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Hillsborough Community College

Educator Preparation Institute


 Job Interview Process 



1. Introductory stage

The interviewer will establish rapport and create a relaxed, though businesslike, atmosphere. This is where the interviewer gets the very important first impression of you.  


2. Review of your background and interests

This usually takes the form of “what,” “why,” “where,” and “when” types of questions. Focus on what you are like, and what you have accomplished, your academic and work background, and your goals. One of the interviewer’s objectives is to see if your qualifications match your declared work interests. Give concise but thorough responses to questions.  

3. Matching begins
Assuming you have the necessary qualifications, the interviewer will begin the process of determining whether the employer's job opening(s) match your qualifications.   Most Principals look for teachers they believe will be effective in the classroom AND be good team players. You must communicate to the interviewer that you can be both. The last thing a principal wants is a new teacher who will cause him headaches, needs constant reassurance, takes up his valuable time solving trivial problems, or who has poor parent relation skills.

4. Conclusion

In this stage, the interviewer should explain what the next steps are in the hiring process. Be sure you understand them. Promptly provide any additional information requested. There should be ample opportunity for you at this point to ask any questions you have. Remember, the principal or other interviewer does not negotiate salary, benefits, etc. Don't even mention them in the interview.




  • Eye Contact - Do not just assume you have good eye contact. Ask. Watch. Then practice. Ask others if you ever lack proper eye contact.  (look at white of eye or nose)
  • Facial Expressions - Include—a smile! Not a goofy grin, but a true and genuine smile that tells me you are a happy person and delighted to be interviewing with our school today.
  • Posture — posture sends out a signal of your confidence and power potential. Stand tall, walk tall, and most of all, sit tall.
  • Gestures — contrary to popular belief, gestures should be very limited during the interview – small and meaningful
  • Space — recognize the boundaries of your personal space and that of others. If you are typical of most Americans, it ranges between 30 and 36 inches. Be prepared, however, not to back up or move away from someone who has a personal space that is smaller than your own.
  • Openness and warmth — open-lipped smiling, open hands with palms visible, unbuttoning coat upon being seated
  • Confidence — leaning forward in chair, chin up, putting fingertips of one hand against fingertips of the other hand in “praying,” or “steepling” position, hands joined behind back when standing
  • Nervousness — smoking, whistling, pinching skin, fidgeting, jiggling pocket contents, running tongue along front of teeth, clearing throat, hands touching the face or covering part of the face, pulling at skin or ear, running fingers through hair, wringing hands, biting on pens or other objects, twiddling thumbs, biting fingernails (action itself or evidence of), tongue clicking
  • Untrustworthy/Defensive — frowning, squinting eyes, tight-lipped grin, arms crossed in front of chest, pulling away, chin down, touching nose or face, darting eyes, looking down when speaking, clenched hands, gestures with fist, pointing with fingers, chopping one hand into the open palm of the other, rubbing back of neck, clasping hands behind head while leaning back in the chair


  • In an interview your attire plays a supporting role.  Your conduct, your interpersonal skills and your ability to articulate intelligent and well thought out responses to questions are the most important elements.
  • Appropriate attire supports your image as a person who takes the interview process seriously and understands the nature of the industry in which you are trying to become employed.
  • Your attire should be noticed as being appropriate and well-fitting, but it should not take center stage. If you are primarily remembered for your interview attire, this is probably because you made an error in judgment!
  • Dressing nicely and appropriately is a compliment to the person you meet, so if in doubt, err on the side of dressing better than you might need to.
  • Even if you are aware that employees of an organization dress casually on the job, dress up for the interview unless you are specifically told otherwise by the employer.


Step1: Know about the school

  • Check the school’s website
  • Review the latest School Report Card
  • Review the School Improvement Plan (vision, mission, Title I status, attendance, demographics, administrator profiles, reading, mathematics, writing, science)


Step 2: Brainstorm and Rehearse


Brainstorm and rehearse answers to questions about your area of expertise, educational methodology and philosophy, and familiarity with - and respect for - school district policies. Prepare several specific questions of your own and study the school and district organization chart to learn important names.

Step 3: Make a trial run

Make a trial run to the school the day before your interview and organize any documents you may have been asked to bring along, including extra copies of your resume and application.

Step 4: Create the right frame of mind

The night before the interview, spend some time with a friend or family member, telling them why you would be the best for the position. Use superlatives galore! The purpose is to put you in the right frame of mind for the interview, so that you truly believe you are the best possible candidate for the job.



  • Why did you decide to become a teacher?
  • Some people say you should demand respect. Do you agree or disagree?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How would you rank these in importance and why? Planning, discipline, methods, evaluation.
  • If a student came to you and said, "None of the other students like me," what would you tell him/her?
  • How do you feel if a student does not meet a deadline?
  • It is the first day of class, you are writing something on the board and a paper wad hits you in the back, what would you do?  Later the same day, if all the students drop their pencils, what do you do?
  • Do you believe you should build rapport with students?  If yes, how?
  • How do you give your students recognition?  Do you think a student can have too much recognition?
  • How do you encourage students to learn?  Can a student be forced to learn?
  • How do you handle a child who seems gifted, but is a discipline problem?
  • How do you feel about computers in the classroom?
  • How do you present a new word to a class?
  • What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?
  • Describe your student teaching experience.
  • How do you establish authority/discipline?  What do you do when a discipline problem arises?
  • What will you be doing in five years?
  • How do you feel about noise in the classroom?  How do you handle noise in the classroom?
  • How would you handle making a difficult phone call to a parent?
  • What type of reading program did you use in student teaching?
  • If I walked into your classroom during the 90 minute reading block, what would I see?
  • If you could design the ideal classroom for the elementary grades what would it look like?
  • Which subject area do you believe is your strength, which is your weakest? What steps will you take to improve in this area?
  • What are the most important or worthwhile qualifications of a good teacher?
  • What is the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher.
  • How would you go about planning a lesson?
  • How would you individualize a curriculum for students at various levels?
  • How would you identify special needs of students?
  • What methods do you use for classroom management? Describe one difficult incident with a student, and how you handled it.
  • How would you handle difficult parents?
  • Give me an example of a rule or procedure in your classroom?
  • What methods have you used or would you use to assess student learning?
  • What does being "at-risk" for school failure mean?
  • What are some of the factors/conditions that might put a child at-risk?
  • What experience have you had incorporating computers in a classroom?
  • What grade level would you be most comfortable teaching?
  • Are you a team player? If so, please give me an example.