When interviewing teachers for your school, what questions do you ask? It has been my experience that you are often asked questions that are right on your resume. Or you are asked to elaborate on the items on your resume. Sometimes, the interviewer seizes your time to talk about what they know. Say a few words in answer to their question and off they go telling you their experience.

This is not helpful to you in finding the right candidate, the best teacher possible. You can do better.

Assess their ability to handle a class and teach a lesson: If you were hiring a chef, you would ask them to cook a meal. Taking a “job content” approach, by having an applicant teach a class in your school, is the best way to separate top candidates from average ones. You get to experience their:

  • best subject presentation ability.
  • classroom management style.
  • ability to answer student questions.
  • sense of humor
  • student relationship building

Evaluate whether they are forward-looking. In fast-evolving environments, teachers must anticipate the future. Consider asking:

  • What are the latest in educational theory you have tried in your classroom?
  • How do you use technology devices to enhance your learning environment?
  • What is a new technique or computer software you have wanted to try with your students and why?
  • Forecast at least a few ways that your job will likely evolve over the next three years as a result of the changing educational environment?

Attitude matters! A study by Leadership IQ found that 46% of new hires are either fired or disciplined within their first 18 months. And in a staggering 89% of those cases, the reason for the action isn’t incompetence, but attitude: poor motivation, bad temperament, or emotional issues. “If you don’t have a good attitude, we don’t want you, no matter how skilled you are. We can change skill levels through training. We can’t change attitude.” Herb Kelleher, Founder, Southwest Airlines

Other questions that you may find helpful to ask:

  • What professional development would you like so as to maintain your expert status as a teacher?
  • Outline the steps you’d take to increase innovation in your classroom to respond to increased use of new technologies.

Research indicates that most hiring decisions are made within the first 15 seconds, so you should consciously avoid any judgments until the interview is at least 50% completed.

Good Luck!

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