Successful interviews

As a recent graduate, I’m preparing for interviews. Do you have any hints for successful interviews? —A., Minnesota

I’ve been on interview committees, and when applicants have comparable credentials, little things can make an impression. In addition to what your college mentors recommended for interviewing, I’d suggest the following.

Do some research before the interview in case you’re asked what you know about the school or community. Look for nearby science-related resources (parks, museums, nature centers, etc.). Learn a little about the history of the community and what it’s famous for. Visit the school’s website to learn about the school culture, facilities, extracurricular activities. Look over the student and faculty handbooks if they are available online.

I’m sure your college mentors suggested answering questions completely and succinctly. Don’t fake a response or answer with unrelated information. If you don’t know an answer, write the question down and add it to your list of things to learn about.

Even though you know to dress professionally for the interview, you could accessorize subtly with the school colors. Turn off your cell phone before the interview and arrive in time to mentally organize yourself. Also organize any materials you bring to the interview.

Shake hands firmly and repeat names as you are introduced. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Jones.” Even though you’ll be nervous, show your enthusiasm and personality.

Purge your personal social media sites of inappropriate information or photos. Don’t share things that you would not want your future students and their parents (and school administrators) to see.

The committee may ask if you have any questions. Show your interest by asking

  • What is the school’s philosophy toward science instruction?
  • What mentoring and professional development activities are available?
  • What kind of lab resources and technology are available?
  • What is the role of extracurricular activities in the school?
  • How do teachers use community resources that you identified before the interview?

Good luck!

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One Comment

  1. Harry E. Keller
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    That’s great advice for an interviewee. Know the organization for which you are interviewing. This is usually number one on how-to-interview lists.

    The last point also should be repeated. Don’t just sit back and answer questions. Ask questions that show your interest in and excitement about the prospective job. This is the thing you do that is most likely to make you stand out among a group.

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