Interviews

The interview is the employer's opportunity to assess your fit for a position and the organization as a whole. Regardless of the format (phone/video or in-person, one-on-one or panel), most interviews take a common sequence:

  • INTRODUCTIONS - A few minutes of small talk to set the tone of the interview.
  • INFORMATION - Brief summary of the employer, position, and possibly, the format of the interview.
  • QUALIFICATIONS - Questions and answers about your qualifications for the position.
  • CONCLUSIONS - Explanation of next steps in the selection process.
Interview Steps

Before the Interview

  • Research the organization's purpose, structure, strengths, and challenges.
  • Obtain a copy of the position description.
  • Evaluate your interests, skills/abilities, and weaknesses for the position/organization.
  • Practice interviewing with a Career Adviser or employer through Career Services.
  • Obtain professional and appropriate attire for the position.
  • Know the exact location of the interview and plan to arrive 10 minutes early.

During the Interview

  • Be courteous to everyone you encounter; staff may be asked for their input on your interactions.
  • Turn off your phone and do not use it while waiting for the interview.
  • Stay positive and show enthusiasm for the position.

After the Interview

  • Send a thank you note to each of your interviewers.
  • Follow-up with a phone call or email if you have not heard from the employer within the time period indicated for a decision.
Questions You May Be Asked

This question is your chance to summarize how you fit the position. Consider covering:

  • Your strengths as they relate to the position
  • Why you chose your academic major
  • Experiences that have reinforced your strengths and interest in the field
  • Why you are interested in this position with this organization
  • End with a clear, positive summary statement.

  • Why are you interested in this position and our organization?
  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
  • Of which accomplishments are you proud?
  • Tell me about a time you failed.
  • Describe a time you did more than was expected or required.
  • Why should we hire you?

This question is your chance to summarize how you fit the position. Consider covering:

  • Why did you choose your major?
  • What classes did you like best? Least?
  • Do your grades reflect your ability?
  • Why did you choose to attend your college or university?
  • In which campus activities did you participate?
  • Which classes in your major did you like best? Least? Why?
  • Which elective classes did you like best? Least? Why?
  • If you were to start over, what would you change about your education?
  • Do you think your grades accurately reflect your ability? Why or Why not?
  • Were you financially responsible for any portion of your college education?

  • Give an example of a solution you provided an employer.
  • What did you enjoy most about your last job? Least?
  • Describe a situation that challenged your communication skills.
  • Give an example in which you worked under a deadline.
  • What unique qualifications do you have that other applicants may not?

This question is your chance to summarize how you fit the position. Consider covering:

  • Where do you want to be in 10 years?
  • How do you feel about travel/relocation?
  • With what kind of supervisor do you do your best work?
  • Tell me about a conflict you had with a client or co-worker?
  • Describe a project or assignment in which you used teamwork.

Many employers use a behavioral interviewing style. Rather than asking if you have a specific skill or trait, the interviewer asks you to provide an example of when you demonstrated the skill or trait.

For these questions, tell a brief but descriptive story with a:

  • beginning (describe the situation or challenge being faced)
  • middle (describe the action that you specifically took)
  • end (describe the results)

If you do not have the direct experience described, provide examples of similar situations. Use stories with positive outcomes whenever possible, but if not, add what you learned from the experience.

Questions You May Ask the Interviewer
  • What kinds of assignments can I expect in the first six months?
  • What are the primary challenges I will face in the position?
  • What is the largest problem facing your staff or department?
  • What is the next course of action in your search process?
Questions to not Ask the Interviewer
  • What is the salary for this position?
  • Can you describe the leave policy?
  • How quickly can I expect to be promoted?
  • Do you financially support staff in graduate studies (or other questions that may imply you see this as a short-time job)?

Mock Interviews Meet with a Career Adviser or an employer volunteer during one of our Mock Interview Days to improve your interviewing skills.

Interview Stream is an online video interview tool that allows you to simulate job interviews, respond to pre-recorded questions and practice both verbal and non-verbal communication skills via webcam.

225 NEBRASKA UNION 20 Minute Walk-ins | Hour Appointments through MyPLAN
Education Interviews

Education interviews are designed to determine if you are committed to teaching. Interviewers are more impressed by sincerity than by the "appropriate" response. If you sense that the interviewer finds your experience and philosophy inconsistent with the atmosphere of his/her school district, it simply may not be the best fit for you or the school district.

Questions You May Be Asked

  • Why do you want to teach?
  • Do you plan to make teaching a career?
  • What do you hope to gain by pursuing a teaching career?
  • What gives you the most satisfaction as a teacher?
  • Why do you want to teach in this district or community?
  • Do you have any misgivings about the position for which you are applying?
  • What is/are the most important characteristic(s) of the successful teacher?
  • What characteristics separate the above-average teacher from the average teacher?
  • Do you have a genuine interest in helping students learn?
  • What do you expect of your students?
  • What is/are the most important contribution(s) you can make to your students?
  • Do you accept the responsibility of being a good example?
  • What is the school's responsibility for preparing students for out-of-school experiences?
  • What can you contribute to the success of our school system?
  • What can you contribute to the profession?
  • Tell me about your personal background.
  • What are your hobbies and interests?
  • What are your professional plans or goals?
  • What is your philosophy of education?
  • How do you rank values, facts, and concepts in importance?
  • Why do you think you will be a successful teacher?
  • What is/are your strongest trait(s)/ Your weakest trait(s)?
  • How competent are you?
  • Why should we employ you?
  • How would you prefer to be evaluated?
  • What are your attitudes toward extra-duty activities?
  • Will you teach any place in my district?
  • What are your attitudes toward professional organizations and militancy?
  • What are your attitudes regarding minorities?
  • What do you believe to be the greatest problem facing American public education?
  • What is your impression of today's youth?
  • What information do you have about the district?
  • Can you be happy living in this community?
  • Are you willing to work?

