1. Tell me do you have any role models in your life?

Pick some leaders, some people who left a positive mark in the history of mankind, or at least in a local community. It can be Einstein, Gandhi, or it can be “just” an excellent principal who led your elementary school, and who motivated you to pursue this career.

2. Tell us what will be the first thing you do if you get this job?

Oh, well, we are actually asking about the first thing you do in your job, not outside of it :). A nice idea is to invite the assistant principals, the school counselors, and some teachers for a board meeting, or perhaps talking with them one on one. You can actually invite also some students, perhaps the people who struggle with discipline in the classroom.

The meetings should help you to get a good grasp of the school, of the main challenges and problems they face, and of the people you will work with (and lead) in your job from now. That is likely a first thing you should do in your new job. But feel free to come up with your own ideas, if you do not like our idea.

3. Please explain how did you deal with upset parent whose child complained about you?

Every person (who had any kind of job at school) has this experience. You should choose a situation which had a happy ending, meaning a situation when you reconciled the conflict.

Describe what you did in detail, in order to show the interviewers that you know what to do when parents complain. Try to speak in a calm voice, showing some understanding for the emotions of the parents.

4. Tell us do you have any experience with leadership?

Without any doubt, role of a principal is a leadership positions. But what does it mean, to lead someone? Leaders attract people, leaders believe into the people, leaders connect with people. At least good leaders do that.

But we have to be leaders in our everyday life as well. Have you taught before? Have you led some students? Or your own children? Or, perhaps, just your own career?

There are many levels of leadership. Sadly, most people can't even lead their personal lives. They just listen to the authorities (authorities that care mostly for their own profits–think media gurus, religious leaders, politicians , etc). Such people do hardly make any decision on their own, even though they do not realize that they are just blindly following some authorities. Hopefully it is not your case.

5. Tell me how do you imagine a typical day in work?

Reading newspaper in the morning, drinking good coffee from your beautiful secretary, and taking pleasure in your prestige and position… Is this a typical day in your work? Do you imagine it as such?

Well, you will have to show a totally different approach, if you want to succeed in your interview. Show us that you like to be busy, that you always look for things to do, for things to improve. Check the job description, list some duties from the description, and add some activities that aren't advertised on the job description. Show us that you actually plan to do more than we expect from you.

6. Tell me what are your plans in long term horizon, let's say in 10 years?

Show us that you understand it takes time to make a great school. Tell us that you plan to stay long with us, that you plan strategically, and that strategical goals take many years to attain.

I know that you may dream about starting your own business (perhaps your own school), or about traveling the world (soon enough you will have enough money to set on a long journey). But you should not talk about these things in a job interview…

Nobody knows what will happen in ten years time. You may be dead, you may be living in a different country, you may have a completely different position. And nobody will blame you if you leave the school after one year of working there.

7. Can you tell us what are your thoughts on team-teaching?

I am sure many of you have participated in team-teaching and realize the benefits of this strategy. The interviewer who asks this question wants to discover, if you are flexible, enjoy working in a team environment, have experience in this area, and what your viewpoints are on the subject.

It is always wise to speak about some of the positive aspects of team-teaching, such as:

It is an effective strategy for teaching large groups of students. Encourages teachers to collaborate and generate ideas ... two heads are always better than one! Talk about team-teaching experiences you have had, and the positive results that transpired.

8. Tell us have You Ever Dealt With an Angry or Upset Parent?

Interacting with parents is another important part of an assistant principal's day. Most parents are eager to be involved in their child's education and are heavily invested in their success. You might participate in formal and informal meetings and conferences with parents whose children are not meeting academic or behavioral standards. Parents can become very angry or upset in these meetings, particularly if they feel their child is being treated unfairly. You will need to be adept at handling an emotionally charged situation. If you have ever dealt with this type of situation, give your interviewer some context for what was happening and why the parent was upset. Explain how you handled it, how the parent responded, and what you learned from the situation that you can apply to future conflicts. If you have never deal with an angry parent, provide an example of another time when you were able to diffuse a tense situation.

9. Tell me what are your hobbies and interests?

Personal preferences play a role in every interview. When we talk about jobs in education, and in education administration, the personal preferences of the hiring committee members can play a significant role.

Just think about it–the people who lead an interview with you (or at least most of them) are not skilled in leading interviews, or evaluating the skills of job candidates. Interviewing people for the job is not their specialization–they specialize in other areas.

These folks do not know how to scientifically evaluate your interview answers.

But they have their life, their reasons and emotions, and they are looking for a good colleague, for someone they will enjoy meeting in the school corridor, someone they can drink a cup of coffee with. Can it be you?

10. What are your greatest strengths as Principal?

This question will probably be asked. Now, if you researched the district/school and found out what they are looking for in a candidate, you will be able to focus your response on that information, keeping in mind it is important to tell the truth. With every response you must show your VALUE to the district. This will also give them an idea on how you view your talents and skills as a teacher. Perception is critical... you must be able to confidently discuss your skills using a convincing approach.

It is important the answer shows your hard/tangible skills. For example, classroom management, curriculum development, or technology integration. These skills will show the interviewer(s) what you can do on the job. Don't stop there, you will set yourself apart from the pack if you can back up your claims with actual stories. This will build credibility... it shows you really are good at what you are claiming. Tell them about what you have done to incorporate technology into the classroom and what was the result. The result part of the story sells value... and that produces job offers.

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