Sunday, February 7, 2016

Interview Questions You Shouldn’t Even Think About Asking!!

 In the course of an interview, don’t ask any of the following questions!  If you do, you might as well pack up your bags and slip out the door – because you’ve just shot yourself in the foot and practically doomed your chances for any kind of job at that school.  Trust me, the following questions are destined to make the principal’s job just a little easier: they are guaranteed to eliminate you from any further consideration as a teacher candidate.
You’ll quickly note that most of these questions are self-serving and self-involved.  While some will be obvious “no-no’s” others may appear to be less so.  Nevertheless, please do yourself a tremendous favor and strike all of these from your interview preparations.  By the way, all of these questions have been asked by teacher candidates…and are continuously being asked by teacher candidates.  Not a single individual asking these questions was ever offered a teaching job!  Not one!

·      “How much will I be paid?”
Don’t ask any questions related to salary or pay.  If you are more interested in money rather than teaching then you’re in the wrong profession.

·      “What kinds of benefits will I get?”
Questions about benefits are always considered inappropriate.  After you get hired is the time to ask this question.

·      “How long do you expect me (or teachers) to be at school each day?”
Stay away from any questions about school hours.  Good teachers have no time clock.

·      “Will I be able to take time off for personal business?”
Asking about time for personal business is never a good idea.  It demonstrates your lack of commitment.

·      “Do you celebrate Hanukah or Christmas here?”
Questions about a community’s religious, political, or socio-economic breakdown are always in poor taste.

·      “Will I be able to keep my part-time job at Wal-Mart?”
Do you really want to show that you are not totally committed to the teaching profession?  Really?

·      “I heard that teachers have to do bus duty once a week.  Is that true?”
Asking about ancillary duties will always get you in hot water.  Always!

·      “Will I get in trouble if I punish a kid?”
Stay away from questions that might indicate an uncomfortableness with discipline.

·      “Do I have to join the teacher’s union in this district?”
Questions about the “bargaining unit” are never appropriate.  When you get hired you’ll get all the relevant information about the “bargaining unit” (if there is one).

·      “Can I transfer to another grade after this year?”
Remember you’re applying for a specific job.  Don’t suggest that it’s not your first priority.
When asked, these questions essentially “kill” any chances a candidate has in getting a teaching job.  Don’t even consider them!

Check it out:

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Questions YOU Should Ask!

          Most professional interviewers will tell you that a good interview is a two-way street.  That is to say, interviews that get applicants jobs are those in which both participants contribute to the interview.  If one person (e.g. the interviewer) does all the work (all the “heavy lifting” so to speak) then the interview will be decidedly one-sided.  It is vitally important that you make some contributions, too – the interviewer has a limited amount of time and wants to know as much about you as possible, but doesn’t necessarily want to do all the work.
            In most interviews you are frequently given a golden opportunity to provide the interviewer with some valuable inside information.  These are the times when you are offered the chance to ask your own questions.  Don’t blow this opportunity – more than one job has been won simply because the candidate showed a real interest in the school or the district through carefully crafted questions.  These questions can reveal as much about your interest, desire, and motivation as they can in showcasing your talents and skills – particularly those talents that mesh with the school’s philosophy.
Good Questions to Ask:
·      What would you say are some of the strengths of this school/district?
·      What are some of the challenges you anticipate in the next five years?
·      What new academic programs or extracurricular activities are being considered for the coming year?
·      Could you please describe your teacher-mentor program?
·      I noticed that the school is departmentalized.  What do you see as some of the advantages of that type of organization?
·      What kinds of opportunities are there for team teaching?
·      What are some of the club, extra-curricular, or coaching opportunities for teachers?
·      What do you see as some of the major issues the school will need to address in the coming year?  How would you like teachers to contribute to those challenges?
·      What computer or technological resources are available for first-year teachers?
·      How might I be able to contribute to the success of the school?
·      How can teachers (or students, or parents, or community members) make this a better school?
·      Where would you like the reading program to be in five years?
·      What would you like students to remember most about this school (after they leave or after they graduate)?
·      What one quality or attribute would you like to see in all your teachers?

