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How to Answer Teaching Interview Questions

    Is there a way that candidates interviewing for teaching jobs can feel confident that they will be able to answer difficult behavioral questions in a unique way? This article will explain how the Toolbox Method provides the interviewee with a set of short, personal stories to answer tough, behavioral interview questions.

    How to give unique answers

    Memorizing standard answers to interview questions is not the best method and is counterproductive as it does not reveal if candidates will fit into the school, institution, organization, or workplace where they are applying for a job. This article will explain such a method and is best suited even to the trend toward advanced behavioral interviewing used by high-end institutions.

    Social psychologist Ron Friedman, author of The Best Place to Work, (2014) claims that up to 81 percent of people lie during the job interview, which is why top institutions and companies are using VR (virtual reality) to expose candidates to stressful scenario role-play to determine if they would fit the culture of the institute/ university/ company.

    While the average school will not go to the lengths of conducting VR behavioral interviews, it shows that the HR industry and recruiters are looking for ways to get out of the rut of listening to candidates repeating cookie-cutter answers they have memorized.

    There is a method or formula to give fresh and unique answers to difficult behavioral interview questions and build confidence. Mastering this method lets the candidate stand out from the crowd by avoiding stale answers to rhetorical questions.

    The Story-tell Toolbox Method

    Because communicating is a core skill in education, candidate teachers adapt easily to this method and take a lot of stress out of the interview situation.

    This story-tell method is what the interview expert Madeline Mann calls the “story toolbox.” The Toolbox Method is to have a set of short but powerful stories from your life to recall the moment you get asked certain tough, behavioral interview questions.

    Being prepared with a “set of tools” makes it easy to best answer interview questions, especially those that typically start with the words: “Tell us about a time…” “Can you name an example…”

    Having your answers ready eliminates the need and stress of memorizing fancy answers, thus raising your confidence and ensuring that the recruiter or interview panel meets a relaxed you, ready to give concise, but memorable, answers.

    So, what is it and how does it help to give smart and memorable answers during an interview? 

    How to generate your Story Toolbox:

    The secret is having your own “metaphorical story toolbox” so that have concise stories with which to answer a wide range of interview questions.

    The reason is that you avoid the stale rhetoric of “I’m a hard worker, I’m a team player, I enjoy solving challenges, blah, blah, blah.”

    Avoid the “emotional word salad” job seekers toss around during interviews by telling epic stories that make you stand out. Stories are said to be up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.

    Typical questions would be:

    • Tell me about yourself…
    • Describe your greatest strength.
    • What is your greatest weakness?
    • Tell us of a major challenge that you have solved.
    • Can you describe your biggest accomplishment in your job?

    For example, when asked: “What is your greatest strength?”  most candidates will allege that they are hard workers, highly motivated, skilled communicators, or good at problem-solving.

    In order to stand out from the crowd, avoid such generic answers. Rather, tell a short story showing how you solved a problem by being creative. It will also show that you are also a good communicator, resourceful and smart. The interviewer will remember you by the story, while the other bland candidates will fade from memory.

    Be the champion in the story

    Interviewers love asking: What is your greatest weakness?” There are certain habits you should never admit to, like being disorganized, being lazy, spending too much time on games, etc. Make sure your toolbox has at least one story where you messed up. Turn your that ‘weakness’ into a ‘triumph, tell a story of how you overcame the problem or learned from a mistake and fixed it.

    Include in your toolbox a story where you solved a problem and how to answer “How do you handle stress and pressure?” Tell short, memorable stories to answer interview questions and stand out from the crowd.

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