Tutor Interview Questions and Answers

The most talented students manage everything on their own. They attend the classes, prepare for the exams at home, and eventually pass them with flying colors. But what about the rest of us, the mortals who weren’t blessed with extraordinary intelligence, or students who, for one reason or another, cannot attend the classes, and need someone to help them prepare for the exams afterwards? Luckily we can always hire a tutor to help us understand the lessons and eventually pass the exams, and reach our goals.

Tutors have an important role of supplementary educators in our schooling system, and the employment should not be regarded as a second-class teaching job. At the end of the day, some of the best teachers work as tutors in their free time, trying to make some extra money.

If you also want to join their ranks, I will show you questions you may face while interviewing for this job with one of the companies and organizations that hire tutors. Needless to say, if you want to work as a freelance tutor and take care of your marketing, you do not need to pass any interviews to start your career. But that’s likely not your case when you are reading this article. Let’s proceed to the questions.


Why do you want to work as a tutor?

You can start with the meaningful purpose of the job, defining the role of a tutor in education at all levels and age groups. Some people are less talented than others, and they need help while trying to reach their educational goals. The standard time they spend at school (of any type) just isn’t enough. These people have strong motivation to succeed, sometimes aiming for more than others, and you’d love to work with such people, benefiting from your extensive expertise in the subjects you teach.

You can also say that tutoring fits you better than teaching, because you prefer individual approach to each student, which isn’t really possible to achieve in a typical classroom setting with twelve, twenty, or thirty children. Excelling in one on one teaching, and enjoying it, you find the job of a tutor a great match for your personality and skills.


What is your availability?

You will need to show some flexibility at this point. Because, let’s face it, tutoring does not happen during standard working hours. Students of all ages and skills work with tutors in the afternoons, evenings, and weekends, simply when they aren’t at school, at work, etc. Early mornings are another possibility. I know one extremely ambitious guy who learns a foreign language with a tutor for two hours three times a week, always from 4am to 6am, because that’s really the only time window he has in his busy schedule.

Answering the question, you should show your willingness to sacrifice something for the job, or your preference for “flipped” working schedule. In any case, ensure them that you understand the typical hours of the day for tutoring, and that you are available then, at least on some days.


What teaching methods do you prefer when tutoring a student?

I suggest you to emphasize individual approach to every student. At the end of the day, that’s what good tutoring is about. As an experienced educator, you have a variety of teaching methods at your disposal. But you won’t throw them at your student at random, or opt for the most convenient one for you.

On the contrary. You will try to understand each student perfectly. First and foremost, their educational goals, and what exactly they try to achieve when it comes to the subject they try to learn (which can really be anything from reading and foreign language to playing piano and programming in Java). Secondly, their strengths and weaknesses, what they have to work on in order to achieve their goals. And last but not least, also the teaching methods they are most receptive to. Once you know your student, you will choose the most fitting teaching method.

How do you feel about tutoring a small group of students?

Nothing beats one on one tutoring, but some organizations and educational institutions offer also tutoring in the group. It is more cost-effective for the students, plus some people just won’t go for an one-on-one lesson. They feel more secure in a group setting.

I suggest you to say that you won’t struggle tutoring people in a group, and understand why some students opt for it. You can elaborate on it saying that it is important to form the groups in a meaningful way, so students with similar level of ability in this or that subject meet in each group. Taking this one step further, you can even list the advantages of a group setting–ability to do group exercises, let students discuss problems together, make internal competitions and group contests, and apply teaching methods that one can apply only when teaching a group of people…


Do you have any experience working with students with special needs?

I suggest you to be honest. If you’ve never worked with someone with ADS or ADHD, you should not say the opposite. But you should show your willingness to learn to work with students with behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. You know that many such students struggle at school and need tutors, and you definitely do not want to disappoint them. Hence you are ready to work on your education and make sure you apply the correct teaching methods while working with special needs students.

Situation gets much easier when you have the experience. In such a case you can simply list the various special needs students you’ve worked with had, and the challenges it posed for you. But you didn’t give up, gained the experience, and can definitely teach such students again, should your tutoring job require it.


What are your salary expectations? What payment model do you prefer?

Tutoring is not a typical job in terms of payment schedule or even form of an employment contract. Many organization actually prefer their tutors to have a freelancing license, and in a way operate their own tutoring business, while in fact working for someone else.

Similarly to the questions about your availability, you should show at least some level of flexibility. You can say that you do not mind any model they have in place, as long as they will compensate you adequately, bearing in mind the additional costs you have, for example when working for them as a freelancer.

If you have a sum of money you want to earn weekly or monthly as a tutor on your mind, you can definitely mention it at this point. But try to be realistic. Think how many hours you can realistically teach, how much they pay their tutors for an hour, and than come up with a sensible number


Other questions you may face while interviewing for a job of a tutor

  • Why do you want to work as a tutor for our organization, instead of working for someone else, or being your own boss?
  • Is there any type of students you will find it hard to work with? Do you have any preference when it comes to age group of students or any other characteristics?
  • What will you do to keep your students engaged and motivated?
  • How will you make sure that your tutoring job does not interfere with your regular teaching job (if you happen to have such a job)?
  • Imagine that you are assigned a student who lacks any talent for the subject, and can achieve only minimal progress (or no progress at all). How will you react in such a case?
  • What do you expect from your students?


Final thoughts

Interview for a job of a tutor belongs to teaching interviews with average difficulty. You may face certain questions you won’t normally face in an interview for a teaching job, such as why employment and not freelancing, what payment model you prefer, or whether you can work early mornings and late evenings. It is good to prepare for such questions in advance, and I hope this article helped you to do so.

You should also spend some time checking the website and the social profiles of the organization you will interview with. The more you learn about them, the easier it will be to make a good connection with the interviewers, and eventually get the job. I hope you will succeed and wish you best of luck!


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Glen Hughins
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