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What was your worst interview?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Waterfin, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. Inspired by something that came up on another thread, I thought I'd share my worst interview experience! I had learnt to play the piano relatively well as a child (no grades) and therefore felt confident to apply for jobs that required music. I was shortlisted for a job in North Wales and they asked me to bring 2 pieces of music with me to prove I could play.
    When I arrived for interview, I was ushered into a room where there was the full interview panel of about 8 and a piano. Before answering any questions I had to play my two pieces of music and 2 pieces I had never seen before - one of which they told me was the 'school anthem'..
    My great interview-question-answering skills were severely hampered by how stressed I was after having to sight read new music in front of eight strangers and I did not get the job!
    (Mind you, back then it was practically unheard of to have to teach as part of the interview process, so it could have been worse!)
     
  2. Inspired by something that came up on another thread, I thought I'd share my worst interview experience! I had learnt to play the piano relatively well as a child (no grades) and therefore felt confident to apply for jobs that required music. I was shortlisted for a job in North Wales and they asked me to bring 2 pieces of music with me to prove I could play.
    When I arrived for interview, I was ushered into a room where there was the full interview panel of about 8 and a piano. Before answering any questions I had to play my two pieces of music and 2 pieces I had never seen before - one of which they told me was the 'school anthem'..
    My great interview-question-answering skills were severely hampered by how stressed I was after having to sight read new music in front of eight strangers and I did not get the job!
    (Mind you, back then it was practically unheard of to have to teach as part of the interview process, so it could have been worse!)
     
  3. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    My worst interview was actually the job I have now. I had previously visited the school, spending an hour in the classroom with the teacher and TA and had a long 'chat' with the head. This all seemed to go well and having got the strong feeling that this was the school I wanted, I also picked up good vibes from the staff and head about their impressions of me. When interview day came I actually was quite confident for once and wasnt particularly nervous. I was the first candidate of the day. Bearing in mind that this was a part time job, I was expecting maybe the head, key stage coordinator and perhaps a couple of governors at most. I walked into the room to see 12, yes 12 staff and governors sat behind a long row of tables and a chair in front of it. Overkill or what. Well it killed me. My mouth went completely dry and I nervously answered the questions forgetting most of what I wanted to say. The head kept throwing me rescue lines to prompt me. Eventually my mouth was so dry I could hardly speak and discovered that they hadnt thought to put out a glass of water. Eventually one governor took pity and apologised for forgetting the water and went to get me some. I did recover a little after this, but can still say it was my worst performance ever and left feeling I had blown it. I drove home and the first track to come on the radio was, I kid you not, 'Had a Bad Day.' The only light was that I knew that the head and chair kept throwing me life lines and reminding me of some of my strengths and experiences, though I still didnt think I would get it. There was also a long wait for the phone call. When I was told I had got the job, I forgot myself in the excitement and said"seriously?" The head was slightly taken a back and probably thought "OMG what have I just appointed?", but then said that although it hadnt been the best interview in the world, I had won it during my visit. When I next went into school she was so lovely, gave me a hug and said "Bless you ,you were so nervous." Although she is long gone now and we have a new just as nice head, I know that this is one of the nicest and friendliest schools I have worked in and am so glad the head trusted her initial insincts.
     
  4. I just wanted to say that I had a very similar experience to you marymoocow. I think my visit played a big part in getting my job as the head remembered my name when I turned up to interview and I'd only met her on my visit before! My interview went well (I think) but the lesson was a bit of a disaster! on the drive home I was mentally preparing myself for the fall thinking i had done well but not well enough to get the job (against 10 otehr candidates) so when the head called to say I had got it I screamed 'ARE YOU KIDDING' down the phone at her! Spooky how similar our stories are!

    My worst interview was at a school I had been doing supply for. The lesson was ok but I was so nervous during the interview I had blank mind syndrome for most of it. The worst part was going back into the school 2 days later after not getting the job and the headteacher gave me feedback which criticised me for my praise of worksheets as 'that was not what learning in his school was about.' If he had actually listened he would have heard that I'd said I don't like to use worksheets, preferring to do practical activities AND the teacher I had covered that day had left the children worksheets to complete!!!!

     
  5. upsadaisy

    upsadaisy New commenter

    I had to interview when I supplied for an agency at the last moment. I went to the school and they made me teach the teacher's plan for P.E.
    This was to a Reception class doing gymnastics and the head told me the school policy in P.E. is that the children have to put away the mats for themselves. So here are these little 4/5 year old trying to heft the mats away, it was so crazy. Teaching a lesson I had only read an hour before, that I didn't plan.
    The panel was about 5 people who all just sat on chairs watching me teach in the middle of the P.E. hall!
    and no the position was not for a p.e. teacher, it was for a Reception teacher!
     
