Interviewing Tips

Dress professionally.  Men should wear a nice suit with a jacket.  Be sure your tie matches your shirt nicely.  Women should wear a conservative dress or business suit.

On your way to the interview, don't go to 7-11 and order a giant big gulp cup of soda.  It would be rather embarrassing to ask your interviewers to stop while you use the lavatory.

Practice the questions before you go to the interview.   If you prepare beforehand, the interview questions will seem routine and familiar.

This should go without saying: Be on time.  Better yet, be a little early.

The first question at almost every interview will be: "Tell us about yourself."  You should already know what you're going to say.  Keep your answer reasonably brief.  The last question will almost always be, "Do you have any questions for us?"  Have a thoughtful question ready to ask.

At the interview, be confident, but not cocky.  Smile when you walk in.  Greet the people interviewing you with a smile and a nod.  Firmly shake the hand of the principal and other interviewers that are within easy reach.  When you take your seat, sit up straight with your feet on the floor and your hands in a relaxed position on the desk.

Have a teaching portfolio ready.  Your portfolio should contain extra copies of your resume, a copy of your teaching certificate, sample lesson plans, samples of student work, and any other evidence that would suggest your are a qualified candidate for a teaching position.  It should be bound in a neat, professional-looking leather binder.  Place the portfolio on the table in front of you when you sit down at the interview table.  Usually, the people interviewing you will not ask to see your portfolio.  They do, however, expect you to have it on-hand.  Don't wait for anyone to mention the portfolio.  Instead, you should use it as a tool to describe your teaching experiences.  For example, if you are asked to describe a lesson that involves teaching writing, you might say, "Yes I can show you... I have a sample of student work that shows how I teach the writing process."

Have a sense of humor.  Prepare to make some humorous smalltalk when you are greeted.  For example, if a principal shakes your hand and ask how you are, it's okay to say, "A nervous wreck!"  A whimsical introduction can break the ice.  Be sure your sense of humor is clean and appropriate for an interview.

Always be positive.  Try not to say, "I don't know."  Avoid saying, "I'm not really good at..."  Don't say, "That's one of my weak points."  Always tell the truth, but you don't want to suggest that you're not a confident, successful, qualified teacher.

Occasionally, an interviewer will say, "Tell us about your weaknesses."  If you're presented with such a question, put a positive spin on it and describe how you're improving.  Better yet, describe a weakness you used to have and tell how you overcame it.  Whatever your weakness is, don't make a big deal over it or dwell on it.  Be sure any weakness you have is followed up with an easy solution.  You don't want to place emphasis on things you're not good at.  Your interviewer isn't looking for someone with significant weaknesses!

Use lots of examples when you answer questions.  When they ask how you would do something, tell them how you already have done it.  This will make you seem more experienced.  For example, if an interviewer asks, "How would you use creative problem-solving in your lessons?"  Answer with, "When I was student teaching, I did a great creative problem-solving lesson when..."  When you use specific examples, you're convincing the interviewers that you're more than just hypothetical talk.

When you leave the interview, remember to thank everyone for meeting with you.  Follow up with a letter, addressed specifically to the principal (or other head interviewer), thanking him or her for the opportunity.  Send the letter within the next day or two while you are still fresh in his/her mind. 

Sample Text From the Book
Guide to Getting the Teaching Job of Your Dreams!
by Tim W.