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How to prepare for an interview

Research is an integral part of the interview process. Knowing a bit about the school will make you look proactive and prepared, and displaying knowledge in your interview shows genuine interest and enthusiasm for the role.  

An interview is not just about showcasing your skills and experience. The interviewer wants to know how much you know about the school and your enthusiasm for working there, and if you're a good fit for the school culture. Research can help prepare you for questions about the school, and information can be used to increase your confidence and enhance your responses to interview questions. This may help you stand out from all the other candidates and demonstrate why you are the best person for the role. 

About the job

You will have already viewed the person specification and job description when applying for the role, but it's important to take another look at them, especially the essential requirements, before your interview. Highlight important skills and responsibilities and consider how your experience could benefit their school and demonstrate you can perform the job effectively. This will ensure you can answer any questions with the job description in mind and not stray too far from the attributes required. 

School's website 

The school's website provides an insight into the school's community. Read the Principal’s welcome, and the school’s vision, values and mission statement. Look at their latest news, achievements, celebrations and any extra-curricular activities. This will help you better understand the school's culture, climate and ethos and can help determine if the school is a right fit for you. 

It also includes other key information such as the typical school day, any extra-curricular provisions and enrichment opportunities, such as mental health champions, eco-schools, anti-bullying ambassadors and Duke of Edinburgh. Knowing information about this can help you to initiate and engage in conversation during the interview process. Think about any goals you may have with regards to extra-curricular activities – this may help the interviewer understand how you can benefit the school community. 

You may also want to find out if the school has any social media accounts and follow them so you can keep up-to-date with the latest news and events. 

It is important to know about the school's expectations and practices, and to research their key policies such as the Behaviour Policy and Child Safeguarding Policy. This will help to ensure appropriate conduct on the day of the interview. 

You can also view their curriculum offer and learn about the school's teaching philosophy and approach to education. Be ready to talk about your teaching philosophy, and think about how your educational approach aligns with the school's. Find out about any professional development opportunities they offer. If you can talk about this during the interview, you demonstrate your desire and enthusiasm for developing new skills and emphasise your willingness to learn. 

If you are new to teaching, it is important to research the National Curriculum programmes of study – ensure you know what topics and themes are being taught and any attainment targets for your key stage or subject.  

Ofsted report 

Check out their latest Ofsted report. You can usually find a copy on the school’s website. If it's not there, visit the Ofsted website. This will provide information on what the school is doing well and any challenges they may face, giving you the opportunity to explain the skills you will bring to the school to support any development areas identified in the report. 

Review common interview questions 

Look for questions relevant to the specific type of role you are interviewing for. Prepare responses considering how your qualifications, skills and ideas align with the school's approach. You must back these up with examples, highlight experiences with students, and talk about extra-curricular responsibilities, collaborating with colleagues and developing curriculum resources. Focus on the student – emphasise how this helped to provide a better experience for them, improved their learning and increased their engagement. 

Prepare a set of questions 

Have a set of questions ready to show your preparedness and commitment to learning more about the role and school. Check out our advice on preparing great questions for the interviewer.

Get more advice  

If you have any questions about your interview, or you're after more interview advice, just give your local branch a call and they'll be more than happy to help you. Good luck! 

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