Oops, I let another Tuesday slip by with no list. I’m such a slacker, never fear I have a special Wednesday edition.
It’s that time of year where we interview for new teachers. After 10 years of being an interviewer, I have some definite opinions of Do’s and Don’ts for interviewees and after yesterday feel a strong urge to share them publicly.
1. Do read the posting carefully.
2. Do research on the company before your interview, if possible go beyond the website and try to glean as much information as possible. Work your research into your answers.
3. Don’t be wishy washy in your answers. It’s totally ok to ask for clarification on what an interviewer is asking so that you can be specific.
4. Do listen to the question and if I ask you to give me an example of a situation and reolution be very specific. Don’t pretend to be perfect and say you’ve never had this situation because that tells me you don’t have enough experience. Try to find an example that’s most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Ex: Tell me about a time you had to deal with a confrontational student/parent/employee/customer and strategies you used to resolve the situation. I would answer that question with one of the following — autistic boy who used to scream at the top of his lungs all day and the steps I took to build a relationship with him, a mother who cussed me out for suspending her son and 1 month later called and asked for help, or my all time fav supervisor/employee termination story where the employee called his mom during the termination.
5. Do dress in business attire for the interview, even if your research says it’s a casual workplace. My personal preference is that you also remove piercings in places except for your ears and cover as much as your body art as possible. You want me to focus on your answers and behavior, not staring at the giant ball in your chin. If your piercings are an important part of you and your look do ask in the interview if the company dresscode allows you to wear them.
6. Do prepare some questions and make sure to ask them. Often times the questions you ask me are weighted as strongly as the answers you give me. I am looking for someone who cares about my mission and is not timid.
7. Do be up front about your compensation needs either before the interview or during. Nothing ticks me off more than calling a candidate and then being told ‘I can’t work for that much money’ when they knew how much the position paid before they even applied.
8. Do be ready for the standard questions. Have great answers for the following
* Why do you want to work here?
* Why are you the best candidate?
* What are your strengths? if you struggle with this question I highly recommend Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.
* What are your weaknesses?…and don’t say I’m a work-a-holic. It may be true, but I might just think that your not efficent with your time and have to work late often because you spent to much time chit chating or surfing the web during the day.
9. Do mimic/mirror my body language. There have been several studies on successful interviews and they have found that when the candidate mirrors the interviewer they are more likely to be offered the position. Why? Non-verbal language tells me that we’re a match and can get along together.
10. Don’t talk negatively about a previous employer or place blame for your leaving on another person or member of the team you worked on. As an experienced supervisor, I usually jump to the conclusion that you’re a difficult person to work with and I don’t want that kind of negativity entering my work environment.