First and foremost, congratulations on being offered an interview! Alternatively, well done on getting ahead of the game and doing your research early on. Wherever you are in your job seeking journey it pays to be prepared. To ensure that all of our candidates and potential candidates have access to the most helpful resources we have compiled this article, gathering together interview topics from prep to success.
Let’s start off with the basics: Do's and don'ts for your interview
Do's and don'ts for your interview written by Diana Howell lists everything you need to keep in mind before heading to your interview. Diana states:
“Holding the necessary qualifications to fill a position is merely the first step towards securing a successful job.”
She then goes on to outline the most important aspects to consider before you go to your interview. Everything from dress code to timing and behaviour is covered in this article so it’s well worth a read if you’ve secured that all important interview.
If you still haven’t heard back from your favourite institutions about an interview, don’t give up. There are a few very simple and effective changes you can make to your CV, online profiles and search criteria to get noticed.
Andrew Fennell can help you write the perfect CV with his article Writing a teacher CV profile. Andrew outlines everything you need to consider when building up the perfect teacher CV. By following these simple steps:
“you’ll be able to create a strong personal profile that will increase your chances of being asked in for an interview. Good luck!”
How can I become a teacher?
If you aren’t already qualified to teach in the UK and you’re still in the early planning stages of beginning or making a career move into teaching you may wish to explore our dedicated First Steps In Teaching advice pages.
For inspiration, why not read these articles from education expert Elizabeth Holmes:
What are the most common teacher interview questions?
Robin Hughes outlines a great list of typical teacher interview questions and the answers interviewers are hoping to hear from you in his article Make the job yours - school interview questions
How long does a teaching interview last?
A typical teaching interview will consist of three parts. Each part of the interview will last approximately 30 minutes and can take place over two days. There is some variation on this of course depending on the level of the role you’re applying to, the role itself, the availability of the hiring team and much more. A teaching interview looks for far more than just a candidate’s ability to manage the classroom, the hiring team need to know that you can follow the curriculum and plan ahead. You’ll need to deliver an example scheme of work, outlining how you intend to follow the curriculum and back this up with a couple of example lesson plans.
Example secondary teacher interview in the UK
The first part of your interview will consist of a standard job interview where a HR staff member and a senior leader spend approximately 30 minutes discussing your skills and experience. As this is a secondary teacher interview you would also be expected to discuss your subjects to some degree. While it is a wonderful thing to show knowledge in this area don’t let your nerves get the better of you, show your enthusiasm too. You specialised in this (or these) subject(s) for a reason and your passion for the subject as well as the role itself is important.
The second part of your interview is also typically 30 minutes long and involves a micro-lesson. This will be supervised by the Head of Department or a similarly senior member of staff. Before you get to the action with your micro-lesson you have a great opportunity to ask questions which will work in your favour for the entire interview process as well as the micro-lesson itself. Ask about the classroom supplies available to you, are there digital supplies you can make use of? An interactive whiteboard perhaps? Asking about the students themselves is also a good idea. You’ll want to be prepared for any students who may have specific needs, these may be special needs or there could be particularly advanced students. Are you prepared to adapt your lesson if need be to cater to every kind of student?
The third part of your teaching interview may well start with a very well-earned cup of coffee. Don’t forget that you’re being interviewed by people who have gone through the very same process possibly a multitude of times. They want to see you do well, they know how tough it can be. This third interview section is technically your micro-lesson debrief, a time to reflect on your performance to this point. Don’t get too comfortable yet though, this is also the stage of the interview where you will be discussing the role freely with the chief decision-makers on the hiring team. Be proud of your work and stay positive, this is the home stretch.
Teaching interviews will not always follow the above outline, but this has hopefully provided you with some insight on what to expect. Secondary teaching interviews can take place over two days, but primary and nursery interviews typically take place in one day.
When being interviewed for more senior roles such as heads of department you will also be expected to give a presentation in front of your peers. This presentation will be an extra interview stage to those outlined in the above example. At primary and nursery level you may also have a class observation stage which will allow you to see specific student requirement management, such as high-dependency students, in the classroom environment.
As with any interview, this is your chance for you to find out about them as much as it is for them to find out about you. Don’t be shy, ask questions, stay positive and be proud. Of all the applicants that applied for this role, you have been asked to attend an interview. That in itself is something to be proud of so hold your head up high and give it your best.
For those who would like further information on the panel or “The Fishbowl” interview Eteach has put together some helpful tips and Tammy Lane’s Fishbowl interviews: How to swim is a humorous and encouraging read.
What are the top teacher interview tips?
We have a number of articles you may find helpful when it comes to interviews tips and guidance. In this article, Elizabeth Holmes shares her Top 10 tips for making a success of interviews. Katie Newell shares some interesting insight into the two most important traits we are immediately judged on which has applications beyond the interview room.
If the institutions you’re being interviewed by choose to conduct your interview online, don’t panic! All of the above advice still holds true but here are a few additional tips on online interviews to put your mind at ease.
While online interviews have been around for years, their potential has really been felt in 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Social distancing during interviews wasn’t always feasible and as guidelines became stricter, the move to online interviews was the safest and most convenient option.
One of the most popular platforms for online interviews during the Pandemic of 2020 which has forced many of us to rethink how we approach our day to day is Skype. COVID-19 Skype interviews
The most important thing to remember for your interview is not to panic. Do your research and be yourself. If an educational institution selects you from all of the other candidates for an interview it is because something about you, as an individual, stood out to them. They may think you’re a great fit for their staff or some element of your application stuck them as empathetic, professional or impressive enough to really strike a chord with their students. There is no “one size fits all” approach to interviews.
Follow the advice provided here and be yourself. It’s you they want to speak to and find out about after all. Do your best and don’t forget, this is your opportunity to find out about them too, don’t just answer questions, ask them. Best of luck with your interview!
If you're still waiting for an invitation to your interview make sure that you're giving employers every possible chance to find you and find out about you, your skills and your achievements. Sign up for free with Eteach and follow our guide on how to make the most of your Eteach profile during your Job Search.
Search for the latest jobs on Eteach to find the best teaching roles that suit your skills and interests. If you have any queries, get in touch to find out more. Our friendly staff will be happy to advise you.
About the author
As an Open University graduate with TEFL certification, Jennifer has spent a good deal of her professional life as somewhat of a digital nomad. After years of studying and then teaching across five different countries, Jennifer has settled in the UK and when she isn’t teaching, she’s writing or working on all things content, from Accessibility to UX. Jennifer’s passions are the concepts of accessible education and universal design where she can contribute to a world, both physically and digitally, more easily accessed by all.