Stand Out from Other Applicants

Have you re-written your resume and cover letter multiple times over the last year? Have you applied for every job for which you’re qualified within 40 miles? But you are still getting very few interviews and the interviews that you are getting rarely advance beyond a screening? What’s wrong? Is it your resume? Do only internal candidates get interviews? Is nepotism at work? Is it that you aren’t well qualified? Are you giving poor interviews? As a candidate, your goal is to stand out from the rest of the field and be seen as better qualified, a better fit, and most desirable. How do you stand out from everyone else? It should be emphasized that your goal is not to have an abundance of bullets on your resume; it is to provide impressive and significant statements.

When you apply for a supervisory job such as an assistant principal, principal, or a department chairperson, you need to cite: (1) significant professional accomplishments; (2) a unique or well-developed skill set and/or knowledge base in line with the needs of the school; (3) leadership potential; and (4) evidence of being highly motivated.

Significant Professional Accomplishments

In your present position, lookout for unique and interesting growthful opportunities. Examples might be piloting a new curriculum, serving on a high profile committee, making a presentation to the Board of Education, field-testing new technologies, participating in a research study, publishing a manuscript in a recognized professional periodical, working in a summer internship or national institute, presenting a paper at a regional or state conference, being recognized and/or honored by a professional or local civic organization, writing an impactful report, or helping to develop and write a plan to improve school safety or student achievement. When possible, quantify gains in student achievement or advancements that were made as a result of your work.

Unique or Well-Developed Skills and Knowledge

The goal is to identify valuable skills and knowledge and present them in the best light on your resume and during your interview. Your prospective principal could always use help in scheduling—master schedule, testing schedules, schedules of professional development activities, and schedules of school-community events. So, take workshops to learn how to use proven technologies and practices in scheduling.

Another key function is student discipline. Learn how experienced professionals handle discipline; volunteer to shadow an administrator. Find an administrator who will allow you to be an unofficial “dean,” and who will supervise you, assign you to routine disciplinary cases. Volunteer to assist in supervising lunchrooms and bus duties. 

Leadership

You should consider filling semi-administrative roles such as serving as an administrator in summer school, night school, or alternative school; you will learn supervisory skills and be noticed by your school leaders. Another way to stand out as a leader is by serving on committees. Volunteer to play leadership roles on committees in order to have an impact and get noticed. Volunteer to serve as a committee chairperson, write portions of plans and reports, and present at school board and faculty meetings.

Motivation and Agility

Being an inside candidate is the best and fastest path to advancing as a school leader. Do what you can within your school and district to be visible, cooperative, and useful. Be a team player by voluntarily moving to another grade level and/or school. This also demonstrates your flexibility and cooperation and increases your scope of experience. 

Another avenue for demonstrating your motivation is to take charge of school and community events such as assembly programs, field trips, community service projects, PTA programs, and professional development programs.

Finally, do not be a spectator who stands on the sidelines and expects to be noticed. Be an active presence, make yourself useful, learn all you can, and enhance your skills and knowledge. Get into the game!

DO YOU NEED HELP IDENTIFYING AND DEVELOPING YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS? I have designed a unique questionnaire that you can easily use. We would then use your responses to enhance your resume and further develop your narrative for your interviews. Contact: larryaronstein@yahoo.com or text 516-423-0240 for further information.

Blueprint for Answering Interview Questions

It is your final interview. Three Central Office Administrators are questioning you. “Do you have questions for us?” the Superintendent asks.

“Yes, what do you see as some of the greatest instructional challenges that the district has that I, if I’m lucky enough to get this job, would be expected to address?”

The Superintendent nods at the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. She responds to your question. “As you know, we have three elementary schools. Each of the schools has four or five classes at each grade level. What we have found is that despite our K-12 science and social studies directors having provided several teacher trainings that emphasize an inquiry approach to teaching in these content areas, there is little evidence that our teachers are demonstrating effective inquiry-based instructional strategies. Most of our teachers are pretty experienced and seem satisfied with the way things are. By the time the kids get to middle school, their content knowledge and skills are all over the place.”

