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Is it just me? - interviews

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by cuttingcaroline, May 5, 2019.

  1. cuttingcaroline

    cuttingcaroline New commenter

    I’ve applied for 6 humanities or history teaching jobs over the last two weeks and have been shortlisted for just two. While I accept that this is not unusual my increasing frustration at the treatment I receive during interviews this year is.
    Firstly, i’ve had my whole career dissected in front of me and been asked to ‘explain’ myself , regarding my last four posts as they were all short term. And then been told that I was an excellent candidate and that I was ‘appointable’ only to be passed over for a student who will be an NQT at the start of next year. I’m just curious to find out if other teachers have experienced this as this is the fourth time in as many years that I’ve been told I’m outstanding only to lose out for some ridiculous reason to an NQT. This time they claimed my lesson wasn’t as tight as theirs, while being told it was an outstanding lesson. There’s a shortage of teachers but I can’t seem to get my foot in the door because of what seems to be a cost cutting exercise. Has anyone else noticed this?
    agathamorse likes this.
  2. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    It's because the NQT is cheaper. They have to give you a reason so will come up with any old reason. Chin up and fight on. All feedback has been positive, if a little infuriating. Good luck!
  3. cuttingcaroline

    cuttingcaroline New commenter

    That’s my point, it was a cost cutting exercise and I wish they’d just be honest about and not waste my time. The feedback I got was **** too ‘you were a strong candidate but not the strongest’ , seriously, how does that help me improve my interview skills for next time???
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    This is what people tell themselves but is often not the case at all.

    NQTs will appear highly enthusiastic, have no history of unreliability and will generally be open to input and instruction as to how a school likes to deliver T&L. To many HTs this is far more favourable than an ‘experienced’ candidate with a disjointed career history. Also, many NQTs are very strong and just as likely to be successful as someone who has been round the block a few times...

    There is such a shortage of decent teachers available at the moment, that some schools are happy to pay whatever it takes to get the right person. Most (personnel) cost savings tend to be made around support roles.
  5. cuttingcaroline

    cuttingcaroline New commenter

    That’s not my experience so far. The position I was shortlisted for was for a Humanities specialist, which I am, but the NQT they hired was a History graduate only. It didn’t and still doesn’t make sense that they would take someone on that they need to spend the next few years training, where I can just slot in and use all my experience to do the job they want doing. I wouldn’t mind if my feedback was useful and constructive but it wasn’t, it was word for word what I mentioned in my previous reply, i’m appointable but his lesson was better than mine. That was it, no specifics, so I have no idea what I could’ve done to get the job beyond what I actually did. And FYI I was as enthusiastic as the other candidate was.
    DexterDexter and agathamorse like this.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Two interviews out of six applications isn't too bad to be honest. Especially for History and Humanities, where there isn't an acute shortage. Wait til you start applying for SLT roles in lovely schools...

    Four different roles in four years is going to cause question. Be prepared for this and address it positively, possibly in your application.

    How do you know that you've repeatedly lost out to NQTs/trainees? Generally speaking a head will simply tell you that you weren't successful. They don't tend to elaborate on who was appointed.

    You also mention elsewhere that you took a two year break and have done long term supply since. While this was almost certainly the right course of action for you at the time, it will have a detrimental effect on applications. It's very hard to get a post when you are an experienced teacher not already in a post.
    CWadd, BYusuf and Pomza like this.
  7. cuttingcaroline

    cuttingcaroline New commenter

    The only reason i’ve long term supply positions the last 4 years is because I can’t seem to get a permanent post in a good school, so I’m stuck. I’ll be honest , the sheer amount of emotional and mental energy it takes to go through the recruitment process for schools is pushing me to stay on supply. I’m a disabled teacher and the whole process has a detrimental effect in my health. Aside from that, I have outstanding references from all of my placements so to dissect my career in front of two other senior leaders during the interview came across as a bit rude. I have had to explain it to previous prospective employers but they usually take the time to call or email me for clarification.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Idiomas11

    Idiomas11 Occasional commenter

    I had this experience a few days ago. I have also worked in a new post every year but feel i left for legitimate reasons eg commute, opportunity to teach different levels etc. I have been shortlisted for every application so far but different story for me as I am MFL perhaps. However I can completely sympathise and have lost out to nqts. What are 'middling' teachers to do, exactly? considering changing careers as the situation appears to be getting worse; if there are nqts with me at the interview I almost feel inclined to pack up and leave; I have experience of all different mark schemes exam boards teaching styles etc and I have shown that I can still be adaptable but I'm clearly considered 'past it' at the age of 30.
    agathamorse and cuttingcaroline like this.
  9. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    It obviously made sense to those schools...

    A choppy employment record will cause interviewers to wonder why you have been unable to already secure a permanent job.

