05/20/2015 by Todd Gochman | Landing the Job
The 3 Ps of a Successful On-Campus Interview
The final stage of any serious interview with any school is the campus visit. It’s a time to shine and a time to show your potential employers why they should hire YOU for the job.
So, how do you land the job of your dreams? Everyone asks this question any time they conduct a job search. Landing a teaching role in an independent school is challenging, as the expectations of any school are multi-fold: every school looks to hire someone who has a strong knowledge base in his/her respective content area; who can communicate the material appropriately; who can connect well not just with students, but with peers; who embraces the school mission and culture; and who, in addition to handling academic responsibilities, is able to contribute to the school community through coaching, advising, lead clubs/activities etc. A multi-talented educator indeed.
Now, if you make it to the final round, all schools require a campus visit. This is a sign to the job seeker that the school is very interested in what you have to offer, and the campus visit is an opportunity for you to meet students, teachers, and administration, and in many cases conduct a demo lesson.
With so much to keep track of, how do you do your best on a campus visit? Break the visit down into “The Three Ps:” ensure you are Prepared, Professional, and Positive. If you can demonstrate all three of these characteristics to the best of your ability you will be in a very strong position to be seriously considered for the offer.
This should be a no-brainer for anyone in a job search: do your due diligence on the school. Period. Read the school’s website and ascertain what they highlight. Review their course offerings, read their mission and history, scan their news and current events. Schools know how important it is to have a website that not just markets the school, but does a great job presenting the community’s culture.
Do you know anyone who worked at or attended this school? If so, contact them for feedback and insight on their experience. If you can go into a campus visit with some good questions and some prior insight on the community, that will help you formulate thoughtful questions, show you have prepared, and—most importantly—show you are serious about this job. Schools know when they meet a prepared interviewee, and they value preparation highly when making a hiring decision.
Your perceived level of professionalism starts with how you conduct yourself in the phone interviews preceding the campus visit. However, when meeting your future colleagues and employer, a strong hand-shake, good eye-contact, and appropriate conversation topics are essential. Keep the conversations on-point and tasteful. While it’s always good to show your humor, maintaining a high level of professionalism is vital. Don’t be too stiff, but be careful about being too “chummy;” the campus visit is, after all, still a day of interviews where faculty, staff, and administrators are trying to figure out if you would be a good fit for their community.
People enjoy working with positive people. If you are able to keep a smile on your face and show genuine enthusiasm for teaching your subject matter and working with students on a daily basis, that is interview gold. The life of a teacher is a busy one, and the demands can add up and pull you in a number of different directions. If you are able to maintain a positive outlook with all the demands of an interview, you will be well-positioned for the demanding daily life of a teacher. If you are leaving a prior position with some negative feelings, the very last thing to do is speak negatively about that position or employer. Hearing you speak negatively will leave a very sour feeling with a future employer, who might wonder what you would say about your new school’s community.
To avoid that scenario all together, stay positive. Always. Schools want teachers with enthusiasm, motivation, and a positive energy that is infectious. The ability to show a school your positive energy is essential.
Be Prepared. Be Professional. Be Positive.
If you are a finalist for a position, and you stick to the Three Ps of a successful campus visit, you will be positioning yourself incredibly well to secure the job of your dreams!
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