VIPKID Hiring Process: What to Expect in 2021
In this thorough overview of the VIPKid hiring process, we’ll explore each step of the VIPKid application process and offer powerful tips for success.
Teachers who work with VIPKid have great things to say, generally, about their experience with the company (it has amassed a respectable 4.1/5-star rating on Glassdoor) with 80% reporting that they would recommend a friend to work for the company. It’s also made our #1 spot among the best companies to teach English online to Chinese students.
With that said, let’s find out how you can join the ranks of fulfilled ESL instructors working remotely with VIPKid.
VIPKid Hiring Process
There are six essential components to the VIPKid hiring process, each of which we have broken down in detail below.
Step #1: Application
As with most jobs, the initial phase of the hiring process is to sign up. This step is fairly self-explanatory; you register with your email on the website and then key in some basic info as prompted.
Before you move ahead with your application, make sure you meet all of the VIPKID requirements. Later on in the “tips” section, we’ll dive into greater detail regarding the specific qualifications that applicants must possess.
Teacher Erin breaks down the initial application process here:
Step #2: 1-on-1 Interview/Demo Class
After dazzling VIPKid with your credentials, you will be prompted to select one of two choices for your VIPKID demo lesson:
- The “live demo.” If you select this option, you’ll have a scheduled meeting via video call with a VIPKid recruiter. Here, he or she will ask a few questions about your past experience and interest in the role. Then, the recruiter will play the role of a young learner for a 10-minute demo lesson delivered by you.
- The “smart” demo. This more convenient, less time-consuming option involves a 5-minute recorded demo based on a pre-provided lesson plan. In this recorded lesson, you teach a brief lesson to a non-existent student and upload the contents once you are satisfied with your performance.
When mulling your two choices, here are a few considerations:
- The “smart” demo can be re-recorded as many times as you like until you have the best-quality product possible; the “live” demo is a one-off.
- The “smart” demo requires no scheduling, whereas the “live” demo does.
- Potentially, unless you re-record, you could feasibly complete the entire “smart” demo within 10 minutes; the “live” demo will take 30 minutes.
- The “live” demo presents an opportunity both for feedback as well as to negotiate your future salary; the “smart” demo does not.
Check out Tim (aka Online Teacher Dude) who offers a helpful breakdown of the demo options available and why the “smart” route is probably best for most applicants.
Step #3: Mock Class
Not to be confused with the “demo” lesson,” the “mock lesson” or “mock class” tests your ability to design and deliver an effective lesson based on VIPKid curriculum.
VIPKid supplies the content that you must apply in the mock lesson (in a later section, we’ll detail some of the most important techniques that you should incorporate into your mock lesson to succeed).
Here, again, you have a choice: you can select either Level 2&3 or Level 4&5 to be tested on. The vast majority of teachers opt for the former (Level 2&3) because most of the learners on the VIPKid platform fall into this category and, if you want to bump up your certification level later on, you’ll always have the chance once you’re a full-fledged VIPKid teacher.
Teacher Erin offers some insights into the mock class (and how to pass) here:
Step #4: Teacher Training + TEFL
If you perform well on your demo and mock lesson and the company thinks you’ll be a good fit for their digital ESL role, the next step in the process is to go through some basic teacher training to prepare you for the “field,” so to speak.
Much of the content covered in VIPKid’s training focuses on the ESL basics that you learn in a high-quality TEFL course, such as TEFL Hero’s 120-hour fully online course (just $99). Accordingly, you can skip the ESL certification portion of the VIPKid onboarding process if you already have a certification like TEFL Hero’s linked above.
Additionally, having a TEFL certification gives you additional negotiating leverage in terms of your hourly wage with VIPKid.
The takeaway here is that, if you plan to teach ESL for an extended period of time, you are going to want a TEFL certification from an outside, accredited provider like TEFL Hero (VIPKid’s in-house “certification” is not recognized by other schools and hiring managers in the global ESL market).
You’ll be tested on the training materials at the end, but these quizzes are open-book and easily passable with minimal effort.
