Apparently my interview skills stink

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by idahomom, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. idahomom

    idahomom Companion

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    Aug 11, 2010

    I didn't get any of the positions I interviewed for yesterday. 3 openings and nothing. :( I missed the call from the Asst. Superintendent, but he said to call him if I had any questions. So, I called him back and asked what I could do to improve my chances if I got another interview. He told me pretty much the same thing that someone from my last interview said.

    I am not making a connection with the people on the panel. That little enthusiasm is coming across and that my responses seemed stilted. I took too much time thinking about my responses and answering questions. :( He suggested I do some role playing and practice answering questions. But, I honestly don't know what to do. My self confidence is so low right now. I just have a really hard time relaxing and being "natural" in an interview. I know how to answer the questions, it just won't come out when I am being interviewed.

    I hear other people in their interviews and the people are all laughing and talking and it is more like there is a conversation going on ... when I interview, it seems like there is dead silence and blank stares from across the table. :unsure:

    Does anything know of any videos that might show samples of GOOD interviews? Maybe if I can see someone else doing a good job, I can get a better idea in my head of what I should be doing?
     
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  3. teacher304

    teacher304 Companion

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Idahomom, I've seen you refer to your district in other posts. Are you trying to transfer to another school district or finding your first job?

    Think back to the interview you had for your current job, what was that like?
     
  4. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Before I interviewed, I did mock interviews. My friends and I took turns being the interviewer and interviewee. After we practiced we then videotaped them. That was actually the part that shocked me the most. In the video I saw that I looked down most of the time, said "ummm" and like too often, and sometimes would start a sentence and not finish it. So, we practiced some more. My mother knew a retired principal who was willing to interview me. She then gave me tips (although she retired in a different state so she could not help me get a job). Finally, I researched the schools that I would interview in. That made me more comfortable and able to feel closer to the interviewing panel.
    Good luck! Practice makes perfect. Be glad that the principal was willing to tell you what he thought you could improve on. Next time you will do great!
     
  5. idahomom

    idahomom Companion

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    Aug 11, 2010

    I was just thinking about my past jobs and realized that I have never received a job offer after a panel interview. My first position, teaching kindergarten, I just interviewed with the P and VP and the VP knew me and wanted me for the position. It was a last minute, day before school starts position and they called me minutes after the interview to offer me the position.

    The next year, again, it was a last minute position and the interview was just with the P. He already knew me and wanted me for the position.

    Last year, I had several panel interviews and didn't get a certified position. I worked as a Title I aide last year.

    This year, I have had two panel interviews, where there were a couple positions available. Both times when I asked for feedback, this is what I was told.
     
  6. CatieCat

    CatieCat Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Idahomom...I am sorry to hear that your interviews didn't go well. Maybe you are rehearsing your answers too much and it's not coming across natural. When I go into an interview, I try and smile lots and treat it like I'm going to meet friends and talk about my love for teaching. Are you showing them how passionate you are about teaching? It is really important that you stress that on an interview.
     
  7. TimberBlue

    TimberBlue Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2010

    I've noticed that some interviewers won't initiate shaking my hand. When I take the initiative and do this, they seem to relax a little, which tells me I'm not the only one who's uncomfortable. It's probably somewhat challenging (in different ways) for everyone involved. Try being assertive even if it's difficult for you. Reach out and firmly shake hands with good eye contact. Smile a big smile and say, "It's great to finally meet you." Then sit down and take a sip of water. It's a casual gesture that (despite my shaking hand) calms me down, as does the herbal "calm" tea in my bottle. :eek:)
     
  8. TimberBlue

    TimberBlue Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Ack, blushing face! That's supposed to be an encouraging smiley! Here ... :)
     
  9. nattyj21

    nattyj21 Companion

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Is there anyone that you could practice interviewing with, (former student teaching teacher, principal, etc)?

    If not, find anyone (friend, relative, etc..) that would be willing to be spend some time practice interviewing with you. I did that with my aunt before a job fair. I kept looking up when I would answer questions. So, I really practiced. The more I did it, the easier it got. Then when I went in to interview I wasn't distracted thinking, stay focused, look forward, etc... It really helped and then I was able to focus on the interview.

    Oh, the other thing I didn't focus so much on educational jargon. That throws me. Then afterwards I think "what was I thinking I know about that". My last interview I told the Vice Principal that I didn't know what jargon (not using that word of course) she was referring to, but that doesn't mean I didn't use it, I tend to blank on them. I was just honest about it. Then later in the interview we were talking about something and she said "see you did know about that". We laughed about it. It really went well and I think that had to do with being relaxed and being honest.
     
