Author: laronstein

ARE YOU PREPARED TO BE A COMPETITIVE CANDIDATE?

Assume that you are a well-qualified applicant who is applying for a mid-level leadership position and are 1 out of a total of 150 applicants. Assume that there are at least 15 other candidates who are equally qualified. Why do you need to be well prepared for a job search? What must you know and do so you don’t sound like the rest of the candidates? Consider the following:

  1. Do you know how to strategically organize and design a resume that gets the reviewers’ attention?
  2. Do you know how to differentiate yourself in your response to the inevitable question, “Tell us about yourself”?
  3. Do you know the best order in which to be interviewed and how to get that “post position”?
  4. Do you know when to stop talking in response to a question?
  5. Do you know how to read the “body language” of the interviewers?
  6. Do you know what questions to ask at the conclusion of your interview?
  7. Do you know how to frame a final statement at the conclusion of an interview?
  8. Do you know how to present yourself as someone who is likeable and a good fit?
  9. Do you know how to adjust your interviewing approach as you move from screening to committee to leadership to Board interviews?
  10. Do you know how to “close the deal” if you are a finalist”?
  11. Do you know how to negotiate the best deal for yourself if you’re offered the job?
  12. Do you how to make a good impression during your first 100 days?

There are many other things that you must know in order to be a highly competitive candidate. I have coached 100’s of my clients get their dream jobs. Let me help you, too.

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Lessons I Have Learned Over My 80 Years of Life

The greatest blessing is to wake up every morning, do your life’s work, and then, at the end of the day, to return home to a loving family

The greatest satisfaction comes from mentoring those who seek to learn and grow

Believe in the power of “yes”. The word “yes” opens up every possibility

Being a grown up means that you don’t blame others, particularly your parents, for your own short comings

Don’t worry about things that you can’t do anything about

Take good care of your teeth. After elephants lose their teeth they die

There is no greater pleasure than eating a great Italian meal. However, avoid restaurants that have a sharing charge

Never be motivated out of feelings of guilt. Guilt is worthless

Making mistakes is okay as long as you learn from them. No one mistake will ruin you

If a shoe shine man gives you a stock tip, it’s time to get out of the stock market

Believe in Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result”

Don’t let your opponents know that you do your homework. You are then prepared to out play them

“Survival of the fittest” does not mean being the strongest or the smartest; it means being the most adaptable

Don’t expect anything in return when you do a good deed. Doing someone a favor should never be a transaction

Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. This means that if do a good deed, keep it to yourself

It’s much more fun to tell a bad joke than a good one

Live your life, and ignore your age

Do something silly every day so you can laugh at yourself

Multi-tasking is exaggerated. If you’re driving a car and kissing a pretty girl, it means you aren’t doing a good job with the kiss

Slow down. Life’s true joys are even more enjoyable at a leisurely pace

There is nothing more joyful than being surrounded by a loving family and loyal friends

When Should You Begin Preparing for a Job Search?

Most candidates don’t get serious about their search early enough. They procrastinate right up until the “prime seasons” for job postings. In general, Superintendent searches happen from December through March, Central Office from February to April, Principals from April to May, and all other supervisory jobs from March through June. Serious job search preparation includes up-dating and revising your resume and cover letter, and prepping for interviews. Think of job search preparation as Spring Training. In baseball, Spring Training starts in January in preparation for the regular season that starts in April. The practice of getting ready early makes sense for several reasons.

  1. The odds are in your favor during the “off season”—Jobs are posted all year round. Incumbents leave their positions for variety of reasons, such as retirement, childbirth, taking another position, illness and death, relocating, and the necessity of childcare or caring of a loved one. Whereas the number of applicants routinely exceed 100 during prime season, there may be only 20 applicants during off season. That’s a 500% advantage. Preparing early means you’ll be ready for off season job postings.
  2. Fine tuning your resume and cover letter takes time — Crafting your resume requires a series of edits over time. The role of the resume is to tell your story in an appealing manner which will distinguish you in a positive way from the rest of the field. To produce a truly effective resume demands meticulous attention to every detail.
  3. The ability to perform an outstanding interview is the result of internalizing thoughtful responses to a range of topics – I have identified “The 20 Most Asked Interview Questions”. The answers to these and possible other questions cannot and should not be subjected to memorization. A successful candidate needs to create an appealing narrative, and to internalize a powerful set of guiding principles that go to the core of the issues. It takes time to marinate a fine steak. Similarly, it takes time to internalize thoughtful answers to interviewers’ questions, answer with an authentic voice, and respond efficiently and effectively.

