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best interview questions

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mathsnmusic, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. mathsnmusic

    mathsnmusic New commenter

    What are the best interview questions you've asked/been asked? I was once asked to explain why when you enter 'tan 90' into a calculator, the calculator returns 'maths error'. I didn't explain it very well and didn't get the job.
    I will be asking a 'subject knowledge' question (not this one) in interviews tomorrow and was wondering what good ones people have used in the past.
  2. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    The hardest subject knowledge question I have had is how to introduce "e" for the first time to an A level class. Fortunately I had taught it for the first time earlier that year and had done some research into how to introduce it. I got the job!
  3. I was once asked how I would teach Differentiation.
    Apparently some candidates mis-understood the question and started talking about how they provided differentiated tasks in lessons.

  4. I once asked candidates to explain how you would convince a year 9 student who thought that 1/4 + 1/3 = 2/7 that they were wrong (I actually showed them the sum on paper).

    A few said they'd turn them into decimals and show the error; a few said they'd draw pictures.

    A few said they'd just 'show them how to do it properly.

    One said "is this a trick question? It is 2/7" - he didn't get the job!
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Paper, scissors and a ruler - would love that question!

    I've had the "If you were a biscuit, what would you be?" - I seriously don't get why people would ask that question.
    I went for a post recently as a hospital / children out of normal school teacher. How would you engage a teenager who did not want to do your lesson? Gave the spiel about ensuring at the right level, giving work based around something that motivated them, make it practical, visual, ensure they understand it. Make sure there's nothing else going on. OK - what if they still don't want to do it?
    That stumped me - I said I would seek advice from a more experienced colleague about how they would handle such a situation. Don't know if that was the right answer - but did not get the job. Apparently though, she liked my answers.
  6. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I knew a chap who did this once upon a time. One week the kids would be there, the next week they would not be, as they had either left the hospital or, sadly, passed away.
    He found it very emotionally draining. Perhaps they were trying to figure out what would you do to motivate a child who knew they only had a few months to live? I rather doubt that there are any easy answers.
  7. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    I'd take it as an invitation to walk to my car and drive away, never looking back.

    (So perhaps it serves a purpose to identify people like me who clearly wouldn't fit in with the ethos of the department?)
  8. For upcoming interviews I shall be asking:
    "Would you be sitting in front of me if there hadnt been a banking collapse in the last 3-4 years?"
  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I was asked by a particularly pompous don at a an Oxford College "which page in the newspaper do you turn to first?". Deciding on the spot that I couldn't face being taught by him for 3 years - he and his two colleagues had already gone out of their way to make the interview uncomfortable for the candidate - I said " the sport". The follow up question, "which page do you turn to next?" was quickly dealt with; "the cartoons". At that point they gave up, and we did talk about some Maths for a bit.

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