Friday, June 10, 2011

preparing for an interview: bring questions

At the end of your interview, you'll be asked if you have any questions for the interview panel. Sometimes it is hard to know what to ask, because you don't know what you don't know. You know? What I mean is that before you get a teaching position, it is hard to anticipate what kinds of questions you might want to ask. But here are some questions you might want to know the answers to. When you come prepared with questions, it shows that you're very serious about this position and demonstrates your professionalism.
  1. What are the strengths of the school/district?
  2. What were your school's goals for the last year? 
  3. What new innovations or programs has the school or district implemented?
  4. Does the school or district have a mentor-teacher program?
  5. What priorities would you have for me as a new teacher in this school?
  6. What kinds of extra curricular activities are available within your school and district?
  7. How does the school and district support professional development?
This is by no means a complete list of questions, but it can get you started thinking about what you might want to know about the school and district. The important thing is to remember to ask questions sincerely that are important to you. Tone is so important when asking questions. Make sure you choose your words thoughtfully.

Now for some don'ts. At the interview, you should avoid asking questions related to salary and benefits. You'll have the opportunity to ask questions about this when the position is offered before you make a final decision. Likewise, this is not the opportunity to ask about taking time off for your best friend's wedding. You'll be able to consult the employee handbook for this information after you've received an offer.

With a few thoughtful and meaningful questions, you'll impress the interview committee with your engagement in the interview for that position. It could be just the bonus to get you an offer!

Next post: what not to wear

References: Warner, J. & Bryan, C. (2006). Inside secrets of finding a teaching job (3rd Ed.). Indianapolis, IN: JIST Publishing.
Job Search Handbook for Educators (2010), 45th Ed. American Association for Employment in Education, Inc.

Have you asked any questions in interviews that were particularly helpful?


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