Your complete interview guide for a job in education

All the hard work you put in your application has paid off with an interview invitation – well done! You’re getting closing to landing that dream job. However, the hard work isn’t over yet. You still need to impress the interviewer with your skills. Below we guide you through this process and explain what you can expect from an interview for an education role.

1. Do your research

Start with some serious research about the institution. It’s important to be prepared because you might be asked about the school. For example, some interviewers will ask questions such a ‘why do you want to work in this school?’ If you have a good understanding of the school and its values, this answer should come more naturally.

Many schools will have an ‘About us’ section on their website. This should tell you background information about them, the head teacher and any values, or beliefs they run by. They may even have a staff page which you can check to see who will be interviewing you. This could help you to feel less nervous about who you’re meeting on the day.

Also, look on the ‘Google news’ feature for any recent news articles. Local papers will often cover charity contributions or events run by schools. This will help you get a better idea of their community and will give you something nice to raise in the interview.

2. Prepare your answers

Education interviews can be very different to any other sector. After all, it’s likely that they’ll be testing your skills vigorously. While each organisation and job role will have different interview styles, there are general skill areas and competencies that most will be looking for. To stand out, you should prepare for these.

It’s essential that you can identify your key strengths and give examples of them. Write bullet points and think of practical examples as to when you worked well in a team, assisted someone, overcame a problem, made a proactive decision and resolved a conflict.

Alongside this, look up all the common interview questions in this sector and make sure you can answer them. Try to refer to practical examples from work experience or volunteering to show you have the real-life skills needed in this sector.

3. Don’t forget the essentials

The interviewer will probably let you know about any important documents you need to bring before the date. So don’t leave it before you’re rushing out the door to get everything in order. Forgetting anything essential could influence your interview and suggest that you can’t follow a basic instruction.

On top of any documents, you should also bring a pen and paper. You might need to jot down important information and having to ask for a pen will look unprofessional.

If you submitted a CV or application form that you have access to, it’s a good idea to print it off and bring it along. They might ask you questions based off it and you want to look prepared.

4. Dress to impress

Many positions in this industry are practical, so cater your outfit to this expectation. Keep it simple. Go for a well-fitted suit or dress in a colour such as grey, navy blue or black. For women, make sure it’s modest and not too low cut or short. Keep makeup to a minimum too, avoiding bright lipsticks at all costs.

It’s up to you whether you wear heels or not, but if you do, make sure you’re comfortable and can walk in them. After all, you will be feeling nervous as it is, without worrying about falling over as well.

Other pointers include avoiding too much perfume or aftershave – you don’t want to choke the interviewer with your overpowering fragrance, especially in a confined space. Another pointer for all is to make sure you’re well-groomed with tidy facial hair or long hair that is tied back smartly.

5. Project your personality

An important part of working in this industry is connecting and building relationships with students. The interviewer needs to know that you’re the type of person who can do this and work well with others.

When you’re nervous it’s easy to forget this and put on a more reserved manner. However, if you try to stay comfortable and open with your body language (no crossed arms, relaxed shoulders) it should help you project yourself naturally.

Most importantly, put a smile on your face and remember to make eye contact with whomever is talking to you. Don’t forget to shake hands with anyone you meet and introduce yourself, this all shows that you’re professional and polite.

In summary

While interviews can be a daunting experience, they are the opportunity to sell yourself and land that education role you’ve been waiting for. Remember to follow the above advice to prepare properly and put a smile on your face.

If you’re yet to land an interview, check out the latest vacancies and opportunities on Education Jobs.