1. Tell me how would a school counselor use data?

What to look for in the applicant's response:
► Track students' academic achievement to determine intervention needs and opportunities for acceleration.
► Pre- and post-tests to determine impact of counseling activities.
► Results Reports which highlight process, perception and results data as a result of counseling services.
► Identify gaps in school services based on student need.

2. What is the role of the school counselor in a Comprehensive School Counseling program?

What to look for in the applicant's response:
► Standards-based (DPS adopted school counseling standards in 2000)
► Data driven (analyze data to determine inequity issues)
► Results focused (collect data to determine effectiveness of what the school counselor does)
► Works with ALL students through classroom guidance lessons and individual planning (not just students that show up in the office or have problems)

3. Explain what is the counselor's role in student academic achievement?

What to look for in the applicant's response:
► School Counselors work with all students to ensure they have the met the standards for academic success
► School Counselors function as academic advisors, who align academic coursework with post-secondary preparation and career planning
► School Counselors help students overcome barriers to academic success, including support for students through transitions (ie - 8th to 9th grade)
► School Counselors work with select students who have demonstrated needs (through GPAs, etc.) to improve academic achievement

4. What is your education and experience that qualifies you for this position?

What to look for in the applicant's response:
► Completion of a Masters in School Counseling is required in DPS

5. A teacher comes to you concerning a child with the following behaviors: aggression; poor peer relations; inattention to learning; will not accept adult authority or responsibility for behavior. Overall, how would you handle this situation?

What to look for in the applicant's response:
► Talk with student to determine presence of any underlying issues
► Talk with parent/guardian to determine presence of any underlying issues
► Referral to SIT
► Observe student in class, cafeteria, other situations
► Ask students' other teachers if similar behavior has been observed elsewhere

6. Collaboration Interview Questions:

► What is the role of the school counselor in relation to teachers, parents, administrators and other counselors?
► How would you handle an irate parent?
► How would you handle a passive or uninvolved parent?
► How do you see yourself fitting in with school counselors who have many years experience as veteran teachers?
► What is your view on collaborative consultation in the schools?
► Describe past interactions with parents in home visits.
► How do you handle conflict with a colleague, parent, administrator?

7. Fresh Guidance Counselor Job Interview Questions:

► What is it that you like about (level) school students?
► What is something new you could bring to our program?
► How do you handle criticism?
► How do you handle stress?
► Are you opposed to working above and beyond school hours to get the job done?
► Are you opposed to working at night for functions such as college night, senior night, etc.?
► Does your principal know you're applying for this job and how does he/she feel about it?
► What technology applications do you see being useful in your work?
► What might your professional development plan look like?
► What do you think the role of the counselor is in preventing school violence?"
► What experiences have you had as a teacher that make you feel capable of being a counselor?
► What experiences have you had in working with special education students?
► What can you provide that is different from a social worker, school psychologist, or mental health counselor?
► When considering ethical standards and school policies, how would you handle a conflict between the two?
► What do the most recent state standardized test results indicate about this school district and this school; and what is your role regarding standardized testing?
► How does a school counselor assist with the implementation of ESL (English as Second Language) in-building programming?
► Describe how you would implement small group guidance lessons?
► Because time is a scarce resource in schools today, and because of a strong push for improved standardized test scores, best educational practices suggest that in-class guidance lessons not take away from classroom instructional minutes. How will you address this issue as a school counselor?
► What has your experience been in working with students of color & LGBT?
► What is your experience with parenting programs? Describe past interactions with parents in home visits.
► What does your future comprehensive program look like?
► How do you handle conflict with a colleague, parent, administrator?
► What does a good home visit look like?
► How do feel about writing letters of recommendation (HS)?
► How do you keep yourself organized? Discuss how you multitask.
► Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
► Can we ask you a question in Spanish, and can you respond likewise?

8. Management of Comprehensive School Counseling Program Interview Questions:

► How do you use data in a school counseling program?
► What type of school counseling activities would you institute to help close the achievement gap at our school?
► What innovative and new ideas would you like to employ as a school counselor?
► How would you divide your time between meeting the immediate needs of the students and keeping up with the paperwork?
► What technology applications do you see being useful in your work?
► How will you evaluate your school counseling program?
► What type of data would demonstrate an effective school counseling program?
► What do the most recent state standardized test results indicate about this school district and this school; and what is your role regarding standardized testing?
► How do you see the word "leader" fitting in to your role as a school counselor?
► What leadership experiences have you had?
► How have you advocated for students?
► How do school counselors advocate for students differently than other school staff?

