How to Prepare for Your TFA Phone Interview


Have you applied for Teach for America? If so, the next step in your application process is the mysterious phone interview. If you rely on your flawless presentation for in-person interviews, the phone interview may seem intimidating. However, if you follow these tips from career counselor Jacquie Gist, you’ll see you can still use that winning look and attitude to nail your phone interview.

Part One: Prepare, prepare, prepare!

  • Teach for America sent you a list of questions that may be used during the phone interview. USE THEM! Go ahead and formulate full responses to all these questions, making sure you include background information, the action you took, and the results of your action
  • Go to the TFA website and look over the “Who We Look For” page. Match skills and experiences on your resume to the characteristics that TFA is looking for. The more you are familiar with their requirements and questions and how they relate to YOUR experiences, the more poised and professional you’ll sound on the phone.
  • Prepare questions for your interviewer. All interviewers are former TFA teachers, so don’t be afraid to ask them personal questions about their experience!

Part Two: The Day Of

  • Dress for the job you want – no, seriously. Even though the interviewer can’t see you, you are more likely to sound and behave professional on the phone if you are wearing professional attire.
  • Make sure that you are in a location with excellent cell phone service that is also quiet and free of any interruptions (i.e. don’t take the call in the Student Union).
  • Gather all of your materials, including your application, your responses to the TFA questions, and the articles sent to you, and have those readily available during the interview

Part Three: The Interview

  • Avoid using exclusionary phrases like “those types of children” or “parents like that” when talking about the population you’ll be serving
  • You don’t need to be a teacher in your future life! TFA is looking for individuals from all career fields, and this can be a unique way in which you stand out against other applicants.
  • Write down your interviewer’s name (with correct spelling!!) and their email address. You’ll need this to send a thank you email several hours later! You can also use this opportunity to sneakily include any information you forgot to give them during the interview.

Part Four: Life after the Interview

  • If you aren’t selected for an in-person interview, it’s not the end of the world! TFA’s decision to accept or not accept you is NOT a reflection of you as an individual.
  • There are many other opportunities like TFA out there, including many different teaching corps across the country who serve underprivileged children.
  • Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. It is a great way to end up disappointed and unemployed post-graduation. If you need assistance in your job search, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with any of the career counselors here at UCS.

Best of luck!!