You’re a teacher and you’re ready to teach! You love teaching and now you have your opportunity, but first you have to ace your VIPKid interview!
You’ve submitted all the paperwork and been invited to an interview, and now you have to actually do it.
What does the process look like? How long will it take? What resources are available to prepare? What additional materials do I need? How am I going to ace this VIPKid interview? Can anyone help me?
These are the questions that I will address in this post.
BEFORE WE BEGIN!
If you want to learn all about teaching on VIPKid, check out our detailed review.
If you want to apply to VIPKid, you can do so using this link.
VIPKid Interview Process
There are four to five steps in the entire process from creating an account to getting hired. Due to regulations of the Chinese government, some candidates will have an extra step, and I will clearly explain that below.
The steps in the VIPKid interview process are application, demonstration, mock class, TESOL certification, and documentation submission. The entire process is designed to only take one to one and a half weeks if the applicant stays on top of it.
This is actually part of creating an account, as there would be no reason to have an account with VIPKid unless you were pursuing being hired as a teacher!
Application completion takes place online via your computer. The purpose is to establish that you have a Bachelor’s degree, that you have more than one year of teaching experience (any work with children), and that you meet legal eligibility to work in the United States or Canada. (Please note that VIPKid are currently not accepting registrations from people in New York State, Washington State or California).
Demonstration and Mock Class
These two steps comprise the main part of the VIPKid interview process. Therefore, I address them in much more detail later in this article. Many important details are part of this stage.
As of November 1, 2019, the Chinese government has implemented a requirement that all online English teachers must have a certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
If candidates do not have this certification, VIPKid has its own course available to take online at no cost through their teacher portal. If it is needed, this becomes an additional step in the VIPKid interview process. The course may be completed in 2-5 hours.
This step involves uploading documents to support the information provided in the application. This includes a driver’s license, any teaching certifications (if you have them), TESOL certificate (if obtained outside of VIPKid), and any other documents requested.
Also part of this step is a background check conducted by a third party company engaged by VIPKid.
VIPKid Interview: Demonstration Choice
VIPKid offers three options for the demonstration portion of the interview process. You choose the option that you believe is best for you. At the time of writing writing, these are the ONLY options offered.
The main goal of this step is to assess your English speaking ability.
Option One: Schedule a Live One-on-One interview.
This takes place via the VIPKid video platform. In this option, your VIPKid interview will be with an interviewer/mentor. An advantage of this option is immediate affirmation or denial of meeting the requirements.
Option Two: The “Smart Demo.”
This option is completed via a smartphone. This has become the most popular VIPKid interview method, and is considered to be the easiest option for most people.
It consists of a five question quiz, brief tips and resources for teaching one slide of the lesson curriculum, and recording teaching one slide. It is available through the VIPKid teacher’s app.
The quiz may be taken as many times as needed to pass (three out of five questions correct), and the teaching recording can be repeated to your satisfaction, as you decide on the final submitted recording.
The entire action is meant to be completed in one ten minute session. Of course, more time may be taken if needed. Most hear back about their results within 24 hours.
Option Three: Record and Upload
Record and upload a five minute video introducing yourself and teach one slide of a lesson Powerpoint presentation. The outline for what elements you should cover in the video are sent to you by the company beforehand.
One downside to this option is that the response time from the company is longer than the other options.
VIPKid Interview Mock Class
Within three days of receiving approval for the demonstration, the candidate needs to complete a “mock class.”
This is accomplished via the VIPKid video platform, with a teacher designated as a mentor. The company provides the curriculum and a teaching guide to follow. Additionally, they provide resources to prepare you for this step. Schedule a time, log in, and teach!
Think of this step as practice for the journey ahead, and relax. You may repeat the mock class as many times as necessary to “pass.”
There are two levels, each with two sets of lessons for the mock class. You choose which level (beginner or intermediate) you wish to teach.
Upon passing the mock class, you will then be “certified” to teach that level. If you so desire, you may also complete the certification process for the other level before you sign your contract, so that you may begin teaching both levels immediately.
Upon choosing your level, you then study and prepare to teach a ten minute “class.” You prepare to teach both sets of lessons and at the time of your mock class, the mentor will either choose one of the sets, or allow you to choose one, to teach.
What VIPKid refers to as supplemental materials, teachers call “props.”
The company highly encourages the use of props and TPR (Total Physical Response). TPR means using gestures to convey the meaning of words. There is no guide to TPR, per se, so use whatever gesture comes to your mind for a particular word.
Props for the mock class need to be somewhat universal and flexible. You don’t need a lot of props – two or three will suffice for the ten minute class.
A recommendation would be to have a character (stuffed animal, doll, toy, etc.) and a white board with marker, or paper on a clipboard with marker, for writing examples during class.
Creating the Right Setting for your VIPKid Interview
By the time you get to the mock class, you can be assured that you will be a VIPKid teacher.
As such, it’s a good idea to perform the mock class (or classes) from a teaching setting.
Lighting, background, apparel, and technology are important elements for a classroom setting. Each of these contributes to your overall impression and professionalism as a candidate. Let’s consider the four factors in turn.
You and your background should be well lit without any shadows. Don’t complicate this element in design or cost. You can achieve great lighting with a single light or double light format.
The key is to place the light(s) above and in front of your setting. Bright LED fixtures at ceiling height and about 6-8 feet in front of you should adequately light your space. After you are hired you may want to investigate and experiment with more lighting ideas.
The background for your VIPKid interview should be what you plan to use for teaching. Keep it simple!
If it is too busy, it will be a distraction. Simple borders, flash cards, and decorations from a dollar store will be sufficient. Also, remember that you will be sitting in front of the background, blocking a significant portion of the space! A solid neutral color is preferred as well.
VIPKid has branded itself with the color orange. If you have an orange top, wear it! Any style (t-shirt, crew shirt, polo, dress, etc.) is acceptable – just be neat and clean. Remember, only the top of you will appear on camera.
This may be the most important element of all the interviewing factors.
As you are recording or interviewing, your equipment will be evaluated for quality. Most newer computers have an acceptable camera. In addition to the camera, invest in a decent headset with microphone. These can be obtained at most local department stores or on Amazon for $20-30. (Here are some options).
Lastly, check the specifications of your computer and internet connection against those listed on the VIPKid website.
VIPKid Interview Help
While the resources from VIPKid throughout the interview process are beneficial, many find that they could use more help.
There are two very effective sources from which to obtain help in the VIPKid interview process. The first is to have a mentor. The second is through YouTube videos.
Seasoned teachers can be an excellent source of help during the interview process. Some teachers also devote lots of time and energy to assisting applicants, even developing a business model around it.
These teachers provide a wealth of assistance. Others may be willing to assist by offering their wisdom from years of teaching thousands of classes.
We are visual creatures, so we like to see what we need to accomplish. There is a myriad of videos on YouTube screaming for your attention, offering help for a successful interview process.
While many are helpful, use caution, as some may not contain accurate information. If you choose this medium, look for videos produced by VIPKid Brand Ambassadors.
Ace the VIPKid Interview!
I believe that VIPKid is a great opportunity for those who love to teach and are looking for an online opportunity. You can read my full review of working on the platform here.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the interview process. If you follow the advice outlined in this article, you too can ace the interview for VIPKid and embark on your own teaching journey as an independent teaching contractor!
Timothy Hawk teaches ESL as an independent contractor for VIPKid and creates written content as a freelance writer. He believes that coffee in all of its forms is “not just a breakfast drink any more!” His favorite pastime is playing with his grandchildren. He retired from prison chaplaincy in New York State and now resides in Johnston, RI.