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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Recruiting and Interview Questions

Recruiting and Interview Questions

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The new year is fast approaching and I want to improve the way in which we recruit and interview teachers. What are some good questions/ interviewing methods that help you determine if you have a quality teacher siting in front of you?

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Eric Sheninger's picture
Eric Sheninger
Principal at New Milford High School

I feel that it is not the specific question you ask that determines if you have a quality teacher sitting in front of you but how they actually answer each question. Character traits that I look for in each answer include passion, commitment, enthusiasm, growth potential, and positive attitude. Since I place an emphasis on authentic instruction I ask each teaching candidate how they will make learning meaningful and relevant to the students each and every day. I also ask them to describe what effective technology integration looks like, types of research-based instructional activities that would be used, and throw in some classroom management scenario. I always end the interview with this question: Why should we hire you?

Lori Day's picture
Lori Day
Educational Psychologist and Consultant at Lori Day Consulting

I was previously Head of School at an independent day school north of Boston. I interviewed many teachers and administrators, and my questions and technique probably were similar to the one described in Eric's post above. I found over the years that one particular question was very helpful in getting to know who the applicant really was. I asked every candidate I interviewed the same question, regardless of the position they were applying for: "What is the worst professional mistake you have ever made, and how did you go about trying to rectify it?" This question never failed to cut through what might otherwise have been a fair amount of BS going on in the interview! It was quite illuminating to observe how candidates handled it, how honest they were, or how deflective they were. I learned this question from someone who once interviewed me, and remembered how I personally responded to it. I told a story about a political misstep I once made with my supervisor when I was a school psychologist, and how embarrassed I felt about it afterwards, and how I went about making an apology. It was very humbling to tell the story to the person interviewing me. I got the job, and was told afterwards that the way I handled that question revealed a lot about my character and helped me get the job. So, I still use that question to this day!

Lori Day

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