Get out your suit coat because it’s finally your big day: the interview! Teacher interviews are different in every state and even differ between districts and schools. Most of my experience included a first round over-the-phone screening, followed by an in-person more in depth interview for a second round. Some districts even have you demonstrate a lesson to model how you teach and control a class.
Here is my list of 4 things to be sure to nail during the interview:
1. Be sure to arrive early and greet the staff/students whenever you enter the office. You’d be surprised how much influence a long-standing teacher that passed you by or faithful secretary has in interview situations. Some principals will ask these staff members if you were friendly, seemed interested in the school, and showed up with time to spare. Or, on the contrary, were you running late, glued to your phone, and short with them?
2. Shake hands with everyone in the interview room once you enter. This is professional of you. In addition, making this eye contact gives you a connection with each person and helps you remember their name. I love referring to people by name in interviews, and this is a quality of likable people! Be sure to also thank everyone at the conclusion of the interview.
3. Answer the questions that the interview team asks you TRUTHFULLY, not how you think they would want you to answer them. Interviews are just as much for you as they are for the district. I interviewed at a district where everything they asked me was about flipped classroom; in the moment, I had to do my best to answer these, but I had little to no experience with it at all. When I left, I knew that that school wasn’t right for me! I’m always big on learning and growing, but I could tell that this wasn’t the environment that would best support my teaching philosophy. It’s important to just be yourself and find the right school for you.
4. Have appropriate questions prepared to ask the interviewers as the interview concludes, and record the answers when you get them. Writing down the answers they give shows that you are passionate and that you care. Questions about teacher responsibilities, school growth/challenges, how the school runs, culture, etc are all appropriate. Avoid asking questions surrounding pay, benefits, etc. If the opportunity presents itself down the road, HR can handle any of these concerns for you later.
5. Follow up after the interview with a kind thank you! Thankfulness is like gold. Principals and other supervisors who are taking time to meet with you are very busy, so even simply thanking them for their time is very nice and will help you be looked at favorably. It also makes them think of you once you have left! I’d recommend doing this within 24 hours of the interview.
As I mentioned earlier, the interview is just as much for you as it is for the interview team. I used to get so nervous before interviews, and I felt like I had to give the “perfect” answers so that they would like me! I thought that I had to seem like the perfect fit just so I could get a job. I quickly realized that the questions I was being asked and how the interview experience went allowed me to gauge a lot about whether or not the school would be a good fit for me in return.
If you are a veteran teacher, what other interview tips do you have to share? If you are in the process of interviewing, what questions or concerns do you have? Comment below!