Landmines that Can Blow an Interview


.The interviewer has been firing off one question after another. You’re doing great! Then comes the toughest question of all:  Do you have any questions for me?

..If you don’t have at least a few questions ready you’ll look unprepared, or even worse, not seriously interested in the position. Asking the wrong questions, however, can be more detrimental to your interview than asking no questions at all…

..What are wrong questions? Wrong questions are those proven to ‘blow’ an interview already going well. Avoid such landmine questions and you’ll put yourself that much closer to being offered a position.

ISR Recommends Avoiding These Landmine Questions:

..ME questions:  We all want to know about salary, vacations, health insurance, professional development, housing and all the benefits that come with the job. Keep in mind, though, your goal is to show the interviewer how you can benefit their school and not the other way around. If you’ve done your homework, most MEtype information can be found in recruiting materials, anyway. Don’t waste the interviewer’s time with questions purely focused on employee benefits until you’re closer to signing a Contract.

..Don’t get Personal:  You definitely want to establish a good connection between you and a school recruiter, but it’s not a good idea to ask personal questions that won’t fall into a public information category. For example, if you spot a college football ring on the interviewer’s finger and you’re a team fan, by all means start a conversation, but keep it light and superficial. Avoid personal questions about the interviewer’s family, ethnicity, etc. and save that conversation for the first faculty social get together.

..Yes/No Questions are a No/No:  Answers to questions that require a simple yes or no answer are usually found on a school’s web site. Stick to questions that require brief but sincere, informative dialogue. You want to establish a rapport with the director and stand out in their mind when making a final decision as to whom to hire.

..Don’t get stuck on one Topic:  Asking multiple, involved questions about one aspect of the school may cause the director to jump to the conclusion you are preoccupied or worried about something. Instead, ask questions about various facets related to teaching at the school and demonstrate an interest in several aspects of the job and/or the community.

..Avoid questions that arouse Suspicion:  Is there a medical/drug test? How do you handle poor performance? When, exactly, will you call my references? What is your in-school internet usage policy? Will you be monitoring my social media profile? Any chance to move into admin? How did I interview? These questions may arouse suspicions regarding your true motives and/or background, and can kick you out of the running as a candidate.

  Research a school before an interview to help you form insightful questions and show you’ve taken the time to learn about the organization. Demonstrate more than a superficial interest in the school and location to put you far ahead of the competition. Everyone loves someone who contributes. Asking the right questions will put you into that category of candidate!

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3 Responses to Landmines that Can Blow an Interview

  1. Anonymous says:

    I always ask…what type of improvements is the school looking to make and how can I help with the process.

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  2. Been there says:

    Be careful during on line interviews. I have a friend who sat at his computer in his underwear. He had on a white shirt and tie so it appeared he was fully dressed. It was early morning. During the interview, the interviewer asked to see a certain document. He made the mistake of standing up to go get it. He did get the job and it was all seen as being funny.

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  3. Kelly says:

    Once I had a phone interview with a school in Oman and the connection was poor. I couldn’t ask any questions because we kept disconnecting. Anyway, they sent me the contract ad it was VERY vague so I had lots of questions. For example, I noticed the school year ended before Ramadan and wanted to know when the following school year would start. Also, there were ZERO school holidays, so I was asking about their plans for dealing with possible student fatigue (because 9 months without a break is draining). Anyway, they rescinded their offer of employment! I was shocked, because I didn’t really think my questions were outrageous. In the end I think I dodged a bullet. I ended up in a reputable in China and dealt with minimal nonsense. PHEW!!

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