The candidate silently reflects for a short moment, and responds, “What I’m hearing you say is that there is a need for greater teachers’ abilities to stimulate critical thinking and framing open ended questions that challenge students’ to tap into prior knowledge and identify evidence that justifies their answers. I encountered a somewhat similar situation in my experience. What I learned from these experiences was that the attempt to fix the problem could in some cases make things worse, but that there are approaches that work. This problem has obviously existed for quite a while. What I anticipate is that there are no easy quick fixes. It requires a well-planned and coordinated comprehensive approach that includes a comprehensive approach to professional development, feedback, demonstration lessons”.

The interviewers lean in and encourage the candidate to elaborate on how the problem was solved. The candidate briefly provides an overview of the context, the key steps and an analysis as to the advantages and disadvantages of alternative strategies. The interviewee then sums up his/her “lessons learned” from the case he/she described.

What is the “blueprint” for being a successful interviewee?

1. Find out what the interviewers perceive as their needs.

2. Paraphrase that need to demonstrate your understanding of it and, if needed, to get further clarification.

3. Concisely describe the context of a similar problem (i.e., situation, need) that you encountered, and briefly tell your story of what was done and what your role was.

4. Outline alternative strategies that were considered and briefly analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy.

5. Summarize the key lessons learned, and the guiding principles that were the basis of how you solve problems and make decisions.

As an interviewee, effectively and spontaneously applying this blueprint is quite challenging. However, being aware that there is a blueprint and preparing yourself by practicing this process, is the best way to prepare yourself. A good coach can hone your ability to effectively respond to these questions. Your skillfulness in answering challenging questions will impress the interviewers and can seal the job for you.

Dr. Larry Aronstein is an experienced career coach who assists school leaders and aspiring leaders through the interview process.     www.larryaronstein.com

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU GOT THE JOB, NOW WHAT?

After going through an exhausting job search process, finally you have been appointed to your new leadership position and are starting the job. Of course, you want to be successful. Although you would never admit it, you are feeling insecure. You haven’t formed trusting relationships, you don’t know all of the aspects of your new role, you are trying to figure out the culture of the school-community, you don’t want to over-step your authority and offend anyone, and perhaps most importantly, you don’t know the internal politics. Most of your peers seem to be welcoming, and your staff appears to be friendly, but cautious and a bit uncomfortable around you. Of course, you want to make a good initial impression, but you need to figure out the social, political, and professional norms and expectations.

The best advice is to be cautious, go slow and steady, ask questions, be friendly, and pick “low lying fruit”, that is, easily accomplished goals which can be quickly achieved. However, you recognize that you are the “new kid in the class” and feel as if all eyes are on you, that you are being judged, and talked about. Most of your colleagues have been friendly and offered their assistance. Still, be careful about forming alliances and with whom you confide. Remember that your priority is to please your direct supervisor(s) and gain his/her confidence.

The trickiest job is figuring out the politics, that is who is allied with whom. On the surface it probably looks like one happy family. As you develop a clearer picture, you may find there may be bad histories among the cast of characters. There may be power conflicts, favoritism, grudges, and jealousies among and between colleagues. Therefore, you must be alert to behaviors and subtle signs that form a pattern as to the nature of the internal politics, and then you must figure out how to negotiate and navigate the politics.

I am an experienced, resourceful external mentor. For over forty years, I served as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. As my client, I only have your interests at heart. I will help you analyze and sort out a clearer picture of your landscape, give you candid sound advice, and map out effective strategies. All of this will be done in the strictest of confidence

WINNING RESUMES

The job of your resume is to get you interviews. If you’re a well qualified candidate and you aren’t getting interviews, or if your rate of getting interviews is low, let’s say lower than 33%, then your resume is probably your problem. Well qualified candidates should be getting interviews at least fifty percent of the time that you send them off. If you aren’t getting this kind of action, then you need to revise your resume.

The people who screen resumes are busy. They often receive hundreds of resumes for a single job posting. It may take experienced screeners only 30 to 45 seconds to review a resume. Therefore, you must immediately catch and hold their attention. Developing your resume requires a strategy.

