Job interview

How to shine in a job interview

Firstly, give yourself a big pat on the back for getting an interview! Then get ready for the hard work that comes next. At Smart Teachers, we help people prepare for interviews and get jobs in education every day, so we know the work involved. You are more likely to be successful when you’ve done your research and preparation, and you’re confident in yourself. Want that education job? Here’s what you can do… 

Do your research 

Find out as much about the school or college as you can. And as well as looking at their website, social media and strategy documents, give us a call because we have great relationships with all the schools we work with. We’ll be able to get you up to speed with the latest news and information about them and their vision for the future. Being in the know shows you are serious about the role. 

Be sure to enquire about the interview format. Knowing these in advance will reduce surprises on the day. 

  • Is it an interview panel, group interview or 1-1 chat? 
  • Is it virtual or in person?  
  • Who is interviewing you? 
  • Do you need to prepare an exercise, lesson or presentation before hand?  
  • Will you be given a task to do?  

And know the practicalities to avoid any unnecessary stress.  

  • Where is it? 
  • How do you get there? 
  • Is public transport running that day? 
  • Where can you park? 
  • If it’s a virtual interview, is your laptop charged and the Wi-Fi working?  

Get prepared 

Study the job description inside and out, then write down examples of experiences you have against each point. You may not have examples for all of them and if that’s the case prepare an honest response – think of any skills or attributes you need to strengthen that will help you get there.  

There are common questions that come up in interviews, such as about your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to sell your strengths, be honest about your weaknesses and mention what you are already doing to improve them. We are only human after all and knowing what you need to work on and doing it shows self-awareness and initiative. 

Other common questions can include how well you work in a team and handle pressure, and hypothetical ‘what if...’ questions to review your problem solving skills. Anticipate these and prepare answers in advance always bringing in examples and success stories from relevant past experiences. 

Practice articulating all of your responses to these questions, so they sound natural, are succinct and you feel confident talking about them. 

Be yourself 

If you get stuck or lose track in the interview, don’t just ramble on. It’s ok to admit if you are nervous at the beginning, so pause, take a breath and ask them to repeat the question. Then you can continue with confidence. 

At the end they will ask you if you have any questions. Remember an interview is a two-way process, so you can make sure it’s the right role and school for you. Prepare a list of 4-5 questions beforehand that will show your enthusiasm, but will also provide more specifics about the role or school that hasn’t already been covered. 

And lastly, be confident and be yourself. The interviewers want to see who you are and the personality you’ll bring to the school, so be enthusiastic, be positive and be you. 

Get more advice 

If you have any questions about your interview or you’re after more interview advice, just give us a call today on +44(0)20 7065 7500 and we’ll be more than happy to help you. Good luck!