Interview Tips for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs)
The first teaching interview can suddenly seem daunting and this when the panic sets in! The teachers we have spoken to have talked about the days leading to the interview as a frantic blur, making preparations, planning lessons, reading up on the school and this all is along with the PGCE placement teaching timetable. But when you complete the first lesson, ace the subsequent panel interview and are offered the position you will be delighted and we can guarantee that all the nervousness of the time before will be forgotten.
So what can you do to prepare yourself for that first interview? Here are some tips on how to get through the interview in one piece and be successful without crumbling under the pressure!
Get the lesson sorted!
First piece of advice would be to get the lesson plan sorted as early as possible. The school will supply you with a brief for the lesson, including time limit, topic and learning objective. Increasingly, the time given for interview lessons is 30 minutes. Or even 20 minutes! Even as an experienced teacher it is difficult to plan for a class you haven’t met before, under such time constraints, it can seem intimidating. If possible find out about the availability of resources at the school. Remember you may be asked about how your planned the lesson, what were the outcomes and your assessment of how the lesson went. It would be useful to do some mock lessons prior to the interview day so that you can practice in advance and be prepared.
Research- education current issues and school
It is essential to be up to date with the current issues with the education sector as well as the National Curriculum. Study up on all sides of the issues as it will help in formulating an opinion and also help in providing an objective assessment if you are asked about these issues.
If you have been invited to visit the school prior to the interview, take the opportunity to get the feel of the school, meet with staff and the children and maybe find out about the kind of candidate the school is looking. Research the school especially their website and the school’s latest OFSTED report. All of this can help you develop an understanding of the school and come up with questions you might want to ask during the interview.
Show passion for subject
Be positive and enthusiastic during the interview. Showing passion for your subject can go a long way in showing the interview panel that you are keen about the position. You may be asked about why you have chosen a specific subject, what attracts you to the post or what you perceive are the challenges of the position. Answer with confidence and have a deep understanding of your subject area. In the days leading to the interview review what you have learnt during your training.
‘Dress to Impress’ is a cliché but it’s a cliché’ that does affect how you will be perceived during the interview. Dress appropriately for the interview. If you are unsure about the dress code try to find out from the school. When in doubt smart casuals would be best with minimal accessories. Pay attention to hair and nails. Avoid using distracting nail colours and for the ladies keep make up to the minimum.
Confidence can be projected through how you are answering your questions and through body language. Always make eye contact and smile. Interview situations can be stressful. If you are nervous and have a tendency to ramble it’s okay to take a short pause before answering a question. Listen to the question being asked and answer precisely and to the point. Wherever possible try to include points from your application and experience.
What more can you offer?
You would possibly be competing with other NQTs or even experienced teachers for the position you are interested in. You could get an edge in your interview if you can demonstrate what more you can bring to the table as a teacher. This would be the chance to talk about any volunteering experience you may have, additional skills or qualifications apart from your PGCE qualification that may be helpful. If you have previous experience in another field prior to taking up teaching you should provide examples of how you can use this experience. Also do talk about any extra-curricular activities that you could offer.
You will be invited to ask the interviewer questions and you should take up on this. Prepare some questions in advance. If you have visited the school you may have questions from the visit. The interview itself could provide fertile ground for questions you can ask about the school and the position. Asking questions that are relevant and related to the position can demonstrate to the interviewer that you have done your homework well and have come prepared.
At the end of the interview thank the interviewer.
Need help with your preparations? Contact our resource team and they will be happy to help.
Looking for job in September? See the current teaching jobs we are recruiting for.