Thursday, September 22, 2011

Most Informative Interview Questions

I'm currently in the process of earning a master's degree in educational leadership. One of the instructors asked us to gather interview questions from each of our mentor principals and compile a list of our favorite interview questions that we could use in future interviews. I was particularly excited about the questions that had a hidden meaning. For example, candidates could answer the question, but how they answered the questions would reveal more about their teaching style or personality. The thought of having the opportunity to better the faculty, as a whole, each time an opening in the school is posted is very interesting to me!

Here's the list that our cohort of educators developed.

  1. What are your favorite teaching methods?
  2. What character traits will you offer to our school?
  3. Tell me what you do when a student does not complete their assignment?
  4. Given all necessary supplies and materials for the first day of school, what would your classroom look like? What is something in your classroom that you couldn't live without?
  5. How would you ensure all students achieve high academic success regardless of their circumstances? 
  6. On your best day of teaching, what would I see, hear, and experience in your room? And on your worst day of teaching? 
  7. Provide scenarios about a topic. Then, ask the applicant what he/she would do in the situation or how the situation could be re-directed in a positive manner.
  8. Propose a set of parameters for a class, for example, an honors class, an inclusion class, or a freshman class, and ask the applicant to talk through how he/she would prepare to meet the needs of the students.
  9. Tell me some differentiated instructional methods you use in your classroom.
  10. What should I expect to see happening if I dropped into your classroom on a random day? 
  11. How do you plan for daily instruction and describe a typical class that you would teach from beginning to end? Include what you would do during the first 10 minutes, how you present new information, teaching techniques/strategies you would use, and how you would end class.
  12. What methods do you use to evaluate/assess students?  What are some alternative methods of assessment that you have used?  How do you use assessments to plan for instruction and for monitoring student progress and effective teaching practices?
  13. What do you do to grab and keep your students attention?
  14. With the practice of inclusion, does a child with Down Syndrome belong in the general education classroom?

Do you have any great interview questions to add to the list?


  1. Welcome to the world of blogging!

    I really like "STAR" questions. Rather than asking how someone would be something in the future, they ask the candidate how they responded to something in their past (with the idea that ast performance is a good indicator of future behavior.)

    A STAR question would be something like, "Tell me about a time you went out of way to help a student." "Tell me about a time a parent was angry with you. How did you handle it?"

    With a STAR question, you are listening for the candidate to describe a Situation, define what the Task was, talk about the Actions taken, and tell what the Result was.

  2. I'm excited about the world of blogging! Finally, all my rambling thoughts and ideas can be condensed into an organized and understandable resource that I can access anywhere. Let me know if you have any blogging tips!

    I've never heard about STAR questions. That is so simple, yet insightful. You are wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

    Some other questions that have been suggested by fellow teachers are below.

    How do you use Bloom's taxonomy in your teaching?

    Tell me something that let's me know you have good common sense.

    Who do you teach your lessons for - low, middle, or high achieving?

    What specifically will you do on your first day? What about the second?

    For high school interview with younger teacher: How will you deal with discipline and classroom management when you are just a few years older than your students?

    For high school with younger teacher: How would you handle a student having a crush on you?

    Why should anyone be a teacher right now?

    Why are you a teacher?

  3. These questions are great and very thought provoking. I've been asked some of these same questions. I will be using these to prepare for upcoming interviews. Thanks for sharing these :) As a future administrator, what are key qualities that you look for in a candidate?

  4. For me, I think it depends on how well the person fits in with the team that's currently in place. Does the team need someone that's innovative and technologically strong or does the team need a teacher that's philosophically set and strong in classroom management? Obviously, there are standards that must be met with all candidates - quality level of education, openness to collaboration and constructive feedback, lifelong learner, and commitment to student learning. Also, I think you kind of just know. There is a feeling that this person belongs with your school family and your thought process confirms the feeling.

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