Preparing for a Teacher Interview: 6 Tips to Stand Out
October 4, 2022 • 5 min read
No matter how many — or few! — years of experience you have as a teacher, job interviews can be an intimidating process. You know that you have to beat many qualified and competent teachers to get the position. Demonstrating why you are the best candidate for the role, when most interviews last mere minutes, is challenging.
Fortunately, with the right preparation, you can increase your chances of standing out from other candidates. You’ll be more confident and composed, and ready to answer any questions that the interviewers have.
Make sure that you tick off all these tasks when preparing for a teacher interview. They will help set you up for success.
When looking up the school, try to find answers to the following questions:
What sets this school and department apart from other schools? What challenges does this school face? What advantages does it have? What types of students will you be teaching? What is their educational and socioeconomic background? What factors might pose challenges to their education? Is there anything you don’t know about this school that you would like to know before accepting the role? Is this school a good fit for you? And if so, why?
Knowing all this will help you structure answers to interview questions, as well as make important decisions such as whether or not to accept a job offer.
As part of your research, make sure to review the school’s website and social media pages, along with media coverage. Research your department head, too: that will give you more insight into the team you will be working on.
Knowing a little information about your interviewer can help you understand their priorities. Plus, you’ll be able to avoid embarrassing faux pas such as pronouncing their name incorrectly.
There’s a careful balance to be struck here, however. On the one hand, knowing information about your interviewer’s professional background will give you insight into what they are looking for in candidates. On the other hand, finding their personal social media accounts could be inappropriate. Stick to work-related platforms, such as their LinkedIn or the blog post they wrote on teaching methodologies.
And, if you can’t find out how to pronounce their name, just ask. It’s better than getting it wrong.
A tickly cough, a late bus, your child spilling juice on your interview shirt: there are many things that could derail an interview that you’re otherwise fully prepared for.
Reduce the risk of these issues happening by building buffers and backup options in your interview preparation. As well as looking up the route and preparing your clothes the night before, lay out a spare interview outfit and leave yourself enough time in case you get lost or can’t find a parking space.
Practice walking and sitting in your outfit the night before. Are your shoes comfortable? Do your clothes still fit you correctly? Does your outfit gape or hang anywhere it shouldn’t?
Stick tissues, a bottle of water and some throat lozenges in your bag, but make sure the bottle is properly closed first. A toothbrush or breath mint can also come in handy, especially if you’re the kind of person who gets peckish when you’re nervous.
Although you probably won’t need them, it’s a good idea to also bring a notepad and pen.
Drafting responses to common questions ahead of time will help you answer them with confidence in the interview. Make sure to prepare anecdotes, examples and data to support your answers.
Questions you can expect to be asked include:
Tell me about yourself. Why are you applying for this role? Why did you go into teaching? What do you think are the traits of a great teacher? What’s your preferred teaching style? Why? What are your strengths and weaknesses? How would you handle classroom bullying? What would you do if a student was struggling with a concept? Tell us about a time a student’s home life was interrupting their education. What did you do? How do you keep more adept students engaged? What’s your process for creating lesson plans? How important is homework? What experience do you have with children with disabilities? Have you worked with children with English as a second language before? How do you support them?
Asking your interviewer questions doesn’t just demonstrate your interest in the role. It also helps you determine if the post is a good fit for you. This is especially important if you’re considering multiple job offers. Alternatively, you might discover that the responsibilities are likely to be greater than you first thought, in which case you could ask for a higher salary.
By the end of the interview, make sure that you have a good idea of your responsibilities and typical workday. You could also ask about the syllabus, teaching equipment, classroom sizes, teacher assistants and more.
You’ve probably applied for multiple teaching positions and customized your resume and cover letter for each one. You don’t want to forget what you wrote when you’re talking with the interviewer, so make sure to re-read them beforehand.
That said, don’t assume the interviewer will remember what was in your resume or cover letter. They receive dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes. However, if you impress them in the interview, they’re likely to review your application.
Crafting a strong resume is the first step to standing out in teacher job interviews. Not only will it determine if you get invited to interviews, but it will also shape the questions you’re asked and potentially help you negotiate a higher starting salary.
Your resume should highlight your skills, experience and accomplishments, while also being customized to the school and role you’re applying for.
Unfortunately, many applicants for teaching positions are overlooked due to common resume mistakes like putting information in the header and footer or using a file format that isn’t machine-readable.
However, writing your resume doesn’t have to be difficult. Here at Rocket Resume, we have an extensive range of teacher resume templates that will help you build a polished and professional resume from scratch. It doesn’t matter whether you’re K–12, a college teacher or even a private tutor or substitute: you’ll find a template for you.
Our resume builder will also help you adapt these templates by suggesting the ideal structure, skill sets and recruiter-approved phrasing based on your background. It makes creating your resume quick and easy.
It takes just minutes from start to finish, so build your resume now and fast-track your job search.