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Take Five for...

Reflecting on the
Best Interview Questions
(Part 2)


You have been hired as the newest member of our teaching team. In fewer than five minutes, how would you introduce yourself to a group of parents, students, and teachers from our school? The only thing you want to be sure to do is to indicate how your education, training, and work experiences have qualified you for your new role.
That question adds a new twist; it challenges candidates to address their qualifications to the parents, students, and their peers. Often, their passion for this career, as well as their ability to build rapport with others, is evident in their responses. I also get a chance to see how the candidate acts in an impromptu situation and how well he or she communicates under pressure." (Patricia Green)

If I were to visit your classroom and take a Polaroid photo, what would I see in that photo?
"I want to know what I would see if I was a fly on the wall in the candidate's classroom. I'm interested in 'seeing' whatever visual picture they want to paint for me. What I'm looking for is a sense of how they seat or group students, how they decorate their rooms, what is posted or hanging in the classroom, if there are learning centers or stations scattered around, if the room is bright and cheerful Basically, I am looking to see if their room is student-centered." (Tim Messick) (Jan Fortman)

Join the

Have you a favorite question or two that you always ask candidates applying for a position in your school? What is that question? What kind of response are you looking for? What do you hope to learn from the way the candidate answers the question? Click to join the conversation. Share your favorite question so other principals might learn from your approach.

What if your students don't "get it"? In other words, if a lesson is not working for all your students, do you have a plan for remediation? How do you carry out that plan?
"All good teachers are effective when the students 'get it.' I am looking for those teachers who have several alternate plans in mind when kids don't understand the material." (Chris Vail)

Tell me about a difficult circumstance you handled. What action did you take? What were the results?
This CAR approach -- an acronym for Circumstance, Action, Results -- is effective. How a person handled situations in the past is often a good indicator of how he or she will handle them in the future." (Brian Hazeltine)

If your greatest supporter was in the room with us today, what five words would he or she use to describe you as a person, a teacher, or a colleague?
"That question shows whether candidates can think on their feet -- and if they can truly sum up themselves using just five words. The question allows us to see if the person is self-confident and whether or not he or she is willing to share some depth in a single-word set of answers." (Patricia Green)

Take Five more to read this entire article from Education Worlds Principal Files series:
The Interview: Principals Share 30 Favorite Questions for Future Teachers
(Education World -- April 13, 2004)