One of the complexities of navigating teacher job interviews is the diversity of interviewing styles you’ll encounter for various positions. Tailoring your strategy for different types of teacher job interviews will help you to stand out and surpass the other academic candidates.
Interview preparation requires careful planning and thorough homework; nothing should be left to chance. Focusing your plan will increase your effectiveness during your interview.
Determine the memory you wish the interviewers to walk away. When they make the decision on who to hire they will recall the person you were in the room. Sprinkle your personality and passion throughout the conversation.
Making any headway during job interviews boils down to how well you can adhere to the rules that govern the process. There are a million and one books that have been written on how to go through job interviews and indeed the crux of all of them is the same: they all emphasize that you need a strategy – a planned and deliberate means to go through the session.
Teacher Job Interviews – Tips for New and Experienced Teachers
1. Learn About the Academic Learning Center
You must be able to dedicate some time to researching and finding out all you can about the place you wish to work. That is relatively simple as most schools and districts now have comprehensive websites and information on the internet.
When you have a good grasp of everything about the school, ranging from the students who live in the community it serves, to the school’s most recent performance on standardized tests, to the recent successes or failures of school sports teams, you can participate in conversations with parties at your interview about a range of things that affect the school daily.
Communicate how you would improve or maintain scores for the population you’ll teach, congratulate the principal on a recent victory, or discuss your experience working with a specific student population that makes up a large portion of the school.
Not only are you able to have conversations and follow along with the chatting between interviewers before the formal interview begins, but you’ll be more prepared to talk specifically about how your experiences as an educator tie into what the hiring committee is looking for in an academic candidate.
2. Research the Academic Job Description
This is one of the most crucial steps you need to make to ace any education interview. Save job descriptions that you use to create resumes or CVs to apply for positions. That way, you’ll have something specific to study in the event that you are awarded an interview. Use the qualities or experiences that the description is looking to tell your story and use specific pieces of it to tie your experience to the position’s responsibilities.
If you don’t have a copy of the job description from when you applied for the role, you can also check out other resources.
Does the district’s Human Resources office post generic job descriptions online?
Is there another teaching position posted with a similar job description?
Do you have information that the district or principal shared with you at a teaching job fair that you can use to come up with good ideas about the position requirements and how you satisfy them?
Finally, you’re going to be printing copies of your resume to share with the interviewers just in case anyway. What was it about the documentation that you submitted that made this particular school want to interview you in the first place? Whatever it was, you can find it in the application paperwork you already submitted.
3. Practice, Practice and Practice Interviewing
Preparing for any of your teacher job interviews is vital. Go over as many potential questions as possible and provide answers to them. Use your strengths as a learner to practice these questions, so they’ll stay in your memory and be easy to remember. Practicing will increase your confidence and this will boost your competence.
If writing things down helps you write out an ideal answer to each question. If you prefer to talk things through, or if you prefer to simulate the interview conditions, get a friend to pretend to be the hiring manager and do a mock interview.
“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.”
– William Jennings Bryan
Are you stumped trying to come up with potential practice questions? Check out our “ultimate teacher’s job interview crib sheet”. This fee-based eBook on teacher interviews has helped hundreds of educators.
Prepared Yourself for Tough Interview Questions
Some of these questions are directed to higher education jobs. You could be asked any of these questions at any grade level.
How do you define good teaching at a college or university level?
Explain how you would incorporate technology into your role?
Do you have any current research initiatives?
Describe the perfect work environment for you?
Communicate how your background and life experiences will at the value to the academic department.
Could you provide two examples of how you differentiated your instruction to help a struggling student?
What would your last supervisor say about your performance?
How would you describe your instruction style?
4. Control Your Emotions
In the interview room, the committee will be watching out for your usage of body language. These tips will help you come off as both personable and professional:
- Smile! A smile often will do you good and help you to relax.
- Take deep breaths to help you relax. Focus on breathing to distract you from any nervous feelings you may experience.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewers throughout the interview. If you have a panel interview, switch from person to person. Start eye contact with the person who asked the question you are responding to. If eye contact isn’t your strong suit, try to look at another part of the person’s face, like their nose or forehead.
5. Dress Impeccably
You don’t have to be extremely formal. When applying for a teaching role, there are two key things to remember: be professional and be neat. If you dress as you would for a day on the job teaching, assuming you have a professional, put-together look in the classroom, you’ll be fine.
6. Be Brief and Articulate
When you take a long time to answer a question or talk in circles the interviewer(s) can get confused. They will miss the key point you were trying to articulate. You want to provide a thorough and concise answer. At the same time, you need to be strategic with your words.
Rather than launching into an answer and figuring out where it will go after you’ve said a few filler words, it’s ok to ask for a moment to consider which example would be best, how you want to approach the question.
7. Show Your Authenticity
If you are hired, you’ll work with the people who interviewed you on a regular basis. It’s important for you to know what it’s like to work on the campus where you are interviewing, but it’s also important for them to know who you are and what you are like. Rather than pulling jargon or buzzwords into the conversation, share your ideas in a way that feels natural to you.
Storytelling is the modern way of packaging yourself in the meeting. It provides the perfect method to pull the interview panel in to show who you are as a person. Communicate using relevant stories about why you are an excellent candidate to teach at their college or university.
8. Show Courtesy and Positive Attitude
Your teaching interview begins the moment that you step on campus, so it’s important to build the beginnings of good relationships with all the people with whom you interact.
Use proper language like “please” and “thank you,” when communicating with the custodian who gives you directions to the appropriate office. Be courteous when you talk to the receptionist or the person who lets the interviewer(s) know you have arrived.
Convey a positive attitude and mindset in every stage of the job search. These two characteristics are pivotal to interview success and getting a job offer.
Showing respect to everyone on your committee will demonstrate that you are a pleasant person to be around who shows respect to others.
Have you ever seen courtesy count as a negative in a teacher job interview?
9. Ask Questions
When the time comes, don’t be shy or scared to ask your questions to the interview panel; show some confidence and ask relevant questions about the teaching position or school. Make sure those answers could not have been found elsewhere, or it can be perceived negatively by the committee that you did not do your homework before coming.
Plan out some questions to ask in advance about things like the institutional culture, opportunities for professional development, or accomplishments the team is proud of or challenges they have overcome.
10. Follow Up After any of Your Teacher Job Interviews
Follow-up is important. Don’t underestimate the power of following up, just like writing your teacher resume or preparing for the interview, it is a critical stage.
Keep in touch with the committee. 24-48 hours after the interview, you should send the interviewers a thank you letter. If you are pressed for time after your interview, you can even prepare a thank-you note in advance, add a sentence or two about a particular interaction plus a closing sentiment of thanks at the end after your interview, and then drop the envelopes at a post office or mailbox on your way home.
If you are interviewing for a teaching position with a long timeline between the interview and hire date, you can make a more long-term inquiry into the status of the hiring committee if you haven’t heard anything for several weeks. For instance, if you are interviewing in spring for a teaching position that doesn’t begin until August or September.
Are you looking to prepare for upcoming teacher job interviews? Find a variety of eBooks to help get ready for the big day.
Do you need to take your teacher resume to the next level before you can put these tips into action? Check out our resume coaching and consultation