Interviewing requires a lot of thought and preparation. We sat down with the KIPP New Jersey recruitment team to learn a little bit more about what pitfalls usually trip up candidates, and how you can avoid them. Even if you’re not interviewing for a teaching position, these tips aught to help you with your next interview.
- Video interviews are interviews too.
Video interviews whether live via Skype or pre-recorded, help recruitment teams and hiring managers get to know candidates earlier on in the process. One of our talent recruiters, Melissa Pierce, says, “When you are asked to complete an online interview, treat it like a face-to-face conversation with a recruiter. Smile! Be personable!”
On top of that, make sure you dress appropriately, speak in complete sentences, and act professionally. Answer questions fully. Make sure you provide examples if the question asks for it.
- Think about areas of growth in your sample lesson and performance task.
Recruiters and school leaders look for critical thinking and self-awareness in their teachers and staff.
When you’re interviewing after a sample lesson, they want to know what you thought about your performance. More importantly, they want to see how self-aware you are about your teaching, your lesson and your overall performance in the classroom. Make sure you have areas of growth on hand before you step into your interview after your sample lesson and consider offering ways you could make adjustments to remediate them.
- Come prepared with questions about the school culture and curriculum.
Recruiters get lots of questions about the recruitment process, but questions about curriculum, academics, school culture and development also go a long way to help you understand the school better.
If you visit a school in person, reflect on additional questions to ask after the tour. You don’t want to get to the interview at the end of the day and not have anything else to ask. Writing down questions as you observe classrooms or talk with the recruiter or hiring manger shows that you were paying attention and are invested.
- Do your homework!
Just like having questions prepared, you also want to do your homework on the school you’re visiting, the city they’re in and the school district. Our recruiters find that teaching candidates that perform the best in interviews are the ones that understand the educational landscape of Newark and Camden and understand KIPP’s approach to education.
There are a variety of resources to help you do you homework. You can check out the school’s about page and news about education or ed reform in a particular area. Trade publications like Education Week and newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post have extensive education coverage that will help. You can also check out a school’s or school district’s news page to see their latest mentions in the press.
- Have examples of feedback or times you had to show grit.
We all know teaching is hard work. There are times lessons, days and conversations with students just don’t go your way. Recruiters and school leaders really want to know how you take feedback and if you have the grit necessary to teach in a high-performing charter school environment where you’ll be given adjusting feedback constantly; particularly when you’re just starting out.
To nail this part of the interview process, have clear examples of times when the going got tough or you were given solid adjusting feedback from someone observing you. More importantly, make sure you’re ready to talk about what you did to adjust and improve based on that feedback.
- Be yourself.
Merete Fields, our executive recruiter adds, “If teaching is your passion it will already shine through. We love kids and we want people who love kids just as much as we do.”
Recruiters and principals want to know that the people they hire are a good fit for their school culture. Be yourself and have fun with kids you’re teaching and the staff you meet. Feel them out to get an idea of how formal they are so you know how formal you need to be.
Do you have any other fantastic interview tips? Let us know in the comment section below. Ready to apply? Check out the KIPP New Jersey job board.
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