The first impressions are most important, as 80% of the final outcome are made (on both sides!) within 5 minutes of the start. It is taken as read that the interviewer has spent as much time in preparing and research as the interviewee. Both sides are evaluating whether their preconceptions are valid. The interviewer is assessing whether the candidate could deliver the goods in the classroom, but also whether he/she would fit in with the school’s mission and if they could fit into what will probably be a totally different from what has been experienced so far. So, preparation is all important.
If the time for the interview is 11.00am, it is obvious that the candidate should report ‘suited and booted’ at the venue at 10.45am at the very latest. The interview schedule may not necessarily be running to exact timings. If the preceding interviews are running slightly over the schedule, you are just going to have to grin and bear it, but if a previous candidate has failed to report, the interviewer will welcome the chance to start your interview slightly earlier. Naturally, if you are not there for an 11.00 o’clock start, there had better be good reason for this and it is always worthwhile ringing up to explain why you have been delayed.
So, you have reached the interview on time; fully prepared; and well-presented. Even though it is a slightly artificial situation, start as you mean to go on – be your real self and be relaxed! The interviewer is trying to picture you as a future colleague. If you try to put on a show for the interview, you may be a great actor and get away with it and be offered the job, but it could be disastrous. A couple of times this has happened to me and it ended in tears as within the first year I had to dismiss the teacher for not delivering what was promised at the interview.
The advice ‘be relaxed’ is easier said than done, but it is useful to try to do something about controlling your nerves without being too laid back to give the impression of indifference. The most vivid and amusing experience, I can recall, was when a candidate who could not control his nerves was seated in an office swivel chair. He continually turned the chair from side to side but then, unfortunately, he leaned back and tipped the chair over. He went over backwards amid a flurry of arms and legs and as he picked himself and the chair up, he explained that had never happened to him before and he hoped it would not affect his chances of getting the job! It was the final nail in the coffin that he had climbed into in the first 60 seconds of the interview!!
Written by John Regan, Chief Executive of Teacher Horizons and former International School Head in the UK, Portugal and Egypt.
PS, the same rules apply to our video interviews hosted on your Teacher Horizons profile, see here for advice on producing these. Number one rule, be yourself! For further info watch this: