If you’ve made it through the interview stage, congratulations, that’s great news.
However, it does mean you’re now up against the best applicants, all of whom also had impressive applications. This means you need to go one step further if you hope to stand out during the interview and progress to the next stage.
It’s important to remember that teachers have big shoes to fill! Recruiters are not just choosing someone to fill any old position; they are choosing the person who is going to shape young minds for years to come.
So, the best way to impress a potential employer is to showcase your teaching skills and let your winning personality shine through.
Here’s how to go one step further and ace your next teaching interview.
1. Thoroughly research the position and institution
Doing your research isn’t just important during the application stage. You also need to thoroughly prepare before your interview.
It’s best to re-read the job description several times until you have a good grasp of the role. You should then do some more background research into the institution, its history, the size of the school, etc.
It’s also vital that you know who you are meeting with on the day and understand a little more about their role within the school. All of this will help you to speak and present yourself more confidently during the interview.
2. Prepare answers to common questions
There is nothing worse than leaving an interview and kicking yourself because you forgot to share something impressive, or you feel you didn’t answer the questions as well as you could have.
So, the best way to prepare yourself effectively is to look out for some common interview questions you might get asked for a teaching role and come up with some practice answers.
Think about what the employer might want to know about you. You can also do some research online if you’re feeling stuck.
You don’t have to commit these answers to memory, and you certainly don’t want to reel them off like a script, but having some go-to examples in mind can help when answering questions. You’ll find you are more confident and that you’ll get your points across more clearly.
3. Use keywords and phrases
When you completed your application, it’s likely that you were careful to include some of the keywords and phrases from the job description to show why you’d be a good fit for the role.
You can continue this practice during the interview as well, providing it sounds natural and conversational, of course.
Before the big day, re-read the job description and look out for any keywords that the employer used. These could be qualifications, skills or experience; for example, KS3 curriculum, behavioural management or SEND.
You could also refer to the school’s values and the personality traits you have that match these values. Just make sure you have a good understanding of what the employer is looking for and use keywords and phrases to prove to them you’ve got what it takes.
4. Remember to make it about the students too
It can be tempting to make the interview all about yourself; after all, you were invited in so they could get to know you. And of course, you need to talk about your work ethic, skills, great qualities and experience for the most part, but don’t also forget it’s about the students too.
Employers want to see what you can offer students, how you motivate them and how you help those who might struggle.
At this stage, it’s a good idea to draw on experiences from your past positions or training to give context and demonstrate your value. Again, you can prepare a few of these examples beforehand; just be sure to let your genuine passion for teaching and your students shine through.
5. End on a strong note
Finally, you want them to remember you after the interview, so you want to leave on a great note.
Nearing the end, it’s likely that you’ll be asked if you have any questions for the interviewers - and you should have some prepared.
Asking questions not only helps to develop your understanding of the role and institution but also shows the interviewer that you’re truly interested in the position. The better the questions, the more likely you are to stand out from other candidates.
Once your questions have been answered, be sure to thank the interviewers for their time.
About the author
Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of StandOut CV, a leading UK careers advice website. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.