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Preparing for an Interview


From: JDecker (JDecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Jun 18 2001 - 10:41:09 PDT

I found this file...I wondered where I had put it (in the wrong
folder)...Anyway --someone had asked for interview help on this list ---or
was it the other one? I do not remember who posted these original
Tips...Maybe the "I" voice in this will come forward (sorry, I didn't save
your name).

Judy D.

Common Interview Questions:
Directions: Read the question and write notes you might use in giving to the
interviewer. Pay attention to the TIPS, which are intended to guide your

1. What are your short range goals? (Tip: What kind of job are you looking

2. Where do you want to be 5 years from now? (Tip: Talk about how you
would prepare yourself for future jobs in the company).

3. What special skills do you have? (Tip: Talk about skills you would use
in this job).

4. What kind of job are you most interested in? (Tip: Explain how your
interests will help you do a good job).

5. What kind of characteristics do you feel are most important for this
(Tip: Talk about the 2 or 3 positive characteristics you use most often in
this job: Leadership, work under pressure, and so forth.

6. What is your greatest strength? Why do you think you can do this job
better than anyone else? (Tip: Pick a strength that fits the job).

7. What is your major weakness? (Tip: It is all right to admit a
but also talk about how you can turn it into a strength). *** My answer to
this question is; I am a perfectionist. You see, this can be a weakness,
more often it is an asset.

8. What were your most important achievements in your last position? (Tip:
Review you accomplishments).

9. Could you tell me about yourself? (Tip: Don't get trapped!!! Ask
specifically what the interviewer would like to know about you).

10. Why do you want to work for this company? (Tip: Compliment the company.
Also explain how the company can benefit by your abilities). **Dept. Head
at my college said about teaching: Don't say because it is closest to my
house! The main 2 reasons you should pick a school is because of the
Principal (person) and because the school supports the Arts.

11. What kind of recommendations do you think you'll get from your previous
employer? (Tip: Excellent, Good, -tell why. If you know for sure you will
a poor recommendation, don't be afraid to tell why, but follow up with a
positive comment. Don't ever badmouth a previous employer).

12. How do you feel about overtime? (Tip: If this question is asked, you
know that there are overtime requirements. If you can and want to work
overtime, answer enthusiastically. Don't answer "Well if I have to").

13. How long will you stay with us? (Tip: Be positive Say something such as,
"I look at this opportunity as the beginning of a permanent relationship).

14. Why should we hire you? (Tip: Give a summary of your most important
qualifications and interests. Be enthusiastic).

15. Define the following: (you could also look these up in the dictionary)
     a) Cooperation (Tip: harmony, common goal)
     b) Responsibility (Tip: being accountable)
     c) Challenging (Tip: desire to explore new ways)

It's looks like everybody is giving you ideas of what to be able to answer.
Here are some questions to post to the interviewer (oh, and take notes!):

1. How much is the art budget?

2. How big is the class size (be sure to ask for biggest!)

3. How many students will I be serving? (example: if elementary are you
going to see every student k-6? K-3? 3-6? If High School is every freshman
required to take Art I?

4. Be sure to see the room. If they don't show you the room a BIG RED FLAG
should go up as either A) the room is small and outdated or B) you are art
on a cart -- there are plenty of people on the list who can tell you what
THAT is like.

5. When you see the room BE NOSY! Go through the drawers and cupboards to
see what is there and what condition it is in. You might get what you think
is a large budget, but if you have to replace everything in the room, it
will go fast.

6. Ask about the discipline policy. I have run into too many principals who
do not enforce discipline. Ask questions about typical problems and how you
should handle them. (some want students in the office, others want you to
handle everything)

Now, if you're feeling nervy, then do some quick math and figure out the per
pupil amount you are getting for a budget. If it is an insult, put it back
to them. Ask them how they expect you to have a high quality program with a
low quality budget. If you don't feel like putting it back to them, do the
math at home and ask yourself if you can teach with that budget, conditions,

Also, some questions that you might not think to ask...

6. Are you going to be required to perform any extra duties? New teachers
get hid hardest with this. Everything from lunch or bus duty, to class
sponsor and Prom planner. If so, are you going to receive a stipend for
performing them?

7. Does the district pay for continuing education? Believe it or not some
schools will pay for a teacher to get a Masters degree. They have this weird
idea that a better educated teacher makes a better teacher.

8. How many hours per year continuing education does the district require?
If it is a small district, the school will probably plan something for every
teacher to do together. Bigger districts allow teachers to make some

9. Are there any contests or exhibits that you are REQUIRED to enter student
art in? Examples: Scholastic or Youth Art Month.

10. When finished with the interview sign and date the notes you took. If
you want, have the interviewer sign and date it as well. This comes in handy
later on if they try to change anything they told you in the interview. (big
one? budget--they'll cut you any chance they get--if they try and you are in
high school get the public records for how much money is spent on the
football program (you'll be surprised at how much this is!--I taught at a
school that played six man football and spent $100,000 a year WATERING THE
FOOTBALL FIELD--and ask what percentage they are cutting of this funding
(this always throws them for a loop).