Even for those who have excelled during their studies, going into that first NQT interview can be a nerve-racking experience. Perceived failure in an interview can make the next one even harder, although of course it is worth remembering that even getting to interview is quite an achievement.

This article is designed to help NQTs to hone their interview skills so as to get the jobs they really want.

How to succeed in a NQT job interview.

It is important to arrive at interview well prepared, well rested and ready to engage. This means that research into the hiring school is important, but staying up all night cramming is a bad idea.

Candidates should make sure they are smartly dressed and well groomed, and should aim to arrive slightly early; this can allow for time to chat to the receptionist and get a general feel for the school.

Confidence matters, especially in a context where it is going to be important to the job. Shaking hands firmly and looking the interviewers in the eye can help to create a good impression.

We would also encourage you to ask for a tour of the school. These are generally welcomed by the school and can help you see the school in action, engage with the staff in the school (in some cases, the headteacher) and it also demonstrates your commitment to getting to know the school you could be working at.

Interview information.

Interviews for teaching positions often include a requirement for candidates to give presentations and demonstrate directly how they would teach a lesson through a lesson observation. Candidates should choose the lessons with which they feel most confident. This process is something many people find helpful, as it can snap them back into a familiar mental space and help them to be assertive later in the interview.

There can be a high rate of attrition among new teachers, so interviewers hope to see candidates who are really enthusiastic and passionate about their subjects. An interest in taking part in extracurricular work such as running sports clubs can be a strong selling point. It needs to be clear that candidates are really committed to helping children learn, and also that they understand and feel a connection with the school’s ethos.

Candidates should be aware that some interviewers deliberately make NQT interviews difficult because toughness is a quality they are actively looking for; they want to push candidates to the point where they stumble in order to see how effectively they can pick themselves up again.

NQT interview questions.

  • What first made you want to become a teacher? Do you feel the same way now?
  • How do you approach dealing with a class of children with challenging behaviour? Can you give me an example of a successful behaviour management tactic you have used in the past?
  • How would you handle a situation where you thought a child was at risk?
  • What impact would you hope to make in the first year of your teaching?
  • How do you schedule your marking work?
  • How would you handle disagreement with a parent about a child’s progress?
  • How do you keep up with developments in the world of education? What issues interest you at the moment?
  • How do you feel it is best to motivate pupils? How do you engage with mixed ability learners including SEN and EAL in your class?

General interview questions.

  • What attracts you to this particular position?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  • What are your career ambitions?
  • What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?

Want some more advice on applying for newly qualified teacher roles? Click here to read our NQT handbook.