This past week I helped at my school sitting in on interviews. This is the first time I have ever been on the other side of the hiring committee – usually I am in the hot seat. My most current job I had to interview over the phone or via skype. It was not the normal interview process but since I was on a different coast, a few different schools were okay with it and accommodated me.
We conducted all the interview face to face so I had the first hand experience of meeting these candidates and then picking the best ones fit for us. During these interviews, I could not help but wonder if there were a lot of people out there that just did not know how to interview. Is that a possibility? Beyond being nervous, was it possible no one ever gave them tips or they never researched the best ways to act or be during a meeting with potential employers?
Those thoughts kept crossing my mind through different grades, levels of experience and people.
Now lets take out the being nervous fact and lets take out your qualifications and lets address just how you should act when being interviewed. My tips are for how you should present yourself regardless of your qualifications for the position – because that was really where I felt candidates needed help.
Tips 1-4 are generally for anyone in any position. Tip 5 is more geared towards a teacher.
1. Be enthusiastic. Why are you here? You are here for a job. Not just a retail job or any job that will accept anyone, but a teaching job – which are not always easy to find. This is your time to shine. Brag about yourself – your accomplishments. Want the job! Otherwise – why are you there? If you are not enthusiastic about the interview, it will come across as if you a) don’t want the job or b) don’t need the job, which in reality makes it more difficult for you to actually get the job because the people who are talking to you, think both of those and that is not a good, quality employee. Smile, shake hands with everyone, keep smiling, like you are the happiest person alive at this moment! SMILE!!!!!!!!!!!
2. Answer the entire question. I cannot tell you how often it was that candidates did not answer the entire question. Even if you have a good answer for half the question, I recommend that you go back, either look at the questions provided or ask them to repeat the question, and make sure you have answered both. If you do not answer the entire question, it looks like you either don’t have an answer for that part of the question and it gives the people interviewing you a harder time at determining whether you didn’t have an answer or you forgot to answer it. Answer the entire question!!!!!
3. Ask questions. Sometimes in an interview you are able to ask questions to the people interviewing you. I highly suggest that you ask at least 2 questions. Make them meaningful and NOT about money. Never ask about money honestly – that will come with the offer, then you can ask more questions about money. Make sure its relevant to the position that you are interviewing for otherwise you are wasting everyone’s time. Even if there is no set part of an interview that is dedicated to asking questions, make sure to ask “Would I be able to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind?” or something equally as polite, but along the same lines. It shows that you care, you are interested and you want to know more.
4. Do your research!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know a lot of people mass send out resumes and applying and so forth, I am definitely one of those people. However, mass applying and then actually receiving an interview are totally different things! When you do get an interview, that’s because others saw something about you that was different than other candidates. This should make you feel special! Not everyone gets to the interview level. Now in return for them making you feel special, you need to do your part. You need to do some research on either the school that you are applying and interviewing for, the position that you are interviewing for, and/or the school district that you are interviewing in. It’s important that you show that you are interested by actually looking up something about the school or district. I know that we were always impressed when someone knew anything about the school or the district.
5. Know what you’re doing. What do I mean by that? Well, if you are applying for a 3rd grade position and are asked to do a demo lesson, make sure you use some sort of 3rd grade standard, regardless if you have ever taught 3rd grade or not. If you are interviewing for a specialized teaching position, make sure you know the specific words and lingo that you should be talking about. Always relate back to how you love kids and love teaching. Be confident with your answers. Use “I believe” instead of “I think”. Bring notes! Take notes! Know what you are doing!
I hope this is helpful to future interviewers and you can take these into consideration before going into an interview.
“Do I want this job?” should be a question that you ask yourself and if the answer is yes, then you need to take into careful consideration tips 1-5.