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Advice to interview candidates

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by henriette, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    I spant a day interviewing this week.

    May I suggest a couple of thing <u>NOT</u> to say in interview please?
    1) when asked if you have areas to develop, do not state that you have difficulties with class management
    2) do your research before the day so you do not find yourself asking the Head about salaries - these are a matter of public record and are detailed on this site, plus http://sites.google.com/site/tesfaqs/ and the Unions' website
    3) don't bullshit - if you are an NQT and you do not fully understand the question, say so and don't waffle!
    Thanks - rant over!!

     
  2. dizzymai

    dizzymai New commenter

    What if you actually DO have problems with class management? Should you lie? Wouldn't a prospective employer like to know?
    Or are you saying that just because it won't get you the job? But if that is your area to develop, why not say so?

     
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    It is best to give answers that a school wants to hear. No school wants to be concerned that you class/es will be running riot. However they won't mind if you say you want to develop your use of role play in literacy or your involvement in clubs for children outside your KS or that sort of positive thing.

    You should not lie, but nor should you highlight things that might not get you the job.
     
  4. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    My advice would be to dress smartly and appropriately! I have seen some weird and wonderful outfits lately and have ruled some people out immediately because of them - sorry!
     
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Exactly! As I keep telling people, only ask questions at the end of the interivew if there's a deal-breaking bit of information you must know - and if you've not had the opportunity to find it out previously.
    As an experienced head, I really do feel annoyed when candidates fall into the 'It will impress them if I ask questions' trap and then proceed to ask entirely stupid ones or questions to which the answers could have been found out previously. I've been asked about the length of lunch time (which was stated within the brochure sent to candidates), where the staff room is (they were shown it on the tour of the school), what date the new school year starts (contained in information sent to candidates), etc.
    It really doesn't enhance your prospects.
     
  6. Middlemarch, I think you're a bloody fabulous addition to this board and your no-nonsense advice has helped me countless times and I really, really appreciate that you take the time to share your knowledge and experience with newbies like me. But I think I'd be terrified of you if you were interviewing me!!! [​IMG]
     
  7. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    Having interviewed again today, may I add another, please?
    When asked "will you accept the job if it is offered" do not say yes if you are not sure.
    This afternoon we rang to appoint the person we interviewed this morning, only to be told no!
     
  8. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    Exactly!
    I would not say in interview that I hate marking, but I do!
     
  9. MayKasahara

    MayKasahara New commenter

    This is excellent advice! Admittedly I'm a candidate rather than an interviewer but I think that this goes for showrounds too. I have seen many people fall in to the "I must speak lots so they remember me" trap. On a pre-interview showround I attended a few weeks ago one of the other candidates insisted on asking a series of inane/ obvious/ irrelevant/ sycophantic questions in order, I imagine, to impress the head. The head clearly found this increasingly irritating and in the end told her to "go home and google that" as it was something he would expect a qualified teacher to already know. Somehow I doubt she got the job!
     
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I'd like to think not. I've done a lot over the years to try and make the interview part as pain-free as possible - including:
    * Telling candidates that if they forget or do not understnad the question to say so
    * Moving to a system of giving candidates a folder containing each question on a separate sheet, that they are asked to look at as each question is asked, to help prevent the 'All I heard was blah, blah, blah' syndrome
    * Telling candidates not to ask questions at the end unless it's a deal-breaker (I've usually done this when I've met the candidates as a group at the beginning, over coffee, telling them there are no brownie points for asking questions).
    I like to think that the folder of questions (only handed over once the candidate was seated in front of the panel, but it did mean they didn't have to try and memorise each one) was a good idea.
    Like others, I've seen candidates (being interviewed by and even alongside me when I've gone for jobs in the past) talk themselves out of the job on the look round.
     
  11. I didn't mean owt horrid - you just come across as very no-nonsense! [​IMG] Giving the candidates the questions is a BRILLIANT idea. I wish the Heads who've interviewed me had done this.
     
  12. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I know - after we did it first (and I have to say it wasn't my original idea - my deputy came back from a headship interview with it), I couldn't understand why we hadn't thought of it before.
     
  13. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    I had this on my final and successful interview - I wonder if you knew/know the Head there, Middlemarch, as I haven't come across it before. How funny! It is a great idea (except there was a horror of a question on no 9 which haunted me for the duration of the interview: there were ten questions!)
     
