Dr. Matthew X. Joseph – Follow on Twitter @MatthewXJoseph
The market is flooded and the openings are limited in education but there are thousands of graduates looking to get into the teaching profession. There are a thousand more who went back to school to be a teacher and now trying to get your foot in the door and “get my own classroom” I visited many job fairs and the focus is very heavy on “Check out my resume”. Yes, don’t get me wrong the resume is important to get an interview, but that is where the impact of the resume vanishes. A resume gets you an interview – an interview gets you a job. As a principal for 11 years and a district leader the past two, I wanted to share some suggestions to help all going through this process right now. The below “tips” will help prepare an aspiring educator for an interview. Tis the season and jobs are posted, so it is on you to go in and impress.
Take a deep breath and relax. The person who is interviewing you knows that almost everyone has some degree of nervousness during the process, and will not think you’re weird or hiding something if you’re fearful – it’s just a normal part of the process.
Nothing can sabotage an interview like being under-prepared. Review your resume, especially if you haven’t read the entire document in a while. Make sure that your contact information and references are up to date. Bring paper and pen to take notes during your meeting.
Find out about the school district online or by asking other people. Learn what kind of services they offer, what type of “image” they have in your community, and what kind of people work there. Many interviewers are impressed when you take the initiative to learn more about their school, possibly giving you an edge over other applicants.
It’s not OK to list jobs you didn’t have, or describe responsibilities that were never yours. Give truthful verbal responses, also, even if you think the interviewer wants to hear something else. Being honest, however, does not mean you have to provide an answer that describes your entire life story. An interviewer will appreciate a thorough, honest, well-thought-out and to-the-point response.
Practical ways of Presenting Yourself.
Dress well, as appropriate for the position you are applying for. Casual dress pants and a button-down shirt are fine for many positions, while others require a suit and tie. Ask someone you trust if your clothes are appropriate. Avoid slouching or leaning back in your chair – this gives the impression that you’re disinterested and not taking the interview seriously. Keep eye contact with the person you’re meeting with, but don’t stare at them. Greet them with a firm (not bone-crushing) handshake – three shakes is the number of pumps in a traditional handshake.
Say hello, thank you, you’re welcome, and have a great day in all the appropriate spots. Turn off your cell phone
Sometimes the best resume, smartest cover letter, or even the strongest interview skills are not enough to persuade an employer to hire you. To get a job, you also need people who can sing your praises, people who can attest that you’re a star employee. Have names and contact info prepared.Also, talk to each reference to get permission to use his/her name and help them prepare to talk about you. Your references are doing you a big favor. “They’re not only investing their time for you, but they’re also putting their own reputation on the line. Never forget to thank your reference after.
Remember that the interview is also your chance to “interview” the district. Be inquisitive (but not pushy) about work environment
Questions and More Questions.
Many interviewers ask standard questions – you might want to review them, come up with great answers, and practice them. Practice these questions with someone – say your answers out loud to hear them before your interview. I broke them up into types of questions to help you frame your practice.
Here are a few:
Possible Mock Interview Questions
Focus is on Experience
Focus is on Instructional Skills
Focus is on classroom management/discipline
Focus is on relationship building
Good luck !!