Congrats! I presume you are reading this post because you landed an interview with EPIK (or are doing your due diligence). As someone who absolutely dreads interviews no matter how many I’ve done, I can empathize with the boat you are probably on right now. A ball of nerves, excitement, fear, happiness, you name it. The EPIK interview is the last piece that you can truly “control” in hopes of a favourable outcome, so it truly is a big deal. However, I’m here to hopefully calm your nerves at least a bit and leave you a little more prepared. It’s hard not to think “oh man what if I screw this up”, especially when it comes to something you want so bad. However, my experience was that the interview was as I expected, if not easier. They’re not there to trick you like some interviews are like. It’s to the point and they just want to make sure you are passionate about teaching and moving to Korea.
Please bear in mind that my advice is based on my personal experience going through the application and interview process for the Fall 2016 intake. Also, I went through Korvia Consulting (a recruiter) so that could affect my interview process compared to those who went directly through EPIK.
- Check, double check, and triple check the time and date (adjusted for time zones) of your scheduled interview (that’s just my OCD self speaking)
- Watch the plethora of YouTube videos and read blog posts on other people’s experiences and advice
- Prepare your own honest answers for example questions that you find online
- Do mock interviews if those work for you!
- My advice for these is to do it but don’t over do it. There’s no point psyching yourself out and just like teaching in Korea, you always have to be flexible and adaptable. Over-prepping your answers may feel scripted or forced at times.
- Look over your application
- Prepare any questions you have. I had a list of a few questions but honestly my interviewer couldn’t answer most of them – not sure why that is. They told me to ask my recruiter and my recruiter didn’t really know either… But don’t worry, everything works out fine any way and your questions will be answered over time!
Day of Interview
- Make sure to print out a copy of your full application and have a pen ready. The interviewer will often note changes you should make to improve it and ask you questions about the application.
- Dress as you would for any other interview – business casual or business attire
- Don’t wear anything too distracting (e.g. bright colours and patterns)
- I personally had my hair up because I have a tendency to fidget with it
- Don’t wear anything that shows cleavage (for the ladies) or shoulders. I wore a crew neck cream coloured blouse tank top with a black blazer on top and dress pants
- Make sure there’s nothing distracting in the background and set up in a quiet area of the house
- Test your Skype and internet connection
- Make sure the mic and speakers are working properly
- Do a few test calls
- I personally used earphones so make sure your laptop is set up to have the sound go through the earphone jack
- Make sure your phone is on silent or shut it off
- Close tabs on your computer that might make distracting sounds
- Add your interviewer on Skype
- My EPIK interviewer added me on Skype a few minutes before the call so keep an eye out for that. Don’t be worried if the interviewer is a little bit late. If they are over 10 minutes (or whatever your recruiter/coordinator recommends) late, inform your recruiter/coordinator. I have seen cases where people had their interview rescheduled last minute.
- Make eye contact and smile! With this said, interviews can vary greatly depending on the interviewer you get. I happened to get one where I only saw the top of their head for 70% of the interview as they were staring at my application. I could’ve had my eyes closed for majority of the interview and no one would’ve known. I’m not recommending you to do that or to expect that but it’s a great example of why you need to be flexible and know that things don’t always play out the way you anticipate!
- Speak slowly and e-nun-ci-ateeeeee
- I’m sure many of you are looking for interview questions… I won’t bother being redundant so I’ll link another blog post I used that I feel sums it up really well: https://korealizations.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/epik-interview-questions/
- Not everyone will get all the same questions. My guess is that they have a large set list and will pick from the bunch
- Overall, what you expect is probably what you’ll get in terms of questions. I found this to be the case for me. As long as you know your strengths/qualities, your teaching philosophy/methods, how you’re going to deal with culture shock, and have done research on Korea and their education system, you’ll be ok!
- The interviewer will also go through the application and ask standard questions (e.g. health related)
For me, it became a waiting game after the interview. I finished collecting my documents that I needed, made the changes the interviewer recommended, and compulsively checked my emails. I know it’s hard to do, but try not to fret and over-analyze the interview! My interview only ended up being approximately 15 minutes (which is on the shorter end of the average) and I was convinced I had no chance. I pretty much had a million and one thoughts on why the interview went terribly and convinced myself I was going to get rejected. Look at me now, in Korea. You typically receive a response 3-6 days after the interview. If it goes over that time frame, don’t worry but feel free to contact your coordinator to follow up.
If you have any specific questions or just need some moral support, please feel free to leave a comment or send me a private message in the contact section. I’m here to help! Good luck 🙂