I started teaching on iTalki two and a half years ago. I hadn’t taught online before, so just offered conversation practice in the beginning. One of my first students, Mina from HK told me that she had an interview coming up soon. I offered to help her. We discussed common interview questions and I sent her links to useful websites discussing them. I got her to tell me about her past education, career history and the job she was going for. From this I created more specific interview questions and set her homework to prepare answers to them. She’d then delivered her answers in the following lesson and I’d helped improve her answers. Mina was not very confident speaking English and her answers didn’t come out naturally at all. I used role play and simulated interview scenarios to get her used to answering common questions and being put on the spot with follow-up questioning. Over time I could hear her get more confident and her answers became more natural. One day I received a Skype message from her, ‘Hi! Good morning. I have got the job offer, but then I am not able to take the lesson from you.’ I congratulated her and she thanked me for helping her to succeed. It was a little sad that she would not be able to continue lessons with me due starting this new job, but I was also so happy that I had helped her to achieve this.
After that success, I decided to set-up a lesson package to help people get work in English speaking countries – after all I have a Communications and HR background and am experienced with taking interviews in a corporate environment myself. I continued to help people prepare for interviews and also improve their CVs. I provide students with links to sites discussing common interview questions and point them to CV builder sites.
One day, I had a new Russian student, Alexandr. In the beginning he just wanted to get confident speaking English as he had never had the chance before. We planned to improve his confidence and level first, then later I would help him apply for jobs in English speaking countries. After just a few lessons we had surprise – an agent had found his profile on LinkedIn and wanted him to interview for a post in Canada. We had one month to prepare! We immediately switched our lesson focus to interview preparation and increased our lessons from one to two per week. Due to the short amount of time we had to prepare, I always set him extra homework, which he did thoroughly. During lessons we role played interviews and I helped tweak his answers. Interview 1 passed, interview 2 passed, interview 3 passed! It turned out that there were five levels of interview!
The first three interviews had been technical – the fourth would be with the Head of HR. At the beginning of this preparation, Alex starting asking me about a technical question. I advised him, ‘You have already had three technical interviews and this one will be with the Head of HR, who is a native Canadian. He will not be asking technical questions. The purpose of this interview is to see if you are able to communicate well enough in English to fit into the team and to see if you you will be able to adapt to life in Canada.’ We focussed on topics around this and sure enough after the interview Alex reported back – all the questions he had been asked were related to what we had prepared. Another interview passed.
Interview five was with the company CEO. For this we focussed on questions relating career ambitions and long term goals. During this whole process I found all of my lesson with Alex extremely satisfying – to see him come from someone that had hardly spoken English before, transforming into a confident and fluid English speaker able to discuss complex technical and non-technical subjects. And, the proof of the pudding – when Alex announced he had passed the fifth and final interview and would be flying to Moscow that weekend to apply for his visa.
Each time one of my students gets the job, the university place or the English test result they wanted, I am always one of the first people they contact to share their great news. They are overjoyed with their success and so grateful for the assistance I have given them. Helping people achieve their goals or even life ambitions is wonderfully rewarding and receiving those messages of success really warms me right through.
From Lui (https://www.italki.com/teacher/4739492)