If you are a serious candidate, then take my advice: it is never too soon to prepare yourself. Don’t rush the process. Here are a few things you should do to get going: read how to books; find and meet with a job coach; attend workshops; develop drafts of your resume and cover letter. In summary, preparing early affords you the time to internalize, absorb, develop deeper insights, and marinate your resume and effectively respond to interviewers’ questions.

Interviewing: Scenarios and Role Playing

Role playing with a candidate during an interview has become a more frequently used exercise. Usually, a more senior member of the interviewing committee will pose a scenario with a common problem. The intention of this approach is to determine the candidate’s judgment and ability to think on his or her feet. Role playing requires at about five minutes of interaction. A role play scenario may appear to be simple and routine. However, like most real life situations, it has nuance. Typical scenarios might take the form of how to handle a fight between students, a complaint about a teacher from a parent, or a rumor about a dangerous situation. As the candidate talks through the first steps, the interviewer might introduce additional information.

Role playing is designed to reveal the critical qualities of (1) the ability to investigate and analyze a situation, (2) judgment, (3) resourcefulness, (4) creativity, (5) the ability to de-escalate a situation, (6) the ability to utilize resources and resource people, (7) communication skills, and (8) follow up. The skillfulness of the candidate to demonstrate these qualities can often be a make or break moment in the interview.

Here is a scenario that I’ve often used when interviewing teachers:

Norberto, a student who is known to be a little restless but has not been a discipline problem, while working on an independent assignment, walks over to the waste paper basket to throw away a piece of paper. From your peripheral line of vision, you think you see him hold up his middle finger in your direction. Several students who are seated near him begin to laugh. You have Norberto step outside the classroom and confront him with what you saw. To which, he seems shocked and denies that he did anything except throw away a piece of paper. What would you do?

I suggest that the interviewee might respond this way: “I believe I saw Norberto’s finger from the corner of my eye, but it did happen quickly; so I might not be 100% certain about what I saw. This behavior, in my experience, is out of character for this child. I cannot pursue this conversation at this time with my class inside the classroom door. While I might feel a offended, there is no emergency, and I believe I can, at this point in time, handle the situation by myself. I have some free time later in the day. I’d have a private one-on-one conversation with Norberto. I would also independently ask the three students who laughed what they saw and why they were laughing. I also need to be mindful of the importance of speaking with Norbert’s parents to inform them that I was investigating regarding what I believe I observed, and that I’d be back to them as soon as I concluded my investigation.  Being new to the school, I would also speak with Norberto’s guidance counselor to find out if Norberto has any history of exhibiting this kind of behavior. Finally, I would let the assistant principal know what I was doing and perhaps get additional direction.”

The interviewer interrupts, “Let’s say that the three kids independently report that Norberto looked at them and made a funny face, and they laughed.” I would still ask each of the students, “Did you see what Norberto did with his hands?” If they answered, “No”, I’d conclude there’s no evidence that Norberto flipped his finger at me. I’d believe that the students’ laughter incited me and it distorted my observation. The interviewer presses on, “What would you do as a follow-up?”  I would meet with Norberto and tell him that I misunderstood the situation and apologize to him. I would call his parents and review my conclusions and apologize for causing them any anxiety. I would also review my findings with the guidance counselor and the assistant principal.

I believe that the candidate’s response demonstrated that the he or she: thoroughly investigated the case; deferred on jumping to conclusions until there was more information; did not over-react as to the urgency of the situation; conferred with colleagues to gain context and get advice; acted sensitively by letting the parents know what was happening; and, was professional by offering apologies for the misunderstanding and the anxiety they may have felt.

Dr. Aronstein provides coaching for interview and resume preparation. Contact him at Larryaronstein@yahoo.com. He is the author of “YOU’RE HIRED: THE INSIDE SECRETS TO LANDING YOUR SCHOOL LEADERSHIP JOB” and “YOU’RE HIRED: INSIDE SECRETS TO LANDING YOUR TEACHING JOB”. FIND ON AMAZON.

YOUR CANDIDACY: WHAT ARE THEY REALLY LOOKING FOR AND HOW DO YOU PRESENT YOURSELF?

As a candidate, everything you write and say contribute to building your narrative; the story you tell about yourself. This includes your resume and cover letter, how you present yourself in person or virtually, your answers to the interviewers’ questions, the questions you ask, your letters of reference, and what your references say about you. It’s about developing a picture of yourself, creating a chemistry, demonstrating you are a good match, an easy good fit for what they’re really looking for, and what their community wants.

