wasting bandwidth since 1999

Asking The Right Questions

Doug needs to hire a new employee and he’s not looking forward to it.

As part of preparing for the interviews (did he mention that he hates the process?), Doug came up with 25 questions to ask the candidates. While they’re all good, I certainly hope he’s not planning on using them all. :-)

I agree with Doug about interviewing being an unpleasant process, no matter which side of the table you’re on. Which is why I’m not looking forward to the next few days at work.

With tech integration trainers in every school of our overly-large district, several times a year we need to do a burst of interviews to fill the regular turnover in the positions.

I’ve ranted before in this space about how many of the teachers who apply don’t know how to sell themselves. I’m going to resist the urge to do a long post about writing a decent resume.

However, I’m going to add one more suggestion for anyone applying for a job, ours or anyone else’s.

Don’t over-answer the questions. Short and to the point is much better than long and rambling. At least if I’m at the table.

Fortunately, we never ask 25 questions in our panel. But the way some of the applicants provide never ending responses can make it seem that way.

interview, questions


  1. Miguel Guhlin

    How funny, Tim! I just participated in an interview, and my desire is for the longer answer rather than the short. I’d rather hear about a person’s experiences rather than have them answer and risk telling me too little. Of course, rambling in itself is problematic…but illustrating your response to the question with relevant examples is preferred.

    Of course, that’s when I’m sitting on the interview panel. I hope you’re wrong if I’m in the hot seat!


  2. Tim

    I agree, Miguel. I would rather conduct an interview as a conversation rather than the structured process we are required to use. I often learn more about a candidate from the informal discussion before and after than from their answers to a fixed set of questions.

    My point in the post was that too many interviewees subscribe to the kitchen sink theory of responses. They throw everything they can think of into their answers hoping that something good will stick in the mind of the panel members. That system usually works against them.

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