Whether you are fresh out of teaching college or an experienced member of staff looking for a new challenge, the prospect of going to an interview may well fill you with dread.
If you haven’t been to an interview for a teaching post before – or it’s been a while – you might be feeling apprehensive about what information you will be asked to provide.
Here are seven hints and tips which might help you prepare for that all-important interview.
1) Talk to the agency
If you have secured the interview via an agency, you may not have as much information about the position as if you found the job elsewhere.
Before you go any further it is a very good idea to talk to the agency and find out what other information they have about the post. Although you might know what department the job is in and the basics, the agency may be able to fill in some of the gaps. For example, the school may be looking for a particular type of person or there could be some extra responsibilities – getting the inside scoop could give you a head start on the other candidates!
2) Research, research, research
Even if the agency are able to provide you with a lot of background information, going online to see what else you can dig up is a good idea.
You are bound to be asked why you want to work for the school, or possibly what you already know about it; being forced to shrug your shoulders blankly isn’t going to look good!
3) Run through your CV
You may think you can remember exactly what is on your CV but many interviews will focus on the content and interviewers could come up with something you don’t remember including! Make sure there is no chance of being caught unawares by reading back over your CV so you have a fresh recollection of what information you chose to include.
No-one is suggesting that you would deliberately include false information but if you put the CV together a while ago, you might have forgotten some of the details you jotted down.
It could also be useful to check how you have phrased things; if anything is ambiguous you could be asked to explain in more detail. Make sure you know what you were trying to convey!
4) Match your skills to the role
Taking some time to think about how your experience and knowledge fulfils the key requirements of the new position could stand you in good stead during the interview.
The criteria for the post should give you an idea of the kind of thing the school is looking for; consider in advance what skills you have which would tick their boxes. Once you have assimilated this information, keep it in mind, and drop it casually into interview answers during the day.
5) Don’t get caught out
If this is your first teaching interview, you could be in for a bit of a surprise. Unlike other positions where you simply turn up and have a bit of a chat, you may be required to demonstrate your expertise.
For this reason, it is critical that you establish in advance whether you will need to provide a practical demonstration on the day so that you can prepare ready for the interview. Typical requests including presenting a lesson plan and although you might have many that you have already done in practice, trying to recall the fine details unexpectedly at an interview is usually a fatal combination.
6) Ask for help
If you got the interview as a result of signing up with an agency, don’t be scared to ask for some help.
The agency will want you to get the job and will be more than happy to support you in any way they can that increases your chances of success.
If you are out of practice or inexperienced at interviews, you could ask the agency whether they could provide any coaching or feedback on role-play.
7) Get everything ready
Even if you think you know where you are going and what you are going to wear, double check everything the night before.
Double-check your clothes to make sure no buttons have fallen off, and plan your route to the interview site. It might be worth checking there are no road works or diversions as that could easily derail your plans and send you into a tailspin.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking but once you are into the swing of things, you will probably find your butterflies disappear. However, by following the above hints and tips you will be as well prepared as possible, which should ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
An article by Nathan Griffiths who recommends visiting www.timeplan.com/ for a wide range of teaching jobs.