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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. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Touring a school's history department prior to interviews the Head of History showed us a shelf full of artefacts, held up a twisted metal spike and asked "Does anybody know what this is?" "A silent picquet?" I replied, when nobody else did. Correct. I saw something else on the shelf and politely asked him "Is that medieval pottery?", to which he brusquely replied "It isn't a quiz." Maybe he didn't know much about medieval pottery, but I didn't get the job - the internal candidate did.

    It didn't matter in the end as I got a better job later on.
    phlogiston, Jamvic and agathamorse like this.
  2. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Last year a freind contacted me to ask if I was interested in filling in for someone for the Autumn term. Apparently they had advertised and got no-one. I said I was interested (more for helping her out). The head of dept got in touch. Could I pop in for a chat? No problem. Then an application form arrived to be filled in. I did so and sent it back. Then an email inviting me for interview and could I deliver a lesson on some topic or other. At that point I told them I wasn't interested in jumping through so many hoops for 12 week's work. I had already passed onto them the contact for my agency, all they needed to do was contact them and book me.
    Jamvic, agathamorse and colacao17 like this.
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I don't want to go through the process again. I only have a couple more years left so hopefully I won't have to.
    Jamvic, agathamorse and nomad like this.
  4. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @Aquamarina1234 : A similar circumstance, which can drastically reduce your chances, is finding someone who left your present school 'under a cloud' is part of the interview panel, or works in the department you might be joining.
    Jamvic likes this.
  5. Katzenjammer

    Katzenjammer Established commenter

    I was once asked the second question, which I batted back - "You see that as a choice?" By then I'd decided I didn't want the job so thought that I might as well enjoy myself.
    Jamvic likes this.
  6. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    SCENE: A West Riding school circa 1960

    INTERVIEWER: After many years drivin' lorries for a livin' what makes you think you're fit to be th' head groundsman of a big grammar school?

    CANDIDATE: After many years makin' knickers for a livin' what makes you think you're fit to be th' Chairman of th' Governors?

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    However tempting it might be to 'bat back' a clever answer, your focus is on getting a job which will last a lot longer than your witticism. Nod sagely, click your pen and wait.
    agathamorse, nomad and mothorchid like this.
  8. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I cannot see that point of 'Simon and Garfunkel' questions, such as 'Would you rather be a hammer or a nail, and why?'
    The answer to this question is surely "I'm only a silly girly. I can't do DIY."

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    This is what they are doing. Look at your pen, click it. wait.

    agathamorse, mothorchid and nomad like this.
  10. kittylion

    kittylion Senior commenter

    Honestly this is true! I was invited in at short notice "for a chat", I had applied for a languages post. The chat morphed into an interview which seemed to go ok. Right at the end the head said "You don't play the trombone do you?" :D:D

    The deputy immediately said what a daft question and the head looked a bit sheepish and said he was starting up a staff band and was just wondering.

    I had heard the joke though so I had manged to reply with I don't know i've never tried.
    Jolly_Roger15 and agathamorse like this.
  11. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    'Right at the end the head said "You don't play the trombone do you?" :D:D

    i was director of the school staff-student. The HT bobbed out of a staffing interview and said 'Two of these candidates are neck and neck. Would you prefer a baritone or a tenor.'

    'However tempting it might be to 'bat back' a clever answer, your focus is on getting a job which will last a lot longer than your witticism.'

    Very true. Mr X and I, each with a few years experience in all-boys schools, were being interviewed for a post in a coed school. One of the HT's questions (verbatim) was 'Do you have any experience in handling young girls?' Mr X succumbed to temptation and said 'No sir, but I'd very much like to try'. I got the job.
    agathamorse and Jolly_Roger15 like this.
  12. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Perhaps they had already prepped the internal candidate to ask that one and you spoilt their plans. Possibly better you didn’t get it by the sound of things
    agathamorse and magic surf bus like this.
  13. defenceagainstthedarkarts

    defenceagainstthedarkarts Occasional commenter

    I think the problem with asking every candidate the same question is that there are things they may want to ask but be restricted to. I would far rather someone asked "why did you only spend a year in this post?" (nothing sinister whatsoever) than say in feedback "you only spent a year in your last post."

    I don't mind interviews. I loathe and detest pointless data tasks with a totally unrealistic list of things you would do on Monday morning and why you would do them in that order and I HATE tours of the school.
    ajrowing, Jamvic and agathamorse like this.
  14. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Reminds me of years ago when a new man who had been appointed to the physics department spent a day at the school near the end of term, telling us that he wanted to get a feel of the boys before starting in September. :(
  15. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    When I was CoG and on the interview panel we always kicked off with a question about the 'other interests' the candidate had put on their CV. The idea being to give them a couple of minutes to talk about something they knew about and were interested in and relaxing them a bit. However in about 50% of cases the 'interest' was complete BS and they knew nothing about it and had probably put it on to try and impress.
    I recall one young lady who put down an interest in classic car restoration. When we asked her about it she admitted that she was allowed to wash her dad's old car! At least she was honest about it and we actually gave her the job (she had other qualities and the HT had someone to wash his car) (I made that last bit up)
  16. defenceagainstthedarkarts

    defenceagainstthedarkarts Occasional commenter

    It's because leaving it blank is horribly soulless! You realise your life consists of the mundane!
    Jamvic and agathamorse like this.
  17. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Interviewer: "What would you say were your principal interests?"

    Candidate: "Ultra-violence and Beethoven."
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    A friend of mine was asked that same question in the 1980s when both she and her husband were interviewed for the same job (there was more than one vacancy up for grabs. Her husband was interviewed first and she had the chance to find out what they'd asked him. When they asked her about how she'd cope with childcare issues she was taken aback. She replied that she'd manage just as well or as badly as her husband would. They were both recruited.
    It transpired that they wanted one new recruit to take on gender equality issues eventually and she secured the job with her feisty reply.
    Jamvic, Jolly_Roger15 and agathamorse like this.
  19. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    A Lincolnshire HT of my acquaintance regularly asked young female applicants if they would be prepared to babysit his infant children. The answer he was hoping for was 'Not on your Nelly' and he was always delighted to get it.

    My particular co-curricular enthusiasms were theatre and music. The rehearsals just about doubled my contact time so when a HT asked me in an interview 'Would you be prepared to help with games' my answer was 'Not under any circumstances whatsoever'. As it happened, my reply didn't count against me but I would have preferred to lose the job rather than commit myself to miserable Saturday mornings refereeing sports whose rules I knew nowt about.
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. steely1

    steely1 Occasional commenter

    I had the salary question in an interview once. When I began to answer by referring to the salary I was on at the time, I was immediately shut down with "You won't be getting that much!".
    agathamorse likes this.

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