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Have a job interview - first in 17 years!!

(19 Posts)
Snugglepalace Wed 24-May-17 15:00:04

Aibu to be crapping myself at the though of my first interview in so long?

I've been a sahm for the last 9 years and after applying for loads of jobs, I had began to totally lose my confidence, thinking I will never get a job -ever, then this comes through today 😀

It's at a local special needs school as an exams officer.

I would absolutely love the job and am certain I can do it but I get so nervous when put on the spot. I really want to do my best and prepare as much as I can. What sort of questions do you think I'll get asked?

I get really stumped on things like, 'tell us about yourself?' and the bit at the end when they ask if there are any questions I would like to ask?

I could really do with some advice, thanks.

JollySmelly Wed 24-May-17 15:18:41

Just to wish you good luck! No idea what they'll ask you but maybe someone will pop along soon with some idea

morningtoncrescent62 Wed 24-May-17 15:42:30

Congratulations on getting as far as the interview, OP - they must have seen something they liked!

I take part in lots of interview panels at work. I don't work in a school, but some of the principles are similar, I think, in that an interview panel wants to find out who will be most able to do the job out of the people they're speaking to. So think about each of the components of the job, and why you both want to do them, and would be good at them. So a common question is 'Why do you want this job?'. When answering that, think about matching your skills, knowledge and inclinations to the job demands. I'd be looking for answers like:

'I want to work in a school context because I enjoy being around young people, and I want to be part of helping them make the most of themselves in exams'

'I'm very good at keeping calm under pressure, so I'm looking for a job that enables me to draw on that skill to reassure pupils and teachers when they're in the potentially stressful exam situation'

'I'm extremely well-organised, but also people-focused, and I think this job would enable me to make the most of both because it demands meticulous organisation alongside working with young people who may at times be unpredictable'

NB these might not be the perfect march for the job itself, I'm just guessing the sorts of things they might want. You could look at the job description and person spec for more ideas. Key is, whatever the question, keep telling them why you would be good at the job and why you would like it (they want someone who'll be happy and is therefore likely to stay).

I'm always impressed at the end if someone asks about training opportunities (it shows they want to do a good job and keep their skills updated), and if they ask a question that shows they've done their research about the setting they want to work in. Is there anything you can think of to ask about the school itself, or the way it organises exams which would show you've been finding out about it? E.g. 'I'm excited about the prospect of working in School A because I think it might make some adjustments to exams for pupils' special needs. Can you tell me if I'm likely to be involved in this aspect?"

I'm less impressed if someone asks about things that were clearly stated on the information they've been sent, particularly holiday entitlement! But if there's anything unclear on the info you've been sent, you can ask about that.

Good luck with the interview.

morningtoncrescent62 Wed 24-May-17 15:46:39

Oh, also OP, tell yourself that they need you as much as you need them, because it's true. They've seen something in your application that they like, and they need a good exams officer. So try to think of it as a mutual process - they want and need the best candidate for the job, and you're going to demonstrate that it's you, to the benefit of both sides. Sometimes thinking that way can make you more confident.

AppleOfMyEye10 Wed 24-May-17 16:54:18

Oh well done and good luck! Have some confidence in yourself, they want to interview after being out of the work environment for almost a decade, that says a lot!! Fingers crossed

Snugglepalace Wed 24-May-17 17:12:23

jolly thank you
mornington that's really helpful, thank you

Snugglepalace Wed 24-May-17 17:13:07

Yes apple I need to have more faith in myself 😀

ladyratterley Wed 24-May-17 17:29:41

Yay for you getting this far!

Mornington has given some great advice. If you have the job description I'd have a look at it and think about how your skills and previous experience match what they're looking for. They may ask you competency based questions which are ways of looking at how your past behaviours and experience match what they're looking for. This is a reasonable guide to competency based interviews and explains how they work and how to prepare for them: www.hays.co.uk/career-advice/cbi-interview-questions-1180068
You can perhaps think of a few scenarios and examples of how you match what they're looking for.

