When interviewing prospective educators, you want to determine whether the candidate:
- is qualified for the position
- has proper work habits and skills
- exhibits the personality and empathy to relate to other teachers and students
- possesses intangibles — spark, dedication, fit — that resonate with your school’s culture and faculty
You will want to tailor your questions to your school's needs and the specific position, but CalWest Educators Placement shares sample questions below to serve as a starting point for your interview preparation.
- Why do you teach?
- Describe your current (or most recent) teaching experience.
- What experience have you had in teaching a range of learning abilities? What experience have you had in teaching students with culturally diverse backgrounds?
- What was your greatest challenge in teaching thus far? How did you resolve it?
- What courses have you taken that have been especially helpful in preparing to you to teach and/or enhancing your teaching
- Explain a difficult situation you have encountered in the classroom, what you learned from it, and what you would do differently now.
Pedagogy and Instruction
- If I were to observe your classes, what would I see you and your students doing on a typical day?
- How would you rank these in importance and why? Planning, discipline, methods, evaluation.
- If I walked into your classroom during an outstanding lesson, what would I see and hear?
- How would you describe your style of teaching?
- What techniques do you use to keep students actively involved and motivated during a lesson?
- What would you do if a student frequently failed to turn in the work you assigned?
- Imagine that some of your students have finished their assignments early. How would you deal with the free time they have?
- How would you include cooperative learning in your classroom?
- How have you worked with students who struggle to understand and/or keep up?
- Describe what experience you have in modifying lesson plans for students with special needs?
- What methods of assessments do you believe are most effective in measuring student progress?
- Describe the test and quiz formats you like to give. Why do you prefer these formats?
- What would you do if a large number of students of your class did poorly on an assessment?
- Describe a time when a student challenged your authority in the classroom. What did the student do, and how did you respond?
- Can you tell me about a successful behavior management strategy you have used in the past that helped engage a student or group of students?
- Describe the process you would use in responding to a student who was disrupting or distracting the class.
- What discipline strategies have you found to be successful?
- What are the rules of your classroom? How do you communicate and reinforce them?
- Imagine that a student is consistently late to your class. How would you handle the situation?
- When students say they want their teachers to be fair, what do you think they mean?
- How would you create and promote a safe atmosphere for all students in your classroom?
- Describe how you like to implement technology in your lessons.
- What are your technology skills? What equipment, software and applications have you used for instructional and classroom record keeping/management purposes?
- What web-based technology have you used to keep parents and students informed?
- How do you engage parents in the education of their children?
- What is your preferred method of communicating with parents?
- For what reasons or issues would you reach out to communicate with parents?
- What makes an administrator effective?
- What should the administration expect from teachers? What should teachers expect from the administration?
- If I am your principal/department head and we are setting goals for next year, what would they be?
- Describe a time you and a colleague developed an interdisciplinary project together.
- On what faculty committees have you served? Describe your role and the outcome of the committee’s work.
- If you overheard some colleagues talking about your teaching, what would they say?
- What do you value most in the students you teach?
- When not in the classroom, how do you try to connect with the students you teach?
- If a student came to you and said, "None of the other students like me," what would you tell him/her?
- What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with and why?
- If you could image ideal school, what would it be like?
- We offer a rich program of co- and extra-curricular activities and encourage teacher participation. How would you like to be involved in co- and extra-curricular activities?
- If you could not be in education, what would you want to do?
- Do you like to be challenged? (Give an example to support your answer.)
- What is the last book you enjoyed reading? What made it enjoyable?
- What do you like most like/dislike most about teaching?
- If a student who was to be in your class next year, asked a student from this past year to describe you as a teacher, what would he or she say?
- What are the key qualities and skills that students look for in teachers?
- Why are you leaving or considering leaving your current position?
- What about teaching in our school appeals to you?
- Why should our school hire you?
- If we decided not to hire you, what would we be missing out on?
- If you are fortunate enough to have job offers from several schools, what factors will you weigh heaviest as you decide which offer to accept?
- Is there a question you wish I had asked or anything we didn’t discuss that you would like to share?
- What questions would you like to ask about this position or the school?
Written by Chris Fleischner and Les Frost, CalWest Educators Placement. Fleischner is president of CalWest Educators Placement. Frost is an independent school board and head consultant and former head of school at St. Matthew's Parish School (CA).