Those of us who have interviewed hundreds of job applicants over the years know the traps an interview contains. Here are some tips to avoid those traps when you interview for that job as the math teacher at St. Agatha's Academy.
1. Do some role playing.
A few weeks before your interview do some role playing. Enlist the aid of a trusted friend or family member to play the part of the interviewer. Dress in your 'interview outfit'. Do the role playing in a setting similar to what you might expect for the interview, such as an office or a table in Starbucks. The old adage 'practice makes perfect' applies. You will be amazed at the imperfections and glitches which a little role playing will smoke out.
2. Prepare a clear, concise resume.
A poorly prepared resume can confuse and mislead the interviewer. Again, enlist the eyes and opinion of a trusted friend to review your resume for clarity and conciseness. Think of your resume as a mirror on you. Make sure it reflects a superb image. Always print a resume in a standard business font such as Arial using black ink on white paper. Make sure there are no typos.
3. Dress for success.
You will never go wrong dressing semi-formally. For men that means a jacket, slacks and tie. For women a pants suit or jacket and skirt are appropriate. If you have piercings and tatooes you might want to remove the metal and cover the artwork. Once again have a trusted friend, preferably older, have a look at you in your job interview garb. Her comments might be instructive.
Of course you are nervous. Who wouldn't be? You have a lot riding on this interview. But you are a teacher. You know how to assess people, look for signals and respond to cues in the classroom. Same thing in the interview. Just relax, keep your antennae working and you will do fine. Don't be intimidated by the setting or the interviewer. Be yourself.
5. Anticipate the tough questions.
If you were fired from your last job or left under unhappy circumstances, deal with that honestly when the issue is raised. (It will come up after all.) Similarly, compensation can be difficult to discuss. But it makes sense to explain your requirements in a straight forward manner. Always point out anything unusual in your job history before the interviewer gets to it. A simple explanation may be all that is required.
A final word of advice: being cool under fire is something every interviewer appreciates and values. A classroom is full of little traps and surprises. You know how to handle those. An interview is no different. Good luck!