What It’s Really Like to Interview for NQT Roles

By Miss G.

I applied for around ten schools before hearing back from at least one. I was starting to get disheartened as I was unsure how to make my application stronger. When I received the email informing me that I had been shortlisted for a school, I was elated!

The shortlisting task involved selecting a book that was appropriate for an EYFS class, the book I chose was Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell. The school wanted me to deliver a storytime but as I was unable to go into school to do this with the children, I had to record myself sharing the story. This took many attempts! I then had to plan a Communication and Language activity that was adult-led and aimed at a small group of Reception aged pupils. I also had to complete a plan for enhanced provision, based on my chosen story.

After I submitted my shortlisting tasks, the nerves began. I reflected on the hard work and effort that I put into the task and I knew that it was a positive experience regardless of the outcome. On Thursday afternoon, I received the email inviting me to the next stage, which was an interview, the next day! I was so excited and nervous.

I spent all afternoon and night preparing for the interview. I prepared for this by reading through examples of interview questions from other NQTs and teachers and I typed up my answers to each question. I then videoed myself answering the questions to watch and listen to how I was answering the questions and I was able to recognise any changes I needed to make. I tried to have an early night, but I did not sleep very well, as you can imagine!

On the morning of my interview, I was also receiving my dissertation result from University, the nerves were unbelievable. Luckily, I achieved a first in my dissertation, so this helped the nerves to settle a little bit. As I was driving to the school for my interview, I ran through some of the interview questions and answers in my head. I found this helpful.

When I arrived at the school, I was greeted by the headteacher and I was able to have a small conversation with her before starting the interview. My interview panel was the headteacher, the deputy head, the early years lead and the parent governor. They all asked me two questions each and I was able to ask a question at the end of the interview.

As this was my first teaching interview, I do think the nerves got the better of me at times, but I came out of the school feeling good. The wait after the interview was the worst part about the whole process, I was staring at my phone, waiting for the ‘call’.

Unfortunately, I did not get the job. The headteacher explained how they really enjoyed watching my storytime and reading my lesson plans and that out of sixty-eight applicants, I got down to the last two. However, they appointed the other candidate due to the fact they had an extra year experience in early years as they were an RQT. I asked if I could have improved anything in my interview and the headteacher explained that I interviewed well, it was only the experience that I lacked.

I felt so many mixed emotions. I was gutted that I did not get the job, but I was also very proud of how well I did on my first interview as I came so close. It is a hard process, I wasn’t prepared for how hard it was going to be and due to the current circumstances we are faced with, I don’t think that has helped the NQT job search.

I am currently still applying for teaching positions in the North East. I was shortlisted for a Key Stage 1 role but unfortunately, that was also unsuccessful. It is a hard process but because of my dedication and resilience, I am still applying for teaching jobs and I will hopefully find the school for me to complete my NQT year.


Interviews, NQT Self

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