Creating an attractive narrative requires many strategies for each unique position. However, the commonalities out-weigh the differences. Before describing some of the strategies that go into building your narrative, we first must understand what the interviewers are really looking for.

What They Really Want

  1. They want to know who you are, and what you’ve accomplished.
  2. They want to like you. Too often interviews are sterile; you must create an emotional and compelling context through your story telling.
  3. They want to be assured that you share their values and aspirations.
  4. They want to see that you look and act the role.
  5. They want to be sure that you’ll easily fit in and not cause conflict.
  6. You need to come across as humble, self-effacing, sincere, direct, plain spoken, good humored, and authentic.

If this is what the interviewers want, then how do you go about creating a narrative and presenting yourself as that candidate? What strategies should you employee?

Useful Strategies

  1. Find out everything you can about the school-community from a variety of sources. How many students do they have; what are the demographics; what are they proud of; who are their leaders; what is their reputation; what is their fiscal and physical status.
  2. Figure out what they really want you to do. Do not solely rely upon their job description—that’s what they think they want; it may not be what they really want. Do they want a change agent? Are they happy with their current status?
  3. What problems do they have? Speak to how you have addressed similar problems and solved them.
  4. Analyze your resume, particularly your accomplishments, and emphasize those aspects that they are looking for and that are consistent with their values as a community, and their needs. It is not enough to assert, “I’m creative and hardworking”. Provide specific and vivid examples of your accomplishments, both professional and personal. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible.
  5. Elude to some personal information, which is not on your resume and which they can’t ask you about. If you are married and a parent, let them know. School people love family-oriented candidates who can relate to children and parents.

The tactics as to how you go about carrying out these strategies requires careful planning and practice. However, the reward of moving through the steps of your candidacy and winning the job will be worth all of the effort.

Dr. Larry Aronstein is an experienced career coach who assists school leaders, aspiring leaders, and teachers in their resume and interviewing preparation. Find out more at www.larryaronstein.com. Contact him at larryaronstein@yahoo.com

Getting a Teaching Job: When All Else Fails

         “I’ve done everything I can think of; now it’s the summer, and I still don’t have a job. What should I do now?” Well, this calls for extraordinary measures. Basketball coaches motivate their players as the game draws to an end and the score is still close by telling them, “Leave everything you’ve got on the court.” This means exhaust all possibilities. Most school leaders are on vacation during July and the first two weeks of August. Upon return they almost always find that a few staff members have notified the district that they’re not returning. Some staff members decide to retire, others find new jobs or might be re-locating, some decide they want to stay home to raise their family, and still others reach the conclusion that education is not their forte and resign.

         Use your time in June and July to get prepared. Polish up your resume; read a how to get a teaching job guide…https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Your-Teaching-Larry-Aronstein-ebook/dp/B00KWEG2KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527344934&sr=8-1&keywords=larry+aronstein#customerReviews. Get coaching from an experienced educational career coach.

        Administrators are faced with the challenge of filling these jobs within the next two to three weeks before schools open for the new school year. There is a real urgency to find new staff. Therefore, this is a great opportunity to get hired. So, here is my advice. Sit down with a local map and decide how far you are willing to commute. Draw a circle from your location using that maximum commuting distance as the radius. Identify every school district within the circle, find the websites of the districts, research the names of the assistant superintendents for human resources, and try to find the names and phone numbers of their secretaries; you might even call the district to find these names and phone numbers. Put your fear of rejection on hold. Call every one of those secretaries. Introduce yourself: “Good morning, Mrs. Fisher, my name is Carol Hines and I’m a certified elementary school teacher who’s recently graduated from Curtis State College. I understand that you may have several vacancies, including a K-5 position. I would appreciate it if I could make an appointment with Dr. Charlton, so that I could introduce myself, give him my resume, and tell him why I’m the right person to fill that position. I promise not to take more than five minutes of his valuable time.” Now, we really don’t know if there’s a pending K-5 position available. The only thing that’s important is that you get in and meet Dr. Charlton. And yes, this actually works. But, don’t be surprised if the secretary brushes you off, “I’m sorry Ms. Hines, we only accept on-line applications, and I do not believe there’s a vacancy.” Still, you are far from finished.

