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Get a Teaching Job: Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Janelle Cox

Teaching interviews are your time to shine. They’re a time to showcase all of your hard work and knowledge in the field of education. However, it can be hard to show your love and dedication for the teaching profession if you’re making common interview mistakes in your quest to get a teaching job. The key to having a successful teaching interview isn’t to say what the interview panel wants to hear, but it’s to avoid the common mistakes that many prospective teachers make when trying to get a teaching job. Think of your teaching interview as your chance to show your potential employer a glimpse into your life: What kind of teacher you are, how you articulate yourself, etc. While you may think you’re saying and doing all of the right things, it’s easy to make mistakes during the interview without even knowing it. Here are five common teaching interview mistakes that you don’t want to make, as well as what you should do instead.

Get a Teaching Job: You Talk Too Much

Sometimes your nerves may get the best of you and you may end up talking a little too fast or a little too much during an interview. While you may chalk this up to being nervous, it’s not going to make you look good in the eyes of the employer when they can’t get a word in edgewise. You’ve studied your interview questions for weeks and you know exactly what you want to say. But talking too much or too fast and letting your answers just drag on is not going to make you an ideal candidate for the job. Think about what you want to say in the fewest amount of words as possible. The last thing that you want to do in a job interview is have the panel cut you off before you get your point across. Take a deep breath and make your responses as simple and to the point as you can.

You Interrupt the Interviewer

Another no-no is to interrupt the interviewer when they are speaking. If you are known for interrupting in the real world, then you better work on your listening skills now before the interview. Interrupting is extremely rude, and many employers won’t hire teachers because they are offended by this action. Even if you think you’re going to forget what you want to say, make sure that you listen to the question intently, and let the person finish before you chime into answer. The last thing that you want is to not get hired for the position just because you interrupted too much.

You Are Not Able to Articulate Your Words

Another common mistake that you don’t want to make during a teaching interview is to say the word “Ummm …” a lot or not be able to articulate what you want to say. It’s wise to think about what you want to say in your head, before you open your mouth to say it. Employers want to know that you are knowledgeable enough to articulate your words.  They don’t want to hear you say “Ummm …” every other word or see you looking around the room, tapping your fingers nervously. Try and keep eye contact, your hands are folded together, and gather your words in your head before you speak them aloud.

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You’re Overly Confident

While you may have your master’s degree in education, and are knowledgeable in the subject area that you’re applying for, the last thing you want to do is to come off like you know more than the prospective employer. There’s a difference between being confident and being arrogant. Show the interview panel that you are confident in yourself as well as in your abilities. Do not be arrogant and tell them that you have never made a mistake in your life, they don’t want to hear that. Interviewers want to know that you are humble and human, just like them. It’s OK to acknowledge that you still have a lot to learn, they’ll respect you for that.

You Forget to Ask Questions

At the end of every teaching interview, the panel will ask you if you have any questions. The biggest mistake perspective teachers make is answering them with a “No.” Many teachers do this because they don’t want to come off like they’re unintelligent. However, the panel wants to see that you have done your research, are invested in this opportunity, and are excited about the potential of being a teacher in their school district. So it’s extremely important to think of at least a few questions that will show that you have an interest in the position, and that you are enthusiastic to be part of their school district.

You only get one chance to make a first impression. You have done your homework and you know that you are qualified for the job, now all you have to do is make sure that you avoid these common interview mistakes, and you will ace that interview. You got this!

What do you think are some common interview mistakes that teachers make when trying to get a teaching job? Do you have anything to add to this list? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you on this topic.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com