Teacher Interview Questions and tips

Donnelly’s Interview hints and tips

I thought I would write down some hints and tips about going for job interviews at schools after someone on my Facebook group ‘Design and Technology teachers’ asked for advice about a job they were going for – sure it will be useful to students that I have at my school as well.

If you read this blog, and find it useful….and get the job, please comment for others to see.

  • 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.
  • Keep bright and enthusiastic – it is stressful and gruelling, and you may think you have ruined your chances throughout the day, but if you keep focused and remember what you do, every day, as a great teacher – then you will be fine.
  • Do not be put off by the really chatty outgoing one who is also there to be interviewed, I know I have seen many candidates try to pretty much say all they know about education during the day and then are in a bit of a mess at the interview.  Please also read my blog post about Assistant Head Teacher interviews, I have included a few of the tasks that are generally used in schools.
  • 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.

Finally, I always made sure that my answers followed a specific pattern. I was once advised by a wise Deputy Head to respond to extended answer questions with ‘there are 3 points that I would like to make’…..then start to answer the question.

This technique stops you rambling, encourages you to answer fully and makes sure you cover all parts of the question.  If you feel that you need to add another point, just end with, ‘and one final point I would like to add is……………’

Do not answer every question like this, but some do require an extended answer and this is just one way to do it:

Most NQTs or new teachers will be asked something about Behaviour Management, or “what makes you a good teacher” I would answer in the following way, giving a comment about each heading;

Me  – The pupils – The school

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.

I find this technique really helped me when answering questions, as I visualised where I wanted to go with my answers, and always had examples from my classroom.

Typical Questions

Why did you apply for this particular role?

What are your core strengths/weaknesses?

What can you bring to the role that other candidates may not bring?

What makes a successful school?

How would you work with a teaching assistant in your classroom?

Do you find it difficult working alongside older, more experienced staff?
How would you react if a senior member of staff queried or criticised some aspect of your teaching?

What is your understanding of high-quality teaching and learning?
Describe a good lesson
Describe a lesson that did not go well. What were the reasons for this?
If I came into your classroom, what would I see?
Describe the teaching method you find most effective
Do you differentiate between outcome or task?
Tell me a bit about the lesson you taught this morning, were you happy with it?

When marking a piece of work that has been done by a pupil, how do you ensure your comments encourage the pupil to make progress?
How do you ensure all children are involved?
How would you motivate a reluctant child?
How would you meet the needs of gifted and talented children in the class?
Have you had experience of a very high attaining and very low attaining child in your class?
Tell us about your experience of assessment for learning and assessment of learning
If a child doesn’t show signs of improvement after all your planning, monitoring, assessing etc, what do you do next?
What strategies do you use to manage children with special educational needs?

What behaviour management policies have you experienced, and what do you consider as having been effective?
How would you deal with a pupil who is not co-operating?
How would you deal with a disruptive child?
What do you think is the best way to motivate pupils?
Some people say you should demand respect from children. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
What do you understand by the term ‘providing support’ for the pupil?
Bullying is often a serious issue that has to be dealt with in all areas of work with children. In your experience, what is the best way to deal with it?

Ensure that you know about the ‘Big Picture’ – there are lots going on in education at the moment, be clear of any changes that effect your subject, what do you think of the new National Curriculum?  Do you see these changes as an opportunity?  How do you use technology in your lessons?  What do you think of pupils bringing their own technology into your classroom? etc etc etc.


Good luck with your interview and share any tips via the comments on this blog.




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