Once you have applied for a job in your dream career, what’s next? The interview. You know have the look down because you have been doing this for years. However, when it comes to the interview itself, you’re still a little unsure of yourself. This is normal, and you should not look down on yourself because of it. A job interview in your dream career can be stressful and emotionally and physically draining. That is why you should spend a great deal of time preparing for that interview. When I prepared for my interviews in the education field, I always tried to imagine what questions might be asked. I would ask those questions of myself and answer them. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is a great way to prepare and to relieve some stress before you interview.
Once I researched a bit on questions that might be asked during an interview in the education field, I had a better idea of how to really prepare myself. I wrote down all of the questions I could find, and I wrote my answers to those questions in my notebook. You may not have the luxury of bringing a notebook with you to the interview, so it’s important that you try and memorize, as closely as possible, each question. You’re going to be put on the spot when you’re in there. In my first interviews, there were upwards of ten people firing questions at me. This is nerve-wracking to say the least, even after the preparation. But, think about how nerve-wracking it would be had I not had those questions in mind. This is why knowing the questions that might be asked is an important aspect of preparation.
So, by now, I am sure you’re wondering what those questions might be. Well, here we go! I will use my own interviews as an example. Depending on your field, your questions will be different, but there are some common questions that are asked across careers. These will be familiar to you. This list is not exhaustive. You will experience more than what’s here, and there may be some surprises.
Here is my list in no particular order:
1. Tell us a little about your teaching philosophy
This question can be tricky if you have not already written a teaching philosophy. So, lesson #1, write a teaching philosophy if you’re in the education field. Sometimes it is required with an application, so it’s always good to have one ready to go.
2. Tell us about yourself
This one is pretty common, and you should respond honestly, but make sure you link yourself to the job in some way. In the education field, you might start, “Ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to be a teacher…” This would get you going.
3. What would you say are your biggest strengths?
Many people do not like answering this question lest they be seen as bragging about themselves. I say brag. You have made it this far. How did you do it? Brag yourself up and start the interview positively!
4. What would you identify as your biggest weaknesses?
This is a question I don’t much care for. Why would I want to highlight my weaknesses? Well, there is a way to do this that you can link to the job. You might say, “Sometimes I feel like I am too compassionate when it comes to my problem students.”
5. How long have you been teaching?
They already know this because they read your resume. I think they are hoping the question will spark a bit of a story or conversation. Go with it.
6. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This question seems impossible to answer since one can’t know what the future brings, but don’t say that. Say instead, “I see myself on the tenure track looking forward to years of teaching.” What you say is important, right? The interviewers want to know that you’re serious about the job.
7. Why did you choose our school or company over another?
Be honest here too, but make sure you provide some facts, stats, what have you and state how those were the reasons you chose that company. If your company or school has a Mission Statement, it will be helpful to know that, so you can tell them how it aligns with your own philosophy.
8. Have you ever been in a situation where a student or colleague argued with you over something?
This is a yes or no question. If you say yes, you will be asked, “What did you do in that situation?” If you answer no, you will be asked, “What would you do in that situation?” It’s helpful to have an answer that puts you as peacemaker.
9. Why did you leave your last job?
Be honest. You want to tell them that the company’s philosophy changed and no longer aligned with your own, that you’re evolving and want to move on to the next step in your career.
10. In your mind, how have you demonstrated that you’re qualified for this position?
I wouldn’t mention much about the interview here, unless you were asked to do a presentation as part of the interview. What you could do is state everything you have done in similar positions before applying for this one. Remember, the word is demonstrated. Use active voice.
Again, this is only the tip of the ice berg. There are many more questions that could be asked, and your job is to research those questions, so you can be prepared for a job in your dream career. Good luck!!