How to prepare for a successful interview


teaching jobs interview tips Search Associates ANZ Search Associates staff member Deidre Fischer talking with a candidateAs you prepare for interviews for various teaching jobs, it’s important to know that each recruiter has different interview styles and purposes.

Some recruiters are quite formal and might have a list of educational questions to determine your professional knowledge, experience, personality, and ability to think on your feet.  Others will have more of a casual conversation and not ask too many educational questions.  The recruiters (who are usually the administrators at the school) are also trying to give you a feel for their school because they want you to feel comfortable about the school and region. Here is a general list of interview questions that might be helpful in your preparation.  Feel free during interviews to ask the recruiters questions about the school and the region (that you might not have gotten from the Search website and from viewing the school’s website). The process of connecting schools and educators is all about a fit for both the school and the candidate.

Some people have never interviewed for a job before, whilst others come across as super-confident and seem to enjoy talking about themselves to an audience. Wherever you are on this job-seeking spectrum, we have put together a few things to consider before attending an interview for an international school position.

Pre-Interviewteaching jobs interview tips Search Associates ANZ man writing down notes in his journal

Know yourself – What is it you are looking for in your next teaching job?

Begin by creating a list that covers 3 major areas of what you’re hoping to find on the next leg of your journey- ‘Professionally, Personally and Financially’. Nothing you write down has to be shared with anyone, so be very straight with yourself.  This list won’t make the decision for you, but it will put you on the right track to making these all-important and incredibly exciting decisions.

A second tool is a ‘Pros and Cons’ list for any offers you receive. When you have done both lists you can use your PP&F list to measure the pros and cons against it.

And thirdly, research the international school itself, the country and city that it is located in, and what it is like to work there It’s important to know as much as possible before applying for a position at an international school, not just to see if you’re right for them, but if they’re right for you.

During the Interview

Many of us have trouble saying how wonderful we are, but in the space of 30 minutes, you don’t have time to be coy! Aim for the fine line between humble and hero – point out the things you are good at and how you are the best for the position. Schools are looking for staff who are fantastic team members – able to get on with all community members, so aim to be likable, charming, sit straight, smile, have eye contact, and be interested. Don’t forget, honesty is the best policy. Let your own personality shine through and let go of being perfect. Just be yourself!

teaching jobs interview tips Search Associates ANZ Senior Search Associate Nick Kendell smiling gleefully at a job fair


Questions at the end

Ask questions to appear interested and engaged. Now is not the time to discuss packages and benefits, unless the recruiter facilitates this.

Here are a few questions you might like to ask when interviewing for your next teaching job — if they weren’t already answered — to help you get a better sense of the role and the school and to leave the interview with a positive, lasting impression:

  1. Have I answered all of your questions?

Before you begin asking your questions, find out if there’s anything they’d like you to elaborate on. You can do this by saying something like, “Yes, I do have a few questions for you — but before I get into those, I am wondering if I’ve sufficiently answered all of your questions. Would you like me to explain anything further or give any examples?”

Not only may they appreciate the offer, but it may be a good chance for you to gauge how well you’re doing.

  1. What do you like most about working for this school?

Interviewers usually like to talk about themselves and especially things they know well. Plus, this question gives you a chance to get an insider’s view on the best parts about working for this school

  1. What are the challenges of this position?

If the interviewer says, “There aren’t any”, you should proceed with caution.

  1. What type of employee tends to succeed here? What qualities are the most important for doing well and advancing at the school?

This question shows the interviewer that you care about your future at the school, and it will also help you decide if you’re a good fit for the position,

  1. Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with?

Knowing if a recruiter wants you to meet with potential supervisors or not will give you insight into how much the school values building team synergy. In addition, if the interviewer says you have two more interviews to go, then you’ve gained a better sense of the hiring timeline as well.

  1. How do you help your teachers grow professionally?

This question shows that you’re willing to work hard to ensure that you grow along with your school.

There is a huge amount of helpful tips and interview strategies online. We have a wonderful resource called ‘All about Interviews’, available for registered teachers. Be sure to ask for a copy.

This post from TES has some great ideas too. (You will need to sign up for free to read the entire article).


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