Etiquette for Educators: How to Land Your Next Teaching Job

12, Jul 2023 10:43 AM

If you find yourself in the position of applying for a new job in a K-12 school, you’re not alone! 

Teachers On Demand helps over 200 school partners find passionate, qualified educators to fill their vacancies. 

In addition to our resources for school administrators on hiring teachers in California and New York, we’re sharing tips for K-12 teachers looking for their next role. Time to get your foot in the door and make the best possible impression!


First things first

Due to a shortage of qualified K-12 teachers in many areas of the U.S., educators looking for their next role will currently find many opportunities. 

When it comes to applying for a teaching job, here are some basics of what you can expect:

  1. Submit your initial application.

  2. Attend an online interview. (in some cases)

  3. Attend an in-person interview / prepare a demo lesson.

Let’s go through each step in more depth.

Take initiative on the application

In our experience hiring from within our network of teachers, we’ve noticed that some applicants miss early opportunities to put their best foot forward and earn the chance to advance to the interview round.

When applying for a teaching job, you’ll need to fill out some information about yourself first. There will be some basic questions about who you are, as well as your teaching qualifications. Be prepared to answer questions about your education, teaching license/certification, teaching level, and experience. Answer all questions thoroughly, and choose your references carefully.


Our top tips:

  • Fill out the whole application. Double-check it, then triple-check it before submitting. Good organization skills and a thorough, detail-oriented nature are some of the basic criteria for in-demand teachers.

  • Answer all questions on the form. Don’t leave questions blank. If there’s an opportunity for you to explain a gap in your resume or why you’d be a good fit for the role, take it. Look for opportunities to turn negatives into positives.

  • Include your social media. School administrators want to make sure you are a good role model, and they often look at your social media to get a fuller picture of who you are. While it’s reasonable to keep elements of your personal life private, keep in mind that your administrators, colleagues, students, and students’ parents will search for you online. This is why it’s best to be up-front about the social sites you use.

Make a great first impression

When attending an interview, there are some best practices that are evergreen across industries and professions, and they apply to the field of education, too.

Let’s say that you’ve been invited for a phone or online interview, which some schools use as an initial screening. This is a good way for both sides to get a good sense of what the other brings to the table. It’s important to come prepared and take it as an opportunity to stand out!

Our educational recruiter Drew Williams says,

“As a recruiter with Teachers On Demand, Inc., I search for candidates that prove their passion for education and the inspiring of young learners within their resumes.”

Our top tips:

  • Research the school and the specific interviewer(s). In order to make the best impression, you’ll want to know your audience. Make sure you know something about the history of the school, any specifics about its structure or operations, and a couple facts about the person you’ll be speaking with. This makes it easier to create a rapport with the interviewer and let your personality shine through.

  • Be on time! Nothing says, “I’m not that interested” like showing up late to an interview. When you’re on time, it signals that you are organized and able to stick to a schedule, just like you need to when you are hired.

  • Ensure your camera and audio work. Log on 5-10 minutes early to connect your headphones and webcam and test your video and audio. Even though you plan to show up on time, technical issues can delay the interview and cause frustration.

  • Dress for the role. Even if your first interview is virtual, the interviewer will naturally notice your appearance. Make sure you dress the top half of your body appropriately for a formal environment, and consider adding a few accents that show your personality. Even if you’re doing an audio-only interview, dressing for the job you want will help you get into the professional headspace.

  • Ask a few questions. In every interview, the interviewer will ask if you have questions. Say yes every time! Asking a couple questions shows initiative and engagement with the role.


Ace the live interview

Many teaching roles will require you to come for an in-person interview to meet the administrative team. In addition to doing your research, dressing for the job, and showing up on time, you’ll want to brush up your interviewing skills to get that extra edge.

Here are the top 5 most common interview questions for teaching roles, according to Indeed:

  • Why did you decide to become a teacher?

  • What is your teaching philosophy?

  • Why do you want to work for this school?

  • Why do we teach [subject] in school?

  • How do you evaluate your students?

Think about your answers in advance, and take as much time as you need to prepare before the interview. It can help to practice your answers with a friend or colleague in education.