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Interview Tips for Teachers & Administrators

Before you head off to that important interview, do some preparation.

Some people simply do interview more easily than others. There are, however, steps you can take to improve your interview performance.
Teacher Resume Tips
Our directory of interview tips for teachers and administrators will give you a good idea about how interviews are conducted, identify the basic interview formats used by school and district recruiters, and give you links to solid interview advice.

Several of the links include lists of sample interview questions, but we have intentionally avoided giving you links to sample answers....that would be cheating;-)

Perhaps the most important thing to do before an interview is to relieve your stress by making sure there is a realistic match between your skills and the job:

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses, and be prepared to explain both to a stranger

  • Research the position, and know a bit about the school and/or school district's unique needs

  • Practice explaining to yourself outloud in simple terms why you are good match for this job

You need to be able to come up with a compelling reason that you are a good fit for the position.

That being said, it is also very important to have a good mental image of how the interview is going to go. It is helpful to know which type of interview structure you will be expected to use.

If possible, try to gently ask what format the interview will be in before the event. A secretary at the school can be a good source of information on this, but you can also ask the interviewing representative, or personnel official who contacts you.

Interview formats for education positions vary from district-to-district. But, the days of the informal chat are pretty much over. Some schools and districts use a team interview, others do not.

Most teacher job interviews are structured to varying degrees. This means that all the candidates in the pool are subjected to the same question set, and the answer scores are tabulated.

Questions will generally be from four areas:

  • Situational - "What would you do..."

  • Observational - "What are your thoughts on..."

  • Conceptual/Personal - "What is your philosophy of..."

  • Behavioral - "Tell me about a time when..."

There are many sample questions in the links at the bottom of this page. You can usually place them into one of these categories. Practice a good selection of them to get a feel for spontaneous, not canned answers.

Districts vary widely in how they implement the interview process. Some adhere to a tightly scripted interview sequence, while others only use the questions for a loose format.

One trend being reported - particularly in larger districts - is the use of pre-packaged structured interview assessment sets. The most popular of several instruments on the market may be the Gallup Organization's Teacher Perceiver Interview, and its companion for administrators, the Principal Perceiver Interview. You should look at Gallup's sample questions, and their rating scale.

In some cases, districts are now even utilizing telephone-based screening with the Teacher Perceiver, or similar a similar tool. Applicants call a toll free number, and then respond to questions with a touch tone phone. This allows the employer to get a short list of potential candidates for whom more in-depth interviews will be scheduled.

Administrators are sometimes interviewed a little differently. Often, a case analysis model is used where hypothetical situations are presented. A team frequently will look in detail at what an administrator did at a previous job - sometimes even interviewing co-workers or board members

Sources we crawled for these tips included major search engine indexes and directories, university career counseling offices, and the five regional education laboratories.

If you know of a good source of information on one of this issue, please drop us a line so that we can add to everyone's knowledge base.


Directory of Interview Preparation Resources on the Internet

Our annotated directory of links on interview preparation for educators should help get you ready for that key pre-screening, or formal interview:

Interview Advice for Teachers

Interviewing for Teaching Positions - De Paul University
This guide was adapted by De Paul's Lynn Bryan from other sources. Includes specific questions likely to be used by schools and districts, good tips on preparing for an interview, and a list of things that can "screen you out".

Preparing to Interview for a Teaching Position - Michigan State
This is an impressive collection of 143 interview questions for teachers, and some tips on preparing for, and performing in an education interview.

Moving On Guide To Interviews - William & Mary College
Includes 45 sample teacher interview questions broken down by grade levels, action verbs for educators, and a general preparation section. There is also a printable summary sheet of interview tips which I liked.

Interviewing Strategies for Teachers - University of Illinois
A straight to the point collection of interview questions for educators - both for teachers, and administrators. There is a list of negatives to avoid, and a nice set of candidate questions for the interviewer.

Teacher Candidate Interviews - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
A list of 52 teacher candidate questions grouped by category: personal qualifications & background; interpersonal relationships, teaching-learning process; and, professional qualifications. There is also another page on what teachers should expect in a structured interview format .

Preparing for a Teaching Interview - University of Saskatchewan
List of tips at the top, and 86 sample interview questions for teacher candidates.

Interview Advice for Administrator Candidates
Interviewing for the Principalship - Principal Magazine - March, 2001
Very good article by John Daresh that looks at questions to be expected, as well as how the principal interview process differs from others. This article is part of their "Principalship in Crisis" issue.

Interview Questions for Administrators - Zehney Educational Group
A list of 154 questions asked in interviews for administrative positions.

Assistant Principal Interview Questions - National Staff Development Council
A simple list of nine administrator interview questions.

Our directory will continue to be updated monthly, so check back often!

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