“Do You Have Any Questions for Us?” asked the Recruiter.

You’ve nearly wrapped up the interview and things seem to have gone well. The recruiter reacted positively to all you had to say about yourself and it feels like you may have the job. Then, the recruiter asks that all-important question, “Do you have any questions for us?”

Certainly you’ve given the school’s web site a thorough read, and have clear insight into what the school thinks is important enough to share with the world. Your questions could focus on topics gleaned from the web site, but would the shallow depth of these questions really portray you as ‘the’ candidate to hire?

Are you wondering about a hot-button issue at this school? How in-depth should questions go regarding visas and health care, class sizes and holiday time off? Are there questions that are an absolute must, and others far too specific to be asked during initial interviews?

What questions can be asked that make a candidate shine with an innate understanding of kids and international schools? In other words, what are the questions that will help YOU land the job? We invite you to Share your Ideas on this topic.

23 Responses to “Do You Have Any Questions for Us?” asked the Recruiter.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I asked about IEP’s and 504 plans and how special Ed students are handled…..mainstreamed etc….
    As I found out, IEPs and 504 plans don’t happen overseas and most schools don’t have Special Ed students.


    • Earth Fan says:

      I am a Special Ed. Teacher wondering about that very issue- how do kids with learning disabilities get serviced?


  2. experienced and happy teacher says:

    I would agree that there are questions that are inflammatory but there are some honest questions that if the interviewer feels uncomortable with reveal that is a place you donĀ“t want to go. The sooner you figure this out the better for you. To get a job at any cost is not my idea of wisdom


  3. JW says:

    One needs to know what they want and what they can offer. I think its interesting that in so many other fields people bring to the interview what they can offer. In our field, it seems as if this is considered too forward.


  4. Sue says:

    Definitely the best answer yet!!

    It doesn’t hurt to ask about things you really want to know either-like class sizes, curriculum resources,field trip opportunities, students, the community etc.


  5. JMS says:

    I usually take a serious, then lighthearted approach:
    1. What kind of professional development opportunities are available? (shows I am serious about my profession) and
    2. What do most teachers do for fun? (shows I am interested in being a part of a community and want to experience the culture)
    3. Can I bring my cat? (shows that I am serious about the position and, well, I want to bring my cat!)


    • Koda says:

      I did the same type of questions- I asked about prof development, the culture/language opportunities, and I asked if I could bring my dog. The recruiter actually spent quite a lot of time looking up the requirements for my dog to enter said country and then said it wouldn’t be a problem for them to get me housing. It definitely was a good question to ask- so I’d recommend it with anyone who has a pet that they want to bring!


  6. Heather says:

    I am going to my first job fair this year and I plan to ask every recruiter who they consider to be an instructional leader at their school.


  7. antcollins says:

    “Imagine I walked into your staffroom at lunchtime. What would the discussion be about?”

    I want to judge if there is a positive or negative reaction from the interviewer as they are very unlikely to say “Moans about kids”, but do they claim professional discussions about topics in the TES?


  8. Trav45 says:

    Actually, I disagree with that, anonymous. Everyone knows the site is there and that teachers use it. So to pretend you don’t is disingenuous at best. What is important is to show that you have a healthy skepticism. So if a school has negative comments that concern me, I always say something like, “I saw this on ISR. I know people tend to vent there–can you give me more background on that?” And then ask more pointed questions depending on their response.


  9. Anonymous says:

    How about asking the recruiter about the negative reviews of the school/ director on ISR? Hahaha, don’t mention ISR reviews or that you use the site.


  10. Mr. C says:

    Really appreciate that last comment about “drops their estimation of your experience.” As one of my grad school profs once put it, “Don’t pee in your own pool.” It’s an easy trick to fall for, especially if the recruiter (and this has happened to me) pushes questions like, “Surely, you can think of just ONE thing that you disliked about your last school…” Anyone have suggestions on how to skillfully handle this situation?

    One question that recruiters like — and I’ve gotten compliments on this one — is, “How would you describe the ideal teacher for your school?” This question shows the recruiter that you want to be(come) that kind of teacher, and if you get a sincere response, it will give you valuable information on what kind of school he/she represents.


  11. Anonymous says:

    Avoid asking questions that are relative to the experience you had/are having at a previous school and can give the game away. For instance, I once asked, “As a HoD, would I even HAVE a departmental budget?” and “Would I have to provide my own teaching materials such as paper and whiteboard markers?” Then the interviewer suddenly drops their estimation of your experience because it was at a bad school.


  12. Brian says:

    Some of my questions:
    1. How are programs selected? Who has input? Who’s input carries the greatest weight? How long are programs given to mature before being scrapped as “ineffective”? Are there specific phases (investigation/test, pilot/prototype, rollout plan, evaluation)?
    2. How are infractions dealt with? (Privately/individually? Or by whimsical, sweeping decree?)
    3. Is there a process for calculating even distribution of workloads? Is it only determined by number of students and/or number of subjects/sections? (Do those making schedules recognize that courses such as art, technology, language, & performing arts require a huge amount of time for proper assessment?)
    4. How are departmental budgets calculated? (If the school doesn’t have specific, predetermined budgets, it’s a sure sign of a capricious “organization” to me. Run!)


  13. Anonymous says:

    You DO NOT want to ask about holiday time off. It makes you sound like you’re in teaching just for the holidays. A sure way to kill your candidacy. I am surprised that ISR would even suggest anyone asking this question.


    • Trav45 says:

      Yeah–that surprised me, too! I always look, of course–but just get on their website and download a copy of the yearly calendar! I never ask about money or anything like that until there’s an offer.


  14. Robyn says:

    I like to ask about the vision and the plan for five year too. It’s equally important that I like the school as much as they like me. If they are offended by questions like that then I don’t want to work for them. Good directors and principals are never offended by those kinds of questions.


  15. Greg says:

    During an interview I gave once, a woman asked, “What is the most rewarding and the most challenging parts about working there?” I thought that was a great question.


  16. Bob says:

    My wife and I recently asked what the atmosphere of the school was when you walked through the doors. The recruiters did not seem enthusiastic and acted as if this was an extremely generic and cliched question. Avoid it!


    • Anonymous says:

      I’d say this is an incredibly obvious red flag. Why would a recruiter ever be uncomfortable describing the atmosphere of their school?


    • johnsnowball says:

      As a principal, when I take a tour of prospective parents around, I always advise them to take note of the atmosphere. Besides websites, brochures, stats, the school has to feel right. If I were asked this at a fair, I’d be happy to answer. If they were uncomfortable at this, then yes, it’s a red flag.


  17. Thor says:

    My reply is always a rerun of where do you see yourself in five years. I ask “what is the vision of the school and where does it expect to be in five years.”
    Naturally enough they think smart a**** and I never get the job.


    • Avatar says:

      Other good questions to ask center around the curricular development and review cycle, what the average length of stay for teachers is, the reasons that teachers have given for leaving this year and also I like to ask about their most recent accreditation…what were the recommendations and commendations.


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