Teaching Interview – Far From Ordinary

We can divide the job interviews in many ways: Technical and non-technical; initial, screening, second, final; phone and face to face; group and panel, etc.

When we talk about teaching interviews, or even educational interviews in general, we can find all of these forms present. Many times a board consisting of school principal, assistant principal, external recruiter and a school psychologist will interview you for a job. In other cases, however, it will be only you and the principal, or even a specialized HR person from the school in the boiler room.

The basics stay the same

However, you should not over-complicate your preparation for the interview. Certainly, each form has some specifics, and if you’d like to we can prepare you for it with our interview coaching services, but nevertheless it is just that-a form.

They will always look for the same things within you, doesn’t matter which method they use trying to identify them. What’s more, educational interview, or basically any interviews led at schools, have some specifics in common. Knowing them will help you to prepare better for the meeting.


Led by educational pros, not HR pros

According to the following source, your teaching interview will be led by non-professionals interviewers. They will know a lot about education, teaching, and problems the school faces, but little about how to recruit people for the job. Is it an advantage, or a disadvantage? That depends on how you prepare for the interview…..

Personal preferences matter a lot at schools

Since they don’t understand psychometry or personality tests, and typically don’t even have an interview template, school principals or their assistants often trust in their gut feeling.

If it is a pleasure to talk with you, if you share their opinions on education, if they don’t see the competitor in you, they may very well hire you.

Of course, you’ll still need to meet the basic requirements in terms of minimum education and experience (if they set such requirements).


An exemplary lesson

Some schools, however, apply a rather stressful interview technique. They will give you a topic (from your field of expertise) and let you to explain it to ‘the pupils’. In this case the interviewers themselves play the students. They watch the way you explain things, ask questions, ans simply make the topic easy to understand.

In some rare cases they may eventually throw you directly into the water and take you to an actual classroom, to replace the teacher for one hour. Needless to say, practicing such an exemplary lesson before you travel to your interview is a great advice….


Little room for negotiation

Another feature that distinguishes teaching interviews from the rest is an inability to negotiate a better starting salary. Most schools use salary tables, and as a new teacher you’ll simply get what’s given to everyone else at the institution. It doesn’t matter that you are the best teacher in the world–you just get what any other new teacher will.

Having said that, we suggest you to completely avoid talking about salary in your first interview. They won’t give you more anyway, so there’s no need to gamble–if you talk about money, the interviewers may easily get the feeling that money are the only thing you care about. And that’s not a good label for a teaching job candidate.


Education and references matter a lot

In contrary to many other job openings, your University diploma and references can make huge difference in getting a teaching job. People in the sector know each other, and if “Johnny” recommended you, they’re going to follow up on that. Don’t underestimate your preparation, practice, and bring a lot of documents with you. Those are few simple tips that can help you getting a teaching job!



Technical interview – How to approach it

Different skills and abilities are assessed in various interviews, and the interview questions typically relate to the abilities they are trying to evaluate. Said in other words, the interview template should help them to uncover whether you have the desired skill-set in you or not….

For many jobs though, the sole purpose of an interview is finding out more about your personality, intelligence, problem solving abilities, and communication skills.

They’re not gonna ask a doctor to perform a surgery directly in an interview, or a to-be team leader to bring a group of people and lead them to some goal. There is a group of jobs, however, we like to call them technical, where interview differs from the standard one. You’ll need to prepare for some extra exams, if you want to succeed.


Practical tests and questions

Technical interviews are full of practical tests, case studies, and technical questions. An IT guy often needs to demonstrate their coding skills right in the meeting, being presented a tough task to solve on a computer. A bank teller might be asked to sell a banking product to the interviewer, who plays a client in an interview (this is called role-play). According to Caren Mayers from http://accountantinterviewquestions.com , accounting job applicants are confronted with a variety of technical tasks and questions, such as for example performing simple operations in an accounting software of their choice.

It is actually the best way how to assess your experience in the field, and they will easily distinguish whether you really understand your job, or just talk about understanding it.


Work portfolio can help you avoiding the tests

In order to avoid being tested, you should try convincing them about your skills with some materials. A work portfolio marks a good example for that. If you showcase the projects you worked on before, and show them the added value you brought, they may easily believe you and decide to skip the testing altogether.

