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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. In one of the first of my many unsuccessful interviews as an NQT the letter to invite me to interview arrived less than 24 hours before the interview - they hadn't put a stamp on it.
    Talk about not recognising the signs. After paying the 86p postal fee I managed to put together the requested 10 minute presentation on 'Life in My Classroom' (in my lunchtime), work out where the school was and do a practice drive there that night (I'd missed the Walk Around for interview candidates) and not sleep much at all.
    When I got to the school I was told they were running a bit
    late. I was shown into a cupboard-like office crammed with junk, not
    offered any tea or coffee and was left there for 2 hours. I get
    unbearably nervous for interviews and during the time I was stuck in
    the cupboard my panic mounted and I started shaking like a leaf. I
    narrowly avoided just walking out of the school and driving away.
    I soon wished I had. First
    question: 'As you know next year we're moving to a brand new fully
    open-plan school building.' (I didn't know that having not been able to come to the Walk
    Around and in my pre-interview panic had somehow missed the giant
    building site next to the school.) 'What do you see as the challenges
    of working in an open-plan school environment?' Feedback - my presentation was the best they saw, I was obviously super confident. They had 5 posts in that school. I didn't get any of them. 4 new posts were advertised again a couple of months later and they continue to be.
  2. Awful. I shuddered just reading that. I think too many schools are just too awful on recruitment procedures.
    Thing is, what with the economic climate now, schools can probably afford to be choosy, so candidates are increasingly likely to be treated poorly.
    It is VITAL, IMHO, to visit a school before applying ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS!!! I've had some narrow escapes that way recently, like the head who talked about the "army" children (erratic and unreliable), the "council estate" (don't know any better) children, the "middle class" children (never give us any problems). After a tortuous half hour with her, she needed the loo so I faked an 'urgent' phone call from my head necessatating my return to school. It felt SO good driving back in through the gates of my own school!

  3. Congrats to the people who resurrected this 4/5 year old thread as it's made me feel a lot better about my job hunting so far and the more ridiculous feedback has given me a good laugh.
    What can I add?
    1st interview for a job at my local sixth form college when I was still finishing my PGCE course was readvertised because neither of us were suitable (the only other shortlisted candidate was one of the other PGCE students on my course). On a personal level, I was told that I didn't have enough 'practical experience' (very kind because I hink that it was my interview technique that let me down, although I've later wondered why the college shortlisted 2 PGCE students if they were concerned about this) but I was in the 'right career' and there were no 'alarm bells' as far as my teaching was concerned. The other candidate was told that her interview was good but there were timing issues with her lesson.
    2nd long term supply post (in a school 6th form) I went for, I was supposed to have an all day interview, including teaching a lesson. When I got to the school, I was kept waiting for ages in a room for ages, as the HoD was teaching when I turned up and really didn't seem to know what to do with me. Neither I nor the agency heard from the school again. Good thing that the agency paid me for the day.
    On another occasion when I was put forward for a long-term supply post (in a 6th form college), the CTL said that she had one other person to interview but she would probably give it to me because I was a subject specialist and had more experience and would contact me the next day to confirm things. I never heard from the college again. I later found out that the college employed someone from another agency.
    A year later when I went for a permanent job at this college, I was 'long listed' but not 'short listed' (this college calls 'short listing' 'long listing' because after doing a presentation and written task, the interviewers then decided which candiates to interview in the 'normal way') because I was 'indecisive' and 'unconfident' during my presentation on a lesson that I would give on a particular topic within my subject. The fact that I didn't receive a letter to attend an interview on the Saturday before the Interview (which was on a Monday) had nothing to do with it then (because of the short notice, I had less time to prepare, so my presentation was too short-I don't know why I appeared indecisive because the lesson that I presented was one that I had been observed, for which I was awarded a grade 2 verging on a 1)? The other candidates that I spoke to, received similar feedback.
  4. fab208

    fab208 New commenter

    Not exactly the worst feedback but certainly the most hilarious and bizarre was when the chair of govs at a school I'd been interviewed at rang me to say I hadn't got the job because I was lacking experience but he felt that with the right guidance I could gain more of the experience I needed then he asked me out on a date.
    I nearly pooped myself - initially in shock and disbelief then - when it had sunk in - from laughing.
  5. I've only ever had one teaching interview so no real horror stories

    Except I only got this job because "you're the only one that turned up and we're desperate"
    Not the best start!
  6. Charming! Pity you couldn't say:
    "well that's good! I only applied for this job because it's the only one that turned up and I was desperate"
    Btw, Fab, your post made me laugh too! A pity you couldn't say:
    'why didn't you ask me out on a date BEFORE the interview? You could have coached me through it!"
  7. wellingtonboot

    wellingtonboot New commenter

    SeveraI years ago I was interviewed for a post where I had to teach a group of 15 Year 4s. Turned out that the only other candidate was the temporary teacher in the class that the children were drawn from and that she had been asked to split the class into groups for the interview task. I got the half with a Statemented child and accompanying TA, who let slip that all the "little charmers" from the class had been put in my group...