9. What Would You Do As Guidance Counselor Interview Questions:

► One of your students told you she was pregnant?
► You suspected one of your students is being abused?
► One of your students talks to you about wanting to kill himself/herself?
► One of your students tells you they are being abused?
► A student requests a teacher change because he/she doesn't like them?
► A parent requests you to switch their child's teacher?
► A student requests to be in the same lunch period as their friend?
► You suspect one of your students is abusing drugs/alcohol?
► One of your students admits to being sexually active?
► One of your students told you he/she is gay?
► One of your student's parents is terminally ill?
► Your student does not get into their number one college choice?
► One of your students wants to drop out of school?
► You overhear the makings of a fight that is about to happen?
► One of your seniors is not going to graduate?
► A parent asks to meet with you at 5 p.m. because that is the only time he/she can get off of work?
► You see one of your students (or parents) in town?
► One of your students continues to fail math (or any subject) each quarter?
► You have a faculty member's child in your caseload?

10. Strengths and Interests Guidance Counselor Interview Questions:

► What influenced you to be a school counselor?
► What practical experiences have you had that make you feel capable of being a school counselor?
► What is your strongest asset?
► What do you know about our school that you would consider a strength? a weakness?
► Tell us about a successful (satisfying) case that you have handled? And, one that was not so successful; what would you have done differently?
► What makes you want to work at ______ School?
► What is it that you like about working with (grade level) school students?
► How would you deal with cultural differences in a school setting?
► What is something new you could bring to our program?
► How do you handle criticism?
► How do you handle stress?
► Are you available to work in the evenings for functions such as parent programs, student programs, etc.?
► What experiences have you had in working with special education students?
► What has your experience been in working with students of color & gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgendered students?
► What is your experience with parenting programs?
► How do you approach writing letters of recommendation (HS)?
► What does school counseling mean to you?
► How do you keep yourself organized? Discuss how you multitask.
► Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
► Are you proficient in a language other than English?

Download Interview PDF

11. Role Specific Guidance Counselor Interview Questions:

► What do you like about working with (elementary/middle/high school) students?
► How is your role different from that of a social worker, mental health counselor, or school psychologist?
► How much experience do you have with LGBT students?
► What has been your experience with special education students?
► Describe the profile of an at-risk student.
► How do you manage cultural differences in a school setting?
► Describe your experience with group counseling.
► Talk about the difference between a 504 plan and an IEP plan.
► What situations might call for a behavior management plan?
► Recall a time you resolved a problem with a difficult parent.
► In what ways do you balance the needs of students, parents, and school administrators?
► In what ways have you helped students cope with grief, loss, or mental health issues?
► What factors would you consider before recommending an outside agency referral?
► In what ways have you coordinated efforts with other school specialists towards a common goal?
► How do you keep up with current trends or news in the field of guidance counseling?

12. School Counselor Role Specific Interview Questions:

► What do you see as the main role of a school counselor?
► Have you implemented any components of the ASCA National Model for School Counseling?
► What do you think is the most important characteristic of a school counselor?
► When considering school counseling ethical standards and school policies, how would you handle a conflict between the two?
► What do you think the role of the school counselor is in preventing school violence?
► What can you provide that is different from a social worker, school psychologist, or mental health counselor?
► What is the difference between a therapist and a school counselor?
► What does your future comprehensive school counseling program look like? What is your plan for achieving this?