References from reputable experts in the industry will also help. Ask your former employer (or even a friend) to write a specific reference and praise your technical skills.

Remember, it’s a myth that the interview template is the same for every job candidate. Many small and middle sized companies even don’t use interview templates–they talk to job candidates as they feel…. If you manage to convince them with your portfolio and references, they may give you a green light to the next round without a single additional technical test.


Practice makes perfect

You should not put too much trust into your abilities. Maybe you are a great coder, accountant, or a sales person. But still, to polish your knowledge a bit before an interview, to practically try and solve some problems, will make a huge difference. Things will fell more at ease for you, and you’ll manage to cope with them quicker.

Employers don’t typically choose the best candidate for the job. They choose the one who prepared better than the others did, and managed to convince them about the skills. Remember, having a skill, and convincing someone of having it, are two completely different things. Practice at home, prepare for the technical questions and tests, convince them, and get a good job.


Skype versus phone versus face to face interview

Different companies prefer different methods of interviewing. If you’ve been to at least ten interviews in your life, you likely experienced phone, Skype and face to face meetings with the employers. In this post we will try to analyze the differences, and give some basic advice on how to approach each type of a job interview.

Firstly I want to emphasis that interviewing you on Skype or phone does in no way devalue your chances to get a job, or the seriousness of the interview. Most companies use these methods simply to save both time and money, and you should be thankful for that. Many people travel hundreds of kilometers for an interview, just to be screened out in the very first stage. If it was conducted online, they’d save both time and money….


Phone interview – your voice is everything

When you talk to someone on the phone, you can neither see the person, nor feel or smell them. It’s just the voice that connects the two of you. Think about it for a moment…. It’s actually not such a bad way of interviewing, from the point of view of discrimination. Being interviewed on the phone, nobody can screen you out just because they don’t like (or like too much) your physical appearance, clothes you wear, and because of other things that shouldn’t really play a role in an interview.

It’s your voice that will make or break the deal–a pretty neutral factor. So try to show enthusiasm in your voice, show them that the offer matters to you. Always walk to a quiet place so you can hear clearly what they are saying, and try to be as attentive as possible. Talk to the point, listen carefully, and show enthusiasm for their offer. You can wear pajamas while doing so–nobody can see it, and you should feel comfortable while being interviewed on the phone :).


Skype Interview – as close as it can get

Skype interview is the closest form of face to face meeting. Therefor, you should pay close attention to both your attire and non-verbal communication. It’s important to set the camera properly, and have all technology in place. Believe me, if the mic is not working, or your headphones are off, recruiters will just pass the interview with you and move to the next candidate. Their schedule is typically pretty tight, so you should ensure that the technology works just fine and you are not wasting their precious time while setting it up in an interview.

Record your interview

There are some ways how to record your interview, either using screen recorder, or specialized software such as Pretty May, which allows you to record the call directly.

Why would you record your interview? Well, to view it later, and analyze your interview performance. In a recording you’ll see exactly how you answered the questions and reacted to various moves or gestures from the interviewer. It’s a priceless material for interview coaching as well….


Face to face meeting – the final one

If you do not apply for a job located on the other side of the world, you will likely have to pass at least one face to face interview. It can actually be just the very last stage, where you’ll meet your future superior.

On the other hand, many companies prefer lengthy interview procedures, and they may invite you as many as five times to their company. Each one will be different, and every time some applicants will be screened out from the poll. I must say that I do not support such lengthy procedures that feature many rounds of job interviews, since it really wastes time of the job seekers. At least couple of initial rounds should always be done online, on the phone, or over Skype.

Be your best self

Be yourself‘ is really a stupid advice, or said in better words, it’s not formulated properly. Each of us passes so many mental states and moods in a course of a single day, that something as ‘our only true self‘ doesn’t exist. You may be often sleepy, tired, and indifferent to things and events taking place around you. Well–each of us sometimes find themselves in such a mental condition.

But for the interview you need to be your best self. In terms of physical appearance, in terms of mental freshness, in terms of enthusiasm and preparation for the meeting.

