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How to succeed in teacher phone interviews

The phone interview presents a whole new set of interview challenges, as well as advantages. These arrangements may be more convenient, cutting out the need to travel and meet your employers, but putting yourself across as the perfect teacher for the role in a limited time, over the phone, can be harder. The number one point to remember is that phone interviews should always be taken as seriously as an in-person meeting.

Be ready for the phone call

Missing a call for a phone interview is just like missing any formal appointment. It may not spell the end for your job chances, but if the employer has a long list of applicants to speak to, they may not have time to try again, especially if they’re calling from another time zone. Set an alarm and write it in your calendar to remind you of the time and date. Put your phone on a loud ringtone, and keep it in front of you well in advance of the scheduled interview time.

Set aside time and space

Book some time out of your day for the interview. Take the call in a quiet location that’s private and comfortable, avoiding interruptions or noise interference. The grocery store, coffee shop, your classroom or your car are not good places to take a phone interview. Ensure that your line has a clear connection, and provide a landline number if possible. Each of these steps will ensure the interviewer can properly hear and understand you, showing that you’re taking the process seriously and will also allow you to focus on being the best you can in the interview.


Studies have shown that body language can be used to impress during face-to-face interviews. During a phone interview, this is one less thing to have to worry about, but remember that the only tool you have to express yourself is your tone of voice and what you say. Maintain professionalism while portraying your manner as pleasant, upbeat and enthusiastic, just as you would in front of your class. To help you do this, make sure to smile – it will come through in your voice.

Speak slowly and clearly

Long pauses in conversation can seem more awkward over the phone, but don’t let that throw you. Always think before you answer and take your time. Listen to what the interviewer is asking you and answer relevantly. Even though it may seem more casual, interviewers will still be expecting quality answers that show off your skills. One-sentence answers do not explain the complexity of what you achieve with your students on a day-to-day basis. Make sure you prepare typical interview answers in advance and detail solid examples of when you’ve put your methods into practice.

Take advantage of the phone format

Finally, during phone interviews, you’re free to have some key points and examples jotted down in a notebook in front of you. Avoid reading directly from notes because it will become obvious to the interviewer. Brief pointers to ideas and examples that can be built upon are most useful in guiding you to phone interview success.

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