The interview process can be exciting and scary. You know that the school appreciated your resume and cover letter enough to offer an interview, however you have to speak to your skills and experiences. Personally, I have struggled with preparing for an interview, especially when I first started applying for school leadership positions. There is more competition and educators that have the same and sometimes even more experiences than you. So, you definitely want to show them your best, but HOW?
For me, I believed in my ability to perform the role, however I wasn’t sure how to organize my thoughts. How do I prepare? What might they ask? I had concerns about preparing for the wrong questions. So, how could I clearly and concisely communicate my strengths? Sound familiar??
Ed Muzio of Group Harmonics, shares a 3 step model, which I have adapted for school leaders. I call this PAQ (Pack):
P – Plan
A – Answer practice questions
Q – Questions you will ask
First step is to plan, which you start by printing out the job description. Your next task is to make a list of the skills/experiences listed in the posting. Next, you will make a second list, which describes your skills/experiences. For example, a skill might be effective communication, so I would connect the time I sent home weekly parent email to share the classroom events. By directly matching your skills/experiences with the job description, you show you are ready to perform the duties of the role.
Step Two is to answering practice questions. Every role contains common questions asked during the interview. Therefore, I suggest using Google to find some samples, however I have a few topics I noticed during my interviews for school leadership positions. The topics usually include: (a) Quality classroom instruction, (b) Handling disagreements between stakeholders, and (c) Strategies for closing achievement gap. I know there are more, so I suggest finding samples and practicing.
The third step is creating a question to ask the interviewer. Some people might not like this idea, but I do because creating a question, indicates you have done your research and want to learn more. There are three places to find information to build your question: (1) Vision/mission, (2) Performance data, and (3) School improvement plan. I like to review these items because each contain information about school goals and strategies used to accomplish the goals. A sample question I have created before is:
I noticed in you are incorporating Project Based Learning in your school improvement plan, how is that strategy going to help your school close the achievement gap in Reading?
The key to success with the PAQ model is to connect every you say to the skills/experiences listed in the job description. If you can do this effectively, you will clearly indicate you are the best candidate for the job!!!
Use this model during your next interview, and I know you will have an advantage on your competition. Good luck on your next interview!
Do you have another strategy for preparing for an upcoming interview? If so, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Finally, I invite you to join my exclusive Facebook group Get Better At Educational Leadership to get access to additional resources and collaborate with other school leaders just like you!
Remember, each of you have a special talent to support your school and I am here to support your goals as a school leader.
Muzio, E (2012, January 13). How to prepare for a Job Interview. Retrieved from: