of commitment possible.
What is your preparation like? Do you have enough startup funds? Are you ready to book your flight if necessary? How soon can you be ready to travel?
If you head to your country of choice unprepared, it's not going to go well. Recruiters will only want to spend time dealing with candidates who they think will be able to cope with a new environment, new living costs, and a new job.
It's highly likely that your resume will have been thoroughly reviewed before you are given an interview, and your recruiter will also have it in front of them during the interview itself.
If there are any gaps in your resume or uncompleted contracts, you'll be asked about them. It's fine to have gaps/unfulfilled contracts as long as there are reasonable explanations behind them.
Somebody who is always switching jobs or has a bunch of short contracts might be be the best candidate for a year long job in another country, so this is something you ought to consider.
Please note that it's fine to have taken a gap year, taken some time off, or to generally have short contracts if they were completed successfully.
Have you lived abroad before? What was it like? How did you cope? Have you taught before? The same questions apply. Again, it doesn't necessarily mean that you need to have taught or lived abroad before, but you should try to find some examples or evidence that would support your ability to do so.
Even if that means you cite traveling by yourself or being independent while at university, it's all a plus.
Use Common Sense
At the end of the day, it should be common sense whether or not you are appearing committed. The most important thing is that you are aware that recruiters look at more than just your qualifications when reviewing your application. The more you can help them to feel your commitment and professionalism, the easier it will be for both of you.