  • Do you get along well with most people?
  • What quality in other people is most important to you?
  • Can you get along with other faculty members?
  • What do you believe your role and obligations to be toward other faculty members?
  • Would you enjoy team teaching?
  • Describe your perception of your relations with the building administration?
  • What are your attitudes toward supervision?
  • How much loyalty do you believe that you owe the administration?
  • Are you capable of communicating with today's youth?
  • Do you like children?
  • Prove that you like students.
  • What techniques do you use in developing rapport with students?
  • What evidence can you provide that you can establish a good working relationship with students in the age group you will be teaching?

This question is your chance to summarize how you fit the position. Consider covering:

  • How do you handle curricular content in classes of students with many levels of ability?
  • Are you prepared to individualize instruction (including diagnosis and preparation)?
  • How would you individualize instruction in your classroom?
  • What do you consider to be the most worthwhile innovations in your particular area?
  • What "pet" ideas or innovations do you plan to use in your teaching?
  • What do you consider to be the ideal learning environment?
  • What are the ingredients of an effective learning program?
  • Describe the role of the teacher in the learning process.
  • What can you do to improve learning opportunities in your particular area?
  • What teaching techniques are effective for you?
  • What are the major problems that you have faced in the classroom?
  • What are the objectives that you hope to achieve in your area?
  • How would you organize and what would you include in a unit lesson plan?
  • How do you expect to motivate students?
  • How will your teaching benefit the students?

  • What subjects are you qualified and/or certified to teach?
  • Why did you choose your particular area of preparation?
  • Do you believe that your university/college has prepared you for a career in teaching?
  • What was/were the greatest highlight(s) of your college career?
  • Name and evaluate two professional books that you have read within the last six months.
  • What kinds of experiences have you had which will be of help when you begin teaching?
  • What out-of-school experiences have you had working with children?
  • Do you have experience with disadvantaged or minority students?
  • What kinds of work experience have you had other than teaching?
  • Tell me about your student teaching or previous teaching experience.
  • Based on your student teaching or previous teaching experience, how do you evaluate yourself as a teacher?
  • Were you successful in your student teaching or previous teaching experience?
  • What do you have to offer that no other candidate has?
  • Why are you leaving your present position?
  • Have you ever been discharged? Why?

  • What is your philosophy of discipline?
  • How would you handle discipline problems?
  • Can you maintain good classroom discipline?
  • Do you anticipate any difficulty in classroom control?
  • How successful have you been in your previous experience in maintaining good discipline?
  • What procedure(s) work(s) best for you in maintaining discipline?
  • What type of classroom atmosphere would you establish to prevent discipline problems?
Questions You May Ask the Interviewer

You should be prepared to ask questions during the interviewing process. The more information you can accumulate about a particular teaching environment, the better prepared you will be in assessing whether the atmosphere is conducive to your personal fulfillment and professional growth. Interviewing personnel often formulate impressions about candidates by the interest and enthusiasm expressed in the prospective position and school system; asking questions is one way to convey such interest.

  • What type of community does your school system represent (social, cultural, political, economic atmosphere)?
  • How does the cost of living in your community compare with other locations within the state?
  • What is the attitude of the community toward education?
  • What does your community expect of its teachers? Are there any unique community pressures with regard to the local school system and its employees?

  • What is the educational philosophy of the school system?
  • What specific audio-visual equipment and materials are available for instructional use?
  • Does the school district have an institutional policy regarding ability-grouping of students for instructional purposes?
  • Are curriculum guides and paraprofessionals available to assist the classroom teacher?
  • What procedure is used to report student progress to parents?
  • Are special teachers provided in the areas of art, industrial arts, music, physical education, remedial education, special education?
  • What is your school system's approach to Career Education?
  • What new and innovative teaching methods are currently employed in your school district? Will I be expected to participate in any of these programs?
  • To what extent will I have input, as a classroom teacher, in the adoption of curriculum and methods guidelines for the district?
  • What procedures are used in evaluating new and career teachers?
  • What role is the classroom teacher expected to play in the handling of disciplinary problems?
  • What is the organizational structure of your school system? Could you draw me a chart depicting this structure?
  • What do you consider to be the strong and weak features of the instructional program for which I am being interviewed?

  • What is the average class size within the school district?
  • What is the duration of the expected work day for the classroom teacher?
  • What extra assignments are expected of the average classroom teacher?
  • To what extent will I be permitted to implement innovative ideas and methods of instruction that I feel are valuable?
  • To what extent will I be expected to participate in P.T.A./P.T.O. meetings and extra committees?