World Class Teachers

Most Common Mistakes People Make In Job Interviews

If you’re a teacher living in London you’ll appreciate what an important time of year this is. Interviews and trial days are at a peak as schools are still looking to confirm their staff for the new academic year.

Here are some common mistakes that are can be easily avoided to ensure that you always put your best self forward.

  1. Arriving early OR late

Arriving late is an obvious no-no. Perhaps not so obvious is arriving early. Five minutes is acceptable, but any more than 10 minutes may prove to be just as much of  an imposition as running late.

Give students time
Flickr Creative Commons / Robin Maber
  1. Saying what you think they want to hear

Whilst it may be tempting to make sure your employer knows all your good points, remember that an interview is an exchange. It is a chance for both parties to speak and discover if you can have a viable working relationship. Allow them to speak and respond to what they say – not just with what you think they want to hear.

  1.  Having attitude

While your CV and qualifications are important, employers want to know that they can work with you. This means being engaging, warm, cooperative and sociable.

  1. Talking negatively about your last job and or colleagues

What you say about others says a lot more about you than it does about them. Keep your conversation professional and positive.


  1. Checking your watch and/or phone 

In an interview you only get a small amount of time to make a big impression. Make sure your phone is off (unless you are expecting a very important call – make this clear from the outset and apologise in advance) and don’t check your watch. Give your potential employer your undivided attention and focus on the task at hand.

  1. Drinking and eating

You want your potential employer to see you as professional and enthusiastic; sipping on your Costa coffee or chewing gum can appear causal and potentially flippant. Leave all food and drinks at the door.

  1. Not doing your research

Nothing says ‘hire me’ more than a candidate who has done their research and is genuinely interested in the role they are applying for. If you are a teacher being interviewed for a vacancy, ask yourself if you know exactly what the school is looking for – what is their ethos? What makes them unique? What do they pride themselves on? Knowing this will give you a good indication of what you can contribute and how you can position yourself as an invaluable member of the team.


0610 List (by Paleotic)

  1. Being unprepared

There are some aspects of an interview that may catch you off guard and require you to think on your feet. However, by and large an interview is simply an opportunity for a school to find out more about you and determine if you are a good match. You can expect them to ask you about yourself – your work history, your goals, your strengths and your weaknesses. Give some thought to these questions so that you can answer confidently and give a true reflection of yourself.

  1. Not paying attention

Giving someone your time and attention is the utmost form of respect. It will also provide you with the best chance to respond in a considered and genuine fashion.

  1. Dressing down 

I believe it was Tom Ford who coined the phrase ‘dressing well is a form of good manners’. It absolutely is. Dressing appropriately is a highly effective non-verbal way of communicating that the job you are applying for matters to you. Give some time to your attire and make sure you’re dressed to impress.

Male Teacher Dress Code
Flickr Creative Commons / Bark

Did we miss anything? Do you have any other advice for acing your next interview? We’d love to hear from you- comment below or find us on Facebook or Twitter.