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* * * * Interview Tips * * * * *

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by TheoGriff, May 17, 2009.

  1. hazcard

    hazcard New commenter

    another bump :)
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  3. As I sit here going over answers on the TES forums, looking for tips for my TA interview tomorrow I am thankful to katiekatie for reminding me of an error I made last time at interview. Several, actually. I was told I didn't express my enthusiasm for the job - again, because I was so nervous and the first question was 'why did you apply for this job' and I gave a very short and what felt like a gushy response, thinking I could flesh this out with my other answers later on. They had a sheet with a box to tick for each question, so even though I did enthuse about the job in other answers, they were only looking for the tick for each question and I don't think saw my answers as relating 'overall' to their list of requirements.
    I had also over-prepared and couldn't find a time to say half the things I had prepared, so this time, from the off, I will try to keep my answers to 2 mins, rather than the 1 min I probably did last time, but pack them full of information about how much I want the job and how capable I am, whilst obviously answering the question. Hopefully this will be a good strategy.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Some really good ideas from the poster A Kirk:
    Dear Theo,
    I have always wanted to write to you to ask for advice and such - but I found that most of my questions were answered if I did a thorough search and read other peoples' posts - and (if I am completely honest, I was a wee bit afraid of other posters correcting my Grammar...so apologies if I am bad at this!)
    However, I told myself if I got good news I would write here with thanks and a quick paragraph of my job experience...so here I am!

    I currently teach abroad and was looking to go back to the UK after a period spent working in the international sector, so I applied for a job in a wonderful school in England and was delighted to get through to interview (apparently 160 candidates applied for the post.)
    After doing some major research (reading their inspections, scouring their website, checking their extra curricular activities etc.) I arrived at the school, and 4 of us were interviewed. It was an incredibly gruelling process (all day interviews - group/headteacher/principal of department, a 30 minute teaching lesson etc.) but I kept bright and tried my best, which I felt was "ok" but perhaps not good enough when there was an internal candidate going for the job too.
    After a hectic and incredibly stressful week waiting, I was told yesterday that I had the job! It was THE BEST feeling in the world!
    I just want to give my advice and tips;
    1) Research the school thoroughly. Check their inspection(s) and from this, figure out what their strengths are, and what you can add to the school to build on this.
    2) Keep bright and enthusiastic - it is stressful and gruelling, and you may think you have ruined your chances (I know I did!) but if you keep focused and remember what you do, every day, as a great teacher - then you will be fine.
    3) Do not feel the need to ask questions in a tour or group interview - this was one thing I really panicked about before the interview - I felt I knew the school really well, well enough not to ask any questions, while the other candidates did - and when it came to my turn (all the staff looked expectedly at me when the other candidates had finished) all I said was;
    "I feel that, at this moment in time, I do not have any questions" and when it came to my interview with the headteacher I made sure I demonstrated my knowledge of the school by building it into my answers.
    4) Finally, I always made sure that my answers followed a specific pattern (a ripple effect, like when you throw a pebble into water), and when I gave my answers to questions such as Behaviour Management, or "what makes you a good teacher" I answered in the following way;
    Me (teacher) -> The pupils -> The school -> The community
    So for example;
    "What makes you a good teacher"
    Me - planning, preparation, assessment, delivery (etc. there is loads more but it's all about you!)
    The pupils - mixture of formative and summative assessment, clear expectations, positive atmosphere and feedback, etc.
    The school - professional development (if you participated or delivered some yourself) sharing resources, observing others, self evaluation of teaching, not afraid to ask experienced teachers advice, working with other departments, etc.
    The community - parents (how you keep in contact with them), charity links, extra curricular activities, etc.
    I find this "ripple" effect really helped me when answering questions, as I visualised where I wanted to go with my answers, and always had examples from my classroom. Not just that, the ripple was a calming image too in a stressful interview situation!
    I really wish all the best to everyone applying for jobs - and cannot recommend enough this forum to help you answer all the questions you need to know. Good luck and best wishes,
    Me. (AK)
  6. delma

