After the Interview
Whether you interview in person or over the phone, send an actual letter or formal thank you notecard with a handwritten message to your interviewer(s), thanking them for the opportunity to interview for the school’s opening. Following up an interview with a message of thanks shows professional and personal courtesy. Handwritten notes personalize your message, but make sure to open your thanks on business-style stationery for a professional look. You also may type your message as a business letter. An emailed thank you note is a quick follow-up for interviews conducted by phone or if you cannot send a written note within a day of your interview. In such cases, write a formal email and follow up with a paper note as soon as possible.
A thank you letter is the perfect opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position. You are still trying to win a job, so keep an eye on spelling, grammar, and penmanship! If you forgot to get the spelling and titles of your interviewers, look on the school’s website or double check with a school secretary. To avoid duplicating thank you letters or, worse yet, neglecting to send them at all, note the dates in your tracking file.
See Thank You Letter for more guidance.
Stay in touch with a school concerning a hiring decision—allow at least a week between your interview and your follow-up inquiries. When following up by phone, e-mail, or in person, be patient and understanding.
When you are offered a position, send an acceptance letter. See the sample Job Acceptance Letter.
A little preparation and a lot of enthusiasm and desire can go a long way to making you the successful candidate. As many principals have said:
I know one thing. As a principal for 14 years, I look for passion and attitude above all else. I can train teachers, or help them learn from someone else, but helping them have passion and a great attitude is nigh-onto impossible. That has to come with them.
Don’t stop after the interview ends. If you interviewed with the Human Resources Director, watch the school’s website for specific job postings and apply for each that interests you. Then follow up in a couple of days by contacting the principal to request an interview for that job.
Tony Riegling, EdD
Apply to every district within a 45-minute drive from where you desire to live. If you are not tied to living in a specific area, apply to school districts you know have many openings—even if that means teaching in a rural or urban area with which you are less familiar and comfortable. Administrators will appreciate your willingness to try something new.
Don’t give up! If you don’t get a job by the time school starts, don’t view that as the end. Teachers need to leave for various reasons throughout the school year, and principals need to get a teacher in that classroom quickly. If you’ve already interviewed, you are in line to get a job. Consider substituting, taking an instructional aide position, or filling in for a maternity leave or two to get your foot in the door and prove yourself. Persistence and passion pay off!