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What's the worst feedback you've ever been given in an Interview?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Kat Harwood, Sep 28, 2003.

  1. Looking the part is how I have managed to spot the successful candidate even when I am not involved in the interview. It's nearly always the person who looks most efficient/officious. Unless of course they have a degree from Oxbridge in which case they can look like a bag lady and get the job. Panels don't seem to appreciate the wisdom of the adage that you can't judge a book by its cover.
  2. Usually just a letter. But I have phoned up on two occasions when I was very miffed about not getting shortlisted. Told in one case that I didn't have enough experience in teaching English Language A level and in another that they had wondered why I had done so many different teaching jobs.

    Got some temporary work in both of the institutions concerned where I learned that the person who got the first job had less Lang. experience than I did! In both cases I worked out that the HOD's were quite insecure and I think my MA was probably a threat.

    If I could go back in time I would leave off getting the Education prize and my MA from application forms.
  3. My favourite one was when I was told i gesticulated too much. Apparantly in the interview I used my hands too much and there was a serious fear that it would distract (Eng/Drama teacher!). The kids might have thought I was a windmill. I would hope that the school would have realised that their kids might have needed further help if they could not differentiate between a person and a windmill!

    Mad head anyway. A friend of a friend worked there and told me the next day that they head had started throwing objects around the room wildly when the governers disagreed with him so no one got the job. Was advertised two more times in the TES in the next few months!
  4. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    A couple of years ago, when I was unable to get teaching work because of the supply limit for NQT's. I went for interview for a Sure Start post. I had experience working with the under 5's in a Social Services setting and the post specifically asked for someone with a Health/Education/Youth Service background.

    I interviewed really well and could tell that the panel were impressed. We had all been told that they would need a couple of days to make up their minds, but I got a phone call offering me the job within 10 minutes of getting home. I accepted and looked forward to starting a new career.

    A couple of weeks later, the contract arrived. Salary had not been discussed at interview. The starting salary range was £11K - £16,995. As I had met all the Essential and Desirable Qualifications, I had expected to be placed nearer the top end. They were offering me £11k!

    I was sure there must be some mistake. I contacted the Head of the project, who had been on the Interview Panel, and was told that although I dramatically outperformed everyone else and had superior academic and vocational qualifications, I could not be financially rewarded for any of them as the Powers That Be had decided that a Teaching Qualification would no longer warrant any pay increments. Now, if I'd had a Youth & Community Certificate .....!
    I felt insulted and outraged and promptly withdrew my acceptance of the Post, following it up with a resignation letter, for a job I never actually started!
  5. I was once told that I was too professional (whatever that means). I was asked once how I was going to manage a full time job with a baby as a single mother (a long time ago admittedly).
  6. ElaineC.........I wouldn't patronise you by writing a trite comment. I can't speak about your situation because i don't know enough about it. I can only speak from my experience (and those of my friends - one of whom went for an interview today!!!).

    I'll happily chat if you want.

  7. OK... so how about thinking about this from the other side... I am the poor sod who as CoG has to give the feedback. Believe me it is not easy...

    I have had to tell people that we appointed no-one as we did not see a strong enough candidate and then spent 15 mins+ (after checking first that they wanted to review the interview - I know you probably want me to go take a running jump but if you like we can talk about what we were looking for) explaining why we asked particular questions... what sort of answers that we would be looking for and what sort of comments are helpful, unfortunately being close to the Tube was not a big winner! Suggesting courses which our staff had found helpful in preparing them for interview and offering to do mock sessions. I think I may have handled that one alright as one of the candidates successfully applied for another job which would give her the experience to get a Deputy Headship.

    This says nothing of the monosyllabic candidate who grunted through the interview and is perhaps the only person I can remember who failed to answer an open question with a whole sentence.

    However it is not all bad, I think my eardrums may eventually recover from the shriek of our new Early Years Co-ordinator when she go the job... Although I may have to change my technique at interview, as one candidate complained that I smiled at him and put him off!
  8. Every time I've been given feedback I have been told I "interview very well" but that someone else was better. I don't think that I am particularly big headed but there have been several occasions when I've met the other candidates, found out a great deal about them and thought that isn't how it seemed when I was talking to them. There have been several times ( I must have had at least 50 interviews in my time BTW) when I have thought someone else was better than me and they didn't get it either!

    In about 80% of the cases it was the most attractive female who got the job.
  9. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I was told once that I was too quiet and retiring to fit in at their school! That was after my HOD had said "And remember to behave like a lady when you get there...the HT is a friend of mine and I don't want you embarrassing me."
    I still think the rejection might have been a code word for "Too female". There were 9 interviewees, only one man and he got the job-even though he arrived half an hour late for the interview.
  10. This thread is particularly topical for me, just got my 'rejection phonecall'. I asked if there was any feedback and was told, 'hmm, not really you were fine', hmm that helps, booooooo :-(
  11. Admin Princess

    Admin Princess Occasional commenter

    Not really feedback, but awkward situation when I went for an interview as a Housing Office with a local authority. After the initial pleasantries were over and the interview proper began, it VERY quickly became clear (to both sides) that the job was way out of my league. I struggled on for a few minutes, then tried to reclaim a bit of dignity by saying "I think it's probably best if I go now, don't you think? Will save us all a little bit of time!" They agreed, and we parted on jovial terms!

