Applications for our long-term positions are highly competitive: we normally receive well over one hundred applications for each job. In this post we’ll give some advice for making your application as relevant as possible.
Please only apply if you definitely want the job. Our process is very exacting and will take up a fair amount of your time and energy. It is best to be prepared for this from the outset so that your time isn’t wasted. It quickly becomes apparent which candidates are more or less committed to their application and we will never shortlist a candidate who we think might pull out.
Initial Communications. Given the number of applications we receive, we are unable to reply to every application. If we do get back to you it’s because we think there is a chance you could be successfully appointed.
Your CV. When you first send your CV, we will be able to tell if your experience is a close enough match with the job specification to proceed to the next stage. If it is, we will ask you to submit your CV in a specified format which will include a lot of detail and information about your academic record and teaching experience. It is imperative this information is accurate since we will check your certificates. Nevertheless it is a good idea to make sure from the outset that all experience and qualifications relevant to the particular job specification is included in the first CV you send us.
Long-form Answers. After an initial round of calls or interviews We also ask candidates to submit written answers to job-specific questions. This is a very important part of the process and is usually scrutinised by our clients. Your answers should address the questions directly, providing relevant information and examples from your experience where possible. These answers are not an opportunity to write an extended cover letter to the family or answer your own set of questions. If there is a question for which you do not have a strong answer, for example “detail your experience of teaching computing” and you have no experience in this area, it is best to explain how you would make up for this and detail any related experience. You do not have to pretend to be the perfect candidate. Honesty and relevance are always the most essential criteria here.
Your profile picture. It cannot be overestimated how important this is. Your photograph will be the first impression the client has of you. Photographs should look professional, appropriate and friendly. Photos in which you are on a night out, looking glum or dishevelled, or in a messy and cluttered environ will put you at a disadvantage, as will photos which are are blurred, low-res or out-of-date.
(Zoom) Interviews. If you advance to the latter stages of the process you will be having at least one interview with us and potentially one or more with the family. These should be treated as formal meetings and presentation is therefore of paramount importance. Consider the clothes that you wear and any information that might be useful in the job specification. For Zoom interviews, it is extremely important that you find a secluded place with excellent sound quality and internet speed, and consider your background. A messy and cluttered space, a bedroom or a blurred-out background will harm your application.
References. References can transform a strong application into a winning application and regularly do. We will ask you to supply contact details for three referees from whom we will request a detailed and long reference commenting on your experience, academic record and character with relation to the job specification. It is therefore very important that you consider who to be your referee, choosing referees who look impressive on paper but whom you also know would be willing to put their reputation on the line for you and write a long testimonial. Short references or stock references look like your referee is not prepared to vouch for you and will hamper your chances.
Sample Lesson. As part of our process should you progress to the latter rounds, we include a sample lesson given by you to a member of Witherow Brooke. This is recorded and passed on to the family in the event of you being shortlisted. Once again this can make or break an application so should be carefully considered. Good sample lessons are structured, engaging and relevant and must be treated as actual lessons rather than demonstrations or lectures. If the sample lesson is given online, you should think carefully about how to demonstrate visual material and interact with your student, and what online technology is at your disposal. Our blog post on online teaching tools may be useful to you here.
Please ask. If you are uncertain about any of the above or wish for us to advise you on how to strengthen your application, please just ask and we will be happy to help.
Written by Roland Witherow, Director of Witherow Brooke