The most common mistakes that candidates make in preparing their resume are that they follow out-dated rules. You should not: (1) limit your resume to one page; (2) start the resume with an objective; and (3) follow a strict order of categories (education, certification, professional experience…). No, no, no. Another mistake is when your resume reads like a job description. The reader already knows what a teacher or an assistant principal does. Instead, your resume and cover letter need to clearly describe your accomplishments. What special accomplishments, experiences, skills and knowledge do you possess that will make you uniquely qualified to do this specific job, in this specific school-community?

Most job seekers struggle to identify their most significant accomplishments. Your greatest accomplishments may not be directly related to your professional experiences. Accomplishments may also define your true character or speak to a skill set or knowledge base that few candidates possess. A good career coach can stimulate your thinking and help you define yourself. I often advise my clients to add a category to their resume that might be labelled interests and activities. I recall, as an example, a candidate who was seeking a leadership position who served as a chief of his local volunteer fire department. He supervised and trained scores of fire fighters.

Here are some additional cautions and suggestions. Never fictionalize or inflate your credentials or accomplishments. Have your paperwork reviewed by a well informed and respected mentor, colleague or coach, and get objective feedback. Oftentimes, you are too close to your own resume to be objective. Your resume is a work in progress. Continuously revise it depending on feedback, the uniqueness of the position for which you are applying, and the results you are getting as measured by how many interviews you are getting.

Here are a few of my guidelines for writing resumes that get action:

1. Less is More—stick to the point

2. Accomplishments; Not Job Description

3. Lead with Your Strengths (list them near the top—catch attention)

4. Ignore Most Rules (omit objective; determine your own sequence of categories and timeline; keep format simple)

5. Start Bullet Statements with Action Verbs (past tense)

6. Emphasize Accomplishments that Match Job Posting –make them the top bullets

7. Omit Irrelevant Activities and Out-dated Experiences for the Position

8. Interests & Activities Can Capture Attention– acting, kickboxing, interesting hobbies, unique travel experiences, fluent speaker of foreign languages

9. Tailor for Different Demographics (urban, affluent or blue-collar community, small town, rural)

10. Set Maximum Number of Bullets– current position 8-10; prior 4-6; before that 2-3

11. Sweat the Mechanics– spelling, subject-verb agreement, capitalization and punctuation; grammar; word selection; consistent format; readable font size

12. Cover Letter– 3-4 paragraphs– always required but seldom read

13. References upon Request

14. Get Authoritative Feedback—friends and family are well-meaning but often lead you astray

15. Never Confuse or Mislead the Reader– clear timeline; short and simple sentences

16. Never Lie or exaggerate

17. TELL YOUR STORY

Dr. Aronstein provides one-on-one coaching for leaders and aspiring leaders. www.larryaronstein.com

COMMITTEE INTERVIEWS: A BALANCING ACT

Usually as a second step in the interviewing process, be prepared to encounter a 30-minute committee interview in which eight to ten interviewers are seated around the table. It’s important to grasp which stakeholders each member is representing. Usually participants will introduce themselves and tell you: “Jane Smith, President of the PTA,” for example. If their roles are not evident and they seem friendly, it’s okay to ask, “And what is your role?”

I suggest that you quickly sketch the shape of the table on the pad that you carry in. As the panelists introduce themselves, jot down their stakeholder groups. As the panelists take their turn in asking their question, glance at your notes. Knowing their roles will give you a lot better context as to the implication of the question. However, be aware that your answer must satisfy all stakeholders. Your answer is not limited only to the questioner. You must know your audience(s).

A parent who is serving on a panel asks, “Assume that a parent calls you and complains about how her child’s teacher is criticizing her child in the presence of the other children. Her child is very upset by this, and the parent wants his class changed. How would you deal with this situation?” As you look around the table, ask yourself how do the various stakeholders want you to respond. My guess is that the parents want you to be a good listener and take the request seriously. They expect that you will investigate the situation and get back to the parent promptly. The teachers prefer that you’ll be reluctant to change the child’s class, and that you will be supportive of the teacher. The school administrators will be focused on your diplomacy as to how you will neither alienate the parent nor the teacher, and the process you will use in investigating the situation. Finally, the central office leaders will be attentive to how you will avoid escalating the situation.

