Sunday, December 19, 2010

School Counselor Interview Tips

Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have tackled one of the most difficult parts of job searching, getting an interview.

The following post was inspired by reader who asked for tips for an upcoming interview.  If you are searching for a job or will be on the lookout soon, check out my post Make Connections! I describe how networking is a key part of advancing your career as a professional school counselor.

Below are tips for interviewing for a position as a school counselor.  Do you have school counselor interview tips? Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Do Your Homework

My number one piece of advice is to research the school and district before the interview. What is the population (rural, suburban, urban, high poverty, moderate, poverty, etc)? Has the school been in the news media for anything noteworthy (awards, grants, etc)? How does the school/district perform on state tests? The more information you know about the school/district the better.

Most school/districts have websites containing information about the school/district. If you are having trouble locating data on the particular school or district, check out The National Center for Education Statistics website.  The National Center for Education Statistics hosts data for schools, colleges, and libraries all over the U.S. and is searchable by name, city, state, and zip code.

Being well informed about the school and district shows you are interested and willing to be a integral part of the school.

Ask Questions

The school/district is trying to determine if you would be a good fit.  At the same time, you should be trying to determine if the school would be a good fit for you. Ask questions, such as "What are the major roles and responsibilities for school counselors at _______________ School?" "What do you believe to be the most important skills/abilities in a school counselor at _________________ School?" "What is the greatest need ____________ School is facing?"

When you ask questions, be sure to answer them too! The purpose of asking questions is find out if the school would be a good fit for you, but to also prove you would be a good fit for the school. For example, if you ask "What is the greatest need _______________ School is facing?" describe to the interview team how you can combat or fill the need as a school counselor.

Advocate for Yourself

If the interviewer asks, "Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?" or "Do you have anything else to add?" they are giving you a perfect opportunity to advocate for yourself.  A great way to answer this question is to determine what the school is looking for and explain how you match up.  Giving a summary of the highlights of the interview is also a great way to go.

Say "Thank You!"

After the interview is over, it is important to say "Thank You!" It is also important to follow up with a "Thank You" after the interview.  There are many different theories about which method - email, hand-written note, or typed letter - is most effective.  I usually do all three. It sounds like a lot of work, but I feel it is worth it and covers all of your bases.

A "Thank You!" forces the interviewer (and whoever is handling your file) to think about you again. Make sure to include some highlights of the interview in your "Thank You."  Also, include contact information of where they can reach you.  It is great to include a business card.

Do you any school counselor interview tips? Comment below, email me, tweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

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