We talk to a lot of candidates. One of the most frequent questions is “What should I do when I interview?” There isn’t one golden answer, but the best advice is to be authentic and keep these best practices in mind:
Before the Interview
1) Get to know the school.
Showing an understanding of the school’s community helps you stand out. By doing some preliminary research, you can also determine if your philosophy aligns with the school’s. One of the most popular questions asked during an interview is, “Why are you interested in [insert name of school]?” To prepare, review the position description (if available) and check out the school’s website and social media.
2) Practice makes perfect.
Once you find your talking points and questions to ask - practice, practice, practice! You want to appear prepared and be clear by thinking of a few examples from your teaching that reflect the who you are. Share your examples with someone and ask for feedback.
1) Dress appropriately.
It is better to be too formal than to be too casual. A good rule of thumb is to dress to impress. It’s important to show the school that you take this interview seriously. Some guidelines to follow include:
Clean, wrinkle free, comfortable fitting clothes
Avoid jeans or skirts that rise above the knee
Closed toe shoes. Heels and flats are also acceptable.
2) Sell yourself.
This is where you want to shine. You should be prepared to discuss how your strengths can be an asset and how you manage your areas for growth. Be confident and show the interviewers who you are both inside and outside of the classroom. Have a few specific examples from your teaching to share.
3) Communicate effectively.
You want to ensure that you are providing a positive first impression. Here are some tips to follow during your interview:
- Maintain eye contact
- Don’t forget to smile
- Speak in a relaxed, professional manner
- Clearly articulate your answers and try not to use filler words such as “um” or “like.”
- Make sure your body language is casual. Don’t fidget or use too many hand gestures.
4) Ask questions.
Once the interviewers are finished asking you their questions, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about the position, process, and/or the school. Make sure you have a few questions ready to show your preparedness/interest in the position. As the interview progresses, take notes and add questions to your list. Some popular questions to ask include:
- What are some characteristics of successful teachers at this school?
- What is your favorite part about working at this school?
- What are the main challenges associated with this position?
After the interview
1) Send a thank you card.
Always send a thank you email, and when appropriate, a handwritten note as well. The email should be sent no later than 24 hours after your interview. Not only is it professional to thank administrators for taking time to meet with you but doing so also exhibits your enthusiasm and appreciation for the opportunity to interview with the school.