If you’re getting close to graduating, or have recently done so and are now looking for your dream job, there are lots of things you can do to prepare. For example, it’s important to be proactive in looking for jobs and speaking with recruiters, and you need to ensure your resume and other documents are up to date. However, don’t forget to think about how to ace an interview too, as this is an area where many recent grads come unstuck.
Often, people have all the necessary qualifications and experience required for a role, but they bungle the interview because they aren’t prepared to be quizzed by a panel of people, or to answer questions in an effective way.
To avoid this, you must prepare rigorously before you enter the interview room. This will help you to stop becoming tongue-tied or muddle-headed because you’re nervous and overwhelmed. Read on for a sample of some of the most common interview questions asked of teachers, and some tips for how to prepare for them.
Please Tell Us a Little about Yourself
One of the introductory requests made of most interviewees is to “Please tell us a little about yourself.” While this sounds fairly straightforward and easy, it’s important to make the most of your time when you answer it, so you really start off strong in your interview. This question gives you the opportunity to tell the panel about all the knowledge, experience and skills (career-based and personal) you have that will put you ahead of your competitors.
Don’t be too modest here, or succinct. Sure, you don’t want to waffle on for ages or come across like you think you walk on water, but you also need to remember you are trying to sell yourself to the interviewers. This is often the first thing you will be asked, and can set the tone for the entire meeting.
If you’re not sure where to start, it helps to begin by referencing your resume. For example, “As you’ll see in my CV…” is a good jumping-off point. From here, start to talk about your experience and education. In particular, really hone in on any specialized training you have that other candidates likely won’t possess. For instance, you could mention counseling or Autism certificate programs you have completed to make it easier for you to help students with special needs. Or those who are struggling because of bullying, which is an increasing problem.
Why Would You Like This Particular Role?
Next, most teachers will also be asked “Why would you like this particular role?” during their interview. The panel will be looking to see, here, that you are actually interested in working at the facility and are not applying just because you need a job and will work anywhere.
They’ll be hoping to see that you have real passion for the job type and interest in the school itself, and that you’ve done your research to understand the facility and how it works. When answering this question then, make note of particular things about the organization, its values, mission, facilities, staff, teaching methods, point of difference, location or other factors that drew you to the role.
Mention things you’ve read about or heard from teachers or students and their parents that show you’ve taken the time to learn about the educational institution. For example, the school’s state-of-the-art sporting or drama facilities, or the Principal’s focus on inclusion.
How Do You Think Others Would Describe You?
Most interviewers will also be keen to find out about you personally. That is, what characteristics do you possess which will make you not only a good teacher, but also the right fit for the role and for the school? They want to understand what type of person you are, what you believe in, how you interact with others, and how you might contribute to the organization and the community spirit at the school. As such, another common interview question is, “How do you think others would describe you?”
When this is asked, interviewers are curious about how people such as your professors, past colleagues and students, mentors, and other graduates might talk about you if asked. When you respond, try to talk about things such as the values and belief you teach and live by, and how you treat other people.
Mention your leadership ability or potential, and your passion for teaching. Other things to consider bringing up are your willingness to do whatever you can to support students, your organizational and time-management strengths, and your effective communication skills.