In any other case you can be sure someone else will get the job….


Recruiting a Recruiter – HR Interview

In 99% of cases, job interview is a meeting of an HR person (HR generalist, recruiter, HR consultant, manager with HR skills) and a person who knows nothing about interviewing, at least from a point of view of an expert.

Strange situation occurs when you apply for an HR job, however, and it doesn’t matter whether it is an entry level one, or something more advanced. Suddenly you are ‘equal’ with the people on the other side of the table, and the interview turns to a chess game.


Do not show you know what they know 🙂

Many people applying for HR role boost about their knowledge of psychometry, and other forms of testing. When receiving an exam in an interview, they often point out knowing about the test, and how to answer the questions. Needless to say, this should not happen to you. If they decide to test you with any form of paper or electronic exam, don’t tell them that you did it before. Just focus on the task itself and do it as if you were seeing the paper for the very first time.

What’s more, over-confident people aren’t so popular in the eyes of employers as they had been ten years ago. Today employers prefer humility–the true virtue. Humble people fit better into the collective, and it’s easier to work with them. Stay humble and do not show them all your trumps!


Try to convince them of your people skills

The crucial ability in HR are people skills–ability to listen, ability to assess the strengths of the other person, emotional intelligence, ability to handle conflict situations. 

They will most likely test these in your interview with a set of practical tasks or even case studies, but at the end of the day it’s the general impression you make that decides. Therefor you should pay close attention to them, show interest in them and their company, and, in any case, don’t go into conflict with them.


Prepare for the common questions

Some of the common questions they may ask you are listed below:

  1. Tell us about a disagreement you had with your boss in the past. What was the reason for the disagreement? What was your solution?
  2. We are talking here together for a good while. Can you tell me something about myself? What do you see as my strengths, and as my weaknesses?
  3. Here are two resumes of managerial position applicants. Please, have a look at them and tell me which applicant would you prioritize and why would you do so.

As you can see, the questions are often practical and tricky. If you struggle to come up with good answers, do not hesitate to use our interview coaching services. You can read more about them here, including pricing.



HR interview had many specifics. At the end of the day, however, it’s an interview like any other one. If you prepare well, if you give decent answers to their questions, and if you manage to build good connection with the interviewers, your chances of succeeding will be good. A professional interview coach can help you with all those areas of preparation.

Interview at the Pharmacy – Always Packed

Pharmaceutic industry rules the market nowadays. Selling drugs and supplements is a business incomparable to any other one, in terms of profit margins. What’s more, the industry of pharmaceutics is falsely depicted as something positive. Most people believe that drugs actually help them to improve their quality of life. Pharmacists are very popular in society in general, and the job has great reputation. Salary is even better…. No surprise that many people enroll in the colleges trying to get a degree from Pharmacy.


Too many job candidates

The situation becomes extremely tough once you actually got a degree. You often find yourself in a big debt, and are in a desperate need to get a job and start earning money. However, though there are plenty of pharmacies everywhere, somehow you struggle to get an interview invitation as a fresh graduate. How that’s possible?

The reason is simple–an over-saturated job market. There are many pharmacies, but there are even many more pharmacist job applicants. And, contrary to many other fields of business, people who studied pharmacy typically stay in the field (or at least try to do so). Your competition won’t run away to take managerial or clerical jobs. They want the same position as you–a job of a pharmacist.


You need to show something more

Needless to say, if you find yourself facing this situation, you need to do something extra. First of all you should browse your network of connections, looking for friends who could help. Someone might own a pharmacy, or work in one. If you had a good relationship with a person, you may ask him for help, to give a recommendation.

But what if you are left alone in the field, and there’s nobody to hand you a helping hand, to spoon-feed you? Well, than you’ll need to ensure your job application stands out from the crowd. This can be achieved in various ways. Of course you can write an outstanding cover letter (or hire someone to do so), but you can also turn the tables upside down and do something people rarely do–applying for the jobs personally, visiting the pharmacies, talking to managers. Needless to say, you need to improve your selling skills before opting to follow this way.


