04/14/2014 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

5 Tips for Your On-Campus Interview

Woman leads group of uniformed female students outside on a beautiful campus

Got an on-campus interview coming up? Congratulations — being invited to campus indicates that you are a serious contender for an open position. More so than a phone or Skype interview, an on-campus interview is a chance to get a sense of the community and its people, and demonstrate the value you'll bring to the school. It also gives your evaluators the opportunity to watch you juggle myriad tasks — just as you would in your everyday teaching job.

As you prepare your sample lesson and brainstorm what questions you might be asked, keep these five simple facts about the on-campus experience in mind.

1. It’s going to be a long day(s).

Get ready for fatigue, because your on-campus interview day(s) will be exhausting.  As a teacher, you interact with multiple constituents on a daily basis: administration, colleagues, students, parents—the list goes on.  If a school has invited you to its turf, odds are your schedule will be jam-packed with meetings.

So prepare to get a good night sleep, then stay hydrated, (stay caffeinated) and stay positive.

2. Questions are okay.

You already know that you’ll likely have the opportunity to ask questions (which should be insightful, reflective, and thought-provoking) in a formal way at your interview.  But don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the experience: you can ask administrators what to expect in advance so you can best prepare, ask the teacher of the class you’ll be leading for a list of student names, ask about the dress code, etc.  This is an important day for you—it’s okay to ask questions!

3. Connect with the kids.

In your on-campus interview, you may feel nervous, and that’s normal—but don’t let those nerves interfere with what you do best: teaching.  Try to relax once you’re in the classroom, because it’s just another day doing what you do.  Establish ways to connect with the students, for that ability will be much more revealing to your evaluators than any other part of your visit.

4. Everyone counts.

From the administrative assistants printing your schedules to the students in your classrooms to the Head of School, everyone counts.  Be courteous, grateful, and polite to everyone with whom you interact, no matter how exhausted you are.

5. This fit has to be mutual.

It’s important to remember that, for a truly successful hiring experience, the fit needs to be mutual.  It’s perfectly fine for you to enter an on-campus interview with doubts, reservations, and agenda items you need to cross off your own personal checklist.  The best teaching occurs when the right match happens between a school and a candidate, and that match is certainly not one-sided.  Throughout this process, remember that you have a voice—and it counts.

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