Receiving an invitation to interview is something to be proud of; it means your application demonstrated your potential suitability for a role. However, the interview process is key to being offered the job and, therefore, is undeniably a crucial part of the job application process. We have put together some tips to help you succeed in your interview.
Interviews are an inevitable, and crucial, part of going for a new job. It is normal to feel nervous at the prospect of an interview. However, it is important to remain calm, level-headed and confident. Remember, your application impressed the school hence your invitation to interview.
Teaching interviews are generally made up of several stages, depending on the role you are going for! Typically, a teaching interview will consist of a teaching task, an administrative task (such as marking an assessment) and a formal interview with an interview panel.
Tip 1: Preparation is key!
Make sure you research the school thoroughly prior to the interview as well as the expectations of the job role itself (although you would have already conducted research as part of your application!). Refer back to the job description and make a note of how you fulfil every criteria outlined with examples to back up your answers. Download the school's most recent Ofsted report and look carefully at the strengths and areas for improvement; how can you help the school achieve the objectives set out in the report? Pay a visit to the school website and find out as much information as you can such as the school's values, the catchment area, the type of school and whole school news. Referring to this during your interview shows you are invested in the school and committed to becoming part of the team. Finally, go and check out the school's social media pages to find out what the school community has been up to.
Tip 2: So What?
Back up every answer with evidence! Always ask yourself 'So what?'. Think about what your answer proves. For example, if you were asked if you have any experience of working with Pupil Premium children, you wouldn't simply say yes. You would provide examples of times you have worked with pupil premium children and describe what you did, e.g. "In my role as a Teaching Assistant, I worked closely with pupil premium children. I was independently responsible for crafting targeted interventions to support them with their learning. For high ability pupil premium children, I would work with the class teacher to design questions that stretched and challenged them."
Tip 3: Pay A Visit
If you have not yet visited the school then make sure you do so before the interview. Visiting the school gives you a real insight into the day-to-day routines and atmosphere in the school. It will also give you the opportunity to talk to staff and pupils.
Tip 4: Be Up-To-Date
Make sure you are aware of current affairs within the education sector (and wide current affairs that will impact education and schools). Do some research into news and events that are relevant and refer to these in your interview, explaining what you could do personally in line with the topical affairs. You can visit the Kent-Teach blog to read a variety of education-specific articles.
Tip 5: Practice Makes Perfect
For any job interview, not just teaching, it is always advisable to practice answering some interview questions prior to the real thing! Ask someone you know will be honest and constructive in their feedback to conduct a practice interview. You could take it a step further by filming the interview and watching it back yourself to see how you could improve. You can find a variety of potential teaching interview questions online including in our blog!
Some of the articles we have published on teaching interview questions include:
5 Common Interview Questions for Teachers
8 Top Teacher Interview Questions
Job Application and Interview Tips for Schools and Applicants
Tip 6: Recognise Your Strengths
In your interview it is likely you will be asked what your strengths are. To prepare for this, write a list of your strengths referring specifically to topics such as classroom management, behaviour, strategy and key skills for teaching such as organisation, time management and adaptability. It is useful to again refer to the job description and person specification when conducting this task; but, always be honest! It is also good practice to discuss a weakness as well but present it in a positive light, describing how you can improve.
Tip 7: Logistics
Prior to your interview, re-read your application to refresh your memory, plan your route to the school, scope out parking and ensure you are well-rested and have a good nights sleep. Simple self-care routines, such as eating a healthy breakfast and making time to exercise, can also help you to feel prepared and ready for your interview.
Tip 8: First Impressions Matter
From the moment you step into the school building, judgements are already being formed. Smile, show enthusiasm, ask questions and strike up conversations. Remain positive and confident.
Tip 9: The 3 Step Answer - Point, Expand, Ensure
Similar to 'So What?', this 3 step answer structure ensures you have all bases covered when answering questions. Refer to points from your application, expand on these points and ensure you draw on your experience, giving examples wherever possible. For example, describe a time you dealt with a situation relative to the question being asked, explain how you handled it, how successful you were, what you learnt from it and what you would do differently if you were in that situation again.
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