By Wafa Hozien

You completed that long application, have a great resume and submitted all of the supplemental materials like your transcript and license. You finally caught the attention of a school principal and you have an interview lined up. The principal or hiring committee wants to get to know you better.

In our ever increasingly busy world, more school districts are opting to conducting phone interviews first. Even if you live in town. Many school districts are using the phone interview as a screening tool to see if the candidate fits best with their district, school mission and goals.

It might seem informal but do not get caught off guard. It is a way to see if you move to the next round of interviews or the next step in the hiring process.

Your resume caught their eye. Now make the most out of this opportunity to outshine all the rest. So take the phone interview seriously. This will determine whether you get to meet the principal or the hiring committee in person or not.

Here’s how to have a successful phone interview

Phone Interview Tips

If the school or district calls you unexpectedly. Let it go to voicemail. Call back and set up a date and time that is convenient to you and gives you ample time to prepare. Do not try to wing it.

  1. Have your cover letter and resume in front of you. They will be referring to that throughout the interview.
  1. Have your teacher portfolio and your practicum/internship papers handy. They will refer to your experience in teaching. This shows them that you have practical teaching experience and you will be asked about that.
  1. Do your research – learn about the school districts mission and actually quote it. “Your school district’s mission is that all students can learn. That is something that is dear to me because I want every student in my class to succeed.”
  1. Be ready ten minutes prior to the interview. They might be finished interviewing the previous candidate early and call you a few minutes early.
  1. Plug in ear phones and have hands free. This blocks out distractions.
  1. Sit at a desk or kitchen/dining room table. That way you are focused on the questions.
  1. Have a paper and pencil handy. Take notes. Take down the names and emails of the people who took the time to interview you. This is important because sending a ‘Thank You’ email to them after the phone interview is the next step.
  1. Do not drink, eat or chew gum during the phone interview. That is a sure fire way to be disqualified as a candidate. They can hear that through the phone.

Follow these tips for the way to show that you are the ideal candidate. The phone interview is the way to show the principal that you are the perfect fit for their school.

You will know how you did if you are invited to the next phase of the hiring process – the face to face interview. Here you will get another chance to show that you are the most qualified candidate for that job.