How to approach a teaching job interview

A teacher stands in front of a classroom having an engaging discussion with teenagers in her class.

Congratulations, you’ve been invited to an interview for a teaching job! What’s next? We’ve spoken to experienced teachers to get their top tips for success including how to prepare answers to interview questions.

Confirm your attendance

Make sure you accept the interview by email and reiterate your enthusiasm for the role. Make a note of any key staff names, who to ask for on your arrival, and what resources to bring with you.

Think about your journey and appearance

Plan how you will get to the interview in advance. Do you know the best train to catch, or where the car park is? Think about your appearance too; be you and be comfortable but consider professional clothing to create a positive first impression.

Prepare answers to common interview questions

Study the school’s website to get a sense of what the school is like. Prepare answers to likely questions and try to do a mock interview with a friend or colleague. Saying your answers out loud is really different to practising in your head. You can never predict all of the questions, but schools might ask:

  • Why do you want to work in our school?
  • What are your strongest qualities and why? 
  • What areas do you need to improve on? (Think professionally, not a personality trait)
  • How do you adapt your teaching to ensure all pupils make progress?
  • What would you do if a child told you something that concerned you?
  •  Tell us about a recent lesson and why it went well.

Know about statutory guidance on safeguarding

If you have not had any experience of dealing with a safeguarding issue yourself, you must still be able to talk about what you would do. Think of some possible scenarios and explain how you would address them.

Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment on GOV.UK

Ask the panel questions

This shows your interest and gives you the opportunity to inform your decision about the role. You could ask:

  • What do you like about your school?
  • What are their priorities for the School Improvement Plan (SIP)? How far have they been achieved? What are the biggest challenges?
  • What support is there for teachers?

Say thank you

Reiterate your enthusiasm for the job and thank the panel for their time.