The ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council) Interview Process
Many people who visit our blog are wondering what the ADEC interview process is like. For all those people, and since I’ve actually interviewed twice, I’ll share my experiences and compare them a bit.
ADEC Interview One
When I first interviewed in 2011, Teach Away set up interviews in May at a hotel in downtown Atlanta. I was the first interviewee to arrive. I had my packet of papers with me–copies of my passport, extra passport-sized headshots, and all the paperwork required. Actually, I hadn’t managed to get the extra headshots printed yet, so after the interview, I hiked down to a CVS, printed a sheet of the things, and brought them back. My interview wasn’t very lengthy–perhaps 20 minutes. The old fellow I interviewed with was personable enough, but he seemed virtually uninterested in my teaching ability, asking a few questions that barely skimmed the surface of that issue. He mainly wanted to know that I’d be able to function thousands of miles from home in a new culture. As we were wrapping up, I told him about my wife’s status (she was working on her US citizenship at the time), and he recommended that I withdraw my name.
”Will ADEC blacklist me if I do that?” I asked.
”No, ADEC won’t,” he said. ”I don’t know about the headhunters [Teach Away]. For my part, I’d recommend you as a teacher.”
After some thought and discussion, Jenia and I took his advice. I devised a graceful e-mail to my Teach Away coordinator, and she was great about it. She also told me that I had been selected, and would have received an offer.
ADEC Interview Two
The next year, 2012, Teach Away set up interviews with ADEC at a different hotel in Atlanta. They were held sooner–February–and the pressure on interviewees was ratcheted up a notch. I was interviewed by an ADEC tag-team–an Arabic representative and an Australian woman (because the Australian education system is the one that ADEC at that time had modeled their system upon), and while they were nice enough, they were much more interested in my teaching abilities than the last year’s guy. They wanted to know what my classroom looked like, what kind of activities I’d use to help students make connections to the outside world, examples of things I’d done, etc. They offered very little feedback as I answered, so I wasn’t sure if I was meeting their expectations or not.
The interview was a solid half hour, scheduled very tightly, with an actual timer running on the desk. The woman asked me a series of questions designed to determine if I’d do okay with Arab society, emphasizing the likelihood of accidentally offending someone. She wanted to know how I’d deal with that. Would I make an effort to seek out forgiveness? Would I reach out to my other coworkers to try to help me with the situation, and so forth. Eventually, she said I did fine with my answers. They gave me literally 2 minutes to ask 1 question, so I asked: “How do I avoid offending anyone?”
Don, the guy in the ADEC video that you used to see on Teach Away’s website, had joined us at that point. He laughed and said, “You do it. You offend people and you learn by experience. You’ll learn not to hold the door open for a woman and follow after her, because you’ll smell her perfume and be aroused, and this will offend her honor. You’ll learn not to get in an elevator with women,” and he made several other comments of that sort.
Waiting to Hear from ADEC
After my second interview, I left feeling like I’d been through the ringer–whereas the previous year that wasn’t the case at all. A big difference between the first and second interview was the amount of waiting the second year. I was kept waiting for nearly an hour before my interview (which gave me the chance to get to know others who were waiting, too–actually a good thing), and then after waiting around for a while longer, the interview itself was was rushed. The notification process–did I make the cut or not?–required still more waiting. It took a solid 6 weeks to be notified that I’d been selected as a candidate and had received an offer, whereas the previous time it only took about 2 weeks (of course I aborted the process before I received an official notification).
Hopefully this answers most questions surrounding what the ADEC interview process is like. In short, it’s likely to be similar to any other interview for an education job, albeit with the added wrinkle about personal motivation to teach abroad and how to cope with working in a new and different culture. Anyway, if you are still curious about anything interview related, let me know. I’ll happily do what I can to answer. If you would like to know why I am doing this, check out my reasons to teach overseas.