02/26/2013 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Landing the Job
Interviewing On-Campus? 5 Things to Remember
By this point in your job search, you’ve submitted your resume, cover letter, and personal statement. You’ve likely had a phone interview, and you may even have had a few first-round, 30-minute interviews at one (or more!) of our hiring conferences. Then you get the request you’ve been waiting for: the invitation to interview on-campus at a school.
This is the time of year when schools are increasingly inviting candidates for next-round interviews on-campus. This is a little different than other types of interviews. Here are five things to remember.
1. Know Where You’re Going
This tip may seem reductive, but don’t write it off—many independent schools have college-like campuses, with buildings and names that aren’t necessarily indicative of each building’s function. Before you go, make sure you know who you’re meeting with and in what building and room. Go to the school’s website and look for a map so you know exactly where to go—and if you’re confused, ask for directions in advance. On the day of your interview, you want to remain calm and composed, not flustered and scrambling to find your way.
2. It’s Going to Be a Long Day
Steel yourself before you step on-campus: you’ll likely be exhausted by the time you leave. The on-campus interview will probably last several hours and could even take the entire school day. In addition to meeting with top administrators, you might also receive a tour of the school, conduct a sample lesson, and meet with some of your prospective colleagues. Wear comfortable shoes—you will be standing before a new gaggle of students during your sample lesson, after all—and bring snacks. A granola bar and a bottle of water might go a long way in keeping you energized throughout the day.
3. This Is an Interview
When you’re on campus for hours, you might start to feel like this is just another day of work. While you should relax and be yourself, don’t forget that this is an interview—you are being evaluated in everything you do. Be mindful of that, whether you’re chatting with a fellow Spanish teacher, minding your manners at the lunch table, or about to complain about how tired you are.
4. Show Your Personality and Energy—In and Out of the Classroom
Don’t stress too much about covering all the material you’ve been assigned in your sample lesson—the energy you bring to the classroom and your ability to connect with students will matter more than how much you cover in one class. Show your ability to engage students—your interviewers will take note.
The same applies to your interactions with prospective colleagues outside the classroom. Whether you’re taking a lunch break with a few other teachers or meeting your department head, show your personality and your energy. You will be a member of the school’s community and a constant presence in your future colleagues’ lives: they want to get to know you and make sure your personality, as well as your teaching acumen, is a good fit for the school.
5. Don’t Force It
It can be easy to get so caught up in making a good first impression that you forget to evaluate whether the school is a good fit for you. If you’re going to be happy in a new position, you’ll have to like the school: its community, its mission, and its values. You want to present yourself well, yes, but also pay attention to things that matter to you in a job. The most successful relationships are mutual—and that logic applies to your job search, too.
If you’ve attended or are attending one of our teacher and administrator hiring conferences, you might be on the brink of an on-campus interview. Relax, prepare, and remember: it’s all about making the right match.
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