Guide to EPIK: Interview Guide and Tips

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Your interview is the first really big part of the EPIK application process. But don’t worry! I’m going to give you some helpful tips to get through it!

When I think about the EPIK interview process, I think about it in four parts: pre-interview, the day of the interview and actual interview, the follow up interview, post-interview.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST WAS WRITTEN FROM MY EXPERIENCES DURING THE FALL 2015 EPIK INTAKE. FUTURE PROCESSES OR FORMS MAY DIFFER. ALWAYS READ EPIK’S INSTRUCTIONS FIRST AND USE MY INFORMATION AS A SUPPLEMENT ONLY IF IT APPLIES.

PART ONE: PRE-INTERVIEW

For the Fall 2015 intake, EPIK started giving out interviews sometime in mid to late March. I received an e-mail from “DataManager EPIK” with the subject “EPIK Interview Schedule”. The e-mail said that I had passed the first selection process and gave me a day and time in Korean Standard Time for the interview and was asked to respond to the e-mail confirming that the day and time was good and my Skype ID. My interview was one week after I received the e-mail. I don’t know if this is the normal time frame, or if it can be shorter. So, I suggest doing the following even before receiving the e-mail.

Tip 1. Look up previous years’ questions
I am so happy that I watched all those videos and read all those blogs about possible interview questions. Some of the questions were the same ones I was asked. I also suggest that you only get the questions from the videos/blogs, not the answers. Your answers can’t seem too general and definitely not fake and insincere. Be honest with your answers. Write key points to your answers down and practice speaking your replies to the questions out loud.

Tip 2. Review your application
Your interviewer may ask you questions about your application and might ask you to make changes. Be sure that you are familiar with your application, including your lesson plan.

PART TWO: DAY OF INTERVIEW AND THE INTERVIEW

The day of the interview is a pretty crazy day. I couldn’t think about anything but my interview that night. The interview itself was 22 minutes long. This seems to be the average length from other people who have shared their interview experience.

The interview starts off with the interviewer reviewing your application. They will also go over any changes you have to make. Once that is all finished, the interviewer will jump into asking questions. I don’t remember how many questions I was asked. Sadly, I lost the paper I was taking notes on.

Tip 1. Dress like you’re interviewing in-person
Business attire is a must! At the same time, don’t wear anything with patterns or colors that could be too busy and will be distracting for the interviewer to look at. I wore a white button up with small, but not many, black polkadots. Over that I wore a black blazer. For bottoms you could probably get away with anything. I was tempted to wear my pajamas (as it was 10:20pm!), but I decided to wear my black jeans. They are comfortable, but if I had to stand up for some reason during the interview and my pants where to be seen, they would still look interview-y and not totally unprofessional like my Minnie Mouse pajama bottoms. For jewelry, go simple and don’t wear anything that makes a statement or distracts the interviewer like large dangly earrings. I wore very simple stud “diamond” earrings, a watch, and a necklace with a single, small silver pendant.

Tip 2. Clean the background
The place where our computer is in the house is a pretty empty room. At the time, there was still a pile of my stuff that hadn’t been unpacked from when I moved out of my dorm room and back home. On the day of my interview, my mom and started moving furniture and decorations from around the house to make the room look like an actual room in a house. Here again, you don’t want anything crazy or distracting behind you. Keep things simple and clean! If your interview is at night like mine was, make sure the room is well lit. We moved two lamps from other places in the house into that room to make it bright enough. Turn on your computer’s webcam to preview your background.

Tip 3. Test Skype
A couple hours before my interview I did a practice call with one of my friends. Things look slightly different from the computer on the other end than it does on your own. I had my friend check that she could hear me OK, that she couldn’t hear my family cheering and yelling at the Rangers hockey game going on in the other room, that my lighting was OK, that my outfit didn’t look too distracting, that my makeup was natural but my feature were still brought out, and most importantly: that my internet connection was working and was strong.

Tip 4. Turn off your phone
You don’t want the interviewer hearing your phone ringing or buzzing during your interview. Either leave it in another room or turn it off. This also includes anything on the computer that may make noise. Close out of Facebook, GMail, or any other windows/apps that may make notification sounds.

Tip 5. Print your application and have the hard-copy in front of you
EPIK asks that you print out a hard-copy of your application and have it in front of your during the interview. During your interview, your interviewer might ask you to make changes to your application. Don’t forget a pen to not the changes. I recommend a red pen so that the changes stick out and you won’t miss any.

Tip 6. Don’t freak out if your interviewer call’s a little late
Understand that another interview may have run a little longer than expected and that they might be behind schedule. A few minutes before your interview, someone at EPIK will request to add you as a contact on Skype. Accept this request. The interviewer may send you a message asking if you are ready to begin before they call you.

