Pre-Interview: Preparing Interview Questions

Whenever possible every effort should be made to prepare interview questions by no later than the day before the interviews. If panel members are asked to provide interview questions, make sure they are aware of deadlines. The interview questions below are provided as examples only. The interview process should be standardized, once an appropriate set of interview questions have been selected for the position, the same questions should be asked of all applicants.


Clerical Questions:


  1. What are your qualifications for this position and why are you applying for this job?
  2. Are you bilingual?  Which language?  Are you proficient in reading, writing and speaking?
  3. How do you prioritize the tasks to be completed in one complete work project?  Give us an example.
  4. Do you have experience in maintaining any kind of budget spreadsheets?  Please give us some examples.
  5. List five adjectives that your coworkers would use to describe you.
  6. What is one of your weaknesses, and how are you working to improve it?
  7. You see one of your co-workers is extremely busy.  Are you comfortable offering to help?  Describe how you get on with your work colleagues.  How frequently do you seek each other’s support?
  8. Tell me about a time when you made a mistake that impacted your school, office, etc.  How did you overcome the fall out and what did you learn from that mistake?
  9. What are your strengths?  What do you have left to learn?  What are your plans to grow professionally?
  10. Where do you plan to be in three years, five years?
  11. Please share one or two major accomplishments from your current or previous employment. Also, share with us some of your professional goals and objectives.


Teacher Questions:


  1. What is your most important reason for teaching?
  2. Of what importance is the student's attitude in learning?  (If important)  How do you help your students develop good attitudes toward learning?  (If necessary)  Tell me more.
  3. How do you want students to view themselves?  How do you help them discover or affirm such a perspective?
  4. How do you want your students to view you?  Why?
  5. What do you find to be the best ways to communicate with your students? 
  6. The students are working on an independent assignment for your class.  You notice a student in an isolated area of the classroom is crying.  What would you do?
  7. You have a student who seldom becomes excited about learning anything.  What would you do?

8.      A parent of one of your students wants to talk with you about the great things her child can do, yet in school the child is performing only at an average level.  How would you work with this parent?

9.      You have just taught a lesson to your class and when you give an assignment to the students, you             discover some students are unable to do the task.  What would you do?

  1. You have a new group of students.  What do you need to know in order to begin your lesson planning?
  2. Many teachers say that students today have a much lower desire to learn and grow than they had ten to fifteen years ago.  How do you feel about this?
  3. What do you think most of the parents you encounter expect from teachers?  Do you believe these expectations are realistic? 
  4. Is it important to know what the parents of your students are thinking about your classroom?  (If important)  How do you acquire parent's viewpoints? 
  5. What kind of relationship do you want to have with other teachers?  (If supportive)  How do you build such relationships with them?
  6. Some teachers are able to develop a great deal of student interest and excitement about their classes while others find this to be extremely difficult.  What do you think really makes the difference?
  7. One of your colleagues seems to need frequent attention and positive reinforcement.  How would you work with this person? 
  8. You have a bright student in your class who constantly rejects doing the assignments the students in the class are given.  How would you proceed with this student? 
  9. As you begin to design lesson plans, how will you guarantee that you will incorporate all the standards throughout the year? 


Questions Related to Physical Requirements of the Job:


1.      Do you have any physical disabilities that would interfere with your ability to perform the job for which you have applied?

2.      Do you have any mental disabilities that would interfere with your ability to perform the job for which you have applied?

3.      Do you have any medical history that would interfere with your ability to perform the job for which you have applied?

4.      Please describe any positions, jobs or duties for which you do not wish to be considered because of any medical, physical or mental disabilities.

5.      Have you ever received any work-related injuries which impact your ability to perform the position for which you have applied?

6.      Do you have any disabilities which would prevent you from working an 8-hour or a full work week?

7.      Please describe any physical limitations you would like us to consider by virtue of a pre-existing injury.

8.      Are you currently, or have you ever been under a doctor’s restriction related to any prior occupational injury which would impact the job for which you are applying?


Where physical requirements of the job are concern, the following are the trouble spots:


1.      Make sure to apply the standards and rules uniformly to men and women;

2.      Minimum height and weight requirement are almost always discriminatory. Consider substituting skill, efficiency and strength tests. Women cannot be excluded from jobs requiring heavy lifting, even when most women cannot do the job.


Which Questions Should Not Be Asked?


The following areas of inquiry should also be eliminated from either employment applications, or the interview process:


1.      Race, religion, national origin;

2.      Educational attainment level, unless it is job related;

3.      Arrest and conviction records, unless it is relevant to the job in question, such as with a bus driver;

4.      Credit rating;

5.      Sex, marital and family status;

6.      Physical requirements, including hiring standards pertaining to height, weight, and other physical requirements;

7.      Age, date of birth;

8.      Availability for weekend work;

9.      Whether or not they have friends or relatives working for the District;

10.  Issues related to personal appearance;

11.  Citizen, country of origin, native language, etc.


Created on 3/23/2011 - Last updated on 5/12/2011