  10. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Panel interviews are TOUGH. I hate them, but in a sense they're a bit easier because if it's an interview with just the P and/or VP, many times this means there's a 2nd round of interviews to be done with a panel or a demo lesson involved.
    Some tips:
    1. Do some research on the school AND district. Know as much info about them as possible. This will help you in the interview as well as developing questions to ask.
    2. Listen. Sometimes they'll tip you off in what they're looking for during introductions and THROUGH the questions they ask or their even in response to your own responses.
    3. Work the crowd. It's like you're putting on a show and you've got to appeal to your audience, EVERYONE in the audience. Make eye-contact - of course you can't do this with everyone all at once, but look around to the people on the panel, don't just focus on the P or the person asking the question. They all want to be acknowledged.
    4. Relax. Like you said, you hear some interviews and it seems like everyone is laughing and having a conversation. During your interview, it's ok to ask a question after a response you've given if its related to that question, and then you can respond to their response. (CONVERSATION!)
    5. Take it easy on the jargon. Some schools do some things, others don't have the faintest clue what you're talking about. In my last interview, I made sure to briefly explain a few things (my last school was a hot-tub of educational jargon). If they nodded along, I knew they understood; and if they still don't quite get what you're saying, this will open up the door for more questions about what YOU'RE familiar with, and you WANT to be asked questions you're comfortable answering.
     
  11. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Aug 11, 2010

    I find that shaking hands with each panel member and handing them a copy of my resume and cover letter really helps bridge a connection with each of them. They appreciate your consideration and it gives them something to look at instead of at your face the entire time. LOL
    Give them a moment to look over your material and then point out certain things that make you the one for this position. Toot your horn and charm them so they fall in love with you in those precious 20 minutes or so. You can even suggest doing a demo lesson for them. Tell them you'd like to show them what you are like in the classroom. confidence is what it takes to land your job. You cannot come across as unsure of yourself. If they can see it, they will not want you in front of a classroom where kids and parents will see it. Believe in yourself and make those few moments of face time count. They are all the time you have to get the job. Chances are once you get hired, none of them will spend that much time with you one on one again. We all have to go through this in order to get a job. Interviews are your time to dazzle and impress. JUST DO IT!!! Best wishes to you.
     
  12. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Aug 11, 2010

    I was actually at a seminar today about interviewing and here is what I learned... the presenter was a former P, now he is a college prof.
    First, remember these are people too and they each have their own learning style- you need to keep that in mind and realize that, which is why having pictures and your portfolio available is good.
    Take Harry Wong's advice....Smile- say please and thank you!
    The presenter told us to use the ABC method- first A- Acknowledge the question- Thank you, that is a great question. This works wonders because it gives you think time, plus it validates that you heard and understand the question as well as appreciate it.
    Then B- Belief- I believe that differentiated instruction (whatever the topic is! Fill in the blank!) is significant to best help all student learn because students do not all learn in the same way or at the same time! But all students can learn and blah blah blah.
    Finally C- give an example- case study. Pull out your portfolio here! For example, one of my favorite lessons, I was able to differentiate instruction, by...... make sure you show your portfolio- again reaching that visual learner.
    I really liked that ABC method because I noticed that sometimes I get so excited or so into a question that I would just jump right in and reflecting on it I think sometimes I would just get to the case study without any beginning and I rarely if ever acknowledged the question-only on the weakness question lol while I stalled for time to help me phrase my weakness as a strength! I also never did the I believe.... which now I think is perfect! I cannot wait for an interview to try it! lol I love to bring my teaching philo into everything and now this gives me an easy way to insert my passion and my philo- it is perfect! Why did I not think of it??
    He also said it is fine to bring a cheat sheet and refer to it if only for your questions at the end of the interview and it is okay to bring a paper to write notes on during the interview, perhaps ask first though.
    He said to never answer the weakness question- to simply reply along the lines of, I love..... and would like to further my understanding of ...... through blah blah blah.
    It has been a long day- so I will double check my notes and get back here with anything else.
     
  13. diana

    diana Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Sorry to hear the interviews didn't go as well as planned. I've only had two interviews so far this year and both were panel ones. The first one I bombed because of nerves. I was so worried about remembering educational jargon, which I totally forgot most of when I walked into the interviewing room, when I should have focused on telling them about my actual experiences in the classroom.

