Interviews are tricky things and unfortunately there are no guarantees that even if you do everything ‘right’, you will get the job. Saying that, there are definitely a few things you can do to maximise your chances of success. We’ve gathered them together below in our top 5 things to do to succeed.
1.Preparation is the key to success
- Re-read the job advert and specification to remind yourself of what they are asking for, and read through your application as well to remind yourself of what you have already told them and what they may refer back to.
- Match their criteria to your skills and experience – be able to back them up with concrete and specific examples
- Know your strengths and weaknesses and be honest about them – make sure you can explain them clearly.
- Try and anticipate the questions and concerns they might raise – think about how you will answer them.
- Practice with a friend or colleague – while you don’t want to sound too rehearsed, practice can make you feel more confident and comfortable in the real interview, and your pretend interviewer may have some good advice once they have seen you in action which could help you sharpen your interview technique.
- Do your research – study the values, mission statement, leadership policies, Ofsted reports, principles, services, etc. While you don’t need to be an expert, a sound enough knowledge so you can formulate opinions based on your research could be very helpful.
- Make sure you know where you’re going, what time and what you need to bring (such as original copies of qualifications, identity documents, lesson resources). Pack your bags and choose your clothes carefully. Lay everything out ready for the next day. Plan your route and aim to get there at least ten minutes early.
2. First impressions count
- Respond quickly to confirm your attendance at the interview. If you can, call – it will add the personal touch and make you more rememberable and it will allow you to ask for more details.
- Adjust your appearance, style and tone to suit – which characteristics are they looking for that you need to ensure you demonstrate? Think about the vocabulary you’re using as well.
- Greet everyone with a smile and firm handshake.
- Maintain good eye-contact and speak to everyone in a friendly and professional way.
- Take time to listen carefully and think before you answer. Speak clearly – avoid interruptions, blurting the first thing that comes to mind, mumbling, etc.
- Remember, your interview begins the moment you walk through the door – make sure your attitude and demeanour are saying what you want them to from the start. Speak to everyone courteously and be open and focused.
3. The practical session
- Whether you have been asked to prepare a presentation or to ‘microteach’, your preparation is essential. Make sure you have understood exactly what you need to do before you start planning. Will you need to print and bring all your resources yourself, or will they be able to arrange that for you? What items are in the room that you can use, including whiteboards?
- Contact the employer and confirm the number of people attending the presentation, lesson or short teaching session. It can also be very helpful to know the age range, ability level, educational needs and so on of the students, as well as any previous work done on the same topic.
- All elements need to be included: teaching objectives, learning activities and assessment of learning if it’s a lesson, or introduction, main body and conclusion if a presentation.
- Remember, you’re aiming for clarity and interactivity – think about what they may be expecting, what are the key ideas or themes you need to get across, and how are you going to make it fun and interesting for all involved.
- Don’t let fear and doubts stop you from doing your best. It may be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience but you need to show them what you can do.
- Be honest about who you are in a classroom or speaking to a group of people – don’t try and adopt a style that is not your own. Highlight your strengths and give it your best shot.
4. Stay positive and engaged
- No matter how you think it is going, keep your composure and stay positive – sometimes the interviews we think we did terribly in are the ones that were the most successful. Don’t let the little mistakes or your doubts throw you off your stride.
- Display interest, engagement and focus – don’t let your attention wander or forget why you are there.
- Remember it’s not a one-way conversation but a dialogue – don’t be worried about asking for clarification or more information before answering one of their questions. Make sure you ask any questions you have as well. This is your interview so you need to find out if they and their college/training provider is the right place for you.
- Don’t forget that your body language is vitally important – it can say as much or more than your words, and they will be paying attention to what it is telling them.
5. Final impressions count as well
- Make sure you have thanked the interviewer(s) and any other staff involved in your interview before you leave. Stay friendly and positive to the end.
- Send an email or a letter thanking them for the opportunity – it will help you stay fresh in their mind and possibly score bonus points.
- Whether you were successful or not, call and ask for feedback – anything they can tell you will be helpful for your next interview, and they will have a favourable impression of you if you apply for another role there in the future.
Interviews can be terrifying, stressful and time-consuming. Try and focus only on what is important, think calm and positive thoughts to keep any fears, nerves and doubts at bay, and try and enjoy it if you can.