        If you get an appointment, that’s fantastic. You must then get in there and convince Dr. Charlton that you should get further consideration. He might just pick up his phone and call the principal and tell her that he’s sending you over to meet her. Remember, they are in a hurry to fill that job. But, if your phone calls to the secretaries all result in rejections, you must now take the next step. Put on your most professional looking outfit, plot your route, and visit as many district offices in your circle as possible within the next few days. You may encounter a security guard or will certainly have to go through a receptionist. Now, this is what you say, “Hi, I’m Carol Hines and I’m here to see Mrs. Fisher (remember, she is Dr. Charlton’s secretary).” The receptionist will either direct you to the Human Resources Office, or she’ll pick up her phone and tell Mrs. Fisher that you’re here to see her, or she will tell you that Mrs. Fisher is not available. Even if you can’t get in to see the secretary, ask the receptionist to take your resume and give it to Dr. Charlton. There is a chance that Mrs. Fisher may tell you to come up. If you get to see Mrs. Fisher, be as personable and self-confident as you know how to be and ask her if you can meet Dr. Charlton and personally hand him your resume.

        I have actually hired people who walked in off the street in July and August. I assume that these candidates are committed and are the kind of people who aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to succeed. I like “go getters” and want them to work in my organization. However, there might not be a position available. Nevertheless, you might ask Dr. Charlton about other available opportunities. The following are possibilities: a long-term substitute position; a teaching assistant position; a regular substitute who is permanently assigned to a school. These may not be your dream jobs, but it is a foot in the door and an opportunity to impress school leaders. Just go for it. Nothing to lose; everything to gain.

Dr. Aronstein prepares teachers for interviews and their preparation of resumes. www.larryaronstein.com

Laid Off, Resigned or Denied Tenure

It can be devastating to your career to be laid off, asked to resign your position, be denied tenure, or resign because you are very unhappy in your job. Potentially, these events can be career ending. Leaving a job before getting tenure is a bright red flag on your resume. During every interview, you will have to answer the question, “I see you only worked in Happy Hollow for two years. Were you asked to leave? What is the story regarding your leaving?”

Assuming that you have not been involved in any serious wrong doing, you should be assured that the situation need not be hopeless. Once you clear your mind and harness your anxiety, then focus and plan your course of action. There are effective strategies available to you. However, let’s be clear that no matter how desperate you may feel, NEVER LIE. The field of education is small throughout your region; people gossip, and information about you may be on the internet. Sooner or later, a lie will be uncovered and you will be terminated for lying. That said, here are some suggestions:

  1. Get out in front—you may have some control over the timeline. If you are told that you’ll not be getting tenure, then you’re better off resigning. But submit that letter as late as you can. Do whatever you can to get assurances that a positive letter of recommendation will be forthcoming and that good things will be said about you if someone calls for a reference check. In return, promise that you’ll submit a letter of resignation. Start applying as soon as you can. If you get interviews you can honestly say at that point in time, you have not resigned.  
  2.  What happens if you resign and you don’t have a job? You will need to answer the question why you resigned; you must do so without hesitation– you can’t appear as if you’re covering something up. Most leaders have been through their own career crises and can be very understanding. Just take a breath and briefly tell your story. Your narrative must be credible and evoke empathy. A good coach can help you craft your narrative. Your narrative is the key to getting a new job. Never say anything critical of your present or past employers or supervisors. Always make a brief positive final statement beginning with: “I’d like to leave you with a final thought”. This will leave them with a powerful last impression. I suggest you say something like: “I just want to assure you that I have never done anything that I’m ashamed of. I am an honorable, hard working and sincere person who would never do anything that would discredit or embarrass me or my employer.”
  3. What if you are laid off because of budget cuts? You will be in a strong position to get excellent letters of recommendation and references. Your supervisors will undoubtedly be sincerely sorry to cut you lose. Don’t despair. You are now an experienced candidate looking to make a parallel move. Your potential new employer will have empathy for your plight. If you have a copy of a newspaper article that verifies that your position was lost based on budget cuts, then present it at your interview as documentation. It will immediately quell any doubts.
  4. What if you can’t find a comparable job? You still have options. If you are a supervisor, you can go take a step back in your career or return to the classroom. You can seek employment at a private school or a charter school. You can seek employment opportunities in a nearby big city. You can re-locate. In exploring these opportunities, you might find that you might move up the career ladder, from assistant principal to principal for example.
  5. What if you are accused of a serious infraction? If you have committed a serious infraction, then you should probably find a new line of work. If the charges are false, then find a good lawyer. Hopefully your union will provide you with one. Do everything you can to keep the situation confidential. Stay off social media. Do not respond publicly or in the media. In the interim, you should probably try to apply elsewhere.

