Interview tips

Starting the preparation for that interview

You could spend days thinking up the answers to 1,000 questions, and learning them off by heart.  Really preparing hard.  On the other hand, you could prepare smart, not hard.  Here are some ideas for that.

Interview by Key Point

Get your Key Points clear in your mind! I always think that it’s good to prepare for interview by identifying 3 or 4 key points about yourself that you want to get over to the panel. They have to be about YOU, not key points that someone else has suggested, because they have to want YOU, because it’s YOU that’s going to have to do the job, fit in with the rest of the school, etc., so giving them answers that don’t show YOU but someone else is plain daft.

So think of your key points. I have good communication skills with parents.  I am very committed to the pastoral side of teaching.  I am prepared to work my socks off for the children.  I am very analytical and clear-headed.  I am very caring about the whole child. I think academic success is the main thing. (This is too many …)

Whatever they are - and it’s unlikely anyone would have the variety I have given as examples! - when you get a question, ask yourself:  Is there one of my key points that I can illustrate here?

This should allow you to give a picture of who you are and your strengths.

Interview by Ripple Effect

A really helpful set of ideas from the poster A Kirk:

I just want to give my advice and tips:

1)  Research the school thoroughly. Check their inspection(s) and from this, figure out what their strengths are, and what you can add to the school to build on this.

2)  Keep bright and enthusiastic - it is stressful and gruelling, and you may think you have ruined your chances (I know I did!) but if you keep focused and remember what you do, every day, as a great teacher - then you will be fine.

3)  Do not feel the need to ask questions in a tour or group interview - this was one thing I really panicked about before the interview - I felt I knew the school really well, well enough not to ask any questions, while the other candidates did - and when it came to my turn (all the staff looked expectedly at me when the other candidates had finished) all I said was;

“I feel that, at this moment in time, I do not have any questions” and when it came to my interview with the Headteacher, I made sure I demonstrated my knowledge of the school by building it into my answers.

4)  Finally, I always made sure that my answers followed a specific pattern (a ripple effect, like when you throw a pebble into water), and when I gave my answers to questions such as Behaviour Management, or “what makes you a good teacher” I answered in the following way;

Me (teacher) -> The pupils -> The school -> The community

So for example:   “What makes you a good teacher”

Me- planning, preparation, assessment, delivery (etc. there is loads more but it’s all about you!)

The pupils- mixture of formative and summative assessment, clear expectations, positive atmosphere and feedback, etc.

The school- professional development (if you participated or delivered some yourself) sharing resources, observing others, self evaluation of teaching, not afraid to ask experienced teachers advice, working with other departments, etc.

The community - parents (how you keep in contact with them), charity links, extra-curricular activities, etc.

I find this “ripple effect” really helped me when answering questions, as I visualised where I wanted to go with my answers, and always had examples from my classroom.  Not just that, the ripple was a calming image too in a stressful interview situation!

I really wish all the best to everyone applying for jobs - and cannot recommend enough this forum to help you answer all the questions you need to know. 

Good luck and best wishes, A Kirk

For general interview preparation, here are some websites:

Interviews — University of Leicester

Prospects Graduate Careers interview advice


Here are some TES threads that may be of help to you in preparing for an interview:


* * * Possible interview questions * * *

Going to the interview - the Susan Boyle Youtube approach …

Dear Theo- What are they looking for during an interview lesson?

Dear Theogriff-interview and portfolio advice?

Good questions to ask in your interview   (and what not to ask!)

multiple interviews  (about having 2 interviews, and the second is your favourite)

If offered a job, must I decide instantly?

Is there any point going to interview if there is an internal candidate?

Dear Theo invited for interview again at same school

Ready for interview


Leadership interviews:

Head Teacher - Interview Questions

Deputy Headteacher interview questions

Help with interview questions for Deputy Head?

Dear Theo - interview technique (DHT)

Headship presentations- help needed!

In tray exercise example to follow on from other intray posting

In tray exercises for Year Leader

Assistant Headteacher Interview Questions


Independent School interviews:

I have my first ever interview at a private school

Dear Theo- I have my first ever interview and it is at a private school… HELP!

FAO Theogriff and other Private School Heads


Teaching Assistant  interviews:

* * * * Interview questions for TAs * * * *


Written exercise for teaching assistant interview