This guide will help you know what to expect at an interview to become a school principal. If you’re interviewing for a principal position, you can expect to be asked a number of questions about your past professional experience and your management style.
As a school principal you’re in charge of the overall management of a school, including its budget, curriculum, and staff. You’ll be asked questions about these different aspects. So what makes you different from the other applicants? Maybe it’s the way you connect with teachers and staff, your use of school software and technology, or your way of bringing new life into a school.
Here’s the most common principal interview questions
Here are some questions that you might encounter during a principal interview and ideas for answers:
What programs have you developed at past schools?
Schools want to hire the best, most qualified people for the job. The best way to show them why that’s you is by demonstrating your experience with similar programs. For example, if you created efficiencies in organizing an after school program. If there’s something specific about this position that you’re excited about, but don’t have experience with yet, talk about how you plan to learn from others in the field and apply it to your work in this position.
How did you maintain teacher morale?
Teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world, and all teachers deserve praise—but not every teacher is easy to work with. It takes someone special who can manage multiple personalities, including difficult ones, while still keeping everyone engaged and focused on their goals as educators. Talk about how you helped teachers stay engaged in their work through team-building activities or teacher appreciation events.
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What is your system for evaluating teachers?
You’ll want to be able to talk about the process for evaluating teachers in your school. The key to preparing an answer to this common principal interview question, as well as others, is to have a couple of stories ready that illustrate your leadership skills, and ability to develop systems and policies for large groups of people. You should also be able to talk about any challenges you’ve faced in difficult teacher evaluations as a principal, and how you worked through the issues or followed up.
How do you engage parents in the school?
This question will allow you to showcase how much effort goes into making sure parents are involved. So many schools are going digital. These softwares offer a variety of ways to engage with parents, whether that’s an online newsletter or online fundraising. Having a way for parents to access student information at any time is an attractive way to keep parents involved.
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How do you develop your team?
This is a good opportunity to talk about what you’ve done in terms of professional development. And will also give you an opportunity to show how much work you put into supporting your teachers.
Beyond doing your own research on common principal interview questions and planning out the best answers for those. Be sure to ask your recruiter or hiring manager what questions they anticipate being asked. Then, prepare answers that demonstrate your expertise and professionalism.
You should also ask yourself why you want the job and what motivates you professionally.
If you’re looking for a new job as a principal, guides like this that explain common principal interview questions and the best answers are helpful but it’s always important to remember that interviewers are looking for specific qualities in candidates. These qualities are best described through personal stories. Depending on the position and school, these questions or principles might not come up for you. The best way to prepare for your interview is by doing research on the school district and principalship position you’re applying for. Find out what their priorities are, what they want in a leader, and how they measure success.
All in all, make sure you’re prepared for anything!