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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. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    I had an interesting experience in my first interview for a teaching job.

    I had been made aware two days earlier that my referee might give a bad reference (long TP story)and was rather sad about it because as the day went on, I realised that I actually liked the school a lot.

    THere were three of us going for the job, which was advertised as an NQT post. When the job was given to a teacher with three years teaching experience already, I was really disappointed.

    Individual feedback was offered and I went second. I was steeling myself for some difficult news, only to be offered a job teaching a different year. I was told that they had disregarded the reference because of the way it was written.

    What a thoughtful way of dealing with the unsuccessful candidate. She never found out she was the one who didn't get the job, although I met her on a course a year later and avoided telling her which school I was working in!
  2. Where do I start?
    1)There was the one where i was told that I "didn't have the spark they were expecting for an English teacher".
    2)There was the one where one candidate didn't turn up-after moving heaven and hell to get him/her there they interviewed the other 3 then sent us home. They appointed the next day-the candidate who didn't turn up.
    3)THere was the one where I had to give a presentation with the Head glowering at me and the Head of Governors staring at her watch.
    4)There was the one where the Head of English demanded that I define the difference between a level 4 and a level 5. That one was where I was told that I would be informed of a decision within the hour as I was teaching all afternoon. By 3.20 I still hadn't heard. My head rang and he finally got back to me, offered me a position at less money than I was on then was suprised when I turned him down.
    5) There was the one where what I thought was a member of staff came into the staffroom, he was the other candidate. The head then said "I know I didn't ask you to do a presentation.." and he interrupted and said "But I've done one" I gave up then.
    6) There was the one where the cheapest got it.
    7) There was the one where the prettiest got it.
    8) THere was the one where we were there until nearly 7pm.
    I've been told so many conflicting things that I stopped getting feedback, all they try to do is justify their decision.
    The best interview? For the job I've got now, they let me see the questions before the interview and gave me time to prepare. The questions were relevant and fair.
    I'm just pleased that I'm not the only one who has had such a rocky time.
  3. This one isn't a bad experience, just a weird one.

    I was applying for a job that I really didn't have the right experience for. My head had told me that she'd told the other head that I wouldn't claim to be able to do anything unless I really could. I felt I must live up to what she'd said, so when the interview got round to the things that I didn't have any experience of, I just admitted that I hadn't done whatever-it-was before, said I was willing to give it a try, and shut up.

    I got the job. Months later, when I'd got to know him, I asked my HoD why they'd appointed me. He said I hadn't been what they were looking for but the other candidate was even worse! In particular, she kept carrying on about how such-and-such wouldn't be a problem, until they felt it must be a problem after all. He said I'd seemed so confident, not making an issue of the things I hadn't done before. He didn't know what to say when I told him I'd kept quiet from fear, not from confidence.

  4. Not sure this happens down south but in my LEA one can apply to transfer between schools - still going through the interview process. Years ago I decided to try for a f/t post as opposed to my then p/t jobshare.

    Anyway, walked into the interview to discover my present HT was present in an official interviewing capacity.

    I was totally thrown by this but tried to overcome my shock as he smiled supportively. He promptly sat in a corner as far away from the other interviewing HT as was geographically possible. Muggins was sat in between the two - we made a complete diagonal line through the room.

    I had to turn 180 degrees to answer their alternating questions and became more an more uncomfortable as the time passed. To cap it all the unknown HT sat directly in front of a sunny window so she was almost entirely in silhouette.

    After the interview my boss told me I gave a disappointing interview...squinting at his colleague, looking harassed and uncomfortable and generally giving a poor performance.

    Is it any wonder??!!!

    Found out later that my HT didn't want to lose me and was pleased I'd fared so badly.
    My friend reckoned it was a back-handed compliment.
  5. Good heavens dontim you were persistent in keeping going after all that rejection. I was particularly interested in interview 2. I think there are many jobs where they know who they want before the interview and the other candidates are mere fodder. I wish they would stop doing this. Those who do the interviewing don't seem to realise the upset and knocks to self esteem which occur when you're rejected at interview. Perhaps if they did they wouldn't put so many people through it unnecessarily.
  6. I was told that 'well, you did not do so well at interview', and 'the selected candidate gave 'the best interview the governors can remember' and, 'really you will have a difficult time finding a post because Spanish being your specialism you will find it so much harder (this is the North)'. This all being an internal candidate doing the job for several months.