As a final thought, you should remind yourself that your career is a marathon and not a sprint. Going through a career crisis or transition can be growthful. You learn how to be humble and more resilient, and you’ll find out who your real friends are and how supportive they can be. Larry Aronstein is a career coach who works one-on-one with clients preparing them for interviews and perfecting their resumes. Find out about Dr. Aronstein at www.larryaronstein.com

WORDS AND PHRASES NEVER TO BE USED ON YOUR RESUME OR DURING AN INTERVIEW

Here is a list of words and phrases you never want to use on your resume or during an interview. Why shouldn’t you use them? What to say instead.

1. “UNEMPLOYED”—It makes you sound like a loser and nobody wants to hire a loser. Let potential employers figure out that you are “between jobs” and be prepared to explain what happened.

2. “HARDWORKING”—The word is over-used and therefore trite. Instead, provide accomplishments that document your work ethic and diligence and let the interviewer conclude that you’re hardworking.

3. “AMBITIOUS”—Making personality claims comes off as bragging. You want to project a modest image which is backed up by progressive accomplishments and activities.

4. “OBJECTIVE”—Stating your career object at the top of your resume is superfluous. It is clear what position you are applying for. Stating an objective in flowery language only slows the reviewer down. He/she is probably speed reading through 100’s of resumes. Just leave it out.

5. “DEDICATED”—This is another over-used, stale personal claim. Describe your passions and your actions over a period of time to fulfill them.

6. “UNION”—Remember that unions often sit on the other side of the table pushing back on leaders’ decisions and actions. Leaders make personnel decisions and may not welcome people who are “union-friendly” on their team. Leave out any mention of unions.

7. “LIFE-LONG LEARNER”—Another trite expression. Your on-going participation in professional development opportunities demonstrates your willingness to learn and grow. During the interview, ask about professional development opportunities and who would be mentoring you. That question implies that you want to grow and learn.

8. “ROCK STAR”—No one likes a braggart. You’re not Elvis, Justin Bieber, or Lady Gaga.

9. “DABBLED”—Either you know or did something significant about something that is important enough to mention. Who wants to hire a dabbler? Use strong verbs like led, created, directed.

10. “EXPERT”—Be careful what you claim. A skillful interviewer may probe or challenge your expertise. “What does the research say on the topic of…? What research and literature have you studied?” If you claim to speak a foreign language, don’t be surprised if an interviewer asks you a complex question in that language and asks that you respond in that language.

11. “A BIG FAN OF…”—Speak like a professional. I’m a big baseball fan, however I wouldn’t tell a group of professions that I was a big fan of differentiating instruction. I would describe how I go about differentiating.

12. “Like”—Using the words “like” or “you know” at the beginning, the middle, and the end of every sentence as a “filler” makes you sound juvenile and will hamper your professional image. Work to change that speech pattern.

These are just a few examples of words and phases to avoid. There are many others. I would also caution you about referencing anything related to politics and religion, or what might be perceived as controversial topics. Needless to say, never use any words even bordering on profanity. Everything you write and say as a candidate creates your narrative and your image. Choose your words carefully.

Assistant Principal Job: What Does the Principal Really Need?

Oftentimes, the entry-level job into school leadership is the assistant principalship. There are more assistant principal jobs than any other leadership roles. At this moment there are thirteen positions being posted on Long Island. During the selection process, the principal is usually the key person in deciding who will get the job. The fact is that the assistant will be the principal’s right arm. What does the principal really need?

In my experience, despite what the job description says, principals need an assistant who can do six things. They are: (1) STUDENT DISCIPLINE; (2) OBSERVATIONS AND EVALUATIONS; (3) LARGE GROUP SUPERVISION (bus duty, cafeteria duty, corridors); (4) PARENT COMPLAINTS; (5) TEACHER SUPERVISION; (6) SCHEDULING. These responsibilities may not be very glamorous, but they are essential in assuring that the school is well organized, safe and orderly.

Of the six responsibilities, STUDENT DISCIPLINE by far is the highest priority. Realistically, the assistant principal’s school day is dominated by dealing with time consuming disciplinary cases, mostly small but sometimes more serious. Therefore, the principal is looking for an assistant principal who exercises good judgement, is thorough, is effective with kids, and knows how to speak with parents in a tactful and respectful manner.

