While job interviews can be stressful, there is a lot you can do in advance to make sure you are prepared and that you give yourself the best chance possible at getting the job. The following are 10 tips that should help you put your best foot forward and make sure you impress the interview board.
- Punctuality – Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get to your interview, particularly if it is in a location you have never been before. If possible, it would be a good idea to go to the school the day before to check where it is if you are unsure. Arrive at least 10 minutes early so you have time to settle yourself and you are not arriving flustered when you are called in to your interview.
- Professionalism – Dress appropriately and professionally. Be polite, shake hands with the interviewers at the beginning and the end of the interview and thank them by name.
- Body language – Make sure your body language conveys confidence and enthusiasm. Be sure to sit up straight, make eye contact, and smile.
- Confidence – Speak slowly, clearly and with confidence. Don’t panic if you are asked a question you don’t know the answer to. Take a second to think. They may be trying to see how you cope under pressure.
- Listen – Be a good communicator and listen carefully to what the interviewers are asking and make sure you are answering the question you have been asked as you will not be given marks for answering incorrectly. If you do not understand a question or forget part of a multi-part question, don’t be afraid to politely ask for clarification or to repeat the question.
- Be memorable – State what you can do and back this up with examples of when you have done it in the past. Tell short anecdotes to make your answers more interesting and memorable. Be honest in your answers, and if they ask you something that you do not know, admit this and say that you are willing to learn.
- Know your CV – Be sure you know what your CV says – where you worked, what you did and when etc. I have a free sample CV template available here.
- Getting the marks – You must mention the seemingly obvious or you cannot get marks for the answer. Always mention teaching experience e.g. teaching practice/ subbing before other experiences that are also relevant e.g. other work you have done.
- Prepare – Practice your answers in advance – there is no way of knowing what will be asked in the interview, but there are some questions that are very likely to be asked and you should plan your answers in advance of the interview. It is very hard to think of examples to questions such as “can you tell me about a time when you showed initiative?” on the spot so prepare an answer for these types of questions in advance. You want to give the impression that you are interested in the school and not just trying to get any job. Research the school and the locality in advance and show this information where appropriate in your answers. Start by looking at the school’s WSE report, website/ Facebook page and research the area online. It is also a good idea to try to be up to date with current issues in education and relevant educational terms/ language. I have a very comprehensive post which outlines some of the key things you should know about here.
- “Is there anything else you’d like to add”? – Use this time to say anything that you really wanted to say but may not have gotten a chance to using the interview. If you are asked if you have any questions, have one prepared in advance that will show your talents/ enthusiasm, for example, if you play a sport or an instrument, you could ask if there will be opportunities to coach a team/ set up a school band/ choir etc.
In my store I have a very comprehensive document with sample interview questions and answers for Primary School teaching jobs. It is available here. It will prove invaluable in your preparations for a job interview.
I also have sample Assistant Principal post interview questions available here.
Best of luck in your interview!