Interviewing for an educational role is like no other, rather than simply answering questions, you have to demonstrate that you can carry out the role to the interview panel as well as a class of young people.
There are four key stages to securing your new role and you have completed stage one by being invited for interview. From your application, they believe that you can do the job; they are now looking for you to back up that perception and also see if you are the right fit for their school.
- Do your research on the school - Find out where the school is, who you're meeting with, and how you're going to get there. Most importantly, have a look at the school's website, their results and read the latest Ofsted report. Try to understand what direction the school is going in and the changes they are going through.
- The job - Make sure you read and understand the job description and person specification, and work out how your skill-set and strengths match those criteria.
- First impressions - Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled interview slot and dress smartly. We recommend being 'suited and booted' for all interviews, this includes PE teachers who we advise to take their sports kit along separately. If along the way you find yourself needing refreshment we recommend drinking water only to avoid the risk of spillages and tea/coffee stains! Whenever meeting anyone new at the school, a firm handshake and eye contact is always advised.
- Get as much information as possible - Find out from the school how long the lesson is and what it is they want you to teach. Where possible find out class size, SEN requirements, support staff in the classroom, school behaviour management policy, resources/equipment available, pupils' prior knowledge of the topic and their attainment levels.
- Lesson plan - Even if you are asked to teach a micro-lesson still prepare and plan a full lesson with a starter, main and plenary activity. Make sure you have included use of support staff, the resources/equipment that you are using, how you are going to include assessment for learning and differentiation with tasks for lower and higher levels.
- Back up plan - Make sure you always have a contingency plan in case things go wrong. This could be if your time is cut short, the resources/equipment you requested aren't available, or little Billy decides to play up!
- Be ready - Consider and practice how you are going to introduce yourself to the class. Give the school plenty of notice for what resources/equipment you will need. Print enough copies of your lesson plan for the observers. Print the resources and worksheets that you need, again ensuring there are enough copies for all pupils and observers.
- Make it memorable - The school are unlikely to just be interviewing you for the role so make sure you are the one they remember. The lesson needs to be engaging and differentiated; Show your subject knowledge, progression of pupil's learning, your ability to build early relationships with pupils and demonstrate your varying questioning techniques.
If you get to this stage it means that the first three stages have gone well and they now know that you can do the job. You are now going to sit face to face with the interview panel who will ask you questions. Contrary to popular belief they are not looking to trip you up, they want this to go as well as you do.
We would advise you to consider the following:
- Be enthusiastic and passionate about teaching, the role and your specialism.
- When answering questions take time to consider your response before you start talking.
- Be reflective on the lesson you have just taught and what areas there were for development.
- Prepare to answer questions on your strengths and weaknesses, and be able to provide examples.
- Have questions for them prepared.
- Sell yourself! Convince them that their belief that you can do the job is correct and that you're the best candidate for them.
If you need any further help or advice please do not hesitate to contact us. You may also find the links below helpful.