Great news, all the hard work you put into your application has paid off – you’ve been called for interview! So what can you expect and how can you impress? below is some great interview advice for teachers
Before the interview – Interview Advice for Teachers
- Find out everything you can about the school, read their website thoroughly, social media, Ofsted reports, performance tables and any coverage in the local press.
- Re-read your application. You can expect some specific questions about what you put in it!
- Prepare a portfolio of evidence to support what you say. So if, for example, you have referred to a specific lesson in your application, bring along some evidence from that lesson.
- Read carefully any information you have about the job, such as job description, person specification and so on. Think about how you can demonstrate that you tick all the boxes!
- Read up on the latest educational issues, look at sites such as Schools Week http://schoolsweek.co.uk/
- Use a list of common interview questions to work through and prepare sample answers. It is especially useful to think about evidence you can use to illustrate these answers as you will have them prepared when asked in interview. LINK TO OUR LIST OF QUESTIONS
- Prepare a list of questions you can ask while touring the school and during the interview. If you can base them on what you have learnt about the school in your research, so much the better.
- Make sure you read thoroughly any emails or letters from the school telling you the arrangements for the day. Ask if you are not sure about anything.
- If you are driving to the interview, double check your route and parking, if possible do a dry run. If not, use Google earth to plan where you will park and so on. If using public transport, allow plenty of time for delays. Aim to arrive at least 10 minutes early.
- Make sure you are dressed appropriately for an interview and for any activities that form part of the interview process. Aim for smart but comfortable, you don’t want to be worrying about your clothes during the interview.
- Make sure you are thoroughly prepared for any tasks on the day. If you are teaching a sample lesson, make sure you have all of your resources and have checked what is available at the school, especially if your lesson relies on IT.
- Do not over complicate your demonstration lesson. Concentrate on showing your teaching skills, subject knowledge and engaging the children. Make sure you have a few copies of your lesson plan to give to observers. Include in your plan where you would take the learning next.
On the day – Interview Advice for Teachers
What to expect
The school should send you an email or letter detailing the running order for the day. Common activities during interviews include;
- A school tour. This may be guided by pupils. If it is, they will probably be asked for their impressions, so relax and talk to them as you would if they were members of your class. Take note of displays and the atmosphere in classrooms.
- An informal discussion. This may be with a Head of Department or Senior Leader. Remember it is still part of the interview.
- Teaching a demonstration lesson. Heads know that you are teaching in an artificial situation, with probably more than one observer in the lesson. They are really looking for your teaching skills and your rapport with the children.
- An interview with children, often the school council. This is another opportunity to demonstrate your rapport with children. Be sure to take it seriously, the children certainly will!
- Group discussion. These are used for some secondary posts. Observers will be looking for people who participate without taking over and have good subject knowledge.
- An informal lunch. Again, remember this is still part of the interview process.
- The formal interview. Sometimes this will be broken up into two rounds, with some candidates not being called for the second interview. You can expect to be interviewed by a panel of people, usually at least the Head, a Governor and another member of Senior Leadership.
- For management posts you may be asked to give a presentation. Practice giving this presentation to someone you can trust first. Make sure your resources are of good quality, you know your presentation well and it fits the brief you have been given.
- You may also be asked to complete an in-tray exercise, where you prioritise items that you are given and describe how you would deal with them.
Tips for a successful interview – Interview Advice for Teachers
- Eat breakfast!
- Take a copy of your CV and all of your teaching qualifications and registrations with you.
- Arrive at least 10 minutes early.
- Turn your phone off or put it on silent. If you put it on silent, make sure vibration is turned off too.
- Don’t be intimidated by how other candidates look or act. They are just as nervous as you are!
- Assume that every one you meet is part of the interview process. Heads often seek feedback from staff about how candidates behaved while touring the school.
- During the tour of the school pay attention to what is being said and if appropriate ask a question.
- If you are given any free time and invited to spend it exploring the school, use the opportunity to get into classes and speak to pupils.
- Remember that this is your opportunity to see if you would like to work in the school too. It may not seem like it, but an interview is a two way process. If you really feel that the school is not for you, it is a good idea to withdraw from the process. The school needs to be right for you, as much as you need to be right for the school!
During the interview – Interview Advice for Teachers
- You’ve probably heard that interviewers make up their minds in the first few minutes of an interview. With this in mind, remember a smile and a firm handshake are really important.
- If you are unsure about a question, ask for some further information.
- Don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts before beginning your answer.
- It is quite common practice to be asked in an interview if you will accept the post if it is offered to you. Have your answer ready.
- Make sure that you make eye contact and speak directly to all of the members of the panel during the interview.
- Wherever possible, include examples from your practice to illustrate your answers.
- Let your enthusiasm for teaching shine through.
- Be aware of your body language, lean forward slightly to show your interest.
- At the end of the interview, you will usually be asked if you have any questions. Use one of your prepared questions, or ask something that has come up during the interview process. If everything has been covered, say something like. “I think all the questions I had have been answered during the interview process, thank you.”
After the interview – Interview Advice for Teachers
- Most schools will telephone candidates as soon as possible after interview to let them know the outcome. Keep your phone on!
- If you are offered the job, the school will expect you to give them a firm answer over the phone. It is best to be honest here if you have other options you want to explore, as a verbal acceptance constitutes a contract. Be aware though that if you are not able to commit to the job when offered the school may offer it to someone else rather than wait for you.
- Most maintained schools will pay teachers salaries in line with the teachers’ pay scale, but you may need to negotiate a salary.
- If you are not offered the job, thank the Head for the opportunity and ask for feedback to help you improve next time. You can also ask to be considered for supply work in the future. Do not think it is necessarily the end of the road for the interview either – many Heads will keep good candidates in mind for any further roles that come up so be careful to maintain a positive relationship.
- Look on each interview as a chance to develop your skills. Every visit to a school is an opportunity. Don’t be disheartened; get on with the next application. Your perfect job may be just around the corner.
Make sure you are fully prepared and try to relax and be yourself!