    I'm rubbish at interviews (believe me, this is NOT false modesty!) and have never got a job as a result of one. Every job I've had has either been where I've started as a temp and been offered a permanent post or been a volunteer in the organisation and landed a job.
  12. There are two interviews I shall never forget.

    The first was early on in my career when I was still trying to get into FE on a permanent basis. There were 6 of us, 5 of whom were already or had recent experience of teaching in FE. The other candidate had only taught in one school during her entire career - a school which was in a very elegant, well heeled area. She had absolutely no experience of either FE or General Studies teaching and almost left when the decision making stretched until 8 in the evening. She got the job.

    The second was for a Second in dept. at a very tough school. The woman they finally appointed had actually embarrassed the rest of us by the way she had toadied up to the HOD and laughed uproariously at his feeble jokes. She had no management experience whatsoever, had been out of teaching whilst her husband was abroad for the past 15 years and had only recently started on supply in another authority.

    But in both cases they were attractive blondes. I rest my case.
  13. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    About a year ago, I went for an interview as a Learning Mentor. I asked for feedback when informed that I hadn't been selected. There was just one criticism, that all the panel picked up on and which seemed to have horrified them .... in answer to one question, about how I thought I'd cope with challenging kids, I'd answered that in my time as a teacher I had often felt that I made more progress on a 1:1 basis with some pupils who were a bit of a problem in the classroom scenario.

    Everybody on the panel took issue with my use of the word 'problem' in connection with children!
  14. Jubilee, that is ridiculous! You must have felt really fed up.
  15. Lol, what a good topic for a thread.

    The only interview I have had so far, I was told "it was noticed that you had writing on the back of your hand... and also, when you said you like to be involved in lots of thigs, we were worried that might mean you would not spend enough time getting to know your class."

    Well ***. Writing on my hand. I mean, that obviously suggests I'd be an awful teacher. As for the other comment - I almost laughed. As if you'd spend a year training to be a teacher and then spend all your time trying to do other things instead of get to know your class?

    I have my next interview tomorrow. Needless to say, I will make sure my hands are well scrubbed and I don't show any interest in being involved in anything extra-curricular!

  16. I really think many of these silly reasons are spurious. they are said as a smokescreen because the reporter is too mealy mouthed to be honest.

    I suggest when / if you are given one of these answers is to Laugh out loud, and say " now give me the real reason "
  17. Over 20 years ago, I wa trying to get into FE, at a time when universities and industry were shedding quite high-powered people. Like many, I suffered from 'non-doctorate syndrome' as, not infrequently, I was the only applicant at the interview without a PhD.

    At one interview at an FE college, we candidates, after a perfunctory tour of the facilities, were parked in the staff room to await our interviews. One by one, we were called for interview, and then told to return to the staff room. At about 5pm, we had all been interviewed and sat awaiting the result.

    Time went on and nobody took any more notice of us. Getting on for 7pm, a memeber of the science department came in, I suppose to get ready for his evening classes and, recognising us, asked what we still doing there. When we explained, he went of to phone someone, and came back with the news that 'it has been decided not to make an appointment'.
  18. When I was a student teacher i went for a few interviews after which the candidate who got the job was a student teacher on teaching practice at the school we had applied to.

    I'm sure sometimes they were the right people. However, once, after an interivew that involved teaching a lesson, I was told that i didn't get the job as the successful candidate related better to the class than I did. The succesful candidate was teaching his useful timetabled class as part of his placement; I was teaching a class in a school I'd only just arrived in that morning.

    Another time, after being sent home on the promise I'd be called later in the day and told the result, I rang up the school about 48 hours after my interview to be told by the Head of Department 'our man' had got the job. No reason /feedback offered.

    Oddly, the first interview I went to where there wasn't an internal candidate, I got the job!
  19. To ElaineC,
    You have obviously been quite unnsuccessful as a teacher and feel quite bitter about this. It comes across very clearly from your posts. Possible reasons could be the fact not that you HAVE an MA and an education prize but that you talk too much about them. Also, anyone reading this board could identify you. Just from reading a few posts, I know your name, where abouts in the country you come from and even the names and ages of your kids! I am giving pleasantly meant advice here BTW although I know it doesn't sound like it.
  20. Well hello melboyden and thanks for your encouraging posting. You may well have gathered that I don't particularly care if I am identified or not because I have given up on the idea that I am ever going to get a satisfactory job in education or anywhere else for that matter. And the bitterness has just grown over the years. It certainly wasn't there to start with.

    Depends on how you are defining unsuccessful as to whether I am an unsuccessful teacher or not. I have always been assessed as good or excellent whenever I have been observed and have above average success rates in exams. I am also still in contact with several ex students who seem to value me so that will do for me.

    I have mentioned my qualifications on this forum as an illustration of how it is possible to have everything on paper. In "real" life I only mention them on application forms.

    It's only because I know there is no point in my trying to get the job I feel has been denied me that I have been so open. Younger teachers in particular need to know that we don't live in a meritocracy.

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