    Less than a week later I went for an interview at a popular and successful school and got the job! then the head came back and asked me if I could stay for another 4 weeks as they failed to get my signature on a contract!
  7. Been to an interview this week for an engineering role on the opposite side of the uk. 500 miles there and back. Funny thing is I did not even want the job, the job description just screamed boring. However I thought I'd go along and have a laugh at the companies expense, and it was expensive for them with hotel accomodation, 3 course meals etc. The interview gave me the impression that they just could not be bothered. I had a chat for about 30 minutes with the interviewer who was a Cambridge graduate basically about the weather.

    Got turned down this morning. The reason being that I was too intelligent for the job on offer and they would not have work to keep me occupied. I'm still laughing about it know. The expenses they are incurred are astronomical. I spoke to the guy on the phone before I went down there as I couldn't really see why he wanted to meet me face to face. My skillset is for a fairly niche market, however he was adamant that they would like to meet. God help this country, its going or gone to the dogs. Now the big question is do I have a go at supply teaching?
  8. What about the strangest question you've ever been asked on interview. Mine was "How do we stop yobs breaking into and vandalising the school premises?" Felt tempted to say "Buy the caretaker a Rottweiler."
  9. immediately after graduating and having thrilled to Officer and a Gentleman, me and a mate popped into the Army careers office.

    3 months later he had given up on the idea but I was sat in the office of a major in the King's regiment in York about to take the most humiliating (but ultimately very useful) interview of my life.

    You play Rugby I see?
    Good, good.

    Do you have a private income ?
    No. Dont I get paid ?
    Yes but you'll need money for a horse...

    Was your father in the army?

    Ah,(excitedly) which regiment?
    I dont know, he did his national service in Korea.

    Which school did you go to?
    No ***ton.

    Well thank you for coming in, it was worth a try.
  10. too relaxed so we didn't think you wanted the job
  11. sjk81

    sjk81 New commenter

    Well here's my interview story. By the way, I've been shortlisted everytime I've been for interview, still haven't got a permanent job to start induction year! I'll admit i'm not the best at interviews as I suffer from nerves etc... but surely someone can't have this much bad luck. Here are some of my interview stories in chronological order.

    1. Very nice secondary school, stsff were friendly an in depth tour of the school and requirements for the post were provided. Only 3 candidates me, a guy who'd been teaching for 4 years and another NQT. The head said during feedback that him and the HOD argued the toss for 2 hours between me me and the guy who'd been teaching for 4 years as there was nothing to choose between us... Guess why he got it? That's right solely because he'd been teaching for 4 years and I'm an NQT!

    2. In a school with a bit of a reputation. Only candidate. Worded the interview as though I'd got the job only to phone me 2 days later to say that they didn't think the post would be ideal for an NQT despite advertising the post for NQTs!! (Duh!)

    3. Worst one of the lot in a way. This was at my TP school. All the other candidates were saying to me 'You're a shoe-in for this one!' in a nice way. The job was given to the guy that said absolutely nothing through the 5+ hours that we were and just grunted and nodded his head to acknowledge the staff! After seeing the head, he apologised for the fact that there were 2 governors on the panel instead of one they were expecting (The COG apprently phoned the head to ask if he could come!) And kept emphasising that the Governors (Not him) believed this guy did a better interview that me despite him describing my CV as 'outstanding' and the references were '1st class' Staff in the school that I know couldn't believe that I didn't get it and were surprised at who did out of the candidates.

    BUT... (Waffling I know) that wasn't the end of it oh no! Bumped into some of the kids that I taught in September and they wanted me to come back (Even the kids who'd been little SOBs!)as the new teacher was ...(Insert offensive word(s) here!!!) Then I bumped into my Teacher Mentor from the school (He was the one whose job was going as he was moving into HE lecturing and doing a PhD) He told me that he wanted me to replace him and it was agreed in the department that they would offer me the job, but COG said no. Mentor told COG where he could go and stick his job and said he was leaving whether he got the FE job or not!!) Respect to that man as he resigned over my 'unfair treatment' and he was sick of being ignored! (Also told me that New teacher is rubbish and will not last till the end of the year after he spoke with HOD!!)

