Preparing for an interview for a Headteacher role can feel like a daunting process. However, it doesn’t have to be, we have years of experience working in recruitment and with school leaders and know what it takes for an interview to be successful.
One of the main ways to impress in your interview is to know your school. Whether you're an external candidate or an internal candidate looking for a promotion it’s always important to research your school.
You should be using multiple sources for your research; Ofsted reports, performance data and financial reports. You could also ask locals around the area how they perceive the school so you have a holistic understanding of the institution you will be leading. There’s no such thing as being over-prepared.
When answering questions be sure to root them in real-life examples. It’s important to show that you are someone who takes action and has experience. Be sure to explain what you did and what the results were, linking back to the question whilst also demonstrating significant knowledge around the subject.
As a headteacher, you are going to be expected to listen to questions daily. Interviewers are looking for someone who can listen to the question and actually answer it, rather than steering away from what you have been asked, it is a clear demonstration of your listening skills. Think about what the key focus is within the school you’re applying for and link back to this to, for example, if they are conscious about staff wellbeing include this in your answers to make them more effective.
Before your interview, it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date with all of the new education news. Read the latest safeguarding information (Keeping Children Safe in Education is essential) and be up to date on the recent news from Ofsted. By having general knowledge about recent news you can demonstrate your knowledge when answering questions, making them relevant and insightful. There are also books you can read to help, we have compiled a list of 10 must-read books here.
A mistake many people make when being interviewed is being scared to talk about their weaknesses. You may feel inclined to use a generic answer like being a “perfectionist” but this won’t impress the interviewers. Instead self-reflect on recent experiences and be honest about your weakest attributes. If you follow this in a way you are actively trying to improve this will be sure to make an impression on the interviewers and show how you are self-aware and ready to self-improve.
If you would like support in finding a headship position please get in touch with our dedicated team at Smile Leadership and if you want more information on the interview process for headteachers you can read our blog.