How To Interview for a Teaching Job – Best Practices

Teaching others is your passion. You’ve dedicated your life to get where you are now — going through years of schooling and spending time as a student teacher learning the ropes in the classroom.

Now, it’s time to interview for the job. Submitting a resume and putting your best foot forward should be a rather straight-forward process — but you’d be surprised at how many incomplete.

Part of applying for any job, whether in the classroom, on a sales floor, or anywhere else, is proving to the employer that you will you are committed to the mission at hand. Let’s take a look at how to apply for a teaching job.

Questions not to ask (at least at first)

Here is an example of some of the ways I regularly see applicants BEGIN their initial interview:

  • How much do you pay?
    • First of all, you don’t have the job yet. Yes, you should ask questions during the interview, and if it gets to the point where an offer is near, ask this one. But it shouldn’t be the first thing out of your mouth — knowing the salary of teachers in the school/district/area should be part of your pre-interview research.
  • How soon can I start?
    • Approaching a cold email assuming that he or she already has the job is my biggest pet peeve. The irony here lies in the fact that we hire regularly and are always looking for good talent. Conducting yourself well throughout the interview process, demonstrating your ability to work with students, and mastery of your native tongue (or subject matter) are the key ways to impress our management team. Generally speaking, those are basic requirements for ANY job in the online educational sphere. When an applicant does these things, their odds of getting hired are high!
  • How many hours can I teach?
    • Again, there is a time and place for this question.
  • I think your school should do this . . .
    • Interviewing 101: Don’t make the employer feel like they are failing at their job. Come at the interview from a confident but humble standpoint.

Maintain a professional demeanor

We’ve seen teachers applying for a job bring an aggressive attitude to their interview, exactly the opposite of what any school strives for. If you can’t maintain composure in the interview, how are you going to do so in the classroom?

You will work directly with the students and need to keep a professional but courteous demeanor at all times. This stuff goes when you apply to teach at aa private school, charter school, Montessori, private tutoring —  whatever the outlet, basic rules of professionalism still apply.

Don’t ignore instructions in the job posting

Job postings will almost always include instructions for how to apply. Read them thoroughly and follow directions carefully. It’s blatantly obvious when someone doesn’t do this. If the post shares a link to where to submit your resume, don’t email the contact listed instead of filling out the app. If the form asks for a CV and cover to be attached to the email, send the documents as a PDF attachment instead of pasting into the email body. Following instructions helps an applicant look great right from the beginning. Personally, I love to see an initial contact that explains why a candidate is interested, what their qualifications are, and that includes contact information including a phone number and email address.

Keep it natural

Above I mentioned staying calm and maintaining a professional demeanor. I cannot emphasize this enough! Put your best foot forward, highlight your experience and qualifications and be friendly and confident. Let your work and personality lead the charge.

I offer this advice to job applicants across the educational sphere: be conversational. Build a bond. And most importantly, don’t come across as a) expectant or b) desperate. If you can manage those things, you’re already a step ahead of most.