At a job interview your primary objective is to sell yourself to your potential employer.
The interviewer's task, on the other hand, is to decide if you are the right person for the job, looking carefully at your experience, qualifications and attitudes and whether you are a good fit for the school.
There is only one person who can demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the job: you.
1. Types of interviews
There are several types of interviewing techniques. To help you prepare, find out beforehand the type of interview the employer will conduct, their name/s and position.
2. First impressions count
It takes just 30 seconds for an employer to make a judgement, therefore it's important to make a positive one.
You most definitely will be asked questions about the school, so it's extremely important you have done your research.
You should have a good understanding of the school, its objectives and aspirations. Look at the school's website, social media sites, Ofsted reports, prospectus, school's results and even visit the school and identify where your skills and abilities can help support the school.
Make sure you review the job description in detail and link these to your skills, abilities and achievements. This will help provide a better grounding in answering and asking questions. Always take with you a copy of your CV and job description.
Research the Education and Teaching industry in general, so that you are aware of the current policies and practices, latest news and developments. It shows that you are knowledgeable and up-to-date.
The more you research the better your understanding will come across and impress the employer.
4. The 'Tell me about yourself' question
The dreaded first question all employers will always ask.
It is an opportunity for you to summarise your background, achievements and objectives in between 2-3 minutes.
Keep the information brief, focus on your work life, rather than personal and highlight your key points, making any relevant links to the role you are applying for. You will be able to go into more detail of your skills, achievements and goals during the interview.
5. Interview Questions
When answering interview questions, employers are trying to find out your skills and abilities (competences) that are vital for working in their school.
Usually these are carried out by asking competency based questions where you will need to draw on examples from your work experiences to demonstrate times when you have used particular competences. These questions usually start with 'Can you talk me through an example of when you…', 'Describe a time when you…' or 'How would you go about…'
To ensure you give an effective answer covering all the key points the employer is looking for, follow the STAR technique.
Top 12 teaching interview questions
Interviewers may then probe deeper to draw out more information, therefore prepare a few examples beforehand so you are not caught out on the spot. Remember, always be honest as employers can always check up!
Employers love seeing work you’ve done; this will really help to create a positive impression and support the answers you give.
Spend some time putting this together and think about what would be relevant to the job you are applying for. You can include your teacher portfolio, references, reports, pictures, lesson plans and samples of your work.
7. The dreaded ‘What are your weaknesses?’ question
This isn’t a trick question to catch you out. Employers are looking to see if you are self-aware, how you'll address them and whether you are flexible to change.
Your answer should demonstrate proactivity in dealing with a weakness.
For example; a sufficient answer maybe: “At the beginning of my last role I found I was overwhelmed with the level of work expected of me, but I have since attended a number of time-management seminars and feel that this is no longer an issue.
Pick something that’s not too serious or integral to the role you are applying for. Researching the role and drawing back on your past work experiences will help you identify examples.
8. Do’s & Dont's
9. Do you have any questions?
Never say no! There is always something you can ask the employer. It shows you are interested, listened and want to know more. A few examples are:
10. Practice, practice & practice
You can never practice enough.
Rehearse out loud, in front of a mirror, to a friend or video yourself. Force yourself to sound enthusiastic and don’t rush. Take a note of your posture, where your hands are and your eye movements. Your tone of voice and body language have a greater impact than the words you say! The first few times you try out your pitch may be a bit uncomfortable, but it gets easier. After a while it will become second nature and remember, it means one less thing to worry about at the interview!
Finally, think it through….
Before accepting a job, ask yourself whether you like the place, the people and the area. If you’re spending all your working time there for the next few years you want to enjoy it. Even if you are looking for a tough challenge, you should aim to be with like-minded people who share and empathise with your goals and objectives.