Career Advice Opinion

Interviewing From The Employer’s Perspective

By AAEE — May 08, 2008 2 min read
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Every graduate is eager to secure employment. Although most individuals don’t prepare themselves very well. The preparation on the part of the individual will make the interview team much more understanding of what is being said and they can listen for passion and desire.

Every interview is meant to be a showcase for a candidate. The truth is that employers are looking for something. I can’t predict what that might be, but I know that there are going to be things that will make one individual stand out above the crowd. How can you be that person?

First, what do you know about the school district, school, principal, demographics, academic success, social/economics? Sounds like a list that might keep the candidate up at night. You won’t have to know the “inside scoop”, but being familiar with the district goals, building goals, the leadership, the community and the roll you might play is essential for you to hit the mark.

Next, do you know who is interviewing you? How will the interview be conducted? Are you going to be asked to teach a lesson? If none of this is clear, it is very permissable for you as a finalist to contact the school to seek out this information. Most of the time people come in and have no idea what to expect. As an example, I once interviewed for a position and there were 20 people in the room. There were people from the community who felt like they had a stake in the selection and I guess the administration agreed. It was somewhat intimidating. The same can be said for a twenty-something entering a room with a group of 50 year olds. Know what you are getting in to.

Next, what kind of questions will be asked? You know they have your resume and may have already checked some references to attempt to get a quick glimpse of who you are and how you might fit in their school. There are many sources of questions for you to examine, but think about this. If the interview team wants to get to know you their questions should ask for you to describe things you have done. Not philosophy or textbook rehash. I almost always have individuals that I am interviewing get stuck and say “Wow, that is a hard question!” I don’t feel that makes the person a bad interview, but it tells me they may not have thought about the question or the situation I was referring to. An example is “Can anyone fail your class if they come each day and are not a behavioral problem?” The answers are varied, but what I am looking for is what is the amount of investment you have in the individual. Do you really believe in differentiation and that all kids can learn and succeed? I will know after that question.

Finally, if you have done your homework, you should have questions about the school and some of the things you will be getting in to as a teacher there. Do you understand class size and how 25 average and above kids might be fine although a class with emotional and behavioral issues might be tough with only 15 kids. Don’t spend time on salary because that information is avaiable and it sounds like you are trying to negotiate. Don’t dwell on referrals or problems because most states make that material available. Ask those questions that make it seem like you see yourself in the job and you are performing at a high level.

Once again, the time up front will benefit you in search.

Doug Peden
Executive Director of Human Resources
Falcon School Distirct
Colorado Springs, Colorado

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