Approaches to interviewing, what I have observed

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherwithaphd, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. teacherwithaphd

    teacherwithaphd Rookie

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    Apr 12, 2018

    Please see the topic I posted regarding my situation a few weeks a god. I'm still in a not so good situation. I may drop out of teaching given my circumstances, but who knows, all I want is to get a job for next year whether it is teaching, or not. I want to be more or less well compensated and pay the bills.

    I have had a few interviews, and I have taken different approaches to answering the dreaded "why are you looking for a job ATM." These have been my results so far:


    Approach A: I told the truth and said something along the lines of "My director didn't think I was a good fit for this school and thus, decided not to renew my contract."


    Outcome: this is the worst thing you can say. If you say this, they will immediately believe that whatever happened, you are in the wrong and you deserve to be left without a contract. Avoid this.


    Approach B: tell another variation of the truth. I have tried this 2-3 times. I mentioned that our new director came in, started firing people left and right, many times without justification, and the place is very chaotic. And that given the circumstances, I am forced to be in the market seeking better professional opportunities.


    Outcome: I have said this to 3 different people, and only one of them gave me the benefit of the doubt and let the interview continue for a long time. We talked for an hour more or less, and this person was receptive. Something tells me that he has seen such things happen before or that he has experienced injustice like that in some shape or form. Still, this is not a good strategy to follow given what I have seen. Those people that sympathize with you and will provide you with the benefit of the doubt are the exception, not the rule. Better not to say this.


    Approach C: I will be trying this one in the following days and came across it on the internet. Approach C requires you not to mention that your contract was not renewed. You are omitting this, not lying. Instead, you will say that you are searching for a new position due to different teaching philosophies, differences of opinion, or professional disagreements. From what I have read on the Internet, once they hear this, most people won't press for more information if you sound positive and upbeat, and they may even bring you to campus, and offer you a contract without digging too much into it. I don't know how often this goes well, but I have read that in those cases, they may not even call your director and, instead, they will talk to your chair, colleagues, etc... if they are interested in you.

    I will be testing approach C on the following days and will post my observations. If you guys would like to suggest more approaches to this thread or talk about your experiences with each of them or variations of these approaches, please feel free to do so!
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 12, 2018

    I'm honestly not sure if any of those is the best approach.

    Approach A implies that you have zero power and that you're looking for a new job because you have no other option. While you may feel that this is true, it doesn't give the impression that you are a go-getter or that you have any interest in working at XYZ School. No employer wants to be your sloppy seconds or your fall-back. They want you to actively want to work there. I think it's okay to say that a school wasn't the right fit, but then follow it up with some ideas about what would be a good fit and how you could carve out a place for yourself at the new school.

    Approach B highlights your admin's faults, which is almost never a good idea. It makes you seem like you have a bad attitude and that you're deflecting. It may be true that admin is awful, but it's not usually smart to say so in a job interview. In "chaotic" school environments, the chaos is ubiquitous, even though admin can't control every single aspect of everything. Therefore other people, including faculty and maybe including you, may play a role in creating or maintaining that chaos. That's how I interpret that, anyway.

    Approach C seems a lot like lying, although I do understand that not saying something is not always the same as lying about something. I think that there must be a way for you to be upfront about the non-renewal but also spin it as a positive thing, an opportunity for you to find a place where you do fit in well and where your talents and gifts can be highlighted.
     
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  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 12, 2018

    What is your PhD in and how long have you been teaching?
     
  5. teacherwithaphd

    teacherwithaphd Rookie

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    Apr 12, 2018

    Social Sciences. Been teaching for more than 12 years.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 12, 2018

    At the same school?
     
  7. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Apr 12, 2018

    Out of curiosity, is this how you worded it during the interviews or are you paraphrasing? Approach B seems like the best option to me, but not if it's worded "admin was firing people left and right". More carefully worded though like "The new administration is in the process of restructuring which has caused a substantial change in staff..." seems to keep it simple, avoids placing blame, and would remain accurate in the event they called your admin as reference.
     
  8. teacherwithaphd

    teacherwithaphd Rookie

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    Yes, for approach B I mention that there has been "restructuring" and due to this, there has been a lot of changes in the faculty at the school. I do nuance it a bit more than what I said on my initial post.

    In reality, it just sucks to be in this position... I am not sure I will get a job even though my credentials are good.
     
  9. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Groupie

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    Apr 13, 2018

    Agreed, OP needs to take the heat out of their words if they are to use Approach B...
     
  10. teacherwithaphd

    teacherwithaphd Rookie

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    Yes indeed. You need to be dispassionate when you say that the school is undergoing massive change and a lot of people are searching for other options.
     
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  11. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    Apr 13, 2018

    Depending on the position, I think it's also fair to say what it is you are looking in a school. When I was looking to switch districts from a school with a struggling World Language program, I told the new school that I was looking to be in a district with a strong, growing language program, which was 100% true.
     
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  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Apr 13, 2018

    Any teaching application I've ever filled out has asked if you've been non-renewed or resigned in lieu of non-renewal. Are you not putting your non-renewal on your applications?

    Several years ago I worked for a full on lunatic (who eventually lost her admin and teaching licenses, BTW) who ended up non-renewing every probationary teacher in the building. Luckily, I saw the writing on the wall and resigned prior to being told anything, so I didn't have to report it on my applications. I think that's the major thing that saved me.

    The other issue is that in my area no one will hire you without speaking to your current P. Believe me, I tried several ways around that:
    - I'd say P didn't know I was looking and that I didn't want to say anything until I had an offer. I explained that I'd worked for her for less than 1 year while I'd worked for my previous admin for 2 full years, and they were welcome to call both my P and AP from that position. Occasionally, they'd offer to only call her if I was the final candidate, but this didn't convince anyone not to call.
    -I'd say that my relationship with P wasn't the best, explain that at minimum 2/3 of the staff was leaving, and ask them to please take all of my references into consideration rather than only listening to the P's. I think this one just made me look bad even though it was true.
    -I'd say P was under investigation (which was true) and that I wanted to use other references instead. I'm almost 100% sure this one cost me a job offer I pretty much had in the bag.

    In the end, I started getting offers after I said absolutely nothing about the situation in interviews. I was rarely asked why I was leaving my current school in an interview. I sort of "cheated" on applications and in the "reason for leaving" box I put "still employed here" since the school year was still going on. It was more often that I was asked, "Why do you want to work here?" In that case, I'd really try to come up with something specific about the school that I would say I was interested in.
     
  13. teacherwithaphd

    teacherwithaphd Rookie

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    Apr 14, 2018

    What I write applies mostly to private schools. Should have clarified that.

     

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