A teacher job interview should be an open discussion. This will allow the conversation to flow easier, and the interviewer will learn more about your personality and who you are as a teacher, and you will learn more about the school and the interviewer.
Consider the typical teaching job interview stereotype: The intimidating and powerful interviewer interrogates the ill-fated candidate, looking for flaws, tapping into weaknesses, and trying to trap the candidate into saying or doing something that will knock them out of the running.
Understand the Interviewer’s Perspective
While this might be how it feels to be a candidate, in fact, interviewers desperately want to find the right person to fill an open position. The talent shortfall hinders the school, hurts the students, and causing the hiring committee to spend inordinate amounts of time interviewing potential teaching replacements.
Candidates who understand and appreciate the interviewer’s perspective give themselves an advantage during interviews. They tend to be less nervous and less paranoid about what the interviewer is trying to uncover with a particular question.
Job candidates who can elevate the interaction yet one more rung – from “interrogation” to “discussion” – will find this change in focus alters the interview from a stress test to an engaging dialogue about school/curriculum challenges and solutions.
The first step in achieving this transformation is to change your mindset. During your teaching job search, approach each contact, each discussion, each meeting with confidence. Analyze your past in detail, including your strengths, skills, and accomplishments.
Be sure you are spending ample pre-interview time preparing your success stories and quantifying the results of your past teaching efforts. Take time for introspection to clearly understand and can articulate “who you are” and the value you can offer a school.
Approach each conversation as an opportunity to learn. Whether engaged in a networking discussion or an actual job interview, be careful not to manipulate the spotlight, engaging in a long-winded dialogue.
Instead, ask questions, listen carefully, then look for opportunities to relate what you’ve learned about the school, the district, a challenge the school is facing, etc., to your own knowledge and experiences, and phrase them in the form of solutions.
During such a dialogue, you are free to mention articles or books you’ve read, teaching methods you’ve experimented with (successful or not-so-successful). Include things you’ve learned from colleagues and problems you encounter, and how you have overcome them throughout the interview.
Then the interview becomes a discussion between two teaching professionals with some shared challenges and some shared experiences. It becomes natural to relate your success stories in a wholly relevant way to the school’s challenges, rather than simply reciting “accomplishment statements” that you’ve memorized for the interview.
Still, feeling unprepared for your next interview? Connect with me. I can help you prepare for the interview.