Smile – it could make all the difference!
Your task at an interview is to demonstrate that you’re the best person for the job. Here are our top tips for interview success…
Your objective at a job interview is quite simple: you need to gather facts about the job, and 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 attitude.
The bottom line is that there’s only one person who can demonstrate that you’re the best candidate for the job: you.
- Be Prepared!
- Any Questions?
- At the Interview
- After the Interview
The key to a successful interview is preparation. Prepare well, and you’re likely to feel less stressed and come across as more confident on the day.
The following tips will help.
- Two copies of your CV - the school or LA may have misplaced yours
- Original copies of your qualifications
- Your DCSF registration
- Written testimonials from past jobs
- Your portfolio.
Read over the advertisement again as a reminder of the position and its requirements. Review your CV and application form to remember what you’ve written.
Make sure you know where and when the interview is, and plan your journey to arrive 10 minutes early. Make sure you know the interviewer's name and job title.
Find out as much as you can about the school offering the job. The DCSF is a good resource, with school performance tables. You should look at the school website if they have one. Also take a look at the school's OFSTED reports - but be aware of the date of the report.
Prepare answers for questions that may be asked. We have some examples for you in the next section. Remember to be able to back up your answers with relevant examples. It’s always good to practise the interview with a friend.
If you’ve been asked to teach a lesson:
- Find out in advance about the age range, ability and number of children in the class;
- Ensure the school has a list of resources you need and can provide them;
- Avoid leaving any photocopying to the last day;
- Give the observer a lesson plan so they know what your aims and objectives are.
[Back To Top]
The following are some questions that you may be asked at an interview. Always try to prepare for questions about your previous jobs or experience, as well as being familiar with the school and post you have applied for.
Personality profile questions:
- What made you go into teaching in the first place?
- What made you decide to apply for this post?
- What words would you use to describe yourself as a teacher?
- Are there any areas in your professional development that you would like to develop?
- What have been the high points in your career over the past couple of years?
- What is your greatest satisfaction of the last two years?
Classroom management questions:
- Describe what classroom management means in terms of behaviour and organisation.
- What teaching methods have you found most effective (for year 'x')?
- What differences are there in teaching, for example, a class of Year 7 (11-year-olds) and Year 11 (15-year-olds)?
- How would you deal with disaffected children in your class?
Curriculum knowledge questions:
- What resources/syllabi do you use to deliver the curriculum?
- What experience do you have of teaching the National Curriculum?
- What do you feel is the highest level of ability you are able to teach?
Lesson planning questions:
- Give an example of a lesson you felt went particularly well.
- Give an example of a lesson you felt went particularly badly, and why? How did you resolve the situation?
- When planning a lesson, what elements do you ensure are covered within it?
- How do you organise homework for your class?
Key responsibilities questions:
- Do you hold any key responsibilities within your school?
- Describe your management style.
- Have you been involved in any extra curricular activities?
- Why are you leaving your current position?
- What are your observations about the school you are applying to?
- If you were offered the post would you take it?
- If you are not offered the position would you like feedback from this interview?
[Back To Top]
At the Interview
Instant judgements will be made about your appearance, so dress smartly and arrive in plenty of time.
Remember to relax! Take a deep breath, remind yourself of your career success to date and appreciate the fact that you are a talented individual. Most of all: be yourself!
The following may sound obvious, but could make all the difference at your next interview:
- Greet the interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake.
- Listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying, and try to understand what’s behind their question. Then try to frame your answer in response.
- Be professional and focused, yet friendly and personable; your attitude and demeanour matter as much as your response.
- Be brief but thorough in your responses. Strike a balance between avoiding simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, but not waffling on! Relate your experience to the question being asked.
- If you don’t understand a question, ask the interviewer to explain.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer while talking to them, and if others are present, speak to them as well.
- Explain how your qualifications relate to the position and the school's specific needs.
- Ask when you can expect to hear whether you’ve been successful.
- Make sure you have the opportunity to ask questions of your own. You are interviewing them as well, and trying to find out if their school is the place for you.
- Thank the interviewer at the end.
[Back To Top]
After the Interview
After an interview, it’s always a good idea to send a letter or email thanking an employer for letting you discuss your experiences. Send it out immediately after your interview to stay fresh in the employer’s mind - you may even score bonus points for excellent follow-up skills.
Spend some time thinking about how you can improve your job interview technique if were unsuccessful. Call and ask the school for feedback - anything they tell you will be of great help for the future, so ask for an honest evaluation. Finally, perhaps discuss your experience with a mentor, and ask for advice for future interviews.
If you get the position, congratulations! And please don't forget to let us know - it’s always good to hear from you.
[Back To Top]