It’s that time of year again!
For the last decade I’ve been part of interview teams in the spring as we look to add new teachers to our district. I love being part of that process, seeing new educators come into our profession with passion, energy, and ideas. During those years, I’ve been part of hiring some amazing educators. Other times, we might have missed out on a great candidate or the person just didn’t fare well in the interview. I was part of interviewing again the last two weeks and there are 7 keys that I’d like to share which I think will help candidates increase their likelihood of landing a position.
- Set yourself apart – I have seen this look at lot of different ways. Everyone is going to pass around their binder or portfolio. It could be the way you greet the committee, talking about recent happenings in their district. Maybe it’s asking about how the M-STEP/ACT testing is going if that is currently going on. It could be with what you leave with the team as you finish, something that looks and sounds different than anyone else. How will you be different than all the others that walk through the room?
- Let them get to know you as a person – Find a way to share your interests outside of school, what is important to you, and the type of person you are. Give them a little bit of your journey. Interviewers sit there through long sessions. Make sure they get to know you as a person first and an educator second.
- Share at least 3 educational passions – This can be a little tricky depending on the questions, but find a way to work into your answers the 3 educational items you are most passionate about. It might be building relationships, literacy, data, collaboration, math workshop, technology, or conferring with writers. Whatever those passions are, don’t leave the room without making them known.
- Sell the why for that job – Administrators don’t want to know that want to be a teacher, they want to know that you want to be a teacher in their district. Drive to the community on the day of the interview or in advance. Having lunch or coffee there. Talk with people. Get a vibe for what the district and community is about. It’s great to look on the website, but it’s not the same as speaking to those authentic experiences.
- Elevator ending – Regardless of what the last question is, have your 30 second elevator pitch ready. It’s time to sell yourself and all you are bringing to this position. This is a much stronger finish than asking a question you may or may not care about the answer for.
- Don’t pigeonhole grade/building/job – Stay away from stating you want to be in a certain grade, department, or building. That’s very likely to change in the coming years anyway. It’s more about getting into the right district that’s a fit for you and figuring out the specific position later.
- Community investment – During the interview, share the various ways you are going to impact the school and community outside of school hours. That could be starting a club, coaching, helping with fine arts, volunteering in the community, lots of different things. Share how you will impact kids outside of just those school hours.
Best of luck to all of those looking for their first job or a new job this spring!