If you are a teacher looking for a new position, you will know that the interview stage is vital. Although most schools will want to observe your teaching, the interview is your chance to share your story and demonstrate your experience, skills and passion for education.
To help you stand out, we have put together a handy guide for performing well at teacher interviews.
Our 6 Top Tips for Succeeding in Teacher Interviews
Taking time to think about how you will perform in an interview and considering the types of questions you might encounter will help you remain confident and professional to make a good impression.
1. Be Prepared
Research the school before your interview and preferably organise a visit beforehand.
Read the school website to find out the school’s aims and read their mission statement. Find out about the school’s history and its current approach.
Look at the school’s latest Ofsted report and examine the staffing setup at the school. It will also help if you can establish more about the pupils, such as the percentage of pupil premium and children with EAL or SEND.
Gathering as much information as possible will ensure you can show why you will be a good fit for the school.
2. Build a Rapport with the Interviewer or Panel
First impressions count.
Make eye contact and smile even if you are nervous. It will make you appear more confident and engaging. Listen carefully to the questions and repeat them back to ensure you have understood.
It is fine to take your time when answering and consider your answer before starting. Pauses can seem excruciatingly long to you while you struggle to think of a solution, but they won’t to them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or ask for more information. It shows you have listened.
Although you want to remain professional, it helps to show your personality and humour where appropriate. Take the lead from the interviewer to set the tone.
3. Use your Experiences to Answer Questions.
STAR – Situation Task Action Result
Prepare for the interview by thinking about the times you have faced challenges with students and what strategies have been successful.
Most teaching interviews will include questions about challenging behaviour, parents, inclusion or dealing with different needs in the classroom. Being able to talk in detail about real scenarios you have experienced will enable you to tackle these types of questions confidently.
It is preferable to highlight a situation you have experienced, what needed to be done, the actions you took and the outcome.
4. Be Positive
Avoid coming across negatively towards your current employers or the teaching profession.
You may be seeking a new position because you have issues in your current school, but an interview is not the time to discuss your problems.
Present yourself positively by focussing on why you want to work at the new school and how your experience and skillset can benefit them.
Headteachers and governors are likely to be searching for someone with a positive mindset who can overcome challenges and bring solutions to problems. Be enthusiastic and passionate when answering questions to highlight your strengths.
5. Include Professional Development
Promote what makes you unique.
If you can highlight how a course, workshop or qualification has helped you improve in a particular area, you will be able to demonstrate your wider knowledge and experience.
Schools are always open to teachers who have specialist strengths that can be used to train other staff or bring in a new approach to a team. Focus on any essential or desirable skills detailed in the job advert.
6. Prepare some Questions.
Show you are keen and have ambition.
Preparing some questions for the end of the interview is always a good idea. It makes a good impression and will also help you learn more about the school’s culture.
You can find some ideas for questions here.