Tip 7. Be honest, smile, and make eye contact!
Be yourself. Don’t be fake. Show them how passionate you are about this prospect of being an English teacher in Korea.

SMILEEEE!! Who wants a grumpy teacher?!

Eye contact is extremely important! I read about another EPIK teacher who had an interviewer that never looked up from his paper in front of him. It doesn’t matter, keep looking into your camera, not your computer screen or anywhere else.

Tip 8. Remember your interviewer’s name and use it
When your interviewer introduces their self, make sure you remember their name and use it. Greet them using their name, say their name (when appropriate) during the interview, thank them with their name. For example: my interviewer’s audio cut out two or three times during my interview so I would say, “I’m sorry [name], but I am unable to hear what you’re saying, I think your mic stopped working” …or something like that.

Tip 9. Record or take notes
Do you ever go to the doctor’s office and then walk out thinking “I forgot to ask about….!” or “Wait did they say …. or …. ?!” ? Maybe that’s just me. When I am in a situation like this I get tunnel vision. When it’s over, I feel like it didn’t really happen and I forget what I did or said. I have learned over the years in situations like these that I need to record things or take notes.

Your interviewer may tell you something important that will be good to remember so make sure you are recording the interview or you have some paper and a pen. …Maybe don’t re-listen to your answers to questions though. You don’t want to freak yourself out with “I should have said…!”

If you do decide to take notes, try not to look away from the camera.  Keep eye contact!

PART THREE: FOLLOWUP INTERVIEW

At the end of my interview, my interviewer told me that I should expect a call the next day from an EPIK coordinator to discuss the paperwork that would be required if I passed the interview. He gave me a two- hour time period to expect the call. Lastly, he confirmed my phone number (yes, they will call your house or cell phone this time).

Tip 1. Treat this as an interview:
Of course you don’t need to get dressed up; but speak and act professionally on the phone.

Tip 2. Have your hard-copy of your application in front of you:
Again, this second interviewer might ask you some questions about your application and/or review changes that need to be made.

Tip 3. Have your Required Document Check List in front of you:
Your interviewer will discuss this process with you and may ask you questions about your progress. Therefore it is a very good idea to have all of this information in front of you and have it organized.

PART FOUR: POST-INTERVIEW

Six days after my interview I received an e-mail from my coordinator (the same person I spoke to in the followup interview) with the subject “EPIK Interview Results”. The e-mail said that I had passed the interview. Attached to the e-mail were are ton of different documents to fill out, and directions on how to obtain other documents. The coordinator’s email stressed that I should complete and gather these documents ASAP as getting a position is on a first-come first-serve basis. At the end of the e-mail I was asked to respond confirming that I had read the entire e-mail and understood everything.

Tip 1. Send a thank you e-mail:
I replied to my “congrats you passed” email with a thank you to my coordinator. I expressed how excited I was to be one step closer to my dream of teaching in Korea. In this email I also reviewed the changes that I was asked to make to my application and attached the updated version. I also updated my coordinator on my latest Required Documents progress.

Tip 2. Get all your Required Documents and send them to EPIK ASAP!!!!
I put off sending my CRC and diplomas to get apostilled because it was very expensive. I don’t remember how much it was for my CRC, but each diploma (I have 2) cost $40 to have an apostille attached. This part of the process took about 2 weeks to get them all back.  It’s completely up to you if you want to wait until after you pass the interview, or if you want to do it as soon as you pass the initial application screening.

Remember **Everything is first-come first-serve!! The longer you wait, the further back in the pile of applicants you are, and lesser chance you have of getting your desired POE/MOE if you have one.

Tip 3. Don’t give up if you didn’t pass!!
I have read on other blogs that they don’t give any reason as to why you did not pass. So what do you do next?

Self-reflect: This is extremely important. Did you do or say anything during the interview that they might not have liked?
Don’t give up: If this is something that you are seriously passionate about, don’t give up. Work hard and make it happen! Apply again for the next term, or find another route to Korea.
Make your application stronger to apply again: There are many ways you can do this…
-Take additional education classes.
-Get teaching related experience by working as a tutor or subbing in a local school district.
-Get more work experience in general if you don’t have a lot (you can transfer work skills from many jobs to teaching!)
Do mock interviews: If your interview didn’t go so well because you were nervous and tongue-ties, practice! Print out questions and have someone act as an interviewer so you can practice answering the questions out loud. Sometimes answering questions in your head is very easy, but answering them out loud is more difficult and you might stumble or forget things.
Apply through a recruiter like Korvia: They can help and guide you through the process.

I hope that these tips help you with the four parts of the EPIK Interview! If you have gone through the EPIK Interview and have any additional tips please comment below. I will add them above (with credit to you of course!)
If you found this helpful, check out the rest of my EPIK Application Guide!

-Natasha

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