The ability to command respect by just being a presence is vital; some call it “gravitas”. That is the ability to project self-confidence, influence, credibility, and command respect. When you speak, others listen. In order to be an effective supervisor in large group settings, and in dealing with staff or parents, it is a requirement to project gravitas.

You should assume that the reviewer of your resume and your interviewers, and particularly the principal, will be looking for evidence that you have some experience, knowledge and skills in fulfilling most of these six responsibilities. Be aware that these “top six” needs do not include such wants as professional development, curriculum development, personnel or budget management among others, even though these functions might be included in the job description. The principal is going to choose a candidate based on what he/she needs and not what’s wanted.

Your resume should prominently include evidence of performing these six functions, and you should prepare answers to interviewers’ questions pertaining to these areas. Expect “what would you do” scenarios that are aimed at assessing your judgement and practical knowledge of how these various processes work. A few sample questions might be:

  1. Walk us through step-by-step how you would deal with a fight in the corridor?
  2. Role playing the assistant principal who receives a phone call from an irate parent complaining that his child is being treated unfairly by a teacher.
  3. How would you deal with a veteran teacher who is not addressing recommendations you made on his/her observation report?
  4. How would you go about doing a formal teacher observation?

The key to be a successful candidate is preparation. Focus your preparation on the real priorities of the person to whom you’ll be assisting.

Dr. Aronstein coaches school leaders thru their interview process and in developing their resumes… http://www.larryaronstein.com

TEN LESSONS LEARNED AFTER 10 YEARS OF COACHING SCHOOL LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES

Over the last 10 years, I have coached more than 500 candidates seeking school leadership jobs. Most of my work has focused on revising resumes and preparing for job interviews. Once my clients get their new positions, they sometimes reach out to me to get advice on the next step in their careers or how to deal with problems they might be facing in their new job. Looking back and reflecting on my experiences as a coach, I decided to share my “takeaways”, lessons learned, that might help candidates be more effective.

  1. GET INPUT ON YOUR RESUME AND INTERVIEWING STRATEGIES—your resume is a work in progress. Advice you get will be well-intentioned, however, the field of public education is unique. You need to get guidance from an experienced educator who has reviewed countless resumes and interviewed 1,000’s of candidates. Don’t waste years of job searching trying to figure it out by yourself.
  2. CRAFT YOUR NARRATIVE—the first question you will probably be asked is: “Tell us about yourself”. In response, most all candidates review their work and educational experiences. After listening to a series of 15 to 20 candidates, interviewers grow weary –begins to sound the same. They’ve already reviewed your resume. So, craft and tell your story. They are dying to find a compelling candidate.
  3. BE AUTHENTIC—your story must be coherent, credible, and relatable. Be real. Present yourself as someone who shares their school-community’s values, and will easily fit in. Tell a short story about a success you had. Mention your own experiences growing up. Talk about your family.
  4. STICK TO 2 MINUTE RULE—most candidates talk too much. They repeat themselves. They go off on tangents and don’t answer the question. Discipline yourself to limit your responses to two minutes. If the interviewers want to hear more, they will ask you to elaborate.
  5. QUANTIFY ACCOMPLISHMENTS—speak to your accomplishments, not your job description. Wherever possible, quantify the accomplishment. “The result of switching to the new approach to literacy, our school-wide achievement went up by 12% over three years”.
  6. BE INFORMED BY PREVIOUS QUESTIONS—take note of the topics of questioning as you go to the next rounds of interviewing. It is reasonable to anticipate that you will be asked similar questions in future rounds. It’s an opportunity to fine tune your answers.
  7. OFFER INSIGHTS INTO THEIR PROBLEMS—do your homework in researching what’s going on in the school and the district. Find out what kind of problems they are facing. Prepare answers that will address their problems.
  8. BE AWARE OF STEREOTYPING—unfortunately, we in education tend to stereotype educational work experiences. There is a strong tendency on the part of decision makers to take a negative view of school settings that are different from their own. For instance, leaders in affluent suburban districts are dismissive of candidates from big cities, parochial and private schools, charter schools, vocational and special needs schools. This practice is not limited to suburban schools; the opposite is valid as well.
  9. STEER CLEAR OF CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES & DISAGREEMENTS—interviewers can be confrontational, and questions concerning controversial social issues can be asked. Avoid taking the bait. Try to remain neutral.
  10. GET OBJECTIVE FEEDBACK—the need to get objective and candid feedback from an experienced coach cannot be over-stated. Every interview is a learning experience. You don’t have to be in it alone.