Interviewing 101: For Teachers

We talk to a lot of candidates. One of the most frequent questions is “What should I do when I interview?”

There isn’t one golden answer to ace your teacher interview, but the best advice is to be authentic and keep these best practices in mind.

Before the teacher interview

1) Get to know the school

Showing an understanding of the school’s community helps you stand out. By doing some preliminary research, you can also determine if your philosophy aligns with the school’s.

One of the most popular questions asked during an interview is, “Why are you interested in [insert name of school]?” To prepare, review the position description (if available) and check out the school’s website and social media.

2) Practice makes perfect

Once you find your talking points and questions to ask – practice, practice, practice! Grab a friend, family member, or another educator you know to practice interviewing with.

Like with any job interview, you want to be prepared to speak to your teaching experiences in clear and concise ways. Share your examples with someone and ask for feedback.

how to prepare teacher interview

Interview day

1) Dress appropriately

It’s better to be too formal than to be too casual. A good rule of thumb is to dress to impress. It’s important to show the school that you take this interview seriously. Here are a few guidelines for what to wear to your teacher interview:

  • Clean, wrinkle-free, comfortable fitting clothes
  • Avoid jeans or skirts that rise above the knee
  • Closed-toe shoes. Heels and flats are also acceptable.

2) Sell yourself

This is where you can really shine in your interview. Be prepared to discuss how your strengths are assets and how you manage your areas for growth.

Be confident and show the interviewers who you are both inside and outside of the classroom. Have a few specific examples from your teaching to share.

Here are some common substitute interview questions to be prepared for:

  • Why do you want to become a substitute teacher?
  • What grade levels do you prefer teaching?
  • Describe your teaching experience or style.
  • What would you do if a teacher didn’t leave the plan for you?
  • How would you handle a student who doesn’t follow the rules?
  • How do you keep students engaged?

Refer to this cheatsheet to learn what interviewers are looking for. And check out this guide to learn the best kinds of answers to these kinds of questions.

3) Communicate effectively

You want to ensure that you are providing a positive first impression. Here are some tips to follow during your interview:

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Don’t forget to smile
  • Speak in a relaxed, professional manner
  • Clearly articulate your answers and try not to use filler words such as “um” or “like”
  • Make sure your body language is casual. Don’t fidget or use too many hand gestures.

4) Ask questions

Once the interviewers are finished asking you their questions, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about the position, process, and/or the school.

Make sure you have a few questions ready to show your preparedness/interest in the position. As the interview progresses, take notes and add questions to your list. Here are popular questions to ask at a teacher interview:

  • What are some characteristics of successful teachers at this school?
  • What is your favorite part about working at this school?
  • What are the main challenges associated with this position?
how to pass teacher interview

After the interview

Send a thank you card

Always send a thank you email, and when appropriate, a handwritten note as well.

The email should be sent no later than 24 hours after your interview.

Not only is it professional to thank administrators for taking the time to meet with you but doing so also exhibits your enthusiasm and appreciation for the opportunity to interview with the school.

Now go out and ace your teacher interview! You can do it!

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