You must use caution and diplomacy in your answers so as not to sound hostile to one stakeholder group in deference to another group of stakeholders, which might have an opposing view on the same issue. The ability to do this balancing act requires the recognition that you are performing to all stakeholder groups, and that your response will be reasoned and acceptable to all. This requires coaching and practice. In a real sense, this balancing act is what successful leaders do every day.

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 nine 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.

A NEW JOB: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR RE-INVENTION

Starting a new job is an opportunity to re-invent yourself. It can be a chance to leave whatever baggage you might have had behind you and get a fresh start. Aside from doing the obvious like making a good first impression by introducing yourself to the various stakeholder groups, coming up to speed on what is going on, and doing a “listening tour”, which all are certainly good things to do, you need to consider the following:

  • Be visible and accessible – attend school-community events, but most importantly create opportunities to interact with small groups and one-on-one with community members. Don’t just be a speaker or an attendee.
  •  “Pick low lying fruit”—this means find out what immediate non-controversial tasks must be accomplished, choose the fastest, most popular and easiest priority, and get it done. Word will spread quickly that you are a doer and not a “talker”.
  • Be humble—don’t brag about you’ve done. Give credit to your team members. They will appreciate the recognition and in return speak well of you. No one likes a braggart.
  • Keep your own counsel—Avoid sharing your personal opinions about anyone or anything. Keep your personal life private. Do not speak negatively about neither your prior work experiences nor work associates. School communities are rife with gossip. Never create opportunities for gossip to spread about yourself.
  • Never over-promise or under-deliver—do not make promises that you might not be able to achieve. When you set a goal, make it measurable so that there is a standard that’s modest enough so that it will be readily achieved. It’s always better to exceed the standard so it’s perceived that you over-achieved.
  • Do not criticize your predecessor— whoever your predecessor might have been or done, or whatever you’ve heard about him or her, be aware that he or she had admirers who would resent hearing that you are critical and will hold it against you.
  • Don’t pick unnecessary fights—your early cheerleaders’ support is newborn and therefore tentative. It takes time to achieve solid support that you can depend upon should you run into a problem. If you do encounter a potentially divisive issue, then find middle ground and attempt a compromise. You can’t afford to go to war without strong allies.
  • Seek out assistance and advice—most influencers are flattered when asked for their input. They feel respected, validated and appreciated. This is an effective way of building supportive constituencies.
  • Build loyal relationships with your supervisors— effective leaders need to rely upon the loyalty of their direct reports. Leaking confidential information, criticizing and undermining decisions, and personality assassination are all examples of destructive actions that leaders can suffer from disloyal subordinates. Your boss needs your loyalty. Demonstrate your loyalty by never publicly contradicting them, speaking positively about them, and acting in concert with their priorities. Hopefully they will in return be loyal to you, however, too often loyalty is a one-way street.

Screening Interviews: How Does It Work?

How is my resume screened? How long is the interview? What is its purpose? What can you expect during the interview? If I apply for a job and don’t hear back should I call? Although each district customizes their process, the variations are usually minor. So, how does it really work?

When you apply for a position, be prepared to wait. Don’t be a pest and call the office of human resources to inquire about your status. They are busy people who are filling many different positions. A few directors of human resources continuously screen resumes as they come on-line. HR offices send them to the direct supervisor for further screening. Let’s assume there are 200 qualified candidates who apply. The goal is to have a small screening committee interview about 15 to 18 candidates. How do they get from 200 to 15? If it takes just two minutes to review each candidate’s resume, that’s 400 minutes. I’m sorry to say that each resume will get much less than two minutes. The reviewer is a busy person. Consequently, the reviewer will speed read the resumes. Typos and grammatical errors often get tossed out. These kinds of errors connote that you are sloppy and make mistakes. The screener’s first goal is to sort the total pile into three piles. Pile A will contain the “must see”, B “maybe”, and C are of “no further interest”. Those in the A group are: (1) seeking a “good” parallel move; (2) people who hold degrees from outstanding universities; (3) holding a doctorate; (4) qualified internal candidates and/or courtesy interviews; and (5) people with exceptional accomplishments. The B pile is created in case they can’t get at least 12 to15 into the A pile and then get a second look. The C pile is composed of inexperienced people with little in the way of accomplishments, folks with poor reputations, the “perennial” candidate, and those who have unexplained and suspicious gaps on their resumes.

