When you go into an interview, you may be faced with a panel of people in front of you from administrators, teachers, and sometimes parents sitting in on the process. How can you stand out among the many job applicants for the job openings? Here are a few suggestions on how to stand out and put your best foot forward:
- Attire: Dress in a professional, clean and polished manner for the interview. Stay away from an outfit you would wear for a day of teaching, and opt for something a bit more formal. A suit is an ok choice for either men or women. A modest, solid colored, conservative looking skirt, blouse and low pumps are also good choices.
- Attitude: Lead with enthusiasm during your job interview. If the interviewer asks you to tell about yourself, stay positive and tell them something unique about yourself. As a new teacher, you may be not able to provide years of teaching experience, but one thing you CAN control is your attitude. Most districts may prefer working with a positive, can-do new teacher rather than a burnt-out, negative experienced teacher.
- Preparation: Prepare a few items and artifacts for the interview that will help demonstrate and highlight your skill as a teacher. First you will want to make sure your Resume is up to date, proofread and copied. Creating A Great Resume For Pre-Service Teacher Have a few letters of recommendation copied and ready to leave for the interview committee. A couple of sample lesson plans, your behavior support plan, and pictures of you teaching are great items to bring to the interview. If you have an e-portfolio, blog or website, provide the link, or bring a tablet for them to look at.
Another thing to prepare ahead of time are some scenarios of your work with students. A frequent question may be how you have helped a student with special needs grow or what strategies you have used in managing challenging behavior. Prepare a couple of examples of how you have overcome a challenge ahead of time because scenarios may be hard to come up with during the interview when you are under pressure.
- Do your research: Take some time to research the school’s website. Find out as much as you can about the school and the district. If you have the chance, talk to people in the community about the school and the district. How many classrooms do they have per grade? Is it a title one school? Who are the administrators and how long have they been at the school? What curriculum do they use and what unique programs do they provide for their students? You can stand out from other candidates when you express specific knowledge and interest in the school and how you are a good fit for the unique qualities of the school.
- Ask Questions: Having a couple of thoughtful questions prepared shows your interest in the school and the job. Do not ask questions about salary, benefits and perks at the first interview. These questions can arise once you receive a job offer or letter of intent.
- What makes you strong? Highlighting your core qualities and how they will serve you in the classroom. Do you have experience with assessments or curriculum? Any extra trainings or in-services you have attended can give you an edge. Unique skills such as art, languages you speak, grant writing experience, website design or additional technology skills are all examples of skills you can highlight during the interview which help you stand out. Know your core qualities by taking the survey in this blog post 5 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout
- Answer the question– Make sure you stay focused on answering the question and not rambling. Practice this with your friends, family and supervisor. Craft a succinct and thoughtful answer with examples from your teaching. Once you have answered the question STOP talking.
Please download this infographic I created: Infogrpahich job interview 2
How do you feel about the job interview process? Leave your feelings about the teacher job interview process in the comments