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Two failed DH Interviews

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by billymcbeard, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. billymcbeard

    billymcbeard New commenter

    Ok, so I have been looking at stepping up to DH in Primary for the last 12-18 months. Up until recently my letter and experience were holding me back. I applied for 4 posts and got no interviews. I did get one for KS2 leader in a 3 form entry school. Lost out in the final 2 as another candidate was KSL in a 2 form school. Got a lot of positive feedback.

    Now I have recently gained 2 interviews. The first one I was turned down at lunchtime, with feedback of not having enough different school experience (currently been in the same school for 6 1/2 years, next longest is 2 terms), not exemplifying how I would lead, and coming across as possibly difficult to mould. All fair enough and took this into today's interview.

    Again, sent packing after lunch. A lot more positives about personality and confidence with a bit of humour. Knowledgeable about my examples. This time, I need to broaden my experience but have definitely got a future as a DH (their words not mine).

    Firstly I just wanted to feel a bit sorry for myself and whine a little. That done, I wonder what would be recommended as ways of proving broad experience? I am current Assistant Head, have lead KS2, taught in 1, 3, 4, 6, tunred out very high level results in E* demographic, lead BSQM and renewal, mentored NQT, PGCE, lead wide range of curriculum areas including whole school assessment, am a governor.............

    Would be very grateful for; words of consolation, tales of others who have had to deal with multiple rejections and gone on to succeed, and how to augment my exprience.

    Thanks ina dvance
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I'll start with:


    I'll go on with: One of the top indy schools in the country had a new head some 6-7 years ago who (brave woman!) told everyone that it was her 12th interview that got her the Headship. Or possibly it was the 13th, I can't quite remember. Anyway, a dozen schools had turned her down.


    As for the feedback . . . both said insufficient experience - but they knew that when they shortlisted you.

    Interview feedback - they blamed my experience, but they knew that when they shortlisted me!

    The only suggestion that I have about gaining more experience is to look at the School Development Plan and see if there is anything on there that you could contribute to. Otherwise, just go with that bog pinch of salt about feedback.

    That's what you need to concentrate on! Two interviews is very little. Pick yourself up and eat that chocolate.

    Best wishes

  3. Skychaserhigh

    Skychaserhigh New commenter

    Hi Billy,

    Experience is often a get out of jail free card for heads that don't want to say 'we just preferred the other guy/girl'.
    It happens, don't worry about it. If they did not feel you were right for the school then you could well have ended up being miserable there, the right fit is very important, especially for a primary deputy. It is without a doubt the toughest job I have had.
    Perhaps they have an older, more 'difficult' staff who the head felt would not respond brilliantly to someone with less experience than them... Could be loads of reasons. Keep at it.
    To gain more experience talk to your head about the possibility of setting up cluster groups and working and collaborating with other schools. Part of my SLT have done just this and now teach, observe and work alongside other schools in the area.

    P.S. Wine and Beer work way better than chocolate Theo..!
    wanet likes this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Spot on!

    Not for a chocoholic teetotaller!


    Best wishes

    wanet likes this.
  5. AlongForTheRide

    AlongForTheRide New commenter

    Don't worry Bill - as disappointing as it is to be unsuccessful again, two interviews for Deputy Headship is not that many. You get better with practice and you will find a school that is right for you if you keep going. I had taught at just two schools and had been at the second school for 10 years before I was successful in gaining a Primary Deputy Headship. I wasn't successful until my 6th interview. It can be hard to keep going, but I so wanted to move on, so I looked at the weak points of my interviews and asked the DH and HT of the school where I worked to help me plug the gaps. They gave me very useful advice and made sure I had the opportunities to gain the extra experience. It's deflating to be turned down, but you've got to be in it to win it. I'm sure it will happen for you :)
    wanet and sabrinakat like this.

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