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Last week, I had an interview at my school for a leadership position. The whole experience was quite strange, as it was my first interview in a very long time. I also find being interviewed by people I work with on a daily basis strange and possibly more daunting than being interviewed by a panel that I’ve never met before.
The first big decision of the interview was whether or not to shake everyone on the panel’s hand before sitting down. I decided to go for it and instantly regretted my decision as I made my way around the very large table and somehow managed to leave one of my shoes behind. Nothing like a Cinderella moment to leave a lasting impression. I returned for my shoe and then proceeded to shake hands with people I usually chat with over a coffee in the staffroom or share glances with when staff meetings go on for too long. It felt weird and almost like a role play and the room started to feel much hotter all of a sudden.
The questions started and I found my groove — I powered through the first couple and felt my confidence grow. And then, I hit the dreaded third question. I’d seen it sitting there on the page when I was given the questions in the preparation time before the interview started. I didn’t like it then and I certainly didn’t like it now. My voice started and sounded confident — I didn’t know where I was heading with my sentences, though. I thought perhaps no one would notice. I glanced down at the question again and realised that I had travelled far from the point of it and was now struggling. Somehow, I ended it and was allowed to move on.
Summing yourself up at the end of an interview can feel like a desperate “pick me, pick me” moment. It’s hard to know what to say at this point — I’ve always thought it would be a great time to cue the back-up dancers and deliver a self-promoting cheer-inspired song and dance routine. In this instance, however, I refrained and delivered a short speech that revisited all of my highlights from the interview so far. Very dull in comparison and definitely no dancers. I finished up with a “thank you for giving me this opportunity” moment and fled the building.
Walking around the school in your interview outfit always draws attention and questioning. “Why so dressed up?” “Have you just had an interview?” Kids seem to appreciate the extra effort you have made with your appearance for the day though with many commenting: “You should dress like that all the time, Miss.”
I’ve decided that post-interview feedback should only be allowed to be delivered via emojis. If you were unsuccessful, you are sent the poo emoji, the champagne emoji if you landed the job. This time round, I would have received the poo emoji but I’m hoping for the champagne one in the near future.
— Christina Adams, member of the Australian Education Union (Victoria) and a stand-up comedian
- Future Teachers