Preparing for Interviews
Prepare yourself. Know the job description inside out. Research the school by looking at their Ofsted reports, their school results, their CVA score. If you are offered the opportunity to visit the school beforehand by one of our consultants, do. This will give you a chance to experience the school's dynamics, speak to the children and staff and get an idea of the sort of candidate the school is looking for.
Take time beforehand to view the school’s website so that you can learn more about the school's philosophy, mission, academic programmes, extracurricular activities, school’s location and more. The more you know about the school, the more likely you'll be able to answer and ask targeted questions.
Make sure you know exactly where the school is located, how are you going to get to the interview and if you are offered the post, how are you going to get there every day. Plan your journey to the school for the interview. You need to arrive at the interview 10-15 minutes prior to you appointment time. It’s better to sit waiting in the reception lobby in good spirits, than to arrive late and anxious. Remember on arrival turn off your mobile phone for the duration of the interview. You should dress formally for the interview. You want to make a good first impression, so looking professionally dressed and enthusiastic will get you off to a good start.
During the interview be honest and open; talk enthusiastically about what you do know and admit it if you don’t know the answer to a particular question. If the interviewer is investigating your classroom management skills a good question will be, “Can you give me an example of your good classroom management skills?” You should take the opportunity to expand your answer to demonstrate ways in which you manage children effectively.
When answering questions, ensure that you draw on your own experience. Give examples of times you have had to deal with the situation about which they are asking, how you handled it, how successful you were, what you learnt from it and, if necessary, what you would do differently if dealing with it again.
What not to do: the common mistakes
- Don't be underprepared for your interview. Make sure you have thoroughly researched the school and that you understand the job specification.
- Don't wear novelty clothes. Dress appropriately.
- Don't talk too much. Make sure you listen to the questions and answer them concisely.
- Don't be negative. You may have already have had some negative experiences in the past, but don't focus on them. Focus on the positive ones or talk about what you have learned from the negative ones.
- Don't fall at the finish. If all of your questions have already been answered during the interview, take the opportunity to stress how interested you are in the position rather than say you don't have any questions.
Be prepared: questions you could be asked
- Why did you apply for the position?
- Describe a lesson that went well for you?
- Describe a lesson that did not go well for you and what you did about it or would do about it in the future?
- What would you do to develop positive relationships with pupils?
- Describe your classroom after two months of starting your new job?
- How would you contribute to the school as a whole?
- What qualities do you think make a good teacher?
- What are your main strengths and weaknesses as a teacher?
- What strategies do you implement in the classroom to manage behaviour?
- How do you plan and structure lessons?
- What are your career aspirations?
- How do you envisage working with parents?
Assistant Headteacher, North Kent