Some people are wondering what the ADEC interview process is like. Since I’ve actually interviewed twice, I’ll share my experiences and compare them a bit.
Last year, 2011, Teach Away set up interviews in May at a hotel in downtown Atlanta. I was the first interviewee to arrive. I had my packet of papers with me–copies of my passport, extra passport-sized headshots, and all the paperwork required. Actually, I hadn’t managed to get the extra headshots printed yet, so after the interview, I hiked down to a CVS, printed a sheet of the things, and brought them back. My interview wasn’t very lengthy–perhaps 20 minutes. The old fellow I interviewed with was personable enough, but he seemed virtually uninterested in my teaching ability, asking a few questions that barely skimmed the surface of that issue. He mainly wanted to know that I’d be able to function thousands of miles from home in a new culture. As we were wrapping up, I told him about my wife’s status, and he recommended that I withdraw my name. ”Will ADEC blacklist me if I do that?” I asked. ”No, ADEC won’t,” he said. ”I don’t know about the headhunters [Teach Away]. For my part, I’d recommend you as a teacher.” After some thought and discussion, Jenia and I took his advice. I devised a graceful e-mail to my Teach Away coordinator, and she was great about it. She also told me that I had been selected, and would have received an offer.
This year, Teach Away set up interviews with ADEC at a different hotel in Atlanta. They were held sooner–February–and the pressure on interviewees was ratcheted up a notch. I was interviewed by an ADEC tag-team–an Arabic representative and an Australian woman (because, as I understand, the Australian education system is the one that ADEC has molded their system after), and while they were nice enough, they were much more interested in my teaching abilities than last year’s guy. They wanted to know what my classroom looked like, what kind of activities I’d use to help students make connections to the outside world, examples of things I’d done, etc. They offered very little feedback as I answered, so I wasn’t sure if I was meeting their expectations or not. The interview was a solid half hour, scheduled very tightly. The woman asked me a series of questions designed to determine if I’d do okay with Arabic society, emphasizing the likelihood of accidentally offending someone. She wanted to know how I’d deal with that. Would I make an effort to seek out forgiveness? Would I reach out to my other coworkers to try to help me with the situation, and so forth. Eventually, she said I did fine with my answers. They gave me literally 2 minutes to ask 1 question, so I asked: “How do I avoid offending anyone?”
Don, the guy in the ADEC video that you see on Teach Away’s website, had joined us at that point. He laughed and said, “You do it. You offend people and you learn by experience. You’ll learn not to hold the door open for a woman and follow after her, because you’ll smell her perfume and be aroused, and this will offend her honor. You’ll learn not to get in an elevator with women,” and he made several other comments of that sort.
I left feeling like I’d been through the ringer–where last year that wasn’t the case at all. When I compare the two interview sessions, there was a lot of waiting this year. I had to wait nearly an hour for my interview (which gave me the chance to get to know others who were waiting–a good thing), and then after waiting around for a while, the feeling in the interview itself was that it was rushed. The notification process also took a while after everything was said and done. It took a solid 6 weeks to be notified that I’d been selected as a candidate and had received an offer, whereas last year it only took about 2 weeks (of course I aborted the process before I received an official notification).
If you still have questions about anything interview related, let me know. I’ll happily do what I can to answer.