You’ve been there before: A teacher with a fabulous résumé comes in to interview for a position at your school. This candidate seems to have the perfect responses to each of your questions, but you still wonder if they’ll be the right fit at your school. It’s hard to figure out the right teacher interview questions for principals to use. You might want to consider behavioral interviewing questions, which ask candidates to reflect and analyze past experiences in the workplace. Susan M. Heathfield, a human resources expert, writes, “A behavioral interview is the best tool you have to identify candidates who have the behavioral traits and characteristics you believe are essential for success in your open job.”
Use these behavioral interviewing questions to better reveal if a candidate is the one you’re looking for:
Interview questions that gauge collaboration ability
1. What is your collaboration style?
When someone is a seasoned collaborator, they can easily talk about their working style and how they like to develop this skill.
2. Can you tell me about your best collaborative experience with a colleague?
Listen carefully to this answer, and you can learn a lot about what excites this person.
3. Can you tell me about a time when you struggled to build a working relationship with someone?
Here, a great candidate can speak about their own limitations and how they work to overcome them!
4. What would be your ideal cross-curricular collaboration?
This is a great chance to see how this person might be able to bring vision and creativity to this position.
Interview questions that assess stress response
5. How would you describe your conflict style? How do you adapt that style when you are working toward a solution?
This is a great way to assess the emotional intelligence of your candidate. Here, they should be able to speak of their strengths and shortcomings in stressful situations. A great candidate will reveal flexibility and an awareness of self.
6. Could you tell me about a time when you had a challenging situation with a parent or a colleague? How did you resolve it?
A question like this tells you so much about a person’s willingness to learn and be flexible.
Interview questions that check for adaptability
7. We tell kids all the time that failure is an important step toward success. Can you describe a moment when you failed that led to you being a better teacher or colleague?
This question offers a candidate an opportunity to be vulnerable and honest about their growth as a professional. A great teacher can embrace this opportunity to speak about their resilience and growth.
8. What is your vision for your development as a teacher?
You do not want a person in your building who cannot clearly answer this question. In many ways it doesn’t matter what the vision is, it just matters that the teacher is reflective.
9. Can you tell me about a moment when you had to be a leader?
10. Can you tell me about a moment when you had to be a follower?
These two questions play together nicely. You want to be surrounded by adults who can fill either of these roles comfortably. Good answers to these questions will show nimbleness and fluidity.
Interview questions that test connection and reflection
11. How have you changed from your first years in the classroom?
An essential question! A strong candidate will be able to offer a meaningful reflection on how time has transformed their pedagogy and practice.
12. How would you describe your cultural competency?
13. How has your teaching practice been shaped by your understanding of your identity?
Here are two more questions that form a great pair. Every teacher should be able to speak about how their ideas about identity have developed and their personal identity impacts their classroom.
14. After a year in your classroom, what would you want a student to say about their experience?
Here, you give a candidate a great opportunity to show their aspirations and hopes for teaching in your school. This is a great way to end an interview on a positive note.
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