Outstanding universities, in my opinion, are Ivy League schools or fine schools with which we are familiar. In the New York area, graduate degrees from Columbia Teachers’ College, NYU and Fordham are the most coveted. Under-graduate degrees from fine colleges are also appealing on resumes.

Exceptional and/or interesting candidates are people who have been successful in the business and corporate world; the non-profit sector; the world of entrepreneurs; and the military. When qualified, these candidates, depending on their accomplishments, are often worthy of a good look. Finally, courtesy interviews are given to those who “have friends in high places” (Board members, and/or recommendations from friends of upper level administrators). A courtesy interviewee is generally only guaranteed a screening interview. Then they are on their own.

The screening interview usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. If it lasts longer, then that’s a good sign—it shows interest. The screening committee will likely consist of two or three people. If you’re interviewing for an assistant principal position, you will probably meet the principal, an assistant principal, perhaps the director of human resources, and/or a teacher. Be aware that the screening interview is essentially a “meet and greet”. It’s designed to see if you’re a “regular person” (not quirky, odd in some way, or inappropriate), well spoken, professional, intelligent, easy to engage, likeable, respectful, and seemingly a good fit for the community. They almost always start by asking: “Tell us about yourself”.

Be prepared to answer what I call resume questions. “You’ve been an assistant principal at the ABC School for four years, why do you want to leave now?” “I understand that your school recently hired a new principal, were you a candidate for that position?” “I see you were a dean for two years and then you went back to the classroom. Can you explain this?” They may also ask, what I call, process or “how would you” questions: “Given the teacher evaluation process, walk us through how you would observe a teacher who is not in your area of teacher certification?” Limit your answers to no more than two to three minutes. If they want to hear more, they’ll ask.

They will wrap up the interview with the moderator saying, “We’re speaking to a number of folks. We’ll get back to you within the next couple of weeks. Do you have any questions for us at this time?” Now remember, they are under strict time constraints. They are being polite. They really don’t want to answer a lot of questions. It’s time to thank them for the opportunity, indicate that you look forward to seeing them again, and leave. Then drop the interviewers “thank you” emails. The committee’s goal is usually to reduce the number of candidates to 6 to 8. The next step is going on to the larger committee for a 30-minute interview.

It’s time to wait it out again and hope for the best. If you’re rejected and the moderator appeared to be sincerely approachable, you might want to write a short email thanking them for their efforts and asking if it would be okay to schedule a brief telephone conversation to get constructive feedback.

Good news travels by phone and text messages, and bad news comes in the form of a letter or an email. Let’s hope your phone always rings!

HOW TO ANSWER KILLER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

I have been coaching school leaders and aspiring leaders in preparation for their interviews for more than ten years. My clients frequently ask me how to answer questions that they struggle with. Here’s a sampling of a few of those questions, my strategies as to how to answer, and my suggested answers:

1. “What would your direct supervisor say about you if I called her?” (You think you might not get a positive recommendation from her/him)

Analysis: You can’t criticize your supervisor, and you can’t say that she/he might say something negative about you. What you can do is to speak to your boss; let her/him know that a reference call might be coming; and ask for a positive recommendation that emphasizes the positive things that you’ve done. You might even consider making a list of a few of your accomplishments. Most supervisors are not out to destroy your career. Who knows, this might be seen by your boss as an opportunity for you to leave, and motivate her/him to give you a positive recommendation?

Answer: “I think she will say that I have great relationships with our students and their parents, that I’m always well prepared, and that I’m always willing to give extra time and attention to assist my students.”

2. “If you get this position, how long do you plan on staying in it?”

Analysis: You probably don’t know how long you’ll stay or how things will work out. Your new supervisors probably don’t want to go through additional transitions in the short run. However, you won’t be credible if you say you’ll stay for the remainder of your career. Employers seek leaders who are honest. Your answer needs to offer a reasonable rationale that supports your response.

Answer: “Assuming that things will work out well, I think five to seven years would make sense. The literature says that it takes at least five years to implement and sustain structural improvements. I’m committed to see my work through to positive outcomes.”