    The second panel interview went much better because I thought of it like I had nothing to lose, like either they're going to hire me or not, but I'm going to enjoy their company either way. When I prepped for this interview, I focused how I'd describe my teaching practices and core values to them rather than trying to memorize the jargon. I kind of thought of the interview as a way to teach them (a.k.a. impress them with my skills). And isn't teaching what we do best? :)

    I hope your next panel interview goes well. Remember, "If you believe it, you can achieve it." (Corny mottos still rule in my book, lol.)
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Start attending cocktail parties. Sell Avon or Mary Kay.

    Realistically, interviews are all about making a good first impression in a very short period of time. So it seems to me that you need to work on becoming comfortable in a room full of strangers, making small talk.

    I'm guessing that you really DO know the answers to the questions, right?? That you just want to work on achieving that level of comfort that enables the listeners to hope you'll know the answers to the questions they ask.

    I always say that interviews are like cocktail parties, minus the glass of wine and the pig-in-a-blanket.

    So find situations where you're out of your comfort zone and mingle.
     
  15. brejohnson88

    brejohnson88 Comrade

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    Aug 12, 2010

    I would relax and be sure to SMILE! I also agree with someone who said that you need to have the attitude. I think you need to think to yourself prior to the interview, well I am either going to get this job or not, and either way I am going to have a good job. The worst thing they can say is no, and well that can be depressing, its not the end of the world. There are other jobs out there. Be yourself and relax.
     
  16. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    The last interview I was in was horrendous! it was the worst thing ever! Yet, I went in there with such confidence and the understanding that if they were not going to hire me it was their loss! I did my best answering questions and even noted a few areas I had improved! I was happy with my performance, but the interview was horrendous because of the unprofessional behaviors and attitudes of the panel including the P. So I know it was just a wrong fit- wrong on all levels. You need to realize that perhaps some of those interviews you were on were not the right fit either. Sometimes that is obvious even to you within the first moments of entering the interview, but sometimes it is not until you get that rejection. When I got the call about not getting a second interview for this job with the horrendous interview I thanked the P- that is not somewhere I would want to work.So perhaps some of these rejections are actually in a way good.
    I wish you luck! I am sorry you are getting this feedback which is not all that helpful.

    Going into my awful interview I had to wait a long time in the office and while waiting there I was just picturing my classroom and coming into the building everyday with my plans and how exciting and wonderful it is to be in the classroom teaching the students and loving every moment. So I was able to walk in the interview with a smile and feeling relaxed and happy. I think imagery like that helps prior to an interview, it immediately relaxed me thinking about my class and all my plans and great ideas I cannot wait to implement. So I could walk in their happily and confidently! That was the most relaxed and confident I ever walked into an interview. The interview were I did get called back and was the runner up was the interview I was actually the most nervous though. So nerves help, but you have to be able to control them and make them work for you. Which takes training and effort, in undergrad I was a comm major so public speaking was my thing and I learned to use my nerves and control them and you can too! Good luck!
     
  17. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2010

    Here's the best advice I can give you, which I originally heard from my uncle:

    "Listen son, everyone puts on their pants one leg at a time, just like you."

    Much of the confidence I have today stems from this one truth.
     
  18. ILoveMyCello

    ILoveMyCello Companion

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    Aug 12, 2010

    I have found that the best practice for interviews is INTERVIEWS:).

    I have been through three years of interviews, and three offers of positions. It has gotten a lot easier for me because I take any interview I can. Practice!!

    good luck!!
     
  19. idahomom

    idahomom Companion

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    Aug 12, 2010

    Thank you, everyone. I honestly appreciate the advice. I have had several people offer to do practice interviews with me and I have been reading a lot of interview tips to try to help out. Hopefully I will get a shot at another interview and can do better next time. :blush:
     
  20. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    GREAT tips above.

    I also wanted to add that when I interviewed last year (after not having had a formal interview in years) I decided I needed a refresher course. I went to youtube and looked up interviewing videos. Some of them were just silly, but a lot of them really did help.
     
  21. Smithville

    Smithville Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2010

    I think we've all been there on those panel interviews! You are not alone. ;) My first interview this year made me feel so uncomfortable because I was sitting diagonal from the principal, but the two other teachers interviewing me where beside me... but almost "behind" me. It was so weird! I wish I would have spoken up and asked to move back a bit or something. Needless to say, I didn't get the job.


