Interview Advice

Dana Brown, Malden High School Principal, on Interviewing: Watch video.

How should an applicant prepare for an interview?

Applicants should be knowledgeable about this school and its students.

  • Alicia Kersten, Social Studies Department Head, Somerville High School, Somerville, MA

Well groomed, professional appearance. I would prepare an opening statement that includes a brief review of your background/experience and also shows that you relate to the district. I would also try to anticipate questions that might be asked, first to be prepared for them during the interview but also if you touch on these areas during your opening statement that really indicates to the interview committee that you are well prepared and on the same page as the school and a good fit with the school.

  • Sibby LaGambina, Assistant Principal, Somerville High School, Somerville, MA

Do mock interviews with friends and colleagues. Try to come up with as many questions as possible that they would ask if they were hiring. Then go find the answers to those questions. Ask each professor to give them three sample interview questions. Then go find the answers.

Videotaping is also a good idea. Practicing in front of a mirror can work too. People discover they use their hands too much, or they wrinkle their brow, or they look away when they see themselves on tape or in a mirror.

  • Dana Brown, Principal, Malden High School, Malden, MA

Learn as much as possible about the school and the person giving the interview. Go early or day before to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood and make a mental “asset inventory” of the community. Talk to people. Eat a meal. Do you really want the job or not?

  • Meg Campbell, Executive Director, Codman Academy Charter Public School, Dorchester, MA

What should an applicant bring to an interview?

Examples of lesson plans, unit plans, and student work.

  • Alicia Kersten, Social Studies Department Head, Somerville High School, Somerville, MA

Something to write with, a small notepad, perhaps. When someone calls and invites you to an interview ask them if they would like you to bring or send lesson plans, assessments, portfolios, extra resumes etc.

Leave the phone in the car or bag. Don’t show off with the laptop or iPad. A search committee member may mistake note taking for net browsing.

  • Dana Brown, Principal, Malden High School, Malden, MA

Portfolio of high quality student work including revisions to show growth over time.

  • Meg Campbell, Executive Director, Codman Academy Charter Public School, Dorchester, MA

Applicants should bring multiple copies of their resume and references. Student work samples or photographs of the applicant in a work setting are also helpful. He or she should bring questions about the school or position to the interview.

  • Ayla Gavins, Principal, Mission Hill School, Boston, MA