Monday, February 22, 2010

Tips for Interviewing

interview After reading Interviews Are Like a Game Show  from PrincipalsPage The Blog by Michael Smith, I realized it was time to post some interview tips for those planning on getting a new job or moving to a new school. Here are some tips that I’ve come up with and if you think of any that I might have left out, please feel free to let me know.

Do your research. Know the school that is interviewing you. Know what the school colors and mascot is. Find out the administrators names before you show up for the interview. Check out the school website.

Prepare for possible questions that may be asked. Know your philosophy of teaching. Know how you plan to handle discipline. Know how you will communicate with families and colleagues. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

Avoid showing body piercing and body art. You may like it and your friends might too but employers tend to be on the conservative side and it usually weighs against you.

Dress professionally. What you wear says a lot about you.

Go easy on the fragrances. Your interviewer (like me) may be allergic to fragrances and being cooped up in a room with someone doused in fragrance will usually make the interview short. This also doesn’t weigh in your favor either.

Show up early. If you are late, it is a reflection of your teaching practices and this makes you look pretty irresponsible.

While waiting, look around at plaques and awards. Listen to the atmosphere and how teachers and staff interact.

Don’t use profanity. How you talk makes a big impression on the interviewer.

Ask questions. Ask about the types of students who attend. Find out the economic status of the majority of the students. Find out how many teachers there are in the school.

Tell what makes you unique and above the rest of the other candidates. Explain why you are the best candidate for the job.

Make sure you smile and look happy.

I believe if you try to do these things, you will be more successful in your interview.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Job interview' by: Terry Hart


Ryan said...

- Offer a firm (but not over-powering) hand shake before and after the interview.

- Sit up straight and keep your eyes focused to demonstrate that you are attentive and enthusiastic about the opportunity.

- Pause before answering every question, even if you already have your answer prepared. Too often applicants are uncomfortable with silence and rattle off an answer quickly and nervously. Take your time.

- Ask the interviewer their experience with the institution and the career path that lead them to where they are.

- Follow up with a handwritten thank you, as well as a thank you email. Include in the message specific parts of the interview (i.e. how exciting it was to learn about their personal path with the institution)to show that you took the opportunity very seriously and that you are excited for the next step in the process.

loonyhiker said...

Thank you Ryan! These were wonderful. I'm so glad you added them because they are important. You reminded me of a handshake I had earlier this week and it was a limp yucky handshake and I was turned off from this person. I'm sure he was a nice person but the impression I had about this person was not good. Thanks for reading and joining in the conversation!

luckeyfrog said...

- Use the research you did to ask questions. "I noticed you had a 90% poverty rate. What does your school have in place to support these students?" Intelligent questions are a great way to show that you've done your research!
- Have a portfolio. In most of my interviews, no one asked to see my portfolio, but I liked having it anyway. I felt more comfortable knowing that I was prepared in case they asked to see something, and creating it forced me to think about my different teaching experiences. It's also great to pull out to support that you've really thought out a question. I heard "What would your classroom look like?" and I could pull out my portfolio to the page showing a diagram of my classroom. I referenced it while explaining why I'd set it up that way.
- PRACTICE! Look online for common questions, and think through (or even write through) your answers. I liked to have a sheet in front of me that quickly listed the 3 strengths/ 3 weaknesses I thought they might ask about, and anything I wanted to make sure and mention. It was so reassuring to have something to reference when I had the inevitable "brain fart" and couldn't think of the 3rd strength!

loonyhiker said...

@luckeyfrog Great suggestions! I forgot about my own portfolio so thanks for the reminder. It also helps build up my confidence when I see all my achievements in the portfolio.