Keep a copy of your resume handy. This is simple, but many people don’t do this. If you’re a little nervous (likely), you may forget to mention your TEFL certificate was 140 hours and included teaching practice, or that you were on the dean’s list four semesters in a row, or that you were sandwich artist of the month three times (okay, that’s just for those of us that didn’t have much to say when first starting out…).
Know the culture and the job. I work with several recruiters from South Korea, and they always remind our English teachers to sound upbeat, almost bubbly during phone interviews. The large majority of teaching positions in Korea are with kids, so they want to hire someone that sounds friendly. Other cultures may not receive that as well, or the job itself could be adults, so you’ll need to utilize your most professional voice.
Take the interview in a quiet place. I interview candidates occasionally for some of our teach abroad programs, so this might be a personal pet peeve, but nothing is worse than dogs barking in the background, little brother dancing or making faces in the background (Skype), or some other obnoxious noise that drowns out the voice of the candidate. Show respect to the interviewer by making arrangements (secure internet, charged cell phone, private room, etc.) in advance to ensure having a positive interview.
Speak slowly and clearly. As an EFL teacher, hopefully you have developed this habit already. Be sensitive to the interviewer’s level of English. In many cases, they are not native English speakers, so put them in a position to have a positive interaction with you. Also, don’t assume that their speaking abilities are equal to their listening comprehension abilities—they may be terrific at creating sentences but it’s very possible they haven’t had a lot of personal interaction with native/advanced English speakers.
Hopefully these tips will help you pass the phone interview with ease. Remember, this should be an enjoyable experience. Good luck!!