1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

How do you react when you are asked a non-relevant question at teaching interviews? Do you answer?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by z_a_39, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. z_a_39

    z_a_39 New commenter

    Some of the ridiculous questions I've been asked to date recently are:

    * So have you applied for any other jobs?
    I'm thinking "what does this have to do with you?" and "how is this relevant to whether I'm a good fit for the role?"

    * Will you be OK commuting to the role?
    I answered yes, and then they said "are you sure?" I was like "I just said yes. Why do you think I've even applied? And do you really think I'm going to say no at this stage?"

    * So what are you looking for?
    "Ummmm......the role that was advertised?"

    * What's your expected salary?
    "Look, I know HR decides the salary according to the pay scale and the budget of the school so why should I even bother answering this?"

    * Hmmm you look tired!
    "OK...kinda crossing boundaries. I'm here for an interview, not a beauty contest"
  2. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Apart from the last one, I wouldn’t see too much of a problem answering these.
  3. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Years ago I was going for interviews during the ‘abstract’ question era. Thankfully this kind of crazy seemed to fall out of favour eventually.


    What’s your favourite shape/flower/animal etc. and why?

    If you were a planet which would you be and why?

  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That's my thought too. The first 4 seem OK questions to me. I wouldn't necessarily have phrased them all that way but it's not actually up to the candidate to decide which questions are relevant! (Unless they are actually illegal under the Equality Act).

    Not discussing the salary question would seem self-defeating.
  5. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    That's the point at which you look, expressionless, at the interviewer for just a few seconds. Then say you'd like to withdraww fro the process.
  6. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    The commuting one I would take as a worry bead of the interviewer that needs settled.

    The 'other jobs' question is common. Sometimes just a curiosity as to whether you have targetted this job specially, or are looking around.

    'What are you looking for ' not a great one granted, but a chance to show a bit of yourself with a good sensible answer.

    Salary? I'd be wanting the high end of any range and say why.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  7. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Star commenter

    I recall being asked, as a young mum, did I have children followed by what are you going to do about childcare. This was early 1990s. I looked them straight in the face, asked them if they would have asked a man the same question, then after some seat shuffling on their part, I said I didn't think I would suit their school and left.
  8. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Is it permissible to ask different questions to different candidates, unless as a follow up question to get more information?
    When I was a head, we asked all candidates the same questions.
    Their answers were 'scored' by how much they said what we wanted to hear, and was one of the pieces of evidence to enable us to make an informed decision.

    So, assuming all candidates were asked these questions, there's surely no problem?
  9. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Interviews. Another reason to be grateful for retirement. I hated them.
  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I can recall the Chair of Governors (who was frankly getting a bit past it) asking me exactly the same questions in an interview for PSHE Co-ordinator as he'd asked me when I was first appointed some dozen years previously. I think he had them wriiten on the back of a very well worn cigarette packet.
  11. Katzenjammer

    Katzenjammer Occasional commenter

    Chair of Governors [who fancied himself as an intellectual]: What would you say is the use of music?
    Interviewee: As a school subject?
    Chair of Governors: As a phenomenon
    Interviewee: I have no idea, but Vaughan Williams said that music had no use, which is its greatest glory.
    [Long silence].
    The interviewee got the job.
  12. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I'm impressed you remember! I used to forget as soon as I left the interview!
  13. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

  14. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    When they're on the tour round school, and ask if you're planning kids/have any, in that sweet informal way...
    I'm too old for that to be an issue now, but I hated that, because in the formal part of the interview you could have said it wasn't a suitable question, but if it's just someone 'chatting' to you, it seems rude to refuse to respond.
    I wonder why you'd ask twice whether the commute would be an issue. That remind me of asking a toddler if she needs the toilet...'No...are you sure???????????????????/'
    Jamvic, jubilee and agathamorse like this.
  15. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I was once asked "What is the one thing you would you change about this school?" which threw me to be honest.
    I told them I would change the fact of that question being asked at interview and make sure that staff who currently worked there were asked it instead.
    They didn't like that answer.
    But I did.
  16. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Is it better to do the right thing or the thing that is right?
    Is it better to be effective or efficient?
  17. costermonger

    costermonger Occasional commenter

    If you were a superhero what would your special power be?
    I withdrew from interview at that point.
    The head appeared surprised. Muppet.
  18. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    "If you were a musical instrument- which one would you be ?"

    I genuinely was asked this in an interview once and I really cannot remember what I said.

    I got the job though.
    Jamvic, agathamorse and Jolly_Roger15 like this.
  19. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @sbkrobson: The 'now you have seen it, what would you change about the department?' question is particularly pointless when candidates have been split into two groups, (interview in the morning and tour of the school in the afternoon, and vice versa), and you are in the first group!

    @Katzenjammer: When members of the interview panel are competing with each other to ask the most 'profound and searching' question, leading candidates to be asked questions that were better suited to the subject of a Ph.D thesis. One that did the rounds in the Eighties and early Nineties was, 'How would you cure inflation?'

    I cannot see that point of 'Simon and Garfunkel' questions, such as 'Would you rather be a hammer or a nail, and why?'
    Jamvic and agathamorse like this.
  20. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I applied for 4 jobs when I left Uni. The place that took me was the first to offer interview then job, so only one interview. I left London and came back oop north and did supply, no interview required. I was offered a maternity leave, no interview. Then I had the kids, followed by 7 yrs of supply, no interview. The SENCo at the school I did most at offered me a TA job, no interview. Did that for 7 yrs but then had to go back into teaching. I had absolutely no idea what a teaching interview would be like. The DHT offered me a mock one and I thought I was going to be sick. In the event, the school I applied to had pretty much decided they were going to take me before I stepped through the door. It was a 10 minute chat but I'd worked it up into something much scarier and thought I'd never put myself through it again. And from that day, my other 3 jobs were via supply or previous acquaintance, no interview.
    Until the last one 7 yrs ago, when a DHT I'd been instrumental in getting sacked for staff bullying in another school wandered in late.
    But now I never have to do it ever again:). I feel deeply sorry for anyone who does. Worse than a driving test.

Share This Page