What’s the Typical Hiring Process for Online Teaching Jobs With Companies?

By Jalena Johnson
May 22, 2020

Online English tutoring companies have a near-constant demand for teachers, especially now that much of the world is interested in options for working from home. If you’ve been thinking about getting started on teaching English online, either as a side gig or full-time career, you’ve probably browsed jobs with well-known companies like VIPKid, GoGoKid, and Open English. Are you ready to make the leap and apply? Here are 7 steps in the application and hiring process for online teaching jobs.

Step 1: Take an inventory of your qualifications

What qualifications are needed to teach English online with a company? The answer varies somewhat since each company sets its own hiring requirements. However, there are certain typical qualifications, which are the following:

A university degree


Most online English tutoring companies will require you to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (but it can be in any field) in order to work with them. You can also check out these online tutoring companies that hire teachers without a degree.

Experience


It’s also preferred that you either have some kind of teaching background (whether in the classroom or online) or you have experience related to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying to tutor kids online, having any kind of experience working with children, including not only tutoring or teaching, but mentoring, coaching, or even babysitting, can help you get hired. If you’re applying to teach adult professionals, be sure to include any training or public speaking experience you may have from a seemingly unrelated job.

Adding an online English teaching practicum is another way to get some online teaching experience and also demonstrate to employers that you’re serious about the job! You’ll even have the ability to record your practice-teaching sessions and share the best sample videos with future employers when applying for jobs teaching English online. You can take a short practicum as part of a full Certification in Teaching English Online, or on its own.

TEFL/TESOL Certification


Almost all online tutoring companies require a TEFL/TESOL certification, usually of 120 hours. In fact, in China, where many online tutoring companies are based, a new law was implemented in 2020 requiring teachers to have a TEFL/TESOL certification.


New teachers


Are you new to teaching – or new to teaching English? Start with general teacher training, such as the 120-hour Master Certificate, then add a specialization in teaching English online. This specific training will fully prepare you for the virtual classroom and help you stand out to employers in a competitive market.

Experienced teachers


Teachers with experience or previous TEFL/TESOL certification can jump right into Specialized Certification in Teaching English Online, and may choose to earn up to 180 hours of certification via a full suite of courses:

  • Foundations in Teaching English Online (60 hours)
  • Advanced Methods in Teaching English Online (60 hours)
  • The Practicum in Teaching English Online (30 hours)
  • Teaching English Online as a Freelancer (30 hours)

Options if you don’t meet these requirements


Don’t worry if you don’t meet all of these qualifications! Focus on seeking out companies with more flexible hiring requirements. For example, you can zero-in on online teaching companies that don’t require a degree. Another option is to post your profile on a teacher marketplace, such as italki or Verbling. Marketplaces act as the middleman between you and potential students. They facilitate interactions and payment transactions between you and students, and the rest – marketing yourself, setting rates and hours, etc. – is up to you. A final option is to start your own online tutoring business as a freelancer!

Learn how to get started as a freelance online English tutor.


Step 2: Browse and apply to online teaching jobs

Next, use the Bridge Job Board or similar online job boards, to begin your search for a job with a suitable online teaching company. Job board listings provide all of the information that you need to know about the job in one place, such as:

  • Students you’ll teach
  • Requirements
  • Pay/incentives
  • Typical schedule
  • Minimum/maximum number of hours you can work per week
  • How to apply

Take your time here and be sure to select a company that meets your own requirements as well (i.e. pay/incentives)!

Step 3: Complete the company’s online application

This is the fun part, right? (Said very few job seekers!) When completing the application, you will be asked to provide information about any degrees and certifications you hold, your teaching background, and your work experience. Some companies may also require you to submit a separate resume, and if so, we’ve got you covered: Learn how to make a stand-out online teacher resume.

Additionally, some companies, such as QKids, also require you to submit a demo ESL teaching video along with the application, to showcase your teaching skills and help narrow their applicant pool. Examples of demo videos can be found on the company’s website.

  • Pro tip: You can also find demo videos submitted by other teachers to any particular company by simply searching YouTube for “demo interviews for (name of company). Hers’s a sample demo lesson for Teacher Erin with VIPKid:

Learn more about what to expect during a demo lesson and how to ace yours!

Step 4: Prepare for the interview

After completing the online application, the next step in the hiring process to teach English online is following the company’s instructions on how your interview should be scheduled. You’ll probably be asked to schedule an interview date and time using an online calendar feature or by notifying the company through email that you are ready.

Taking all of these precautions before for your virtual interview will ensure it’s both professional and successful.

  • A clean and engaging background (this can be plain or set up as you would if you were teaching a class)
  • A speedy and stable Internet connection
  • Good lighting
  • Clear sound

Step 5: Interview for the job

Lastly, here come the nerves (for many of us)! You’ve completed the application, and demo, if necessary, scheduled your interview time, and fully prepared. Now it’s time to show off your skills! During the interview, you will usually do the following:

  1.  Test and evaluate your equipment with the recruiter: Internet connection, classroom appearance, sound, and lighting.
  2. Answer some standard interview questions to determine your compatibility for the job (and ask the recruiter your own questions).
  3. Complete a mock online class, with the recruiter posing as the student.
  4. Obtain feedback on your interview and mock class performance.

Remember, be pleasant, energetic, and professional! Also, speak clearly, as if you were talking to students.

After the interview, the recruiter will likely give you instructions on teaching one to five “trial classes” by a certain date, which they will also review, provide feedback on, and use as the basis for making a final hiring decision.

Online English teaching interview

Online English teaching interview


Step 6: Review and sign your contract

Voila! Your part of the application process and interview is complete. The company will normally follow up within one week on their hiring decision and further instructions if you’re moving forward.

If the company decides to bring you aboard (success!), it will be time to review and sign your contract. Contract lengths usually range from 6 to 12 months long. However, the company will specify this and there may be room for negotiation. Be sure to read the entire contract and raise any questions you have (including pay rate or issues with working for other companies), before signing!

Step 7: Setting your schedule

Last but not least, the final step in the hiring process for online teaching jobs is to set your schedule! Every company will have a slightly different system, but for most, the teaching calendar is provided within the online platform, for your convenience.

For example, with the company GoGoKid, once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to access the calendar showing dates and times available for teaching. If you’re available, you simply click the time slot to open, it, and if you’re not available, you leave it blank. For any last-minute class cancellations or extended vacations when you’re unable to teach, you simply remove the times from the calendar or request cancellation through a GoGoKid support ticket. This flexibility is one of the many things people love about teaching English online!

Get more tips on landing an online teaching job for a company from Olivia Gilmore, currently working at VIPKid!