Interviewing: A learning curve

Learning you did not get a position you applied or interviewed for is tough to swallow. However, it is a part of the learning curve in one’s professional career.

 

Education has consumed my life and positively impacting young people is something I don’t take lightly. Working in youth ministry and as a classroom teacher, I constantly self-reflect on how I could have managed a situation differently or taught a lesson from a different perspective to get the point across. However, this past summer I have been doing a different type of reflecting — post interview reflection.

I make no secrets about it — I am an aspiring school leader who wants to be in a position where I can make the greatest impact on students as well as my colleagues. After spending an ample time in the classroom and completing administrative programs, I feel confident I have been blessed to have the tools to transition into a school leadership position (beyond the unofficial one I already hold in my school).

This summer I have tossed my name into the ring of fire … assistant principal pool.

This is similar to how I felt walking into my first assistant interview interview.

Surprisingly, I was selected for a pair of interviews for the position. Walking into a foreign board office, my palms were sweaty and I constantly needed a drink of water. The perspiration began to trickle down my cheek as a the ideas in my head were like tiny specs rattling inside a kaleidoscope. My notes written from the previous night specifically told me “take a deep breath and slow down as you speak,” but the chances of that were slim as my waistline (sarcasm for those of you who know my stature).

As the interview got underway I started to feel more in my realm as many of the questions asked I prepared for in the previous days. However, there were a few answers that I wasn’t sure of by the glares coming from across the table. Unsure of when to stop, I continued answering to the best of my ability.

 

Random self-reflection thoughts (post interview)

  • Does the interviewer have time to make eye contact? The amount of notes being taken was startling. Often in my own college experiences, I would get caught up in the notes and I missed key parts of a classroom discussion.
  • Many interviews I have engaged in over the years always has a Question portion at the end. I often ask when the position is going to be filled by and basic information about the position. Is there any “right” question to ask at this portion?
  • Lingo and jargon — I often feel people are looking for the buzzwords that relate to their own personal philosophy of education. However, this is very difficult to determine when you do not know who you are interviewing with. If get the opportunity, I attempt to research the interviewer prior (if possible).

 

Waiting…

Rejection is a terrible feeling; no one wants to feel it. However, I have come to a conclusion regarding rejection — It’s better to be rejected than be in limbo about your rejection. The waiting to be rejected makes one feel like Peeta Mellark and his relationship status with Katniss Everdeen … is anything going to happen here, or what? An automated email response or phone call would be an adequate manner in learning the position was filled by someone else, but no communication (one way or the other) is poor practice.

Similar to many other professionals, I expect to be rejected from more positions in life than I will actually get. There will also be more qualified people out there (somewhere) than me. That’s a tough reality my parents instilled in me early (by the way, thanks Mom and Dad if you’re reading), and its merely a matter of how you bounce back to improve yourself.

 

One wish…critical feedback

It’s difficult to improve without critical feedback. I thank those who were willing (and those I was confident enough to ask) to meet with me informally (off the record) to allow me to ask a handful of basic questions:

(a) What did you not like about my interview?

(b) I am a young professional and I want to improve to better myself. What else am I lacking on my resume or experiences which would make me a better candidate?

(c) Were there any answers I gave that indicated I needed further knowledge in a particular area?

 

Perseverance is one of the most difficult character traits to develop and mine is growing as I strive to be a leader in my school. Thank you to those who interviewed me this summer; it has been a learning experience which I have embraced full heartedly.  One day I will make the transition into a higher position, but in the meantime I am going to continually to pursue improving my instructional capacity and enhance the learning of all the students I come in contact with in the upcoming school year.

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About briancookeducator

Husband, Daddy, teacher, #Mountaineer, coach, and aspiring school leader | Thoughts are my own.
This entry was posted in Ed Leadership and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Interviewing: A learning curve

  1. jonharper70 says:

    Brian I completely understand how you feel and at first it is not always good. But, then you take a step back and take inventory of what is important and you realize that oftentimes you already have it all. You will be a vp for x number of years. When you look back you will relish the extra time you got to spend with your family and the extra freedom you had to pursue things with the “few” extra days off that you “may” have. I have had to tell myself the same thing. I truly appreciate the comment you made on my last post. Hopefully together we can try to generate some Twitter/Blogging interest in the county this year. The benefits are incredible. Take care!

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