3. “You’re a certified school leader with very little leadership experience, why should we hire you over more experienced candidates?”

Analysis: Your aim is to present yourself as a self-confident, “can do” person who will grow on the job. Your selling points are your accomplishments as a teacher, your potential and willingness to embrace being mentored and molded into the culture of your new school and district, and your raw undeveloped talent and energy.

Answer: “I may not be your most experienced candidate, but I can assure you that no one will be more eager to grow and learn, and work harder than I. I believe my colleagues will tell you that I’m a teacher leader who has played leading roles in some of our most important school improvements. My resume outlines some of these projects. Let me add that as a high school and college athlete I was often chosen as team captain. I’ve been told that I’m a “natural born leader.”

4. “I see on your resume that you live more than an hour away. Is that going to be a problem?”

Analysis: Never hesitate to “shoot down” any obstacle that might diminish your value. You should provide evidence that any of their concerns have been overcome or resolved in the past. Employers want to be assured.

Answer: “I take full responsibility for my attendance and timeliness. Although my present place of work is 15 miles less of a commute, my time in traffic commuting here would be about the same. It is fair to say that I’m never late and usually one of the first people to arrive. It’s not a problem.”

5. “As an experienced school leader, tell us about a failure you experienced, and more importantly, what lesson did you learn from it?”

Analysis: This is similar to the often-asked question, “What is your greatest weakness?” The worst answer is, “I really can’t think of one”. Being humble and self-reflective are very desirable characteristics. The example you provide should be designed to resonate with the interviewers’ experiences and evoke their empathy.

Answer: “As an inexperienced leader years ago, I made decisions based on gut feelings. What I’ve learned over the years was to put more trust in evaluating the evidence and results; to slow down… to listen to people I trust and respect even when they have divergent opinions. I’ve learned what I call, “watch the movie”. In other words, listen, suspend judgement, slow down, and decide on what is in the best interests of my students. The example that comes to mind was when I was a superintendent. I had a strong desire to initiate an International Baccalaureate Program. As we debated the merits of the program, I became more inclined to start the program. However, I encountered some strong opposition from a segment in the community and from the teachers’ union. My gut told me that it would be divisive, and I backed away from moving ahead. I regret not listening to my leadership team who advised me of the merits of the program for our students.”

Larry Aronstein provides career coaching. Check him out at http://www.larryaronstein.com

MY 20 MOST FAVORITE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. Tell us about yourself. Make your resume come alive.
  2. Why do you want to become a leader?
  3. What do you know about our school/district? Why do you want to work here?
  4. Describe your “footprint” that you leave in your current position and why you believe it will be sustained.
  5. Why would teachers want to follow you as a leader?
  6. How would you deal with a veteran teacher who is not receptive to your recommendations?
  7. How would you go about determining what your priorities should be in your new position?
  8. What role and what aspects should remote learning play once the pandemic is over?
  9. Assuming that the pandemic has caused many students to fall behind in their academic progress, what would you propose to attempt to accelerate their progress?
  10. What are most important things you look for when doing a classroom visit?
  11. Much has been said about equity in schools. What does “equity” mean to you? What have you done to bring about equity? What should schools do?
  12. What expertise do you bring to your staff in enhancing student learning through the use of technology?
  13. How would you go about assisting a teacher who is having difficulty with classroom management/student discipline?
  14. How do you know (what evidence do you seek) that students are learning the concepts and skills that are being taught?
  15. What are the most productive ways of doing staff development so that teachers can enhance their teaching repertoire?
  16. How would you go about leading a committee or a professional learning community?
  17. Assume that an unpopular policy has been made and many parents are unhappy about its implementation, how would you deal with a room full of angry parents at a PTA meeting?
  18. If you interviewed candidates for a teacher vacancy, what question would you ask them?
  19. Tell me about a student who you helped that might have changed that child’s life.
  20. How would you deal with a parent who is dissatisfied with how a teacher is conducting his/her class? Assume that the parent has already spoken to the teacher.
  21. Tell me something about yourself that is not on your resume that will help me better understand the essence of who you are and what motivates you.