10 Sure-Fire Ways to Blow an Interview

Plan to attend a recruiting fair? Here’s 10 sure-fire ways to blow your interview! Have a look at this list and resolve to avoid doing ANYthing you see here.


1) Arrive late
Recruiting fairs almost always take place in high-rise hotels where elevators are not designed to handle constant heavy traffic. More than one teaching candidate has arrived late for an interview due to slow-to-arrive, over-packed elevators that stop at every. single. floor….Get an early start!

2) Show up unprepared
Failure to do your homework could be a deal-breaker. Asking questions already answered on a school’s web site or at an earlier presentation makes you look like someone who doesn’t take the initiative to get the job done. A little research will help you make the right impression.

3) Over-share
Interviewers need to see that you understand professional boundaries and discretion. Resist talking about health problems, your problems back home, an ex-boss’s propensity to frequent bars, your previous colleagues, etc. Keep conversation professional and avoid TMI!

4) Sound bitter or desperate
After a few rejections, you may be wearing a bitter attitude guaranteed to put off any interviewer. Look on the bright side, stay optimistic and imagine yourself landing this job! Do what it takes to put yourself in a positive frame of mind.

5) Fail to give specific examples
If you say you incorporate ESL training into classroom instruction, be prepared to offer a seemingly impromptu example. If you can’t give an example of what you claim you’re capable of,  you’ll come across as ‘all show and no go.’

6) Bad-mouth your previous school and/or director
No matter how bad your last international experience turned out, never talk bad about your current/previous admin.  There is plenty of information about schools and teachers’ experiences on ISR. Bad-mouthing at an interview cautions the interviewer that you may may never be happy and potentially do the same with their school.

7) Cockiness
Confidence & cockiness are two different things. You may be certain you’re the best person for the position, but a humble, yet confident attitude is what will land you the position. 

8) Don’t ask questions
School directors want to know you are interested in the details of the job an/or the culture of the country. If you don’t ask questions, you may be sending the message you’re just not that interested. Come ready with intelligent questions that show your interest in the culture of the school, the board, or some aspect of what their school and its locale is all about.

9) Interrupt
Here’s a sure-fire way to annoy the interviewer and demonstrate you’re more interested in what you have to say, rather than being an active listener and participant in the interview.

10) Have wireless devices alert you during the interview
Your ability to listen is a vital part of the recruiting interview. If your phone rings, your iPad pings, or any such indication that you’re not 100% devoted to this interview, it is one way to be seen as less than professional. Disconnect before any interviews!

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