Ace Your Interview: 5 Top Tips!



First of all, if you’ve been shortlisted for interviews, Congratulations! Making it to the interview stage means you’ve already made a good impression on your potential future employer(s).


1. Positive Attitude

‘Be positive, patient and persistent.’

We are far too often our own harshest critics and this is not the mindset to enter your interview with. If you’ve got the interview, you’ve already impressed! You’ll be just as intelligent and capable as everyone else on the interview list, all you’ve got to do is prove it. Employers are looking for candidates who not only fit the competencies required but also a personality that fits the company culture. Greet your interviewers with a smile, be friendly and relax in the knowledge that good interviewers only want to bring out the best in you.


2. Self Awareness

Tell me about yourself…

What motivates/inspires you?

What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?

You are the topic of this interview. You must be prepared to talk about yourself. You are absolutely guaranteed to be asked a question or two about yourself, so no excuses not to prepare. Don’t undersell yourself or your achievements. Practise with friends or make an appointment with us in the UCD Career Development Centre to perfect your answers. Also, be sure to know your own CV/application inside out, you could get asked about anything that’s in there.


3. STAR Technique

The STAR technique is a widely used approach to answering competency based questions in a clear and effective manner. The ‘STAR’ approach to structuring your answers: Situation (set the scene), Task (what you set out to achieve), Action (what YOU did to achieve it), Result (the outcome). When discussing work experience, focus on your own contribution and what you’ve achieved rather than just listing the tasks required.


4. Know the Organisation & Job Description

Do your research. What will be expected of you in this role? Do you know anyone already working in the organisation that you could reach out to? Has the organisation been in the news recently or had any interesting developments? Additionally, if you know who will sit on the panel, do your research on their roles and backgrounds also.


5. Take Notes

Every interview is a learning experience. As soon as possible after the interview, it’s a good idea to take note of the questions you were asked and your thoughts on the experience. These could come in really handy if you get called back for a second interview or for other interviews in the future!


‘Fail to prepare, Prepare to fail’. You’ve already gotten the opportunity to interview, so you don’t want to let yourself down by failing to prepare.

Take some confidence from the fact that you’ve been asked to interview. The interviewer already believes that you can do the job. You’ve just got to believe in yourself and most importantly, BE YOURSELF.




Interview Tips from Tradewind Recruitment






1. Do your research
Fail to plan, and you plan to fail. You are certain to be asked specific questions about the school, so make sure you’ve done your homework on things like their ofsted ratings and about schools in the local area.

2. Practice your answers
Although there is no set format that every job interview will follow, there are some questions that you can almost guarantee will crop up, you should always prepare. Think about your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as being able to explain why you would be the best person for the job. Think about the positive outcomes you have achieved from projects and think about how you can demonstrate that.

3. Bring Examples
Saying you are a good teacher is one thing, showing them is another. Seeing believing after all. Bring in examples of your work you have done previously. E.g. school plans you have created, and even some of the work that your class/ students have done for you. This is a great way of demonstrating that you are a good fit for the school.

4. Use Social Media
The power of social media shouldn’t be underestimated. Have a look at the schools social media pages; see the posts they have made. This is a great way of finding out more about the school culture and what happens inside the school. You can also see any comments left by parents on their views of the school.

5. Be Professional
Do not say anything bad or false about your previous employers. This give a bad impression of you and your old employer. The interviewer would see this is a negative character trait. Be professional and answer questions clearly. If there were any issues in your previous employment state them clearly but do not point the finger too much.

6. Look the part
Appearances shouldn’t matter, but the plain fact is that you should look professional and hireable.. Make sure your shoes are polished, your clothes fit correctly and that your accessories are subtle. Dressing one level above the job you’re applying for shows a desire to succeed.

7. Stay calm
Good preparation is the key to staying in control. Plan your route, allowing extra time for any unexpected delays and get everything you need to take with you ready the night before. Remember to speak clearly, smile and remember that your interviewers are just normal people, and the may be nervous too!

8. Ask questions
You should always have some questions for your interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the position. So for example, ask what their plans are for teh school, what areas need improving. Prepare a minimum of five questions, some which will give you more information about the job and some which delve deeper into the culture and goals of the school.

9. End the Interview Well
Always end a interview on a positive. Smile and say thank you for the interviewers time, after all they are busy people and took time out to speak with you and answer your questions. This gives the interviewer a positive impression of you.

10. You be the Interviewer
A interview should be seen as a two way transaction. The interviewer will be asking you plenty of questions, but a interview also give you the perfect opportunity to get more information about the school, culture etc. You should use this opportunity to find out as much as you can about the school, by using point 1 by doing your research.


Tradewind Recruitment and SANZA Teaching Agency Specialising in the recruitment of Teachers and Support Staff for schools and nurseries throughout the UK.