  8. My OH and I went for the same job, and his application was in late, and he got it. Feedback mentioned my "warm and happy personality". Trust I was suitably surly in the next interview, cos I got the job and it's very nice. OH's job V. stressful. HA HA HA.
  9. impis

    impis New commenter

    I once applied to be an AIDS outreach worker. I didn't get the job. They told me that i was too polite, and too 'Well brought up' [as I'd been educated at an all girls grammar school]. They didn't think that I would cope with 'street language'.
    When I reported this back to my family and friends. hearty laughter was the result. I must have used my telephone voice a little too much!

  10. I applied once for a permanent job in a school where I was on a 1 year contract. I was good at my job, the staff liked me, the pupils liked me but I didn't get the job (HT obviously did not like me!). Truth was I was top scale and blown out for a cheap NQT (who subsequently had affairs with 2 other members of staff's husbands but that's another story!!).
    Feedback given was my IT skills weren't as good as the successful candidate! Interesting as neither of us had been asked to demonstrate and IT....not even death by powerpoint....and it was a science job NOT an IT job!
    C'est la vie!!!
  11. Mealy mouthed excuses! Can BoGs not see that, as intelligent people, teachers see right through this sort of thing?!
  12. Indeed but in my experience BoGs rarely get involved at interviews nowadays....shame!
  13. I got a job in a college some years back in interview field of 5, all women apart from myself. It was a couple of years later when I found out that the panel had been unable to make a decision and the HR bod had decided they should appoint me. Why? Because there were no other men employed by that particular bit of their FE empire. By the time I found out that little nugget of information I'd long since given up being surprised at anything to do with either FE or that College.

  14. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    "We didn't want an NQT!"

    So why did you invite 5 of us then?
    (And why did you eventually appoint an NQT?)
  15. About 10 years ago I went for an interview for a DH post at a sec sch in Lincolnshire, and as I sat in reception as the rest of the candidates arrived.... and kept on arriving, 11 in total and only 2 men (one of whom was me). It was a two-day jobbie and needless to say the other bloke and me got an early bath. Feedback: I was too strongly opinioned. Really it was because I was the wrong gender but of course they couldn't say that. I was actually relieved not to be in the running for the job, it was a right mickey mouse place.
  16. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Thank goodness the people appointing me for drug intervention weren't bothered (or perhaps I've become dog rough since leaving school - the same school as imp if anyone's wondering).

    I went to an interview last year that I didn't get - feedback: "Your presentation was excellent and you interviewed well, but you were too confident in the group exercise". (I was quite glad I didn't get it because I 'd been offered my current job anyway by then. However, I did find out that they'd appointed the male, BME internal candidate anyway.

    Don't know whether I said this earlier on the thread, but I didn't ask for feedback from an unsuccessful interview for a teaching post. I was wearing a dress that buttoned down the front, and it was only as I left the room after the interview that I realised the buttons had come open and I'd been exposing my bra to the whole interview panel. [​IMG]
  17. A genuine question: can you be turned down for something which is not on the person or job spec? (I imagine 'not having strong opinions' was not on either!)
  18. In a previous career as a solicitor I once got turned down for a job as a litigation solicitor on the grounds that I was 'too intelligent.' When pushed as to what he meant by that, the interviewer said, 'this isn't a job that involves much thinking and we think you would get bored too easily'. Biggest load of *$^$ I have ever heard!
  19. I'm bumping this thread and linking it to the jobseekers and unemployed teachers fora as it's too good to be lost in cyberspace!
  20. Yes, it's a great thread. Some feedback can be very useful and some you know is just a case you being fobbed off by someone who can't face telling you the truth. As someone who has a fair bit of experience on the other side of the fence (so to speak) I always try to give helpful and honest feedback/advice. It's not always easy but professional people deserve quality feedback - helping colleagues to move on is a responsibility of those who have achieved career progression themselves (IMO, of course!).

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