Check it out:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Interview Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make - Part II

          In the previous post I talked about eight critical mistakes that frequently "doom" a teacher interview.  By knowing the miscues that frequently infect job interviews you have the power to address those issues beforehand.  Keep in mind that candidates continue to make these gaffes every day.  Let their mistakes be your guidance for a most successful interview.
          Here are eight more miscues you need to consider:
·         Many professional interviewers believe that asking questions in an interview is more important than answering them.  Don’t make the fatal mistake, when asked if you have any questions, of saying, “No, not really.  I think we’ve covered pretty much everything.”
·         Listening to someone with a negative attitude is always a drain – emotionally, psychologically, and personally.  Principals don’t hire “bad attitudes” – they want people with a positive outlook and an engaging personality. 
·         When asked an interview question it is expected you will provide the interviewer with specific details and explanations.  Very rarely will you ever be asked a question that requires a simple “Yes” or “No.” 
·         Conduct some research on the school (many will not).  What is their overall philosophy?  Are student enrollments going up or down?  What are their long-range goals? Get to know them and they, very likely, will want to get to know you.
·         You’re not being very honest when you give answers you don’t believe in.  Your objective is not to satisfy an interviewer; rather, your objective is to showcase how your unique talents and attitudes will make a positive difference in the life of the school.
·         Slouch in your chair, fold your arms across your chest, fiddle with your car keys, never smile, never make eye contact and the interviewer knows a lot about you (unfortunately, it’s all negative) without even listening to your responses.
·         An interview is a conversation.  If you spend too much time focused on what you want to say and not enough time on listening to what the interviewer is saying, then you’ll be involved in a non-productive exchange.
·         Interviewers want to know if you have a detailed roadmap of where you would like to be in the future.  If all you want is a job, then you’ll be like thousands of other candidates – always looking for one.
            Finally, remember this harsh reality: The interviewer is not interested in hiring you.  He or she is interested in hiring the best-qualified individual for the position.  In short, YOU are not the commodity.  Best advice: Assist the interviewer by keeping the focus off you and directly on the positive contributions you can make to the welfare of the school or district. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Interview Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make - Part I

Many school principals will agree that most teacher candidates typically make several common mistakes during the interview process.  These are the blunders that happen in so many interviews that they frequently “contaminate” any chance of getting hired.
            Yet, all of these typical and common mistakes have one thing in common – they can all be controlled by you.  Each of these interview mistakes is under your control, your supervision, and your influence.   
·         If you spend any time on your cell phone in the waiting area or during an interview you will be sending a powerful message to the interviewer: my business is more important than your business.

·         One recent report showed that 50 percent of job candidates were tardy for their interviews.  If you really want the job, then you’ll really be on time.

·         Candidates who glance around the room, avoid the eyes of the interviewer, or stare at the aquarium behind the interviewer’s desk are seen as insecure, unsure, and unconnected.

·         Make sure you can be easily heard from a distance of about five to six feet (the average distance between a person behind a desk and one in front of the desk).

·        Don't over-talk your responses!  Most professional interviewers suggest that the ideal answer to a question should be no shorter than 30 seconds and no longer than two minutes.

·         Can you believe that, in order to make a point, some candidates actually argue with the interviewer?  One word: don’t!

·         Many candidates neglect to respond to the one question always in the mind of every interviewer: How will this person make my job easier?  The question will never be asked out loud, but you must always answer it.

·         Some people try to compensate for the stress of an interview by being arrogant or haughty.  It’s one thing to be confident; quite another to be arrogant.  Be the former, not the latter.

            You can choose to ignore these miscues or you can chose to do your ‘homework’ and prevent any one of these from sneaking its way into a job interview.  Choose the latter and you'll be "heads and shoulders" above the competition.

[Next Post:  Another 8 Common Interview Mistakes]  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Do You Teach?

Here's a question that often comes up in teacher interviews.  The person asking the question wants to know something about your philosophy, your personality, and your desire to make a significant impact in the lives of students.  It's a golden opportunity for you to separate yourself from the crowd.

Q:  What gives you the greatest pleasure in teaching?

     A:   I call it the “light bulb effect.”  It’s that time in a lesson, a unit, a whole class discussion when a student “gets it” – when that proverbial light bulb goes off over his or her head.  There’s nothing like it in the world!  It’s when that look of recognition crosses a student’s face, when a student exclaims, “Hey, this is really cool!”, or when a student jumps up and down with unmitigated excitement.  There’s a joy in the discovery and there’s an enthusiasm in the voice as students realize that they now understand something they didn’t previously.  That’s what I want to work for with all my students.  I want them all to experience that “light bulb effect” in each and every subject throughout the school year.

            Your answer should underscore your reasons for becoming a teacher.  Your response should be a validation of why you decided to enter this profession and what you will do in order to be one of the best.  Most importantly, there should be passion in your response!