    Well that's my rant! All my interviews have been 'excellent' according to feedback so what do I have to do to get a blinkin job? (Bribe heads, COG?) I'm not giving up, I've wanted to teach all my life and i'm damned well gonna do it!!!
  12. Sjk81 - have a look at my contributions to this thread and you'll see that you're not alone.
  13. sjk81

    sjk81 New commenter

    Just to grumble on a bit more, I went for a long term supply job in July. (I'm 22 coming on for 23 by the way even though I sound like I'm 60!!! and a Maths graduate (Not a PGCE a Key Stage 2/3 Undergrad QTS Teacher from JMU Who can teach from Reception to 6th Form (Yet not a job where I live in sight!! To quell the moaners who will say move away, I cannot afford to, my parents aren't well off and it's about time I stopped relying on them for money!!)Anyway back to the above, there were 2 posts going (maths obviously), one permanent the other a maternity cover. There was a nasty obnoxious old supply teacher there going for it who looked down on me cos of my age and told me that I thought I would have 'got the message' having not got all these jobs!! (Cheeky !£$&ER! I'm not a **** teacher, I've had OFSTED give me Grade 1s and 2s on TP, Glowing references from uni and TP schools!) and a History PGCE grad who's only maths qualification was Grade C GCSE!!!
    Another supply teacher I met on my travels said schools are 'corrupt' I tend to agree in some cases. If your don't 'scratch the right itch' or 'kiss the right booty' you've got no chance regardless of your CV and references. 'Elaine C' look on the New Teachers Forum under 'What Happens If You Fail' In particular, look at No's 4 and 8 (The guy is 'bragging' that he's failed induction, yet he's still teaching!!! So I gave him a rollocking!!) Just think of the jobs that are being taken if there are ****** like that in every LEA (ALL JOBLESS NQTs SHOULD LOOK AT THIS!!!!!)
  14. when i was newly qualified i went for 5 interviews before getting some poor sap to employ me.
    I am truly terrible at interviews - i would never employ me. I get so nervous that i crack inappropriate jokes or say things that make no sense at all.
    Obviously there is a range of strategies associated with successful interview techniques - it's just that i am incapable of putting them into practice. I would employ all the previous posters here if it were up to me, you all sound so confident and knowledgable.
  15. Have looked at that thread and those posts, sjk81 and I agree it's disgraceful. I think that there are people like this in every authority and that the necessity of either boot (or worse) licking seems to be more of a prerequisite for a job than actually being able to teach.

    If I could go back in time I might have tried moving to the south for a few years as this was the way most of my friends got jobs.
  16. sjk81

    sjk81 New commenter

    Hey rubbish (Sounds bad doesn't it!)

    Don't be so hard on yourself, I'm not the most confident, I've learnt all this **** the hard way! If you'd have said to me last year that I'd still be out of a job and stuck with only 8 days 'babysitting' as work, I'd have laughed my head off! Some of my friends are in the same boat!

    My friend at my TP school who was an NQT last year is probably the shyest, quietest (but nicest!) person I've met, but in the classroom she's one tough hombre and can be quite sarcastic!!

    As for predicting the winning candidate in my experience, it's a lottery! (They could snub all of the PhD, NQT, PGCE, BA (Hons) QTS candidates and pick some bum off the streets if it suited them!

    If I ever meet the following people, I'd probably end up in jail for what I'd do!

    1. Charles Clarke & Tony Blair (His wife is chancellor of the uni I went to for God's sake!!!!)
    2. The guy Who got the job at my TP school
    3. The guy who failed induction but is still teaching!!!!

  17. what gits!! bet that did loads for you during the interview!
  18. Deputy head interview - some candidates sent home at lunchtime, me and one other asked to stay for the afternoon. Other candidate given the job. Feedback was that we were both extremely close, all questions answered well but at the end of the day they had to choose only one person. Told afterwards I was favourite with some of the Govs. but my height was a concern. (I'm 4'10") They weren't sure I'd be able to cope with year 6. The succesful applicant was a 6'2 bloke.
    It was extremely frustrating as my height is something I can't improve upon!
  19. shadocg

    shadocg New commenter

    Job I did not get was a surreal moment. I worked with a friend who had lived in the school district in northern British Columbia. When the interviewer for the district asked if I had any questions, I asked, "What is the environment like in school X?"

    Their response - "Oh, great. It is building up a great reputation."

    Me - "Oh, I guess that would account for the graffiti that continually shows up advocating the blowing up or burning of the school and the eradication of the teachers?"

    Needless to say, I did not get the post! In fact, I interviewed with 15 school districts in my professional year - and did not get a single job offer!
  20. shadocg

    shadocg New commenter

    Other surreal moment - district principal for another northern school district is giving me the standard scenario..."You teach PE and a young pretty girl asks to talk to you. You realise she has a crush on you. What do you do?"

    Me, "Don't shut her down, but don't make eye contact, keep the door open, have a fellow staff member around, etc etc"

    NOW, IF I HAD KNOWN...the man was later convicted of sexual assault on students..."Well, I would avoid the situation, don't make eye contact, etc etc...BUT, if I was you I would close the door and start to peel!" LOL

    It was like the fox was in the henhouse asking questions about how to avoid letting a fox in!

    He did six or seven years I believe - should have been longer!

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