Job Interviews / Job market

How online tutoring prepares you for job interviews

The fierce competitiveness of the modern job market means it takes more than just A-stars to secure a position. Candidates nowadays are expected to possess a portfolio of soft and hard skills ranging from emotional intelligence to fluency in programming languages. The formula for application success is far from set in stone, however I expect I can say the following without a whole lot of objection; you will struggle to land a position if you aren’t good at interviews. 

A handful of students devote significant amounts of time (and sometimes money) to honing their interview skills in the hope of improving their chances of success. The following article is an argument that working as an online tutor during your degree is an effective way of developing the relevant skillset to leave an impression on your interviewers.


Candidates can expect to be the ones talking for the majority of an interview. Companies are ultimately interested in learning as much as possible about future employees before throwing them into the deep end on the first day. An emphasis on written work at university means students can often find it difficult to express their ideas orally in a cogent and convincing fashion. 

The art of teaching is crafting new and creative ways to explain complex ideas clearly and with concision. Aside from visual aids, the only way an online tutor can communicate their ideas to their student is through speech. This can prove challenging for new tutors, but most will find the ease at which they can get their point across increases dramatically as they begin to accumulate lessons.

Whether you’re explaining your thoughts on an intricate problem or simply informing the interviewers what you enjoy doing in your spare time, experience as an online tutor will increase the efficiency at which your thoughts are translated into words. 

Specific Interview Questions

A considerable amount of an interview is commonly spent with the candidate discussing their experiences during their time at university. Frequent questions include “when have you overcame a challenge?”, “when have you planned something?” and “can you tell us about one of your achievements?”. Students are advised to indulge in extra-curricular activities to ensure their responses aren’t solely focused on academic accomplishments. 

Working as an online tutor is an excellent way to cross a few of these scenarios off your list. Providing tuition can be surprisingly diverse, offering potential answers for numerous questions; tutoring is also likely to be a new and interesting answer for interviewers who are probably sick and tired of hearing candidates bang on about their societies and sports teams.

Mentioning online tutoring in your interview suggests to the interviewers you are in possession of the skills essential to being an effective tutor: the ability to plan sessions in advance, patience, confidence, clarity, charisma, communication, creativity, academic excellence and more. Balancing academic work with tutoring sessions also demonstrates exceptional time management and dedication, two of the keys to careers success.


A combination of the pressure associated with the importance of an interview and the interrogative nature with which the candidate is addressed can result in many feeling anxious and uncomfortable throughout. These emotions are amplified by the constant self-assessment and doubt that surfaces whenever you conclude the interview could be going better. The ability to remain calm and composed in moments of difficulty is consequently paramount to interview success.

Whilst the significance of delivering an online lesson is unlikely to come close to that of a job interview, there is undoubtedly a level of expectation on the tutor to demonstrate enough competence to justify the hefty prices that many demand. I would be inclined to propose that the majority of tutors find themselves under some level of pressure regularly during their lessons. 

Such situations are certainly uncomfortable but provide the necessary exposure to develop perseverance for future circumstances when the stakes are higher. Your teenage student is likely to be a little more forgiving than your potential employers.

Solidification of Academic Ideas

In many interviews, ubiquitous questions such as “why would you make a good…?” are accompanied by technical problems and discussions often specific to the particular role. This is most prominent in positions that require the regular use of high-level academic principles, such as careers in science and technology. This part of the interview is significantly more difficult to prepare for, largely a consequence of the huge variety of questions that interviewers can put forward. 

Technical questions rarely involve advanced academic ideas such as those studied in the latter parts of a university degree. What they do require is the extension and application of foundational concepts to new and unseen problems. I was required to use my knowledge of the Doppler effect, a phenomenon taught to GCSE students, to explain how radar could be used to determine the speed of military vehicles. 

Tutoring GCSE and A-level content is unlikely to directly improve your aptitude for your subject at university level. However, in terms of solidifying and deepening your understanding of the basic ideas, there is nothing better. A clear advantage is to be gained over those who haven’t revisited any of the simpler concepts since they left school.

Direct Interview Practice

As well as helping to develop interview skills, working as an online tutor will provide opportunities to practice interviews directly. Most tutoring companies offer parents the option to arrange a short consultation with their tutors before booking and paying for lessons. Many will book meetings with several tutors and select whoever they find the most impressive.

Tutors will usually have around fifteen minutes to leave an impression on parents and convince them they are the optimal choice. You can expect to be questioned on your experience, your existing students’ results, and your teaching methodology. It is difficult to overstate how beneficial these meetings are for your overall interview ability and the degree to which they simulate an actual job interview.

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