Five Things Every Teacher Must Know To Interview Well

Submitted by: Milo Allen

You are a teacher who has come a long way to get to the interview. This article identifies five critical things you need to know to put your best foot forward in the interview and land the job you ve trained for.

1.How does who I am fit with who they are?

A key to interviewing and landing the job of your dream is to start with clear insights you, your preferences, what fuels your passion, and why you are the absolute best person for the job you are interviewing for.

Know yourself. Know why you got into teaching and why your temperament is perfect for the job you want. Don t be the highly-participative, fun teacher interviewing at the traditional pedagogical school where additional certificates get you noticed. Knowing your strengths and communicating them is what an interview is all about.

Make sure who you are matches well with who they are and where they are going. Learn all you can about the schools or educational institutions for which you are interviewing. The wording in the job posting will get you started, but talk to former student teachers, substitutes, or anyone who can give you insights into the culture, unwritten rules, and values of the institution that will hire you.

2.Know what they really care about.


Every employer cares about three things. 1. Can you do the job, 2. Do I/we like you, and 3. Are you a risk? If you stop at the first question with the usual credentials, references and personal stories about how wonderful you are, you ll miss two of the most critical aspects of why they interview in the first place.

By the time you finally land in front of those who have the power to hire you, they have reviewed your resume and other materials. You were asked to interview because they agree that you probably have what it takes to do the job. The interview is simply a final check on that. What matters most is the likability factor and that you don t pose a risk to them.

3.Know what they re REALLY asking you and respond accordingly.

Listen for the question behind the question. When they ask you if you would be willing to teach a different grade level (elementary) or teach a different subject (secondary) they may be asking more about your flexibility or even if you would accept a position other than the one you are directly interviewing for. They may also be probing your confidence to take on assignments other than what you are seeking.

See the question behind the question to respond appropriately.

4.If you don t do it wrong you ll do it right.

Don t cut yourself off at the knees by doing simple but irritating things that will rub them the wrong way. Cell phones that ring during the interview, poor grammar, bad breath or poor posture start off the list of the things you must manage to avoid distractions during the interview. Since we both know that they really want to hire you, think through the things that would detract from your charm and manage them.

5.Practice is the only way to prepare for tough questions.

Every interview includes tough questions. They come with the territory. Some will come from questions that arise from resume or credentials. Others are planned as we speak and are waiting for you to answer. Are you ready?

Think through tough questions like the following and have an answer ready. Don t memorize your response, but practice with someone else so when you are asked, you feel ready to respond.

Tough questions include,

How would you expect your principle to help you?

What would you tell a parent who believes you give their student too much homework?

Why should we hire you?

About the Author: Milo Allen is an Executive Coach and regular contributor on

. To learn more about how to interview well, go to


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