Teacher Colleen discusses the training/ESL certification portion of the hiring process here (skip to 10:25 for pertinent info):
Step #5: Background Check
VIPKid performs a background check on all of its applicants, as many language education providers serving children do. If you have any blemishes in your background, this will be a major impediment to getting hired and will likely disqualify you. Allow 7-10 days processing time for this portion of the process.
Teacher Mike discusses the basics of the background check policy and process here:
Step #6: Contract Signing
After all of your pertinent documents (degree, TEFL certification, background check, etc.) have been uploaded and verified, the final stage of the VIPKid hiring process is to sign the contract, set up your bio and profile pic, and, finally, to get started teaching.
Kristyne Robinson details the final stages of the process here:
Tips for Getting Hired by VIPKID
Let’s get into a few handy tips to become the most attractive candidate possible for smooth sailing through the VIPKid hiring process from start to finish.
Make Sure You Meet All of the Requirements
As we mentioned previously, you’re in for bitter disappointment if you go through the entire initial step of the process without first making sure that you meet the basic requirements.
The essential VIPKid teacher requirements are:
- Native, North American (US or Canadian) English speaker
- Bachelor’s degree in any field
- 2 years of “teaching experience” (can be broadly defined as mentoring, coaching, etc.)
- Fast, reliable internet connection (minimum 25 Mbps recommended; test your connection for free here)
- TEFL certification (highly recommended)
Practice for Your Demo and Mock Classes
Just as it does for young language learners in the ESL classroom, practice makes perfect when preparing for your demo and mock classes:
“Practice is the most important ingredient of effective instruction; it speeds up learning, aids long-term retention, and facilitates recall. Instruction is less effective when there is no opportunity to perform the task or when practice is delayed.”
Basically, your performance on the demo and mock lessons can’t help but improve dramatically the more you rehearse them. (This is one of the primary benefits of opting for the “smart” demo over the “live” demo” as it gives you the opportunity to run through your lesson as many times as necessary to make the final product as polished as possible.)
Fortunately, there are no surprises in terms of how you’ll be evaluated; VIPKid explicitly lays out the criteria it will use to judge applicants during the demo and mock class portions of the hiring process in its “Application Performance Indicators“:
A few of the key focal points:
- TPR and demonstration*
- Positive correction
- Repetition of key grammar and vocab
- Professional appearance (both personal and the background in your video)
- High energy level throughout
*We cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of employing TPR (total physical response) in both your demo and mock lessons.
Use VIPKid’s Training Materials in Your Interview, Demo Lesson, and Mock Lesson
Any of us who have had a job in a mid or large-sized company are likely familiar with the dreaded corporatized onboarding “trainings” – lots of industry jargon, PowerPoint slides on employer expectations, etc.
Regardless of whether you feel that the content of the VIPKid materials have practical utility (some components likely will, others may not), VIPKid wants to see you incorporate their provided material and instructions into your demo lesson, your mock lesson and, obviously, into your actual lessons once you begin teaching.
This advice applies to both selling yourself in the interview process as well as maintaining high energy output during your demo and mock lessons. Your goal at all times should be to convey a sense of (hopefully genuine) passion for delivering high-quality ESL instruction – and, of course, communicating that you are the right candidate to do it.
Honestly, if you fall closer to the “introvert” side of the introvert-extrovert spectrum (like me), you might find that the “performance” element necessary for instructing children (especially younger ones) comes unnaturally.
Because the digital ESL space presents unique challenges in terms of grabbing and keeping the attention of young learners, the recruiters place a great deal of emphasis on how well applicants “command” the classroom.
When in doubt, err on the side of “overperforming”; remember that the onus is on you as the teacher to create an exciting, engaging learning environment for the kids that you will be teaching.
Related: How Much Does VIPKID Pay?
FAQs About the VIPKID Application Process
Here are a couple of important frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the VIPKid hiring process.
How long does the VIPKID hiring process take?
Some have reported rocketing through the entire process in less than a week, but a more realistic expectation is 2-3 weeks from start to finish.
How soon can I start teaching after getting hired?
You can start teaching immediately after the entire hiring process (including clearance of your background check) is complete.