Here is the 8th Nail in the Nail the Teacher Interview series.
A few extra tips to make a good impression.
By now, you’ve read the previous 7 Nails, and in doing so, you’ve prepared yourself better than 90% of the candidates that I have interviewed. The following pieces of advice should help you make an even greater impression on the interview panel.
- Use specific examples. When you talk about your plan to save the failing student, tell a story about a student who you were able to help. Use his/her name. Share how you felt when you saw his/her attitude change. Stories can be powerful tools in letting the panel see the kind of person you are. Be careful, however. Don’t go crazy with your stories. Having a couple of short examples of some of your teaching successes is good.
- Assume that the interview panel will be looking you up on Social Media. We had interviewed a candidate for one of our positions, and he was very impressive. We really liked his energy and his experience with students. We asked him back for a second interview. In the interim, one of the members of the panel looked him up on Facebook. The quiet, reserved young man we saw in the interview was not the same person who we saw in his Facebook profile. Although it isn’t really fair to use Social Media to determine a candidate’s qualifications for a teaching position, we couldn’t help including what we saw on his FB profile in our final decision. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.
- Be always learning. What book are you reading? What blogs to do follow? What podcast do you listen to? You are going to rise to the top of the list if you can quote a line from a recent book on education that you read or mention an educational blog post that you are following. Many in the interview panel probably won’t know what a podcast is, but those who do will circle your name if you mention one that you subscribe to. If you haven’t done so already, you have to read, Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. I recommend this book for anybody who wants to make their class one that students would buy tickets to attend. No, I’m not getting paid to endorse his book. I just think it’s a good resource for new and veteran teachers alike.
- Make sure the panel is convinced that you like kids. You would assume that every teacher likes kids, but you would be wrong. I would rather hire a person who is weak on classroom management, but is all about kids, than a classroom management expert who isn’t kid-friendly. Talk about your own kids and the fun you have. If you don’t have kids, talk about how you like your nephews and nieces.
- Dress to impress. This is really a no-brainer. Most, if not all, of the candidates I interviewed were dressed well. Although most schools can’t require teachers to dress professionally, you would do well to let the panel know that you understand the importance of professional dress. Let them know that coming to school dressed like you just got out of bed is unacceptable. Yes, I know many teachers may disagree with me, but I believe that teachers should dress to represent the professionals that they are. Most schools probably have a handful of excellent teachers who come dressed in t-shirts and jeans. You shouldn’t, however, use them as your fashion role models just yet. Another note on fashion: Don’t go overboard. A three-piece suit for guys is a little much for an interview. The members on the panel will know that you’re just trying to impress, and it won’t.
I hope these tips on how to nail the teacher interview have been helpful. I also hope that you will not only use this list to impress the interview panel, but that you will also incorporated these strategies and practices in your teaching philosophy. Be that teacher who administrators would hire again after a couple of years of teaching.
Thank you for taking time to read these posts. I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the job, but after reading these “nails,” I am pretty confident that you will be more prepared than 90% of the other candidates that you will be competing with for the job.
Please do me a favor and share these post on Social Media. It would mean a lot to me.
Until next time, here’s to your Success in the Classroom!