Employable 101: The Interview

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
hire me, Suzanne

Sweaty palms, heart racing, foggy head- I'm not talking about a first date.  I'm referring to my feelings before an interview (although my symptoms on a first date are eerily similar).

I wish I had a magic cure to make those anxieties go away, but alas, I can't.  The best thing you and I can do is walk in with the confidence that comes from being prepared.  

Here are some things to consider:
Dress to impress like yourself-  I recently had an interview and worried that I was sabotaging my chances by deciding against a black-on-black power suit.  Instead I opted for a bright, floral blazer that I justified the purchase of by rationalizing that I would wear it to interviews.  There's girl math somewhere in there.  I opted for the option When I showed up, I was so glad that I chose to dress like (the best version of) myself.  

Bring props- I'm not recommending that your dust off an old baton from high school or learn some magic tricks from YouTube.  Instead, bring items that show your educational philosophies in practice.  For me, these are interactive notebooks and shared readings.  Any resources that you've created, samples of student work, or tech tools are a great way to show what you have to offer.  If you are just starting out, come bearing resumes and impressive artifacts from your student teaching or course work.  Don't be crushed if you don't spend lots of time on this stuff.  The most important thing is that they get to know you, but having these items on hand can ensure that conversation doesn't lag.

Predict and practice questions- Interviews are nerve wracking!  Keep in mind, everyone on your interview panel has been where you are.  With that said, it is totally okay to take a moment to think before launching into an answer.  The silence will feel incredibly uncomfortable but much less than if you find yourself saying who knows what later.  Potential interview questions to consider:
If they're really tricky, they might even throw in: do you have any questions for us?  For Pete's sake, YES!  Have a question, and make it a good one!  Lori sat in on an interview that was going relatively well until this question was asked.  Her response, "Ummmm....(twirls hair around finger)...so do you like me?"  Uhhh...we did until now.  Needless to say, they decided to go another direction.  Spend some time on the school website.  Ask about their demographics, data management tools, or mentorship programs.  Your question says a lot about your interests and preparedness.

Practice a little Southern charm- Practice the lost art of the thank you card.  It shows that you are appreciative of their time and puts your name in front of them one more time.  

**Public Service Announcement:  If you are looking for a teaching position in the DFW area, join me at the Mesquite ISD Job Fair on Saturday, May 2nd.  Click here to register.  If you're there, be sure to find me and I'll introduce you to some of my friends.  I can vouch for you because Curly Classroom friends are good for students!**

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