Get the best out of every interview

You may get just few chances to present yourself in a pharmacist interview, speaking about a radius of 50 kilometers away from your apartment (you’d likely try avoiding working further from home). Therefore you need to ensure you did your best to prepare for the meeting, and have good answers ready to their tough questions. According to http://pharmacistinterviewquestions.com, the recruiters may give you the following puzzles to solve:


  • Imagine an angry customer, and a stupid customer. How would you deal with both of them?
  • How can we spot drug seeking behavior? What would you do if you spotted it?
  • You cannot read the prescription. What would you do?
  • How would you ensure that different treatments are compatible?
  • What things do you need to assure yourself about before dispensing prescription medicines to a customer?
  • How do you keep up to date with current pharmacy practice, new drugs and trends in the industry?


If you aren’t sure how to answer the questions, please consider ordering our interview coaching services. During four Skype sessions we’ll prepare you perfectly for all of them.


Once you have a job, do not speculate

Getting a job in a pharmacy is difficult. If you succeed you should cling to it (as most pharmacist do), getting over the typical problems we face in every employment (wishing to have better colleagues, dreaming of a higher salary, hoping for different shifts, etc.).

In this industry you just can’t allow hopping from job to job. It would be playing with fire, since it can easily happen that after dropping from one position you won’t find another occupation at all….

Interview Truth and Myths

Job interview is a stressful experience for most people. Our career is often at stake, especially if we apply for a job of our dreams. On the top of that, schools did not prepare us for the kind of an experience when we need to show our strengths and sell our skills to a completely unknown person–a future employer.

Even though virtually everyone experienced some job interviews in their life, there are still many myths surrounding the meeting with prospective employer. We’ll look at some of them in this article.


Myth nr. 1: I have not graduated, I will not get the job

A university degree used to be a must-have in the past, anytime you tried to get a qualified job, or a leadership role. However, the scope of education has changed a lot in recent years. Many private educational institutions have been established, and even more people graduate from the Universities. What’s more, the quality of schools has dropped significantly, as the old fashioned educational system isn’t able to adapt to the fast changing condition of modern economics.

Employers realized (or learned by a hard experience) that having a degree doesn’t guarantee anything. And similarly–not having one doesn’t guarantee anything either.

The gap between theory and practice is growing, and employers do not care anymore whether you have a red diploma or had never even tried pursuing your studies after graduating from high school.

Big companies prefer to form you

Another fact playing in favor of our claims are the training programs that had been developed by practically all middle sized and big companies around the world. In the past you might be thrown into the water and start ‘doing the job‘ immediately. That’s very rarely the case nowadays.

Successful job candidates are treated with lengthy training periods, being taught either by their superiors or an external consultancy firm. The companies do not rely anymore on the teachers that should have prepared you for the role at school. They catch the bull by the horns and prepare you for the most typical duties themselves. Concluded and underlined, having a degree or not having one doesn’t determine the outcome of your interview.


Myth nr. 2: It’s all about psychometry and strange personality tests

We all experienced them–long tests that make no sense to laics, strange or even stupid questions, pictures we should give names to. Long IQ tests and personality tests have flooded the interview sessions.

Many people actually believe that interviews have become utterly scientific, and therefor it’s not possible to prepare for them in advance. This is another myth indeed.

While many companies use the tests, the result of the test does not determine the final outcome of your interview. Many times the HR workers even do not exactly know how to report the results, and they use the tests more or less pro-forma. They want to look classy and scientific in their work. One way or another, it’s still your interview presence and answers to their questions that play the major role on the decision making of the interviewers. And that’s what you should focus on, since honestly, that’s what really matters.


Myth nr. 3: They always choose the best candidate for the job

Most people believe that in a professional interview, the best candidate (the most suitable one) is selected for the job. This, again, can’t be farther from the truth.

Typically there are some general requirements that a candidate needs to meet, otherwise he’d be screened out. But once candidates fulfill these requirements, it’s an open battle and anyone can win– regarding of education or experience.

At the end of the day recruiters are just people. They have their preferences, and both obvious and secret reasons why they prefer one person to another. Can be just pure sympathy in many cases, or even attraction. There factors can never really be taken out of equation, doesn’t matter how sophisticated the interview session looks to you….