Applying and Interviewing

Learn more about applying and interviewing for jobs in a private school. Here we'll cover everything from cover letters to interview questions. Get tips on common application mistakes, how to ask good questions during your interview, and marketing yourself.
View the most popular articles in Applying and Interviewing:
Updated May 26, 2016 |
Staying Positive While Unemployed
Staying positive while being unemployed is never easy. But it is a critical part of the process.
If you are one of the thousands of teachers who have been let go because of budget cuts, you are probably looking for another teaching job. Teaching is what you know. Teaching is what you love. After all, you sacrificed greatly to earn your degree. You could have gone into another profession or into business and made much more money. But your idealism and sense of service to your nation's future got the better of you. You became a teacher.
 
Unfortunately finding a new teaching position can be a very unsettling experience. Nothing is the same as it used to be. Years ago you became a teacher, went through a probationary period of several years then were granted tenure, generous benefits and a pension.
 
Then the economic meltdown of 2009 hit. And hit hard. School districts came to grips with budgets slashed deeply because of declining tax revenues. Suddenly thousands of teaching jobs were eliminated. Your job was one of them. It is a phenomenon which has struck just about everywhere. What is even worse is that the teaching jobs which are available often don't come with the kind of generous benefits and tenure which we all had grown accustomed to. That's pretty much a thing of the past in most parts of the country.
 
Use the following video and ones like it to begin to refine your interviewing techniques. You have to have the competitive edge even when interviewing for a teaching job.

The irony is that
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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Making It Accurate and Truthful
You must not fudge the facts on your private school employment application. Tell the truth. Put a positive spin on any potentially negative areas. More here.
An employment application is no place for half-truths. You have to understand that private schools have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. They cannot afford to hire somebody who might jeopardize the school's reputation or, worse yet, cause harm to students. That is why it is so important to answer all the questions on an employment application truthfully.
 
Background Checks
 
Most private schools will use a service to do background checks on any potential new hires. They will not run the background check until they have interviewed you because background checks are expensive. That's another reason why you need to be truthful about anything in your resume which will arouse probing questions and nix your chances of even being interviewed. Here is what is involved in a background check.

What the background check really examines is your criminal and credit history. If you were charged with a criminal offence or have bad credit, that will show on your background check. Take the offensive and point out that your credit was destroyed by huge medical bills as a result of your mother suffering from Alzheimer's. Don't be creative. Just tell the truth.
 
Expect a drug test at some point in the hiring process. Since views about pot and even alcohol vary widely from one part of the country to another, make sure those tests come out clean. If you have been prescribed a controlled substance which will show up in a drug test, mention it proactively and file a
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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Job Search: Matching Your Qualifications
Matching your qualifications with what the school is looking for is one of the most important parts of the job process. Get it wrong and you might miss getting an interview.

Finding a private high school teaching position is similar to finding any other job with specific requirements for experience and education. The difference lies in the fact that most private schools will expect you to be an active member of their school community. Put another way it is not enough simply to teach your subject and go home. You will be expected to be a leader in the school community. Your willingness to be involved in an extracurricular activity and an athletic activity is a job requirement for private school teachers.

It sounds simple enough, but one of the most important things you must do when looking for a teaching job is to make sure your qualifications match the requirements of the position being offered. If you don't make that crystal clear in your resume and cover letter, you might not even make the first cut when your application is opened and reviewed.

Let's look at a typical job posting and review how it should be handled. This is a real job posting. The name of the school has been changed to protect its identity. 

Upper School Mathematics Teacher beginning Fall 2016

Job Responsibilities

St Swithins seeks an energetic and committed Mathematics teacher for grades 9 - 12 to teach a range of courses in a comprehensive curriculum offering Algebra I through Calculus. This is a full-time, benefited faculty position.

Qualities of a successful candidate will include:

* Ability to inspire students' love of learning
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Updated April 06, 2016 |
What To Wear at Your Job Interview
First impressions are lasting impressions. What you wear at an interview for a teaching job is important. Almost as important as your qualifications and credentials.

It's tough enough getting an interview in the first place. So, why destroy your chances by turning up in the wrong attire? Because you are applying for a teaching position in a private school, you must be particularly aware of how you dress. Why is how you look important? The first impression any interviewer has of you is a lasting one. This snapshot of you must convey a positive image of who you are as well as the value which you bring to the situation. Indeed, many hiring decisions are made subconsciously as soon as the interviewer looks at you. The following short video illustrates my point.

Because the job market is highly competitive, your primary goal is to have the first interview go so well that you make the short list for second interviews. The way in which you dress is one part of the picture your future employer will have. Make sure that you create the very best impression possible.

Dress to the level of the job environment.

Teachers are exemplars to the young people they teach. The way you dress sets an example, just as your speech patterns do. It is always sensible to dress conservatively when you interview for a teaching position. Nor does it matter what that position is. Whether you are applying for the Spanish teacher position or the Robotics teacher position, you must present yourself as a professional brimming with ideas and value who will make employers immediately think "Ah!

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Updated October 18, 2016 |
5 Common Employment Application Mistakes
Submit your employment application the way a Swiss watch craftsman builds a watch. With precision and accuracy.

Competitive employment markets mean that you must make the best possible impression at every step of the employment process. All it takes is a couple of common mistakes to quickly move your employment application to the bottom of the pile. You may think that yours is the only application for that math teacher position at Shady Grove Country Day School. Unfortunately, in these very tough economic times, your application will be one of dozens of applications - perhaps hundreds - for that coveted teaching job. That's why it is so important to make sure that somebody reviews your application, and places it on the short stack of applications marked "Interview".

Put yourself in the place of the person who will be screening job applications. You understand how your students' minds work. Use the same approach here. Think about how an administrator determines who should get interviewed. She has advertised the position in all the usual places. Every business day she receives dozens of envelopes from applicants. Why should your application go on the stack of applications marked "Interview" instead of the one marked "reject"? Because when she scans your application, she sees most of what she is looking for. Remember: she's a very busy person. A lot is riding on her choosing the best candidate for the position which she has to fill.

Depending on how hands-on a person she is, she may delegate the initial scanning process to an assistant. Assistants can be very diligent and do things exactly as

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Jobs in Private Schools

APPLYING AND INTERVIEWING