    delma New commenter

    Another bump. I have just read AKirk's post and I am very impressed with the last section of advice. It is a good way of answering challenging questions thoroughly and addresses all aspects of school life.
    Thanks so much for sharing. Just waiting for an interview...ho hum.
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Ready for more interviews
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Even more interviews coming up
  9. Theo,
    Keep your fingers crossed for me. Primary headship interview next week. Sleepless nights trying to guess the questions!
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Go to SMT Forum and do a search there - I think you'll find that there are interview questions for headships and deputies. The actual Headteacher Forum is no good, as it has only been recently set up.
  11. I generally only lurk on this forum, taking note of the overall advice, mainly as I teach internationally and some advice is not fully relevant to international teaching. By that I mean the advice re:CV for example. I still need to keep mine up-to-date and (hopefully) under 2 pages which gets more difficult as time goes on.
    Apart from a bump, I wanted to remind people of something that I thought important. YOU have to blow your own trumpet as no-one else is going to do it for you. Anticipating interview questions is important, but there are thousands you could be asked so it is important to get YOUR excellence across.
    My strategy is: Smile, be enthusiastic and keep a list at home beforehand on which you list your brilliant and wonderful abilities. Look at it often and stay positive.
  12. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Haven't had a formal interview for many years but some personal advice I was given yesterday (from someone who know me) for a forthcoming interview (whoopee!) was:
    it's good to show enthusiasm but don't talk too much! Just answer the question and give an example. (Remember to breathe and think before you answer too)
    Hope this can help someone (and me! Though I've been warned I'm up against a strong field of candidates and my lack of recent permanent work and interviews may mean I won't show to my best. We'll see!)
  13. Hi There,
    I have an interview coming up for a PE Teachers position. I want to know what a good answer would be to the following questions because the ones I have I don't think are good enough. The questions I need help with are:
    What what a good lesson look like? (Ibelieve I teach good lessons but am not very good at selling myself).
    What is my teaching philosophy? Is it wrong that I don't think I have one? I just want the pupils to do as well as they possibly can and I think I do this with a 'no fear of being laughed at atmosphere.
    And generally I need some tips on how I can sell myself.
  14. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    What does a good lesson look like. Simply that pupils are engaged and busy -for PE aware of safety issues, and pupils make progress and achieve. Try looking at some Ofsted criteria for other ideas.
    Yes you have a teaching philosphy, you probably just don't couch it in what you think of as acceptable terminology.
    Just deveop that idea.
    Best of luck with your interview, mine's been postponed due to the snow.
  15. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I had an interview today and the question I'd found it really difficult to find an answer for in my preparation was inevitably one of the ones they'd asked.
    It was 'Describe a really successful lesson you've taught!' If I'd been asked to say one which hadn't gone so well and how to improve, it would have been easy but to be that positive- I couldn't come up with a single example. So I 'waffled' about the ingredients of a successful lesson. Perhaps that's because I'm always reflecting on my practice and looking for improvement? As teachers it's too easy to 'beat ourselves up' and not look for the good points. So now I'm off to reflect how to answer that one next time.
  16. Dear Theo and all the staff at the TES,
    I would just like to say a great big thank you for such a great resource for teachers. After many interviews, I finally got a permanent job.
    If it weren't for your list of possible interview questions and a glance over "what are they looking for during an interview lesson" as well as thinking about 3 key points in detail about myself I may not have done as well as I did.
    I just want to say to all NQTs, don't give up. I had lots of interviews but each time I learnt a bit more about how to do them. The same questions seem to always come up. It's a super idea to think about 3 selling points in some depth and try to use these points to answer any questions, especially if like me, you are modest and not very good at selling yourself. Also think about the type of lesson you want to teach. I had a choice between doing a literacy and maths interview lesson. I normally go for literacy as I am not so keen on maths, but with maths you can really go to town with kinasthetic resources and I taught a very successful lesson during my interview.
    I have previously been really fussy about the year I wanted to teach in and was advised to go for a year I feel most confident in. I hadn't even considered the year I will be teaching for my NQT year but after doing some supply, I soon changed my mind!
    Wishing all NQTs the best of luck and don't give up!


  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    More interviews planned . . .
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    And more . . .

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