If you panic and mind goes blank then it's perfectly acceptable to say so and ask "Can we come back to that question in a minute?" By the time you come back to the question at the end of the interview you'll hopefully have come up with a way to tackle the question. I've done this in interview before & got the job!
Remember the interviewer or panel are just people. I know it's easier said than done but try to relax and be yourself.

Oh and wear something smart but that you're comfortable in for the interview. There's nothing worse than getting all trussed up in something uncomfortable!

Astro55 Wed 24-May-17 17:38:54

They will ask you about confidentiality - what would you say if a parent approached you in Asda?
(Sorry I've no idea - maybe ring the teacher involved?)
They will ask what you know about safe guarding or who's responsible for it - (everyone - safeguarding covers all know risks - tripping broken glass electrics)
Who should you report concerns over a student to!? (SENCO or management/headyeacher - depends on set up)

Everything else will be job description - give us an example where you are flexible/organized/etc

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 24-May-17 17:41:11

Good luck 😊

WineIsMyMainVice Wed 24-May-17 17:45:35

Ooo exciting!
You'll most certainly get asked about kids with special needs, and what some of their needs/challenges might be. How you might recognise if they are in difficulty or need help. You might also get asked about equality.
Just remember that an interview is not a memory test. So it is perfectly acceptable to take some notes into an interview. I'd recommend only one sheet of paper with just a few bullet points on it.
With regard to questions to ask, you could ask about training and induction. What an average day might be like.
Just make sure that you're enthusiasm comes across like it does in your post. Also remember that they've already selected you for interview so they already like what you've put in your application.
Good luck!

Snugglepalace Wed 24-May-17 17:53:36

These are all great thank you. I am taking notes and will ask my friend to do a mock interview. Not the real thing I know but might just help?! I can only do my best and if I don't get the job at least it's a good experience for me.

Astro55 Wed 24-May-17 18:04:18

Yes they may ask you to scribe for someone - ask if there's training

Some autistic children need one to one quite space for example

There's a lot of prep and busy peek times - ask if there are others on the team or most schools cross over so exam officers have each other to ask questions if you're stuck

Snugglepalace Wed 24-May-17 19:03:18

Yes will definitely ask about training etc.

misscockerspaniel Wed 24-May-17 19:25:14

Good luck! There is some great advice above. My favourite interview question asked of me was "Use three words to describe yourself". I said dogs, dogs, dogs. Didn't get a second interview! smile

morningtoncrescent62 Wed 24-May-17 19:32:28

I am taking notes and will ask my friend to do a mock interview.

Great idea - ask them to conduct it with as much formality as you can both muster (e.g. you walk into a room where your friend is already seated behind a table, your friend introduces her/himself etc.) - it'll give you that authentic 'put-on-the-spot' feel!! When's the interview, OP, and will you come back and tell us how it went? I'm feeling invested now grin

MaureenMLove Wed 24-May-17 19:35:43

I would have a look on the school website at their policies and procedures. Look especially at their safe guarding statement. When I'm interviewing for staff at school, I always ask what they know of safe guarding. I don't need it word for word obviously, just an outline.

Katiep0tato Wed 24-May-17 19:46:07

Well done on your interview! Some great advice above, I'd just add that the STAR technique (https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/star-technique-competency-based-interview) can be really helpful in structuring answers, particularly for competency-based questions.

In terms of questions to ask, I'm always pleased when a candidate asks about the company culture or what the panel enjoy about working there. You could also try asking if there are any skills involved in the role that you haven't covered in your answers so far - gives you an opportunity to cover them before you go wink

Good luck!

Snugglepalace Wed 24-May-17 20:08:53

misscocker I'm a massive dog lover too but thanks for heads up, will keep it to myself grin
mornington interview in 2 weeks, will let you know how it went.
maureen have been looking at their website for info and thought I'd check Ofstead too.
katie I will definitely ask them what they enjoy about working there, really like that one! And will check out the STAR.

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