  6. My very first interview as an NQT. had no idea what governors were, lol! Well they weren't part of my training. I blagged an answer but knew how wrong it was, and as soon as I got home did some research!
     
  7. Worst interview was for my current post as Deputy head. My OH didn't want me to work in the school (special measures for 18 months before, rough area, very poor reputatation, etc) and we had a blazing arguement just before leaving for my interview so I was so angry and on edge when arriving at the school. There was an internal candidate who the governors wanted (but the head didn't), who was cocky, over confident and made the day really difficult by comments that she knew the school well and we didn't; as acting deputy she had done this, that, and the other; cosy chats with the panel all through the day, etc. and to top it off during the formal interview a governor fell asleep - unbelievable!
    Sat there answering questions thinking just let me go home i'm obviously not what you want. when i got the call offering me the post I couldn't believe it! Amazingly / foolishly accepted ...
     
  8. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Well, my worst interview was not for a teaching job, it was many many years ago when I applied for a Sales Rep job. In those days, smoking was not such a big deal, and at one point in the interview, the interviewer asked , "Do you mind if I smoke?" "Not at all," said I.
    I think he felt obliged to offer me one as well. At that time (1973) I did indeed smoke, so I took up his offer, chucking the match which lit both our ciggies into the wastepaper basket.
    As we happily puffed away and discussed targets and sales areas I was aware of an increasing amount of smoke rising from the bin. I kept banging on about whatever it was I was being asked, until the point where I realised I could no longer actually see my interviewer.
    "I think we need to open a window, " he said.
    Being a Physics Specialist, I knew this would not be good. "No, no, I can put it out, " I said, thinking this whole thing was some huge Initiative Test by the company (MEGA big, as big as the people who spill the oil everywhere today....). So, I upturned the bin and tried to stamp out the fire. Somehow (I honestly don't know how this happened, to this day...) the curtains set alight and we were both yelling at each other in a burning room. I pressed the Fire Alarm and we ran for the exit.
    I didn't get that job....
     
  9. worst interview
    looking at my feet halfway through an interview and realising I had odd shoes on!
     
  10. ditwee

    ditwee New commenter

    Not a teaching job...went for an interview in Newcastle somewhere doing an Admin job I hadn't bothered to research. I got on the wrong Metro (underground) train and ended up walking in an hour late. They did interview me (out of pity) but when the first question they asked was about What qualities I had which I could bring to this job? I went to pieces ... certainly not efficiency or punctuality or resourcefulness or anything. I didn't even know what the job actually was . Some sort of admin thing? Funnily enough, 10 years later I went to a job interview and once again couldn't find the office building in the middle of a warren in Leeds centre. This time though (having learnt my lesson) I carried a mobile and the office number. I rang - no answer - I rang again, and again and again. Not only was there no answer but the line was actually dead. Eventually, 10 minutes after my allocated interview time, I found a policeman who knew where the building was. It turned out they had had a power cut. Fearing that I| was in the lift going up at the time and had been stranded, they had forced the door open and were shouting down the lift shaft for me. In relief, I think, they gave me the job. I have never had an interview for a teaching position, and having seen how interviewees are treated, I don't think I ever will.
     
  11. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Almost forgot an even worse one, so traumatic/comical that I have obviously buried it deeply. I had an interview for a job which was due an ofsted in a couple of days and the head was in a state of stress. He showed me into the interview room and before introducing me to the panel shot off to tell the secretary something he had forgotten. The staff and governors looked mortified and embarrassed, before recovering and we made embarrassed small talk for 5 mins before the head returned. When he eventually returned I was half way through my first answer when the cleaner barged in to empty the bins, the head shouted "Oh for Gods sake" at her and I promptly forgot everything I had said. I never really recovered and having made a one to one tour with the head earlier in the day as part of the interview, I was accutely aware that he didnt like me. He pulled apart every positive thing I said and tried to down play any of my experiences. I was only young then and didnt have the nerve to abort the interview, but now I would have loved to have left the interview and tell him how I wouldnt have worked for such a rude and ignorant head if he paid me a million pounds. And yes they had a **** inspection and I laughed out loud as well a sighed with relief at a close shave.
     
  12. I'm loving these. My worst was at a (then) 'grant maintained' school in east London. It was a very peculiar school - seemed to have ideas above it's station in a rather grotty area of Lewisham. I was given an afternoon interview time but told that if I came in the morning I could have a look around the school. A very smart lady showed me around and made general chit-chat, which gradually became more and more searching. When she asked how my classroom management skills were I twigged that she was probably a senior member of staff - but being young and green still answered "oh - well - they're ok i suppose" Finally we went into the Head's office to finish our conversation and the penny finally dropped that she actually was the Head! Feeling thoroughly bemused with the whole experience I checked with the secretayr on the way out - what time my interview was scheduled for in the afternoon. I was told I didn't need to come back!!!!!! Utterly mortifying - but at least I know a little better now.
     
