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4 Tips When Interviewing for the Principalship

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1) Research, Research, and More Research

Your goal is to outwork your competition. You accomplish that by out-researching them. Start by researching the district and its demographics. Next find out all you can about the position you are interviewing for, including what the selection criteria are, names of all the teachers and staff members. You also need to research the community the school serves. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the interview.

2) Anticipate Questions

If you can identify the selection criteria, you can identify potential interview questions. Even if you can't identify the selection criteria, you can anticipate questions. Know that you will probably be asked interview questions about instructional leadership, supervision of instruction, student discipline, scheduling, parental involvement, working with staff. Use those areas to prepare yourself for the interview.

3) Practice Interviewing

It doesn't matter where you are in your career - you need to practice interviewing. Find a team of your friends to interview you. Create potential interview questions for them to ask you. Use the questions you created in your anticipated interview questions. Record it. Review the interview and critique your performance. Assess your responses to the questions. Review your body language and interactions with the interview team. Have your team give you feedback. Do it again and again until you are satisfied with the results.

4) Take Control of the Interview

The individual who takes control of the interview often gets the job. Taking control of the interview is easy - put people at ease. You do that with a smile, a firm handshake, and looking the person in the eye. Nothing exudes confidence more than greeting another person by looking them in the eye as you shake their hand and introducing yourself with a smile on your face. During the interview appear to be relaxed, confident, and in control. If you practiced interviewing, this will come naturally.

--Thomas Jacobson Ph.D., CEO/Owner, McPherson & Jacobson L.L.C.
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