13. Basic Guidance Counselor Interview Questions:

► What is your education and experience that qualifies you for this position?
► What personal characteristics do you possess that would enhance your work as a counselor?
► What is the role of the school counselor in a Comprehensive Competency Based Guidance program?
► What is your understanding of classroom guidance and how would you work with a classroom teacher?
► What is the counselor's role in student academic achievement?
► How does Comprehensive Competency Based Guidance directly effect/relate to student achievement?
► How would your present or previous employer describe you in terms of effectiveness as a counselor/teacher/employee?
► If you are assigned to a school with many challenges, what are some programs you would start to help improve the school climate?
► A teacher comes to you concerning a child with the following behaviors: aggression; poor peer relations; inattention to learning; will not accept adult authority or responsibility for behavior. Overall, how would you handle this situation?
► How would you deal with a parent who is upset with his/her student's progress in class?
► What is a counselor's agreement and how would you use it to implement a Comprehensive Competency Based Guidance program?
► How do you see the word "leader" fitting in to your role as a counselor?
► What is the counseling theory that you most closely follow?
► What is the most creative and innovative counseling technique you have used?
► How would you divide your time between meeting the immediate needs of the students and keeping up with the paperwork?
► How will you evaluate your programs to meet (a) current state standards; (b) standards of best practice for a comprehensive guidance and counseling program; and (c) the National School Counseling Standards per the American School Counselor Association?
► How would you handle an irate parent?
► How would you handle a passive (perhaps irresponsible) parent?
► How would you handle a large group of students having attendance problems?
► How do you see yourself fitting in with counselors who have many years experience as veteran teachers?
► How would you fit in with a large staff?
► What is your strongest asset?
► What do you think is the most important characteristic of a counselor?
► What do you see as the role of a counselor in a school this large?
► What preconceptions do you have of our school?
► What have you heard about our school?
► What makes you want to work at ______ School?

14. Foundation of Comprehensive School Counseling Program Interview Questions:

► How does a comprehensive school counseling program support the school's academic mission?
► What is your school counseling/educational philosophy?
► What is the counseling theory or approach that you most closely follow?
► What is your experience with implementation of the school counseling core curriculum?
► How would you approach individual student planning?
► How do you develop a positive relationship with students in individual counseling? Small group counseling?
► How would you handle a large group of students having attendance problems?
► What experiences have you had with developing transition plans?
► Describe how you would implement small group counseling/classroom lessons?
► What might your professional development plan look like?

15. Tell us How Would You Handle a Particularly Disruptive Student?

In some cases, you may be asked to meet with students if they have behavioral issues or if they are overly disruptive. Your superiors will need to know that you can work with these students and help them solve their behavioral problems. "I would attempt to find the root cause of the problem, whether it is an issue at home or perhaps an issue with one or more students at school. Then, I would work with the student to find the best way to resolve the situation" is a good answer, but you should be sure to elaborate further based upon the school's policies and the interviewer's exact question.

16. How would you deal with a parent who is upset with his/her student's progress in class?

What to look for in the applicant's response:
► Empathize with parent (diffuse)
► Ask parent what he/she has already done to support student's progress
► Offer to set up SIT or parent-teacher(s)-student-counselor meeting
► Ask about any possible underlying issues for student
► Re-enforce appropriate strategies that parent has tried

17. Tell me Do You Work Well with Others?

This is an important question because you will be required to work directly with other personnel in order to meet the needs of individual students. For example, if a high school student is struggling academically in algebra, the counselor's job is to not only to assist the student in securing a tutor, but also to speak with the algebra teacher so that a learning plan can be developed. An answer such as "I understand the importance of ensuring that everyone works together in order to meet the needs of students. I feel that my communication skills and my ability to think objectively allow me to work well with others to meet goals" is a great choice.

18. If you are assigned to a school with many challenges, what are some programs you would start to help improve the school climate?

What to look for in the applicant's response:
► Nothing at first - observe school & analyze current data to determine types of challenges at particular school, then choose or develop program based on school's needs
► ► College preparation curriculum
► ► PBS - Positive Behavioral Support
► ► Olweus Bullyproofing
► ► Intentional School Culture
► ► Parent Teacher Association

19. Explain What Would You Do if a Student Reported He Was Abused by a Teacher?

Part of your role as a guidance counselor is ensuring proper relationships between students and teachers. As such, at some point during your career, you may be faced with a particularly difficult and personal issue. Be sure to take your time when answering such a question; a quick response indicates that you will not take the time to think the situation through. "I would first review the school's policy for handling such issues" followed by your methods for implementing the policy is always the best answer.

20. What personal characteristics do you possess that would enhance your work as a counselor?

What to look for in the applicant's response:
► Proactive
► Outgoing/Initiates interactions with students
► Systemic thinking to support school-wide success strategies

21. Tell me Why Do You Feel You Are Ready to Be a Guidance Counselor?

Many people would answer a question like this with some information about their education and credentials, and while this is acceptable, it should be followed up with a bit of more personal information. You should take some time before your interview to reflect upon this so that you can provide your interviewer with an answer that is meaningful. For instance, you can provide some information about a particularly difficult case, whether you actively participated in the case or observed as part of your training. Similarly, you could provide information about a personal experience, particularly if you or one of your own children was helped by a guidance counselor in the past.