    However, I always feel that every interview is practice for the next! After you cry it out (it takes me an hour or two at least) look at it like this: That job you didn't get wasn't right for you, for whatever reason. Your job is coming! Don't lose hope. I graduated in December 2005 and after subbing and a charter school job, I'm still searching.

    If this is what you LOVE to do, and you know in your heart you're MEANT to do this, then never give up. Just brush it off and know that the best is yet to come!

    Practice interviews are a big help! I spend time in the shower or while drying my hair... or whatever... just answering questions out loud to myself to talk it out.

    BE YOURSELF! That's all they should want in the end.
     
  22. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    I think this is some of the very best advice and while on the job search it is important to keep at the front of your mind! I know I often need the reminder and it is great to be able to come on atoz and hear is again and have this support coming from somewhere other than myself and those closest to me.
     
  23. SunnyReader

    SunnyReader Companion

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    Panel interviews are hard, but this seems to be my forte. I am always myself. I laugh a lot and give anecdotes that add to my answers.

    You need to have fall back anecdotes that you can add to a few different questions, so you are not searching and pausing too long before answering. Have a bank of about 5 stories you can add, 1 about math, 1 about literacy, 1 about behavior management...and have a few of your creative ideas to add. You know they are going to ask about differentiation, so have something banked for that.
     
  24. brejohnson88

    brejohnson88 Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2010

    I know the right job is out there for you!! I would also take the advice above and try to connect your answers to specific experiences youve had in the classroom. Let your personality and your experience shine through the interview. We are all pulling for you!!
     
  25. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Idahomom, when I read your post, it sounded exactly like my own venting out all the interview frustration. Absolutely, I was just thinking today, after my interview, that I ought to find a course named "How to relax and sound natural at the interview"

    Here is what I did this year to help myself. I read a book or two on interviewing. I wrote down the questions that I may likely be asked at the interview, and I wrote down my answers. I update it after each new interview, and I review it before every interview.

    That helps me take care of the worry part, at least I don't go blank at most of the questions. However, the enthusiasm is a tougher one, you cannot learn for it :)
     
  26. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Etiuette question: When I came into the room, all 3 interviewers shook hands with me. When I was leaving, only one director shaked my hand, and I left. Do you think I should've taken the initiative and shaken hands with the other 2 people? (They were each asking me at least 1 questions during the interview, btw)
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2010

    It wouldn't have hurt, but that's spilled milk. Don't overthink it. THAT'S not what's going to make or break an interview.
     
  28. nogenrewriter

    nogenrewriter Companion

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    Aug 14, 2010

    I have found that being the best version of myself goes a long way. Be you. Stop analyzing the questions and *try* to relax. After all, your job won't be to answer questions but to work with others. Show them that you are personable. The best advice someone gave me? Don't overtalk it and SMILE! When you smile, you can't help but get excited about what you're talking about.
     
  29. MrsKP

    MrsKP Companion

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    Aug 14, 2010

    OK... I was in your EXACT situation!!! Here's what helped me.

    MAJOR research on the school and the people I knew would be in the interview. I found out the P was a UGA fan and has a shar pei. I have a Shar Pei and went to UGA so I made sure to point those things out during the "tell us about yourself" question. The P actually screamed when I talked about my dog!!

    Thought before the interview about "conversation topics." I was married recently so I added that in, hoping someone would ask about it or congratulate me... anything to make a connection.

    FAKE IT! I am an INCREDIBLY shy person. So I acted like someone else. My face was bright red, but I forced myself to be a conversationalist, bubbly, and painted a big smile on my face.

    On the way to the interview, instead of thinking or practicing, I turned some good music on full blast and sang my heart out. It made me less nervous and allowed me to be out of my shell a little when I went into the interview.

    I agree with the people who said to hand out a resume. I handed out a packet in a report cover with resume, reference letter, sample lesson plans, classroom philosophy.. this gave everyone something to look over instead of staring me down. It also gave them something to remember me by. :)

    Good luck and keep trying. I had 8 interviews before I got my job.
     
  30. supermissf

    supermissf Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2010

    When I've interviewed, I always have the same mantra in my head: "I've worked my butt off and spent big bucks on my degree. I know my stuff inside and out and I'm perfect for this job. I have my bases covered; the rest is up to them. Either they want what I have to offer or they don't; if they don't then its their loss!"

    Try it!
     

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