Interviews. The third part of the Job Hunt saga and probably the scariest.
I received a phone call on Friday, asking if I would come in for a 10-minute screening interview. I was super taken a back because the school it was for, I did not remember applying for (as bad as that sounds, it is the truth). However, it was for one of the open positions at a K-5 Elementary School. Either way, I was very excited for the opportunity and immediately said I would be more than happy to come in. The lady on the phone then explained within this 10 minute time, I had to answer the question, “Why should we hire you?”.
I have never been the person that can go on and on about myself. I need to have a conversation to direct my thoughts and plan my next move. It is just awkward. And for 10 whole minutes? Crazy.
First tip. RELAX. Get your creative juices flowing by working the right side of your brain. Jam out to music and move.
Well for my 90 minute drive to this elementary school, I did a number of things. I pumped up my ego by listening to Rihanna’s “ANTI” and Drake’s “Views”. I rambled on, out loud in my car, why I deserve this position and everything that supports my reasoning. I made a mental pros and cons list of accepting this job. And ate an entire bag of sour gummy worms.
Second tip. Go in with your blinders on. DON’T look at the other candidates and have them psych you out. That’s their intention – don’t succumb to fear!
I was feeling good until I walked into the waiting room and saw another lady who had her interview garb on. I immediately started comparing myself to her. “She is wearing a blazer and I am wearing a teaching cardigan”. “OMG she has a scrapbook for her portfolio and I have a three-ringed binder”. “She is wearing high heels and I am in flats”. Talk about paranoia.
Third tip. It’s okay to be nervous! Your interviewers know you’re nervous, they’ve been in your shoes before. They know what it is like. It would be odd for someone to love being interviewed and not feel an ounce of anxiety. By admitting to yourself that you’re nervous, it instantly calms you down instead of living in denial.
When I entered the conference room, I was greeted by the principal and two other teachers. I greeted them with a father-proud handshake and a smile that would make Miss America jealous. The principal said I had ten-minutes to sell myself and then she looked at the clock – WHICH WAS BEHIND ME. Talk about intimidation. Well my first method of self-defense is humor. So I cracked a joke and lightened the mood by pulling a Jerry Gergich and saying “Oh, jeez”. They laughed which made them more humanistic in my eyes and not dragons out for my demise.
Fourth tip. Be personal. If they have your resume, they already know the dry information that tells how you got her in life. They know the skills you possess, but want to know more about you as a person.
When my ten minutes started, I sort of blacked out. I think I explained that I graduated from Grand Ledge High School then obtained my teaching certificate at Central Michigan University. I spoke of my endorsements and my teaching internship. I told them what I wanted my classroom to look like and why that is important to me. I explained what volunteering I have done, classroom experience I have had, and how I have tutored. I included my skills of creativity, flexibility, positivity, and others that make up the personality of Ms. Briggs.
Fifth tip. Be truthful! I am all for telling people what they want to hear, but be true to yourself. If you do not agree with beliefs or values a school has, don’t fake that you do! You’ll just be stuck doing something you do not believe in.
I thought it was going okay until I mentioned that I am interested in Intermediate Elementary and Middle Level Education. As soon as those golden words fell out of my mouth, they stopped taking notes. Now, remember, I was applying for an opening in a K-5 Elementary School so this could easily mean they were looking for kindergarten, first grade, or second grade teachers. By saying that I was interested in upper elementary and middle school grades, they became uninterested because this immediately ruled me out.
This is completely okay in my book. When interviewing, the school is not only interviewing you – you’re interviewing them. You want to be sure that you are signing up for a position that you most definitely want. If I was offered this job and it was a lower elementary position, I would not have taken it anyways.
They emailed me saying I did not get a second interview – which was what I expected. Being denied a position is nothing against you. They are trying to find a good fit for their school, just like you are trying to find a good school to fit you!
You will have tons of interviews that go badly, just treat it as good experience. It has nothing against you as a person or as a teacher. You are trying to find a puzzle that your teacher puzzle piece fits into.
Just remember that “you could be the juiciest peach in the orchard, but there is always someone who does not like peaches”.
Check out Part I “Happy Hunger Games” and Part II “Apply, Apply, Apply” of the Job Hunt Saga!
** featured image is a creation from the artist known as Aubrey Drake Graham. Aka Drake. Aka Jimmy from Degrassi.