We had no idea what to expect for our interview with a hagwon (a private school) in South Korea. I had heard from friends that they just want to be sure that you really are a native English speaker and it's not a big deal at all. Since I trusted my friends were right and it was no biggie, I put it completely out of my mind and concentrated on more important things....like FBI background checks and ordering original diplomas from SDSU.
However, the day of the interview our recruiter, Joanne, emailed us saying that now that the job market is more competitive due to an increase in applicants, it's less of a formality and more of an actual interview. Sh*t.
This is when I started to get nervous. Of course, frantic questions started rampaging through my mind, what if they don't like us? What is no one likes us? What if we can't get jobs in Korea and we quit our jobs here and then have no where to live and no jobs and nothing? What are we going to do? How are we going to pay our student loans??
I took some deep breaths (as instructed by Spencer) and realized, we're good people. Someone will realize that and hire us. Plus, our picture that we sent out with our resume is awesome and that's bound to get us some bonus points with someone. (When all you send out is your resume and a picture, the picture really matters.)
Joanne gave us some questions to think about before the interview. Why do you want to come to Korea? Do you like children? How would you control your classroom? Along with the advice, "Although traveling and experiencing a new culture is probably one of the reasons you want to come to Korea, please do not give the impression to the interviewer that your main priority is to have fun."
What are we going to say?? I do want to have fun at least part of the time...and then I thought (in horror) what if we can't understand them over the phone and we keep saying "can you repeat that?" every five seconds? We can't just nod and smile like I would in real life!
We only have fifteen minutes before they call!
Panic. Panic. Panic.
We quickly brainstormed some answers and typed them up ready for us to reference during the phone call. We thought of some pretty good answers and felt ready to listen closely and speak slowly.
Then we got a call from an American guy named Kurt. He is currently teaching at the school and we just talked to him. It was like meeting someone new at a party or through a mutual friend. He asked if we had any experience with kids but that was about the extent of his "interview questions." It seemed like he just got asked to do the interview 5 minutes before he called us.
Then we talked to a Scottish guy named Mark. He has been working at the school for about a year and is signing on for another year so we would be working with him if we took the positions. We got to ask him tons of questions about the school, the city, the Korean lifestyle, and the students.
I only had one little mishap during our conversation. As he was explaining something, I realized I was just listening to his awesome accent and not the actual words he was saying! (Whoops!) Luckily, I just asked another question and he didn't notice. How rude of me...I can't believe I did that!
Anyway, I realized I was asking all of the questions and the recruiter said to remember that "the school is interviewing you and you are not interviewing the school." So, I asked if he had any questions for me and he asked why I wanted to teach kids and if I had any experience with young children. I gave him my answers and he seemed to like them.
It was totally painless. It was easy actually! We talked to them for about an hour and got such a great vibe from them. It seemed like a good school and a nice area even though it was a smaller city. Things were looking bright!
In less than an hour we got an email from Joanne saying that they liked us and wanted to offer us positions!