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interview faux pas?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by nurserynewby, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. I had an interview today at a top tier school in Spain. I was interviewed by the head of the junior school for nearly an hour. I was asked if I had any questions - I asked what I thought were resonable education-related questions. The interview began to draw to a close and I had the gall to ask in a meek and "well, here comes the inevitable question"-kind of way- about salary. An embarrased silence. Interviewer tells me he has no idea, as he is solely in charge of education - not pay and conditions. This is reasonable I suppose.
    BUT - while it is obviously bad practice in an interview to focus on "what will I get out of it", I also don't think it's reasonable to have NO IDEA about pay and conditions. I'm at the interview - I'm obviously interested. I already have a job, I'm not desperate - it must be that I'm interested in the school - why not inform me about terms and conditions? This information will apparently be divulged in a possible 2nd interview with the Head of the whole school. Is this normal practice? Was I wrong to ask? I'm interested in this job. I asked (I think) good questions... I left the uncomfortable question for as long as possible. Is this a hint that they're not interested in me? Surely it is not normal to go to a job interview and have no concern about pay, however suited you are to the school and vice-versa. Unfortunately I have a mortgage to pay and any decisions I make about changing jobs will be affected by salary.
    Does this sound strange to anyone else?
    Thanks for your opinions!
  2. embarrassed
  3. It would make sense for the school to let you know salary and conditions before a second interview with the Head. That way, you're not wasting everyone's time by going to an interview for a job you can't accept (if the salary's too low.)
  4. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Your question was perfectly reasonable and needs no justification. The only fair and sane system is for the school to apply a scale of pay strictly linked to qualifications and experience and to be absolutely transparent about it. Salaries in Spain, even in 'top tier' schools are generally a lot lower than in the UK and before getting down to the nitty-gritty some interviewers like to have the candidate throughly enthused about sunshine, fiestas and flamenco. They will also try to tell you that the cost of living is much lower than in the UK which it isn't any more, though the wine is still good and cheap.
    Some school Boards and many private owners around the world even insist on negotiating every teacher's salary individually. This is lunatic and causes all kinds of problems which you can read all about in my forthcoming book 'No Baboons in India'.
  5. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Sir, your sense of humour knows no bounds.[​IMG]
    Supply and demand often dictate that a scale fitting for one set of teachers is not tempting enough for others and therefore a flexible approach allows schools to hire and retain staff according to needs. I look forward to reading your book to teach me otherwise.
  6. I hope you get it from a library or some other source rather than actually wasting money on buying it, unless of course you like being bored to tears. His book about Wigan was such that you would have to say about Mainwaring's writings, quoting Mark Twain, 'once you've put one of his books down you simply can't pick it up again'. Mark Twain, a writer of great stuff, he actually mentions my great grandfather (who was a friend of Mark Twain's) by name in one of his books, whilst Mainwaring, well, a writer of bilge.
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    No accounting for taste, is there?
    I thought it was a good read, reminded me of a lot of the things that my parents told me about life in the past.
    Even though Mainwaring is younger than (a) my parents and (b) me.
    It was a good, interesting read.
    Best wishes
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions.
  8. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    No doubt yo' great gran-pappy served as model for Twain's immortal portrait of Huck Finn's father.
    "Yes, he's got a father, but you can't never find him these days. He used to lay drunk with the hogs in the tanyard, but he hain't been seen in these parts for a year or more."
  9. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Ah, young man, I doubt if I could teach you anything.
    Translation: Pay the expats on a higher scale than the locals. There is in fact a better way of doing it: The pattern used by the old DSB in Malawi was to put everyone on the same scale irrespective of whether they were local or overseas hire. The 'tempting' of the expats was done via fringe benefits such as a high standard of accommodation and an undiscounted UK return airfare which could be exchanged, for instance, for a round-the-world trip. Some schools also pay an expat supplement. Some of the locals will still moan about not getting airfares (to Zomba?) but the important issues are consistency and transparency rather than smoke and mirrors.
    The DSB schools were of a very high standard and I believe they still are though the DSB itself has thankfully bitten the red dust of Africa. The system threw up an interesting anomaly and the two (very effective) Malawian teachers I appointed straight from university immediately went onto salaries higher than those paid to their erstwhile professors. I appreciate that the concept of equal pay will be deeply shocking to colleagues who labour under the delusion that expats are invariably superior to the natives.
    My advice is that at the point when your interviewer says 'Mrs X, what are your salary expectations?' you should kick him hard in the goolies and run like hell.
  10. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I'm delighted to know that you read it. Which bit did you enjoy most?
  11. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Norway has an interesting way around this.
    Any employee in Norway can trundle along to the local tax office and see how much everyone else is getting paid and how much they have in their ( Norwegian ) bank accounts.
    The Norwegians are perfectly fine with the arrangement and in their view it promotes transparency and equality, as employers cannot get away with paying different salaries based upon personal biases.
    Funnily enough, non-Norwegian colleagues I mention this to invariably look horrified.
  12. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I think this is splendid, though I don't think personal bias as such is the main problem. School owners in India think it's good 'business' to get away with paying teachers as little as possible. It isn't, of course, because the pushier candidates invariably outbid the more reticent and the moment Mrs Patel discovers (and she always does) that Mrs Chatterjee is getting more rupees she starts scanning the sitsvac columns of the Hindustan Times.
  13. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    You're related to *** Joe?
    "..I swore I'd get even with you if it took a hundred years.."
    *** Joe
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
    edit: I would fix it to fool the censor, but it actually looks better that way. [​IMG]
  14. You have no reason to be delighted Mainwaring as I only read an extract, on your self glorifying web-site no less, and that was enough.
  15. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Hereabouts you don't have to trundle any further than my secretary's desk.
    Ever since the Great People's Uprising of 1974, employers are obliged to pin a spreadsheet to the wall. We valiantly defy this mad socialist diktat by keeping it in a folder in the office - a speadsheet in the corridor would make an ugly contrast to all that heartwarming Art Work from Year Eight.
    We do not, yet, have access to everyone's bank balances, but hey, why not? or hvorfor ikke? as we say here.
    Right back to the OP, let me add my voice to those who found your politely timed question entirely reasonable.
    What is <u>un</u>reasonable, self-defeating, timewasting and plain daft, is the attitude of the school.
    Pity the poor sap of a Primary head, not empowered to answer.
    We send a salary scale and list of other perks and conditions, (free lunch, flights, tuition for kids, daily ration of Mount Gay Rum) to candidates along with their invitation to interview.
    Naturally there are still questions to be asked at the end, about taxes, pensions, insurance, the likely cost of Marmite and gasoline, hourly rates for a muscular garden boy or a top-tier call girl and so on... but it saves everyone's time and dignity if the basics are known beforehand.
    Captain, I don't think M-M was just talking about ex-pats v locals. If you are the kind of head who enjoys power (such monsters do exist) and the law lets you get away with it, what is more gratifying than having a safe in your office crammed with cocaine-scented dollars, which you occasionally, capriciously open to reward <strike>toadies</strike> the meritorious?
    You are surely familiar with this system having worked in a certain school in Chile? And while looking forward eagerly to your Indian reminiscences, I can't be the only <strike>chupamedias</strike> member of the entourage who would pay twice the price if you were ever, as it were, to take the roof off The Barn and allow us a peek at the extraordinary fauna sheltered therein.
  16. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Thank you, young Bobb the Boulder. As ever, I dig the hole and you roll right in.
    Didn't good ol' Sam Clemens teach your ancestor that writing the review (Post 6) when you haven't read the book might make you look like a bit of a huckleberry?
    Having said that, I have to admit that my humble scribblings couldn't match up to your own mastery of the language of Shakespeare and Milton:
    'Mark Twain, a writer of great stuff, he actually mentions my great grandfather (who was a friend of Mark Twain's) by name in one of his books'
    Now come on, admit it, you got that from Faulkner, didn't you? The Sound and the Fury is my guess.

