Interviewing Successfully

Excellent ideas about how to prepare for a job interview.
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Updated on: April 20, 2001
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Questions to Ask

Cindy had written on a card some questions to ask.

  1. What is the role of music education in your school district?
  2. How would you describe the music faculty as to education, competence, commitment?
  3. How are faculty evaluated? When? By whom?
  4. What would be my assignment?
  5. What qualities are you looking for in a person to fill this position?
  6. What is the future of the music program in this district?
  7. What is the level of support from the administration and the board of education for the music program?

The Interviewer's Side

As she prepared for this interview, Cindy tried to imagine herself in the position of the personnel director who was conducting the interview. She realized that this person would:

  1. Control the interview.
  2. Set the agenda.
  3. Determine the pace.
  4. Be interviewing six other people for this position. (What could Cindy do to stand out?)
  5. Try to find out as much as he or she can about her in 30 minutes. (How might Cindy help the interviewer do this?)
  6. Expect direct short answers.
  7. Be "selling" the district and community to her as part of this interview.
  8. Evaluate everything Cindy says or does.
  9. Be influenced by a first impression.

A Positive Outlook

Following the interview, Cindy did a critique of her own performance, thought about what she had learned (thinking especially about two "surprise" questions), and wrote a letter of thanks and appreciation to the personnel director. Throughout this entire process – the preparation, the research, the travel, the visit, and the interview – she maintained a positive attitude. She was confident of herself and her abilities. She loved working with children, loved music, and knew she could make a quality contribution to some school system. She felt she was in a "no lose" situation.

If a job resulted from this interview, terrific! If not, she would have learned a lot in the process, and there would be other possibilities to pursue. For the young teacher, either just beginning or at an early career stage, a major move is an exciting possibility.

Suggested Resources

The sources that follow are divided into printed and videotaped materials and are available in libraries as well as college and university placement offices and career centers. There is much valuable information available, not only concerning what to do in an interview but what not to do. A person can learn a lot – and quickly – by watching the simulated interviews in the videos.

Printed Materials

    Bruce, Stephen D. Face to Face: Every Manager's Guide to Better Interviewing. Madison, CT: Business and Legal Reports, 1984.
    College Placement Council. Six Steps to Successful Interviewing. Bethlehem, PA: College Placement Council, Inc., 1986.
    Donaghy, William C. The Interview: Skills and Applications. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman Co., 1984.
    Edelfelt, Roy A. Careers in Education. Lincoln-Wood, IL: National Textbook Co., 1988.
    Fear, Richard A. The Evaluation Interview. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1984.
    Garrett, Annette. Interviewing: Its Principles and Methods. New York: Family Service Association of America, 1970.
    Goodale, James G. The Fine Art of Interviewing. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1981.
    Kahn, R. L., and L. F. Connell. The Dynamics of Interviewing: Theory, Technique, Cases. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1958.
    Krannich, Caryl Rae, and Ronald L. Krannich. Interview for Success. Manassas, VA: Impact Publications, 1988.
    Levin, Joel. How to Get a Job in Education. Boston: Bob Adams, 1987.
    Merman, Stephan K., and John E. McLaughlin. Out-Interviewing the Interviewer. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1983.
    Smallheiser, I. Techniques of Interviewing. Davenport, IA: Personnel Associates, 1963.
    Steward, C. J., and W. B. Cash. Interviewing Principles and Practices. 3d ed. Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown Co., 1982.

Videotaped Materials

    The Campus Interview, VHS videocassette, color. Interview Preparation (23 min); The Interview (28 min); Interview Followup (18 min). College Placement Council, 62 Highland Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18017.
    The Campus Interview, VHS videocassette, 15 min, color. Ernst and Young, 2000 National City Center, Cleveland, OH 44114.
    The Employment Interview, VHS videocassette, 35 min, color. Southern School Media, 1027 Broadway Avenue, Bowling Green, KY 42104.
    I Guess I Got the Job, VHS videocassette, 13 min, color. CRM Productions, McGraw-Hill Films, 11 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011.
    The Job Interview: An Investment in the Future, VHS videocassette, 30 min, color. Bradley University Television Center, 1501 West Bradley Avenue, Peoria, IL 61625.
    Successful Interview Strategies for Teachers, four VHS videocassettes, (total = 90 min), color. University of Iowa Audiovisual Center, Iowa City, IA 52242.


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