Schoolzone blog: The main teaching interview

The main teaching interview
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24 April 2015

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This normally takes place after lunch. Usually the headteacher will be present along with a governor, the head of department or key stage and maybe another member of the Senior Leadership Team. You will probably be invited in alphabetical order and the interview will last for about 40 minutes.

This is where the decision really gets made. You will probably be nervous - the interview panel will expect you to be: indeed they will be suspicious if not!

Take the initiative from the start: when you are introduced to the interviewees, shake their hand (firmly!) - even if they don't appear to want to; look them in the eye and try to commit their names to memory. Remember, you can be as nervous as you like, but be personable, too.

Some tips:

  • Sit upright in your chair. Don’t slouch and place both feet on the floor. Put your hands on your knees to start with. Don’t fiddle with anything like your watch or your jewellery - look relaxed!
  • Try to stay calm and get the first question out of the way. Once this first question is done candidates tend to calm down and answering the questions gets easier
  • Don’t speak too quickly and remember to pause so that you can draw breath. A slight pause before answering to compose your thoughts is fine
  • Establish eye contact particularly with the person who asked the question but as you answer scan around the room to engage with the other interviewers
  • Make sure that you answer the question that has been asked. If you totally lose your train of thought admit it and ask for the question to be repeated. They will expect a certain amount of nerves. This will also give you a little time to gather your thoughts.

At the end of the interview you will be asked if you have any questions. It is a good idea to have one or two but prepare them, don’t just make them up on the spot. There are a few generic things you could ask about such as NQT induction and the nature of the support given. You could ask about new staff in general: will you be part of a larger new staff group? You could ask about opportunities for continuing professional development; are there any working groups that NQTs can get involved in?

During your day in the school you should constantly be paying attention. For example in the morning you will have had a tour around the school. It might be that one of the students mentioned something that you can now ask about, such as extra-curricular provision. Stay alert and keep thinking about ways to feed in information about the school into your interview.






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