Interview Q’s and Tips!

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As we enter the last few months of school, doesn’t always seem like the pace suddenly picks up?!  Besides all of the things that happen at the end of a school year, it’s also the season of hiring.  We have found ourselves in many conversations about what makes up a good interview question and what advice do we have for people on both sides of the interview table.

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Here are a few interview questions that make people think and help to reveal more about the kind of educator that is sitting in front of you:

  • Our school is well on our way to being a trauma-informed school. How do you define trauma or what do you know about trauma informed practices?
  • How might past experiences affect a person’s current situation? Describe how this might change your approach to our students.
  • Tell us about a “success story”—a student that you have had a significant role in making a difference in their behavior or academic performance. What were the issues/problems, what were their strengths, and what did you do to make a positive impact?
  • If we were to walk into your classroom, what would we see your students doing
  • Tell us about  “not such a success story”—a student with whom you weren’t able to be successful. What were the issues and what lessons did you apply from the experience?
  • Convince me to put my child in your classroom. (Thanks @BethHouf and @burgess_shelley!)
  • What are you reading to inform your practice? And how have you applied this new learning into your teaching?
  • What does your professional learning network look like?
  • What if your resume listed your failures?  What failure would you want to share with us? (Thanks @O_L_Mayers!)
  • If you could describe yourself as a toy or game, what would it be and why?
  • When was the last time you took a risk?  What happened?
  • Tell me about your best and worst day at work.
  • Take them around the building and see how they interact with the rest of the staff.
  • Have the person teach a lesson to a class or small group.

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Some tips for the interviewer and the interviewee…

  • In one of my admin interviews, the superintendent allowed me to look over the questions and jot down some notes prior to the interview. He said he didn’t want nervous answers, he wanted my best answers. I really appreciated that point of view and started doing this for my teacher interviews.
  • Be you. They aren’t the only one looking for a perfect fit, it’s okay to be picky.
  • Breathe.  Take a minute to think before you speak.  It’s ok to ask them to repeat the question, especially if it’s a two part question and half way through answering, you forgot the second half!
  • When they say, “Do you have any questions for us?”, make sure you ask only a few questions and be sure they are thoughtful and meaningful questions.
  • Follow up your interview with an email to the team, thanking them for their time and saying a few things about your passion for education.
  • As much as possible, answer the question by giving real life examples and experiences that happened to you in your building.  
  • If you are the one conducting interviews, be prepared to give people feedback.  You may interview a lot of candidates, but you will most likely be selecting only one person.  The rest of the candidates will be using the experience as a way to grow and improve.  Give them honest feedback to help them with their next interview opportunity!
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