Careers advice from Theodora Griff

7th December 2012 at 00:00

Running on empty

In an interview they asked me such an unusual question - "If you were a car, what sort of car would you be?" - that my mind went blank. How should I have answered that question, in case I get asked it again?

I sincerely hope that you do not get asked such a daft question again. Because that is what it was: daft. How could your answer to that have possibly have shown the interviewers how good a teacher you would be in their school? It couldn't.

But in some schools the governors (probably having done an internet search on "suitable interview questions") come up with silly questions like that. I have heard tell of interviews where candidates have been asked what sort of biscuit, animal, flower, vehicle, breed of dog, dinosaur and so on they would be.

In business environments it may be appropriate to try to unsettle candidates, to see how they cope in stressful situations.

In an interview for a teaching post, however, asking this type of question just ensures that candidates get flustered, their minds go blank and they are not able to show the panel how well they fit the criteria. So it is totally counterproductive.

I blame the head for not putting his or her foot down firmly and telling the governor not to be so ... well, so daft.

What should you answer? My general rule is not to give others answers to their interview questions because they are going for the job, not me. But I will make an exception here. If you get one of these weird questions, think of your best quality and then decide which cardogdinosaurbiscuit best illustrates this. I would be a Volvo, because I am totally dependable. I would be a people carrier, because I like to take people along with me. If they ask you what sort of biscuit you are, please resist the temptation to reply: "A ginger nut, because I'd need to be a nut to work with people like you."

Meet Theodora Griff online on the TES Jobseekers forum or in person at a TES Careers Advice Service seminar or individual consultation. bit.lyuWhqN2.

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