Job Fair and Interview Tips for Candidates
- Research the registered school districts so you know as much as possible about the districts and positions, so when speaking with recruiters you can specifically address why you would like to work for their school district. Keep an open mind and don’t limit your options based on location or preconceived ideas. School district information may be found on the district's website or through research of the district on the state department of education's website or local news sources.
- Prepare and rehearse a brief introduction of yourself that you can say when you greet recruiters during the Open Fair. Include your licensure area, experience and career goals.
- For interviews, expand upon your brief introduction, developing a written outline about yourself including your educational background, experiences, skills and qualities, as well as relevant examples to back up your qualifications for a teaching position.
- Study the outline you created until you are able to articulate all aspects of your background and qualifications clearly, concisely, and positively.
- Determine examples from your education and experiences that you want to use to back up your qualifications.
- Anticipate questions you may be asked, then formulate and practice your answers.
- Develop questions to ask the recruiter after researching the district.
What to Bring
- After having your resume reviewed and approved by your Career Services office, make copies on resume quality paper. Be sure to bring enough for numerous recruiters.
- Portfolios can be brought, but interviews are only 25 minutes, so the majority of your time will be spent discussing your qualifications. A smaller ‘interview portfolio’ can be shown to an employer when answering interview questions that might include your teaching philosophy, a sample lesson plan, a unit plan, two or three sample worksheets, your last field placement evaluation, and a list of your references.
- Questions to ask the interviewer(s) based on your research of the districts.
- A professional portfolio or briefcase to hold resumes, note pad and pen, and to organize notes and brochures you will receive.
Appearance and Attire
- Dress professionally. Even though you might not wear a suit in the classroom, it is important that you present yourself as a professional when you meet recruiters. Your appearance should make a positive impression. Check with your Career Services office if you would like tips on appropriate dress for Education Expo.
- Wear professional-looking shoes that are clean and polished and are coordinated with your outfit. You will be doing a lot of walking and standing so shoes should also be comfortable.
- Be clean and well-groomed and make sure clothes are clean and pressed.
- Avoid wearing perfume, scented lotions or aftershave. The smell may overpower an interviewer or the interviewer may be allergic.
- Do not chew gum while meeting with recruiters.
- Do not drink alcohol or smoke prior to the event.
- Keep cell phone off.
- Be confident.
Talking with Recruiters
- Greet everyone with a smile, a firm handshake, and appropriate eye contact.
- Have a positive attitude and show enthusiasm for the position/school district.
- Always use proper grammar and avoid slang and fillers such as "like", "um" and "you know".
- Ask recruiters for a business card, and if not available, ask them for the correct spelling of their name and contact info so you can follow up after the job fair.
- Make notes after talking with each recruiter so you have organized information if contacted in the future.
Your goal in an interview is to impress prospective employers with information about yourself, your skills, experience, goals, and objectives with the hope of being offered a position. Thus, the interview should be approached with enthusiasm and confidence; it is your opportunity to market yourself.
Use examples when answering questions. Examples will provide the interviewer with what experiences you have had and what skills you will bring to a new job. Examples can be taken from classroom, leadership, work, service, and life experiences.
It is appropriate to take a moment to think about and formulate your answer to an interview question. It is better to have a moment of silence than to start talking and realize you are off on a tangent and can't recover from it.
Nonverbal communication is important during the interview. Maintain good posture and be attentive. Don't distract the interviewer with fidgeting or nervous gestures.
Salary should be brought up by the interviewer, not the candidate. This topic is usually discussed later in the interviewing process. If you bring up salary, it shows you are more interested in compensation for a position than how you can contribute to a position.
Have questions ready to ask the interviewer when given the opportunity. The interviewer will usually indicate when the interview is concluding. If you are interested in the position, be sure to state this before leaving the interview. Ask what the next steps are if that has not been communicated. Be sure to have interviewer’s business card or contact info. Thank the interviewer for his/her time.