Excel at Your Interview with These Strategies

Interviewing for a teaching position is a high stakes endeavor. There’s a lot riding on how well you prepare for the interview beforehand, in addition to how well you perform at the interview.

These strategies can help you ace your interview with flying colors.

Before the Interview

Use the Internet. Look up the district and the school for information you can ask about in the interview. For example, pictures of school events may prompt you to ask, “What kind of turnout did you have at your fall festival?” or “How many students are enrolled in the school?” This will give you an idea as to how many students to expect to have in your future classroom.

Don’t stop at these websites. Your state education agency will have academic assessment reports, and review sites like Glassdoor.com often offer reviews about work conditions.

Practice answering interview questions until you can answer them smoothly and completely. Even if you’re not sure what you’ll be asked, you can expect variations of these questions:

  • Tell a little about yourself . . . .
  • What’s your philosophy of education?
  • How do you maintain discipline in the classroom?
  • What’s your greatest strength? Biggest weakness?
  • Why are you the best candidate?

At the Interview

Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview; plan to arrive 15 minutes early. Your potential employer will notice and appreciate that.

Be sure to turn off your phone; you won’t want the distraction, and the interviewer will notice if you pay more attention to your electronic devices than the person in front of you. Better yet, if you arrived in a car, leave your phone in your car.

If you are interviewing with a committee, expect each person to ask you a question. Look at that person when answering the question, and then turn your attention to the person in charge of the interview to signal that you are ready for the next question.

You may be asked to teach a model lesson. If so, be natural. Truly connect with the students, and everything else will follow.

After the Interview

Within 24 hours, be sure to send a follow up note thanking the interviewer(s) for the opportunity to interview. If you’ve accepted employment at another school, it’s considerate to let other potential employers know.

Congratulations on acing your interview!


WAFA HOZIEN, PH.D. has served in numerous roles for over 20 years in PK12 education. Presently she teaches graduate students in the Educational Leadership Department at Central Michigan University. She researches on issues affecting educational equity, practices and opportunity, including curriculum and assessment with a focus on minority student experiences in public schools. Dr. Hozien can be reached at: Hozie1w@cmich.edu.