Interview Season.


interviewThe flood of unsolicited resumes is a telltale sign that interview season is upon us. And by us, I mean me.

Unless of course, you are unemployed. And if that it is the case, consider us in this together.

Filling a teaching position is sad, interesting, disappointing, and rewarding.

It’s sad and disappointing because you hate for your school district to lose good staff members. Although if other schools want to hire your teachers, that is a sign that you made a wise choice once upon a time.

If no one wants your teachers, that is what we in the education world call… bad.

Interviewing is interesting. Sometimes too interesting. It occasionally borders on scary.

As in, “it is scary that this person may be allowed to work with young people” or animals, or anything with a pulse.

The best part of conducting interviews is its ability to be a fulfilling experience.

Finding just the right person. Searching through the mountain of resumes to come up with that perfect candidate. Hiring someone for their very first job.

That is exciting.

There are a lot of upsides to interviews, even when it is sad that a good teacher is leaving.

But, as always, with the good comes the bad.

And the downside is the interviews themselves.

Talking to 5 or 10 or sometimes 20 people is tiring. Not tiring like a coal miner, but exhausting none the less.

It is even worse when the interviewee is bad.

That is why I have gone to the trouble to compile a list of 5 things not to do on an interview. Actually, it wasn’t that much trouble because all of these things are true. As far as you know.

In an ode to Casey Kasem, I will countdown backwards. Odds are, if you are being interviewed this spring, you don’t get the Casey Kasem countdown reference, but as always… this blog is written for my own amusement.

#5 Don’t Have Your Mom Drive You to the Interview and Wait in the Office.

I have seen this twice. You can’t make this stuff up.

Having your mom drive you to an interview is not a sign of love, convenience, or even supportive. It is sad and creepy.

Don’t do it, even if you have to walk to the interview.

#4 Don’t Dress Like a Hitchhiker.

You are interviewing at a school, not a 7-Eleven. It isn’t my problem if you have to go straight from the interview to your part-time job at the convenience store.

This is an interview where you are hoping to land a job that will pay thousands of dollars. Don’t show up looking like you are on your way to a frat party.

That doesn’t mean you have to wear a $1,200 suit, but it does mean you need to look as nice as possible.

It also means you need to take a shower and get a haircut. Covering your 18 tattoos that seemed like a good idea your freshman year is also recommended.

School administrators are hiring teachers, not prison guards (although from time to time, this job description can become blurry).

#3 Cruise the Internet for Something Appropriate for Once.

Schools have websites. Visit them.

I am not saying you need to memorize state test scores for the last decade, but you should know the principal’s name.

And the school size, and whether or not they have a football team, and what classes are offered.

College students spend an average of 107 hours per week on the internet (I made this up… and my guess is probably a little low), surely you can take 5 minutes to Google the school district.

Research goes hand in hand with having an intelligent question, or questions, to ask at the end of the interview.

Where is the lounge? … is not an intelligent question.

#2 Don’t Tell the Whole Truth.

The people who interview you want to get to know you. But, they don’t need to know everything.

I am not saying lie, but please remember I am not a psychiatrist or pastor.

Examples:

Don’t tell them your sad story about just breaking up with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or significant other (we are not here to judge).

Don’t say you really need this job because your credit cards are maxed out.

Don’t share that you are tired because you aren’t used to being up this early. And it’s 1:00 pm.

Don’t announce that you got your degree in education because it was “easy”.

Don’t say that in five years you hope to be on tenure, so you can get to school late and leave early.

Don’t ask if there will be a break halfway through the interview, so you can go outside to smoke.

#1 Be Yourself.

When I am asked for advice on interviewing, I am struck by 2 thoughts.

The first is why are you asking me? I have made a career on being “accidently successful”. But that is for another blog.

And two, interviewing isn’t brain surgery. The secret is to just be yourself.

Answer the questions honestly (not too honestly), be straightforward, and don’t try to fool the people conducting the interview.

Don’t try to give them the answer you think they want to hear. After all, you just met them and you have no idea what they want to hear.

They are trying to find a good fit for their school and for you.

If you aren’t yourself and then they hire you… eventually (in the two hours of employment) they are going to see the real you.

And they won’t like it because they hired the fake you.

You want to work at a school that wants and appreciates you. The only way to find that perfect job is to be yourself during the interview process.

And in case you missed it earlier, leave mom at home.

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Disclaimer

While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.