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Rocket Launchers

Author(s): Tracy Volz, PhD
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Prepare in Advance

This presentation describes strategies that will help you in an interview. But before you can be invited for an interview, of course, you must build a resume and complete the application materials. While doing so, keep in mind that you will increase your appeal to potential employers if you customize your application packet to match a school’s/district’s specific needs. From this very first first step in the process, it is important to adopt a systematic, focused approach to presenting yourself in the best possible light.

Once you get an interview, your goal should be to create an encounter in which you communicate your content knowledge, experience and career goals effectively, and with confidence. Under these circumstances, you have a favorable opportunity to persuade the interviewer that you’re the best candidate to fill an open teaching position.

But interviewing under any conditions is stressful, and many people are derailed by unexpected questions, a moment of uncertainty, or challenging situations. The best way to avoid an interview miscue or meltdown is to “do your homework” and prepare in advance.

It is not enough simply to know some background about the school or district with which you will interview. You must thoroughly research and understand a potential employer’s needs and expectations, and have a clear vision—and the ability to explain it—of how your skills will help to advance the school or district.

You also must have a detailed, organized view of your achievements and qualifications. You will not always have time during an interview to figure out how best to say things, or which examples from your past experience best illuminate your suitability for this new job. The information and details must be analyzed, compartmentalized and “queued up” in your mind before you walk through the interviewer’s door. This mental prep work will allow you to answer questions with assurance and clarity, and will show that you have thought carefully about how your background, prior experience and goals are aligned with the school’s needs.

Solid preparation will enable you to enter the interview in a more comfortable frame of mind, speak with confidence, answer questions well and clearly, and present a professional, competent demeanor. In short, it will maximize the likelihood of a positive, successful interview experience.