Now that most newly minted teachers have graduated from their Masters and licensure programs, it is time to focus on the next big milestone: Ace that teaching interview and land a job! We know that this is a stressful, scary time. But rest assured, there are several things that you can do in order to prepare yourself for a fantastic interview.
Interviewing for a teaching position is perhaps quite different from interviews that you have had in the past. This is a big deal, for you and for the district. Placing a new teacher, especially one right out of the gate, is something that school leadership does not take lightly. On the other hand, when you get an interview, it’s because the leadership sees you as a solid candidate.
5 Tips to Ace that Interview!
You can do this! Take a few deep breaths, read on and try to incorporate the following ideas into your recruitment process.
- Think before you send. It’s suggested that you send resumes out to many organizations in order to increase your chance of landing an interview, right? Well, before you send resumes to 50 schools, ask yourself if this school/location/grade is the right fit for you. A way to ensure this is to read through each posting thoroughly as you consider a position. Craft a cover letter that matches this specific listing. You can rely on a basic template, but be sure to personalize it before you send. Your time is valuable, and so is the school leader’s time. Give yourself the gift of time when reviewing job postings before you start sending.
- Be prepared. Once you land that interview, do some research. Find out about the school, including the culture and values, curriculum, special programs, and who’s on the leadership team. Entering an interview with the ability to demonstrate that you have already studied what this school stands for will impress your interviewer. For a little more information on this tip, Glassdoor has a list of what you should know before walking in.
- Dress the part. While we know that there will be days that you will dress down as a teacher, don’t choose your interview day to start that habit. You do not need to spend a lot of money here. But purchasing an outfit that shows that you are professional and serious will help with the very first impression as you walk through the door. School leaders want to be sure that they are hiring folks that will make their students and student caregivers’ feel that they are all in good hands. Taking the time to ensure that you appear clean and professional will give you points off the bat.
- Be yourself. While you want to be the professional and intelligent side of yourself, make sure that you show this leader who you are and what you stand for. Show your enthusiasm, be confident, and share some background about yourself when the time is right. You want to make sure that this position and this school fits you as much as the interviewer wants to make sure that you fit within their culture. Be prepared to speak about the unique quality or experience you have that allows you to be a strong candidate for this position.
- Be an active listener. By this, we mean maintain eye contact, show through body language that you are actively listening to the interviewer, and ask questions when appropriate. Sometimes when we get nervous we tend to talk too much or too little. This is a balance that may take a bit of time to master, but it is an important skill to develop as you work through the recruitment process. Here is a quick video onActive Listening to show you what we’re talking about.
Remember, schools want to fill these positions! You have earned the right to sit in that chair and show these school leaders what you are made of. Take the time to prepare yourself for this very important step in your career. You will likely land yourself the job of your dreams…or at least a job that will work well for you for the here and now.