    You would be better served by considering how you can brush-up your own applications and interview performance than speculating as to why six schools have done things that don’t ‘make sense’ (to you)...
  10. Idiomas11

    Idiomas11 Occasional commenter

    Just wanted to say I apologise for hijacking your thread slightly @cuttingcaroline , really I just wanted to let you know that I was turned down for an NQT and received similar feedback to you so you are definitely not alone. I do hope something good turns up for you. You're doing even better than as it's way harder to get a humanities job!
  11. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    An understandable default argument.

    Your use of ‘often’ rather than ‘never’ will probably be ignored, so I’ll watch from my lurker’s chair!
    Pomza likes this.
  12. cuttingcaroline

    cuttingcaroline New commenter

    I don’t have a choppy employment record, i’ve worked consistently in schools since I qualified just a different school each year. And someone has to cover maternity leaves so why not me? I don’t see the issue and my employment record was not my problem it was the fact that it was dissected in such a rude way. If you were going to shortlist someone who has done 4 short term contracts in the last 4 years and that was an issue, the polite and professional thing to do is to contact them before interview to save both your time and theirs.
  13. cuttingcaroline

    cuttingcaroline New commenter

    I am already in a post it’s a fixed term one.
  14. cuttingcaroline

    cuttingcaroline New commenter

    Thank you, this is what I hoped for when I posted, not some of the negative stuff i’ve waded through so far. It’s just nice to know it’s not just me.
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    4 ‘short term’ appointments in a row, in four different schools, looks choppy to an interviewing HT, trust me.

    Plus, the interview is exactly the right time to discuss your career to date.

    I think you may have some rather naive expectations of the recruitment process.
  16. thedivisionbell20

    thedivisionbell20 New commenter

    I understand it's a frustrating situation and I'm sorry to hear you've had this experience. I'm an NQT and was just turned down for someone with more experience so it can definitely go the other way around. I think it largely depends on the individual school and their needs. The school I applied for really wanted to improve their results in this particular subject so were willing to invest in someone with a proven track record of doing this. However, if a school is stable in terms of results and sees a lot of potential in an NQT I can understand why they might choose NQT over someone with more experience.

    As hard it can be sometimes, try to stay positive. You will find the right place for you. Best of luck.
    cuttingcaroline likes this.
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Everyone always wants to hear that they weren't appointed because headteachers are short sighted, idiotic bullies, who hate anyone over the age of 22.
    Unless of course they are a 22 year old NQT and then they always want to hear that headteachers are short sighted, idiotic bullies who don't want the extra work from appointing NQTs.

    Not seeing the issue could well be a problem.
    A headteacher doesn't generally want to appoint a history teacher who will only stay for a year. If they have two equally excellent candidates and one has had four posts in four years, any head is likely to take the safer route and appoint the other one.

    Appointing panels cannot approach prospective candidates before interview and discuss their application. It would lead to all kinds of claims of unfairness.

    As I said before, you need to find a positive spin on this and make it work for you. Lots of people have periods of time where they move about more than is ideal. Talk about all the excellent experience it has given you and how you will use it in the new school.
    Pomza likes this.
  18. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    After a stint of long term maternity contracts, because that's all that was available, I too am finding myself unemployable. I'm MFL but don't get shortlisted apart from maternity contracts. I'm leaving teaching this year when this contract ends. Been a teacher for 24 years, but take some time out to raise a family and then move to a different part of the country for my husband's job and now I'm only fit for supply. I've taught GCSE and A levels to the new specifications but can't get a job. I know it's economics, I'm M6, previously UPS 2. But it's still very annoying.
  19. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I'm currently M6 having been UPS 1 - I accepted less money when I took this job because I wanted the job basically.

    I am terrible at interviews - I have had had many of them and not got the job on most occasions. It is only in the last few years that I have got better.

    I know that I will have fewer opportunities in teaching now - but that's fine because I plan to retire in three more years and go and do other things.
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. cuttingcaroline

    cuttingcaroline New commenter

    If you refer to my original post I asked if anyone had had the same experience as me, I wasn’t asking to have the whole thing analysed. I never said I wasn’t being positive and plenty of prospective employers contact people before interview. As for my naivety, you don’t even know me so that is neither here nor there. It was clear from my application why I have been in the jobs I have. It just seems to me that your determined to turn this post into something it’s not. I never claimed I wanted to hear that all appointing heads are bullies towards anyone over the age of 22 , my original point was that I’d experienced what appears to be a cost cutting exercise when the profession claims there’s a shortage of teachers. Despite only being at each school for a year, my data is outstanding and I’m a damn good teacher, I fail to see how I can be told I’m appointable by a head who then gives the job to someone else. I don’t appreciate a total stranger attempting to treat me like a spoilt child.

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