The interview process is your one chance to show the school that you are the right person for the job, that you are the best suited for the role and that you are the candidate that will add the most value to the school!
These are your goals, however, the interview process is not always plane sailing and can be very daunting and nerves can take over. So how can you overcome these nerves and achieve those goals?
The key to a successful interview is to be prepared! You will get the best out of your interview and give yourself the best possible chance if you prepare thoroughly.
In the majority of cases you will be given at least a few days notice before your interview. Use this time to organise yourself and carefully prepare. Try to find out as much as you can about the school and the Head Teacher/Principal. Make sure you know and understand the role that you are applying for. You can prepare any questions that you would like to ask at the interview but also be sure that you can answer any questions that you may be asked.
Getting to the interview…
Make sure that you find out where the school is in advance; plan your route and journey time. Always allow contingency time for any possible delays on public transport or traffic hold ups. If you are planning on driving to the interview, ask the school in advance about any parking arrangements. Make certain that you know the name of the person/people that you are meeting and any other significant information that you may need to know.
Be the first to extend your hand for a handshake. Smile and make eye contact with the interviewer as you shake his hand firmly. Smiling not only makes you look more inviting, it helps you feel more relaxed. Talk with clarity, stuttering and pausing shows the interviewer that you are not confident in yourself. Of course, it is very important not to be over confident, arrogant or pushy – find the balance!
Expect the unexpected…
Interviews differ greatly and each interviewer will have a different style and approach.
The interview may be an informal chat; it could be a panel interview with many interviewers all eager to fire questions at you; it could be a role play situation, a group activity or even a trial lesson. You will be informed as to what type of interview it will be in advance; you can then prepare accordingly.
While many interview questions can be predicted, some come at you completely out of the blue. There are certain types of questions and topics that will almost certainly come up.
These will probably include questions like…
- Why did you decide to become a teacher?
- What type of classroom management structure would you implement if you were hired?
- Tell me why you would be a good candidate for this position?
- How do your characteristics fit in to the position?
- From your understanding of the role and this school, where do you think the biggest challenge for you will be and how will you overcome that challenge?
- Give me an example of an achievement that you are particularly proud of and how outline what you did to accomplish it?
Make sure that you answer all questions confidently and concisely. DO NOT “waffle”! The interviewer is not only interested in what your answer is; but also in how you approach a question and how you act under pressure.
An interview is an opportunity for both yourselves and the interviewer to see if what both you and the school want from the role is corresponding.
The more prepared you are, the more successful you will be!