Let’s talk about the right way to conduct a job interview and hire a professional teacher. I just had an interview and it was absolutely perfect. Exactly how an ideal interview should be done where both parties leave happy. So I’ll discuss that.
I was looking for state-style kindergarten work (not language centers) specifically in District 8. I asked one of my kindergarten bosses to refer me to “Somewhere exactly like your school, in the same area”. She came back and said “I know something perfect. A friend has a large kindergarten just like mine a few blocks away. He wants to introduce an English program managed by an experienced kindergarten teacher. They do not currently teach English there. Meet him at his school at 2pm Monday to discuss”.
Now, there was no discussion about salary or hours prior. It was just “You would suit this place. Go talk to the boss”.
I arrived and the boss was very pleasant. He offered me a cold drink of my choice (I live on C2) and I commented that his school was very attractive and well decorated. I showed him some videos and photos of my other classes in the area and he approved and seemed impressed.
He said “I only have one class initially. This is a new concept here so we need to win the parents over to the idea of paying extra for English classes. How long do you think a class should be ? 30 minutes ?”
“No,” I replied. “45-60 minutes is ideal. 90 is too long. 30 is too short”. He pencilled 45 minutes into his notebook and nodded agreement.
I said “One 45 minute class is a bit short for me to travel here for however. It would be better if it could be at a time when I’m already in District 8 for my other schools, but I start at 2:30 at my other schools so I think your kids would be sleeping prior to that in the afternoons”
“Yes unfortunately”, he said. “But I am flexible on time. I can even rearrange other classes to give you the time that suits you most. But I can’t rearrange nap time obviously. However, my other center is only a kilometer away. Do you mind traveling there for a second class ?”
I replied “In District 8 that’s fine. It’ll only be 5-10 minutes to get there so that’s perfect. Let’s do that. How about I choose mornings ?”
“Sure. 8 am ?”
“How many classes a week do you think they should be taught ?” He asked.
“Three is ideal but two is adequate. Once a week is a waste of time”.
“Twice a week sounds great. Ok, 8 am on the days of your choice. Is there any chance you can do an afternoon ? It would require less shuffling of classes”.
“Yes. I can do Monday afternoon. I’m available any time Monday”.
“Ok. One morning and one afternoon a week. How much money do you want ?”
“Well, if you had lots of consecutive hours I would accept less, but for the hours you have, I would like 480.000 vnd per hour, or 360k per 45 minute lesson. I’d also like to be paid weekly after the last class of the week”.
“No problem. That sounds reasonable. Is there anything you require ?”
“A TV and HDMI cable and access to crayons and lead pencils. I will bring or create anything else that I require including flash cards and worksheets. I do not need books or a syllabus. I’ve been teaching kindergarten for years so I can design my own lessons and I’ll keep them in sync with my other lessons that I teach at my other local kindergartens”
“Excellent. This all sounds very suitable. Would you like to tour the school and meet the kids ?”
“That would be wonderful. Please lead the way”
We toured the school. I introduced myself to some wonderful kids and commented admiringly how well equipped his school was and then we shook hands and he said “Good to meet you. I’ll contact you to confirm the details later”.
For me that’s the perfect interview because we both had certain needs but we both remained flexible on anything wherever we could. Of course I’d prefer it was 2 classes of 10 kids rather than 1 class of 20 kids. Of course I’d love it if I could work there directly before or after one of my other nearby schools. But he was willing to negotiate on hours and he was very flexible on time, offering to rearrange his school schedule if necessary. He didn’t dictate salary. He asked what I expected. I complimented his school and he complimented my enthusiasm for teaching kindergarten.
That’s what a good interview is all about. Asking, not telling. When you ask questions you find out what would suit the other person most. When you tell them “This is what you have to do”, a teacher might accept it and then quit a month later because it’s not exactly what they want.
* Asking questions makes sure that you’re both on the same page and that you’re offering the teacher the ideal position.
* Being flexible ensures that you are making compromises that keep both parties happy.
* Touring the school allows you to see the teacher’s interaction with the kids and hear their opinion. It lets you see whether the teacher is familiar with that sort of environment or not. It also lets the teacher see where they will be working and decide “This is my type of school. I will like working here”.
This is how you conduct an interview. Don’t try and hammer out all the details via Messenger. Get them in to see the place, make them comfortable and talk about your needs. Then you can discuss salary and hours and syllabus. Be flexible and open minded. Don’t make wild promises about expanding the number of classes unless you’re positive it will happen. Tell them what you’d like to happen, but be realistic. Don’t over-promise. Let the teacher tell you what they enjoy and are capable of and then tell them whether you think it will suit your school and what ideas you have. Get them “on the same page” as you so that you’re working towards a common goal. A teacher works best when they are doing what they love and are most well equipped to do.
If you do this you will hire good teachers who are hard working, dedicated, and who stick around for the long term.