  17. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Dude: The slush fund is a well known phenomenon. However, with the exception of my own headship appointments (Gimme the Money, Mabel) my knowledge of <strike>eastern market haggling</strike> individual salary negotiation was gained entirely in India. While there were indeed strange denizens infesting such places as the Barn, the House and the Vi&ntilde;a del Och Aye, my Chilean experience (different from those three but every bit as weird) was gained at the College. Relevant quotations:
    The Principal listens to what we say but doesn't do what we tell him. (Student)
    Not a leaf falls in Chile/ the College without me hearing it. (Pinochet/ Mainwaring)

  18. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    A blindman judging the elephant by holding only the tail, perhaps, but I have a feeling no matter how much he reads he's not going to be a fan of Mainwaring. Was some sparring going on on a previous thread?
  19. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I'm sure Clovis would tell you rather loftily that he never spars. Being aristocratically descended from Adam, Charlemagne, the Kaiser and Mark Twain's personal pen wiper, he's strictly a Waitrose man.
    I wouldn't go as far as that. I occasionally have to discipline him for his own good but deep down he appreciates my fatherly interest in his career.
  20. Does this person actually exist? Stop, whatever. It is so boring. Baboons in India? ZZZZZZZZZZZ we cap the *** the moment they get in the vineyards in Kapstaad.

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