The the last three blog post, we've discussed three things you can do to impress at your teaching interview: prepare your answers to potential questions, research the school, and ask the right questions. It's really important that you do all these things prior to your interview, but also - don't neglect the details.
You can have the most brilliant answers possible answers to questions and know the school or centre back to front, but if you turn up late or wear an inappropriate outfit, it's going to cause major concern for the interview panel. You want to put your best foot forward.
Here's our tips on turning up fully prepared to the interview:
If you're attending an interview in person, know where to go. This might seem like an obvious one, but we've seen several teachers get completely lost on the way to interviews and end up arriving late. If you're unfamiliar with the school location, try and practice getting there a couple of days beforehand, so you know which route to take or which bus to catch. If you can't do this, go onto Google Maps and print out the directions on how to get there. Don't just rely on your smartphone! Make sure you ask where the office is and whether there's parking available prior to the interview too.
Get set up ahead for Skype or phone interviews. At Education Personnel we recruit teachers from all over New Zealand and the world, so we're pretty familiar with the perils of Skype and phone interviews! The most common issues with Skype are not being able to connect and having a poor quality connection. You can reduce the risk of these happening on your end by being prepared.
- As soon as you find out the Skype ID the panel will be using, send them a connection request so you both aren't scrabbling around trying to find each other on Skype five minutes after the interview was meant to start.
- A couple of days before the interview, practice Skyping a friend (who has a good internet connection) so you can figure out if there's going to be any issues with the connection at your end. If your connection is too slow or unreliable, you need to find somewhere that has a better connection where you can take your laptop or use their computer - whether that's your friend's house or your parent's office.
- An hour before the interview use the test function to check your sound and video to make sure it's all working properly.
For phone interviews, the key is to have your phone fully charged, make sure you're in a quiet place where you won't be distracted and make sure you're by your phone at the right time!
Find out the names and positions of the people on the panel. This is really useful for when you're greeting people, you can address them by name. Psychologically it's just good to prep yourself, you don't want to walk into a room expecting two people and then have eight sitting at the table ready to interview you!
Ask if there's anything you need to bring, e.g. spare copies of your CV or qualifications.
Dress appropriately. Unlike most offices, dress codes at schools and centres can vary quite a lot. For this reason, we recommend adjusting your outfit depending on where you're applying for. You can do this by dressing one level above what you would usually wear in the role. For example, if you were a male teacher at an independent school you'd likely dress in a long sleeve shirt and trousers, so for the interview you'd wear a suit. If you were an ECE teacher, you'd likely be dressing a lot more casually to allow you to play with the children, so you'd wear more of a smart-casual outfit to the interview. (Though always appear well-groomed and tidy.)
What are your tips for preparing for interviews?