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Dr. Les Potter has over 53 years in education in the US and Egypt with 45 years in school and university administration. Currently Les is retired from full time employment but is a consultant at Core...
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Before the Interview

Improving your interviewing skills is important as a teacher or administrator. Here are some tips that might help you land that job!

  • Obviously, find out the correct time, place, day and whether the interview will be in person or on a zoom meeting prior to the interview. It can be embarrassing and a job killer if everyone is not on the same page. Our school is located in Egypt so most of our interviews are on zoom with time differences of 6-9 hours in the States with different times depending where the candidate is currently located throughout the world. Make sure you are prepared with the zoom meeting. We have had a number of mix ups with interviewing remotely. Make sure you have the candidate's phone number and they have yours so if you can not connect with zoom at least you can call and complete the interview.
  • If your meeting is in person, make sure you know when and where the interview will take place. Drive the day before to make sure you know where the meeting will be held and how long it will take you to get there.
  • If possible, try and find out the type of questions that will be asked and the length of the interview. If there are multiple candidates for the position, the interviewers may try and do several in one day. So it is important if you know that you have 30-60 minutes of unlimited time.
  • Anticipate and mentally rehearse potential interview situations and questions. Practice in front of a mirror or friends. Go for the quality of answers and know your time limit. Refocus your goals and strengths in response to the job description. I have been the interviewer and a candidate in many types of interview scenarios. Anything from just one on one interview to as many as 16 in a panel situation where I was not allowed to sit but had to stand for nearly an hour in front of the interviewers.
  • I suggest that you arrive at the interview place about 15 minutes early. If you arrive much earlier, sit in your car and review your resume. You do not want to arrive too early and be sitting next to another candidate for 30 minutes. If you are doing distance interviewing, I would still be set up early in case there are any technical problems.
  • DON'T BE LATE! As a school administrator for many years I have done a lot of interviewing of teachers and administrators. There is rarely a good excuse for being late. You are putting the interviewers behind schedule and you project the image that this is not a high priority to you. The interviewers will wonder about your tardiness on the job if you are offered the position.
  • Compile questions you want to ask the interviewers, keep it relevant to the job. Most interviewers will ask you if you have any questions. If you say no, then either you know everything or you don't care. Do your homework about the school and the district. This is generally not the time to ask about salary, benefits, etc. You should have already researched this information.
  • Remember in an interview you are selling yourself. Why are you the best candidate for this position. Be honest in your answers. If you can't do something or are not sure about a situation. Don't be afraid to say so. This is also the opportunity to get a feel of the climate and culture of the school. The interviewers will probably be the people you will be working with. Can you work with them as they are asking themselves the same question, can they work for you?
  • Do your research about the school and district. This will help you but will impress the interviewers with your due diligence. Show the interviewers that you are prepared. I was principal of a large middle school a few years ago in Florida and we had a panel of about 6 educators in the room when the candidate came in and after a few minutes we realized that she was applying for the wrong position. She thought she was interviewing for an elementary position.

Good luck and be prepared!

Excerpts from: Tips for the Prospective Teacher by Les Potter

Dr. Les Potter
Assistant to the Superintendent   
American International School West
Cairo Egypt
[email protected]