Why as a Non-Native Speaker Teacher You Should Take a Proficiency Test to Dispel Recruiter’s Worries and Get Hired

When you ask recruiters why they might be reluctant to hire a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher, one of the first answers you’ll get (apart from the market demand from students) is their worry about the candidate’s proficiency:

  • Will their English be good enough?
  • Will they have a foreign accent? (not that there’s anything wrong with having one, mind you)
  • Will they be able to teach all levels, including proficiency?

That’s why I think it is vital that as a ‘non-native speaker’ you get a proficiency test. This will:

  • prove your level of proficiency
  • dispel some of the recruiter’s immediate worries about your English
  • increase your chances of getting hired.

And in this video I talk about how to choose the right proficiency test for yourself and how you can use it to boost your job opportunities as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher.

If you want more tips like these that will boost your chances of getting hired as a ‘non-native speaker’, download my FREE guide “6 Fool-Proof Tips to Boost Your Professional Profile and Get Hired as a Non-Native Speaker Teacher”.

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6 thoughts on “Why as a Non-Native Speaker Teacher You Should Take a Proficiency Test to Dispel Recruiter’s Worries and Get Hired

  1. Rebecca says:

    I would say don’t waste more money. I know a few non-native English speakers that have a Cambridge C2 certificate and still get overlooked.
    The only way this can change is by defining and fighting it for what it really is: discrimination.

    • Marek - TEFL Equity Advocates & Academy says:

      Thanks for your comment!
      I understand where you’re coming from. Potentially, with some recruiters, nothing will make a difference. However, I think they are in their minority. With most recruiters, we need to be able to convince them that as a ‘non-native speaker’ we can also be great teachers. We need to market ourselves better. Create a solid professional profile. And getting a proficiency test is one of these things.
      And I completely agree with you that we also do need to speak out against blatant discrimination and prejudice visible in our profession. I don’t think, though, that any one action on its own will lead to success. We need concentrated effort from different stakeholders.
      What I do want to emphasise, though, is that we as ‘non-native speaker’ teachers can also improve how we approach the application process in order to boost our chances of being hired. And I feel that getting a proficiency test might sometimes be the step in the right direction.

      • Nicole says:

        I don’t think they are a minority. I have CPE, CELTA and a very international business background as teaching English is my second career. Even though I’m coming from the business side, I do have plenty of teaching experience. Having all these experiences, I still get turned down. I sometimes think it’s just a welcome excuse and easy way out for them.

  2. Rebecca says:

    What you say makes perfect sense from a pragmatic perspective. However, “marketing” and “selling yourself” (an expression that makes me cringe) are basic traits of the system we want to fight.
    It is claimed that “the market requests native speakers” – as if the market was some kind of personified God we worship. As usual, someone has made the choice for everyone else and that has become accepted. Consequently, students that had never thought about a potential difference between the two categories, now firmly believe that they need a native speaking teacher. Brainwashing.
    Now, I understand that you want to fight this system by playing their game, but this is a way of validating the same system we want to fight. And when you do, there is no other choice but keep playing their game and pretending you also believe in the obscenities and non-sense that they regularly utter from their mouths.

    “You have a right to equal opportunities! Fair treatment is a basic right in the European Union. It is illegal to discriminate because of a person’s sex, age, disability, ethnic or racial origin, religion, belief or sexual orientation.”

    This is what the EU defines as discrimination at work. I believe what we are experiencing is a discrimination based on ethnic or racial origin. Am I dreaming or the wording “must be a native speaker” is clearly discriminatory?

    THIS is the point. They need to stop with that wording. IT IS discriminatory according to EU principles, so why recruiters are allowed to use it? Because “the market” is asking us to do so! 🙂 The market thought that back in the 40s advertisements where husbands abused wives were perfectly fine, and so did everyone else.

    Do you see where this could lead? If you play according to the rules of this market, you are implicitly accepting them.

  3. Mykhailo Rakhno says:

    CPE exam is a worthy self-challenge and a nice thing to have, but strangely some employers do not accept it as a valid proof of your proficiency. UAE employers consistently ask for IELTS Academic (at least 7.5), and Thailand requires TOEIC score (from 600 and up to 900 in some cases) to process your work visa application. As usual, there is no universal solution.
    As for job advertisement wording, there is yet another tendency to mention “a native-level speaker” (which is just another variation of NES in fact). While there is no strict official definition of a native speaker, this so-called term is even more vague

    • Marek - TEFL Equity Advocates & Academy says:

      Thanks for commenting, Mykhailo. Very good point! That’s why it’s vital to first investigate which proficiency test is typically required by a given employer or in a given country or region.
      You’re right! Sometimes I have a feeling it’s just a way around saying ‘native speakers’ only as it is against EU regulations to do so. It would be so much fairer and neutral to simply state the level required on the CEFR

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