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Recruitment: Are you interview ready?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

The job interview is the most important step you will take in your job search journey.

The two key elements to successful interviewing are:

  • Preparation

  • Enthusiasm

Be prepared!

Preparation is essential and greatly enhances your chances of performing well at any interview. Take a look at the following tips to help you on the road to a successful interview:

  • Ensure your Consultant has provided you with a detailed understanding of the position description, the team environment and the school.

  • Conduct additional research regarding the school through viewing their website.

  • Dress conservatively and pay attention to all facets of your dress and grooming

  • Know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer’s full name and the correct pronunciation and his/her title

  • Spend 30 minutes reviewing your resume/experience and it’s relevance to the position description. Identify the specific examples in your background that are directly relevant to the position description and that demonstrate your ability to do the job. Pay particular attention to how you will describe your most important achievements.

  • Be prepared to convey to the interviewer: why this role appeals to you, why they should consider you for this role and what makes you a bit different from other candidates

  • Prepare the questions you will ask during the interview. Remember that an interview is a two way street. The employer will try to determine through questioning if you have the qualifications necessary to do the job. You must determine through questioning whether the company will give you the opportunity for the growth and development you seek.

What might I be asked?

  • What would a normal day in this role look like?

  • How would you describe your schools culture?

  • What induction and training programs does the organisation offer?

  • What is this vision for the future?

  • What is the next step in the process?

Preparing for the Structure and Style of the Interview

Competency Based Interviews

Competency based interviews are the most prevalent style of interviewing.

Competency based interviewing, also known as behavioural interviewing requires you to draw on past experience and describe specific examples of incidents that demonstrate your competence in a particular area. The most effective way of answering these questions is to use the “STAR” technique:

Situation – briefly describe the background to the situation

Task – specifically describe your responsibility

Action – describe what you did

Result – describe the outcome of your actions.

Be Prepared with Answers and Supporting Examples to Standard HR Questions such as:

  • What are your career aspirations?

  • Why do you want to work for our school?

  • What interests you about our product/service?

  • Of your previous jobs, which did you enjoy most and why?

  • How have you managed conflict in the past?

  • Describe what you have done in your career that shows your initiative.

  • What are your weaknesses? Your strengths?

  • What does teamwork mean to you?

  • What style of management gets the best from you?

  • What have been your major achievements to date?

Remember that you are being interviewed because the interviewer wants to hire somebody – not because he/she wants to trip you up or embarrass you. Through the interaction which takes place during the interview, he/she will be searching out your strong and weak points, evaluating you on your qualifications, skills and intellectual qualities and he/she will probably probe deeply to determine your attitudes, aptitudes, stability, motivation and maturity.

Your Style and Behaviour

During your interview, the employer will be evaluating your total performance, not just your answers. Listed below are some factors and mannerisms that will usually produce a positive reaction from a prospective employer.

  • Interested balanced approach

  • Ability to express thoughts clearly

  • Career planning and objectives

  • Confidence

  • Informative replies

  • Tact, maturity, courtesy

  • Maintenance of eye contact

  • Firm handshake

  • Intelligent questions about the job

  • Preparation and knowledge of the company/industry

  • Enthusiasm for the role and the organisation

  • Positive, “can-do” attitude

General Tips


  • Plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable, but don’t arrive TOO early. 5 minutes is perfect. 10 minutes or more can catch clients off-guard in relation to room bookings etc.

  • Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and introduce yourself

  • Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair. Look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile.

  • Maintain eye contact.

  • Follow the interviewer’s leads but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background and skills to the position.

  • Make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make him/her realise the need for you in his/her organisation. Smile.

  • Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be in the position where you can choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.


  • Answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no”. Explain whenever possible. Tell those things about yourself, which relate to the position.

  • Lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as much to the point as possible.

  • Ever make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies.

  • “Over-answer” questions. Answer the question and then stop talking. If you think you haven’t quite hit the mark or perhaps they were looking for something more in a question, feel free to say “did I cover everything you wanted there?”

  • Let your discouragement show. If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, don’t show discouragement or alarm.

  • Enquire about salary, bonuses or holidays at the first interview unless you are positive the employer is interested in hiring you and raises the issue first

Closing the Interview

If you are interested in the position, make sure you:

Thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration of you. Make sure you have done all you can if you have answered the two questions uppermost in his/her mind:

  • Why are you interested in the job and the school?

  • What can you offer and can you do the job?


After the Interview

Last but not least, call the Consultant at Top Schools who referred you to the position after the interview and describe how the interview went. He/she will want to talk with you before the interviewer calls and will appreciate the courtesy of your feedback. If you are interested in progressing further it will assist if your feelings towards the position are known, together with your perception of what the client’s reaction is likely to be. Finally, relax – you have now done all you can!


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