  14. So is there any chance of you being appointed if you say, "I'm not sure"?
    One problem is that you might have another interview the next day, you might be waiting for a decision from the interview yesterday etc etc. I have been in this position and always said "Yes". Luckily I've never had to go back on it.
     
  15. Although I can see this from the schools POV, from an interviewee's perspective this is entirely personal. For some teachers there might not be another option and with morgages to pay and additional mouths to feed it just might mean applying for and hopefully finding a job that they may not have applied for if they had choices - but again, that is entirely personal to the interviewee and has absolutely nothing to do with the school. If they think that the interviewee is the strongest candidate then there should be no need to ask the question. Having said that, personally I would never give any other answer to this question other than 'yes'. And I hate to say it, but if I then went on to get the job that I really wanted - that dream job, then I would pull out of the other one at last minute. And i'm pretty certain that the person who was the closest second would be thrilled. But I doubt that would ever happen to me!
    (Waiting for the annoyed HT's replies [​IMG] ...)
     
  16. I have to agree with you! I finished my PGCE in 2010 and have only just managed to secure a job for september. During my PGCE we were told that we were in very high demand and would be snapped up by schools - so I was picky as to which schools I applied to (I only got 1 interview and this was in the january half way through my PGCE).
    After September passed and I still had no job and realised my subject was not as in demand as we were led to believe (afterall there was over 100 applicants for each job) I began the 'apply for all jobs' approach. This led to me getting more interviews but still not that many. The job I finally got was my 7th interview but it took over 18months of job searching for me to get it!
    Unfortunately, in the current climate where there are at least 100 applicants per job in a shortage subject, one can't afford to be fussy! It really is a case of apply for all and cross your fingers. Those who have got jobs don't understand just how tough it is and how demoralising it is to still be unemployed after 18 months.
    Luckily for me I don't have any dependents, but I did have to move back home with my parents to survive being unemployed. It's not a desirable situation at all and I do think schools should take this into consideration. In an ideal world, people would only apply for the schools they really want to work in, but we are not living in an ideal world and you really have to accept whatever you manage to get.
     
  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    No problem, Minnie, as long as . . .
    As long as you went to the second interview, and then accepted their job, at the stage where School A has merely asked you if you would accept if offered.
    At that stage, they have not made you an offer, and you have not accepted.
    To pull out at that stage, because you have received a firm offer, is clearly (a) sensible (b) absolutely the right thing to do, morally and legally and in any other consideration.
    So no problem.
    However, however,
    If you had been offered by School A, accepted, and then went on to another interview at School B, I'd have your guts for garters!
    And probably so would School B, as you would be falsely representing yourself as free to enter into a contract with them, when in fact you were already contracted to School A.
    But that is clearly quite different from what you are describing as a last minute pull out.
    _____________________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
     
  18. So what do you think, Theo? Is it fair to ask this question in the first place? OK, I know life's not fair - but in an ideal world ....?

     
  19. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Me?
     
  20. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    Can I offer some advice to interviewers? Please don't bother call me if you're looking for an NQT - which all of you seem to be. I'm 20+ years experience, and therefore much more expensive than someone who's just finishing their PGCE. I'm also a lot better. Because teaching is a skill which takes years to hone, particularly the classroom management side of it. But you don't care about that. You want the cheapest option. So why bother waste my time inviting me to interview, costing me a day's supply money and then appointing the NQT? I'm getting very tired of it. Your website said, 'NQTs welcome to apply'. And I rang and asked specifically if you were actively wanting an NQT......and you said, 'No. You were open to anyone'. But then I find I'm your token 'old' person and you appoint the person who has done 10 weeks teaching, what - cos they're so good??? I don't believe I've had a genuine interview in the last three years. Oh - and please don't tell me 'you taught much the best lesson'. Yeah...I know I did, thanks. I'm good. And very experienced. I find it insulting to be told this by someone who has just appointed a different candidate. If I taught the best lesson, how come I didn't get the job? Also, please don't tell me 'you were a close second. If we'd had two vacancies we'd have offered you one'. I've a First Class Honours - not a couple of CSEs. Just how thick do you think I am that you have to patronise me in this way? Everyone I know who didn't get the job came 'second'. If you want an NQT - then interview 4 NQTs and pick one. Don't waste peoples' time if you have no intention of appointing them. Similarly, if you're looking for experience then don't interview people just leaving uni. I've heard young teachers complaining that at every interview they are told, 'we were looking for someone more experienced'. Read people's ruddy application forms, why don't you? And then don't call them for interview if they are not what you are looking for!
     

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