  13. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Another close shave Rach. There are some very strange heads out there with strange ideas of the way to conduct themselves. In my experience the heads that start the day saying they want to get the best out of you and are not trying to catch you out, are usually the ones that try to trick you and use underhand methods.
     
  14. cricketgirl

    cricketgirl New commenter

    This thread is hilarious! It reminded me of my interview at the local FE college for an admin job many years ago. I was invited into a small office and was greeted warmly by the 2 members of the interview panel. All went swimmingly for about 5 minutes, until the door behind me suddenly swung open, almost coming off its hinges, and a man with wild hair and sporting a cravat and a purple suit careered into the room. I stared at him; he looked surprised. As I tried to take in the situation, I realised that his eyebrows had been drawn onto his face in a manner very similar to the famous Macdonalds arches.......As the 3 of us continued to stare in amazement, he sat down right next to me and asked "So, have I missed anything?" Inside, my head was spinning - but I managed to compose myself and the interview continued without further interruption.
    After I left the room, still in a daze, one of the interviewers came rushing out and apologised for the interruption. "He's the Vice Principal," she said. Later on I learnt that I had got the job due to the calm way I responded to the "interruption" - and that this little "trick" was his party piece when interviewing candidates for any job in the college!
     
  15. FenellaF

    FenellaF New commenter

    Ha ha love this thread! When I left Uni, long before I decided that I wanted to be a teacher, I went for a job at Northern Rock.
    I knew I had blown the interview when she asked me what the difference was between a bank and a building society and realised that apart from the obvious, (bank only being one word and buillding society being two words) I had noooooo idea.
    She then asked me to think of a time when I had to deal with a memeber of the public who was being awakward, and I thought, 'F it, I haven't got the job, might as well humour her' and proceeded to tell her about the time I was working in a pizza shop and a bloke came in drunk and got his **** out.
    She was probably horrified, and call me Mystic Meg, but I wasn't offered the job. Had a great day out though in Newcastle, do it wasn't all doom and gloom.
     
  16. Thank you thank you thank you. Have had a really c**p day and this made me laugh so much.
    (if it ever gets too much and I decide to jack it all in I'm off to the pizza shop !!!)
     
  17. Lizamara

    Lizamara New commenter

    I know this is an old post but I had the strangest interview - halfway through the HT mother appeared and burst in stating she was waiting for her lift home?! The HT proceeded to let her mother sit in the interview whilst I continued to answer questions. The mother interrupted a few times commenting on what I was saying - she was positive about what I said but it was very unnerving!
     
  18. Turned up and did not realise that i had to have my lesson already prepared. Thought i was getting the topic when i get there and have time to prepare. (I was sent a letter but was not clear, hindsight should have rang!!)

    Arrived and taken straight to a Year 3 Class to teach Maths, made lesson up in 30 secs. It was a complete disaster, oh my days, even thinking about that now it seems unbelievable.
    Shockingly Im telling the truth!!
    In the interview i was asked, why i forgot to give the children the learning objective! At the moment, GROUND, SWALLOW UP!!
     
  19. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Hi all,
    My worst interview was 3 wks ago. I was telephoned by an agency about a permanent post in a school which was in special measures. The alarm bells did started to ring, however they were muffled by the feelings of desperation as I need a job or I won't be able to pay the mortgage soon.
    But thought I should try to get a job, after all the school does need teachers etc....
    Anyway I turned up at the school at 8.am- but the classroom I was supposed to be in was locked and the only key was with the current teacher. She didn't arrive until 8.40. From then til 9 the children were handing her presents etc so neither she nor the TA set up the class or switched on the computer. I was hunting around for the whitebaords, thrying to get them to log in- A TOTAL NIGHTMARE.
    Once the lesson started I had 2 people observing me- one was the head, the other person I wasn't introduced to.
    During the lesson 2 children wouldn't sit down, the TA did nothing about it. One pupil punched another underneath the nose the of the HT- they waited for me to sort it out. A 3rd child slapped another pupil. Wailing ensued, and then it was bedlam. Close to a fight broke out.
    After that I had to go through an interview as well- apparently there the SENCO had left over a year ago and no-one had taken on the SEN & EBD children IEP's.
    I have had a chair thrown at me but that was by a Year 6 child who was "upset" - however the class was teaching for the interview were y3.
    The man who was observing me with the HT happened to be the School SIP and he was also interviewing me.
    I am grateful I didn't get the job.
    BPG
     

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