You’ve got a BA, perhaps an MA, maybe even a PhD and now all you need is a JOB. This article identifies secrets to landing a teaching job by acing the teaching interview’s questions. File these away in the “what I wish they would have taught me in the College of Education” file.
Secret #1: Translate Who You Are to What They Need
You’ll interview well when you know who you are, your unique strengths and talents, and can clearly communicate how your strengths meet their needs.
Take a hard look at why you were drawn to teaching in the first place and why your temperament is perfect for the job you are applying for. Otherwise, you might be that highly-participative, fun teacher interviewing at the traditional pedagogical school where behavioral control is king. Knowing who you are and translating to what they need is the first secret of marketing yourself to a potential educational institution and making your interview result in a job offer.
Secret #2: Know Their Heart
Every employer cares about three things. 1) Can you do the job, 2) Do I/we like you, and 3) Are you a risk. Of course you need to speak to all these things, how your background prepared you to do the job, how your temperament is a good fit for them, and that you are not a risk. That’s interviewing 101.
But there’s more. Get to know their heart or their core values and unwritten rules. The wording in the job posting will get you started but talk to former student teachers, substitutes, or anyone who can give you insights into the culture, unwritten rules, and their values. Knowing this will allow you to connect more deeply with them and especially in translating your background, values, and temperament to who they are.
Secret #3: If You Don’t Do It Wrong You’ll Do It Right
Don’t torpedo the interview by doing irritating things that communicate any unprofessionalism. Cell phones that ring during the interview, poor grammar, bad breath or poor posture start off the list of the things you must manage to avoid distractions during the interview. Since know that they really want to hire you, think through the things that would detract from your charm and manage them.
Add to the list of distractions complaints about former bosses, educational institutions or anyone. No one wants to hear a pity story. If you have to talk about times when things didn’t go well, make sure it ends on a positive note such as how you learned key lessons or adjusted to create success.
Secret #4: Practice Is the Only Way to Prepare for Tough Questions
Every interview includes tough questions. They come with the territory. Some will come from questions that arise from your resume. Others are planned as we speak although you won’t know what they are until you are in the chair being asked them. Are you ready?
Think through tough questions like the following and have an answer ready. Don’t memorize your response, but practice with someone else so when you are asked, you feel ready to respond.
Identify the problems on your resume and have an answer for them. Practice out loud your responses.
Tough questions they may be asking you include,
How would you expect your principal to help you? Be careful in that if you expect too much of a principal, they see you as a risk. If you ask too little, you’re not a collaborator.
What would you tell a parent who believes you give their student too much homework? Again, be careful in that if you offend the parent, you are a risk. If you are the parent’s doormat, you won’t be effective.
Why should we hire you? I realize you are humble and don’t like to sell your talents. But you need to and do so with confidence. The person who gets the job will. Will you?