Going into an interview in an unknown environment is a nerve-wracking experience for most people…however it is a vital part in securing a job role.
For a graduate passionate about a career in education, in particular teaching, one interview could be the gateway to an exciting opportunity at a primary or secondary school where they will be able to have a huge impact on the development of young children.
At i-teachers, we understand the necessity of our graduate candidates having a real understanding and passion for the school they will be interviewed for, so our experienced and dedicated consultants offer a second to none interview preparation service designed to make sure our candidates feel comfortable and ready to impress throughout their interview.
We sat down with one of our education consultants Joseph and Compliance and HR Manager Hamid, to get their top tips! Here we have listed 5 key points that are vital to giving you that extra edge in an interview….
i-teachers 5 tips for interview success:
- First Impressions – e.g. Presentation, Attitude, School Knowledge, Personality
With any job first impressions are hugely important for the employer, as this gives them an immediate indication of the type of candidate they are looking at, and how they may fit into their school environment. Statistics suggest that over three quarters of interviews are failed within the first three minutes, with a variety of factors such as poor presentation, grim demeanour, abject body language and a lack of eye contact as the main reasons why.
Make sure that you immediately greet the employer with a warm and firm handshake and don’t be hesitant in asking about how they are. Remain friendly and polite before being asked to sit down, and make sure that you maintain good posture and consistent eye contact throughout the interview.
- Employer Research – Get to know your school!
A common question that occurs in any interview ‘Why do you want to work here?’ is a quick and effective way for an employer to see whether the candidate has a real understanding of the company, as well as an opportunity for the candidate to show how commercially aware they are and demonstrate employer knowledge.
A fantastic way to do this would be to research your school online, noting key events, achievements and facts involving the school. For example, the ethos of the school, past achievements, examination results, social media presence and the vision they have for the future. As well as this, make sure to demonstrate how you yourself would fit into the school, and how you could positively impact the schools vision for the future and offer an example of how!
- Preparation for competency based questions
In most interviews you are likely to come across competency based questions which will not only challenge your communicational ability, but are designed to give the employer an understanding of whether or not the candidate has a specific set of desirable skills that they are looking for.
For these types of questions fully prepare an answer containing an example of a scenario in which you applied a certain skill – e.g. a student/pupil struggling with a certain topic – and demonstrate how you helped the student/pupil overcome their difficulties, thoroughly and professionally. Another key tip would be to check what type of language is being used in the job advert, and what type of personality the school is looking for!
- Display your subject knowledge
If you are entering a role either as a teacher or teaching assistant, you will be structuring and delivering lessons based on a curriculum carefully developed by a Head of Department. As well as this you will most likely be working in individual and group sessions supporting students in their academic development throughout your tenure.
When answering questions based on curriculum and subject understanding from your employer, highlight your own academic achievements related to the subject and ways in which you can utilise your own success in the development of your students/pupils.
- Always make your interviewer feel their role is the priority!
Every school whether it be primary or secondary, whether it is graded outstanding or needing improvement, will see themselves as unique and a fantastic environment for any teacher or teaching assistant to be in.
When speaking about the school itself, make sure that your answers are tailored and delivered in a way in which the employer will feel valued and respected, highlighting key positives about the school that are displayed on their website and social media platforms. Prepare your answers so that they are not lazy and uninformed, and target the question head on without straying from the topic being discussed.
If you are a graduate looking to take your first step into teaching, or a qualified teacher looking for that next exciting and fulfilling permanent role, make sure to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!