An assistant principal or vice-principal is one of the people leading a school administration. This article presents 20 interview questions and answers if you intend to apply for this position.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Position?
When going for an interview, it is important to have clear reasons as to why you apply for the position.
Tip #1: Be specific
Tip #2: Relate your interest in career growth
I am passionate about the educational field. I love interacting with students aside from putting my ideas for school development into action. That aside, by becoming an assistant principal, I am closer to become one of the people responsible to make students enjoy their school life. Becoming an assistant principal would be a career growth for me as I also strive to keep improving myself in this profession.
2. What Are The Roles Of An Assistant Principal?
The interviewers would like to know if the candidates have done their research on the job offered.
Tip #1: Provide the main responsibilities of the job
Tip #2: Be confident and familiar with your answer
An assistant principal’s tasks range from administrating the school to interacting with multiple people. They are responsible to enforce the federal regulations in the school and ensuring the smooth flow of school sessions. Meeting and discussing with parents on students’ matters is another crucial task of an assistant principal.
3. What Are The Qualities That An Assistant Principal Should Possess To Be Effective?
Being aware of important qualities needed to be effective is important when preparing for an interview.
Tip #1: Align the important qualities sought by the school with the nature of the job
Tip #2: Display that you possess the qualities needed
In my opinion, the most important quality needed to be an effective assistant principal is having good interpersonal skills. Since an assistant principal needs to interact with different people such as students, parents, and so forth, it is important to be adaptive in communication when dealing with different people. Besides, they need to possess strong problem-solving skills and good judgement to come up with the best solution whenever an issue arises.
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Handle It?
Talking about their experience will provide insights on the candidate’s endurance and problem-solving skills.
Tip #1: Provide specific challenges
Tip #2: Display your problem-solving skill
My biggest challenge was keeping a good and professional term with teachers. It was during the first year of my posting as an assistant principal. My mindset back then was to be as close as I can with the teachers there. However, I did not manage to set a clear professional boundary that should not be crossed from both of our parts. This clearly caused discomfort and conflicts. I gradually learnt to be approachable and professional at the same time.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As An Assistant Principal?
Aside from looking at the candidate’s experience, the interviewers would like to know if the candidate is aware of other important roles of an assistant principal.
Tip #1: State the specific roles of an assistant principal
Tip #2: Display your knowledge and familiarity with the job
The routine of an assistant principal differs every day. One of the early tasks once I arrived at school was to check on the staff and teachers’ attendance. I would then prepare the replacement teachers for the lessons. If there were upcoming events that will take place, I will follow-up with the person in charge and coordinate the needed facilities and materials. That aside, I would attend to disciplinary or safety reports.
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6. Describe Briefly Your Experience In This Job?
Providing about the experience may give a clear insight whether the candidate is qualified and ready for the position.
Tip #1: Align your experience with the job description
Tip #2: Be organized
I had two years of experience as an assistant principal in my previous school. Most of the time, I was assigned to mediate any discussions or issues with parents. I was also in charge to coordinate the school’s curriculum standards so that it is up to date with the state and national education system. I monitored any changes and came up with solutions for any underperforming aspects of the school.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
Envisioning and having clear strategies will display the candidate’s preparedness for the job.
Tip #1: Be clear in your strategies or mindset
Tip #2: Do not contemplate
My mindset to become an effective assistant principal is to prioritize communication. It is crucial to establish good rapport with every party involved in the school community. Building trust will lead to a smoother flow of monitoring and gaining insights from them. This is not exclusively between teachers, but also with the students and parents.
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
This question may display the candidate’s readiness for the challenges that may happen.
Tip #1: Be confident and specific
Tip #2: Provide what you would do as a countermeasure for the challenge
One of the challenges that I may face in this job is the constant shift of the national education system. Adapting to the shift aside, it may be quite disheartening to see the teachers and students keep adapting to new systems that may or may not benefit them. Hence, proper measures need to be done like adopting the shifts by stages so that everyone would not be overwhelmed with the abrupt changes.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
Being motivated will be reflected on your work quality.
Tip #1: Provide what you would do clearly
Tip #2: Display that your motivation will boost your work quality
I enjoy working on different things hence I always plan what I want to achieve weekly. Being able to accomplish the goals is a great motivation for me. That aside, I also enjoy looking at students’ cheerful expressions, enjoying their life at school. That taught me to always strive to provide a safe and fun environment for them.
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned.
Failure and mistakes are inevitable but how the candidates admit their mistakes and learnt from them is a crucial key to a good candidate.
Tip #1: Be confident and specific
Tip #2: Provide what lesson learnt in that mistake
The biggest mistake I made was when I reprimanded a student immediately after being reported by a teacher. I did not investigate the issue well and abruptly took the teacher’s words without hesitation. It was revealed later that the teacher misunderstood the conflict between the two students. Both the teacher and I learned to be thorough in our actions and do not immediately resort to reprimand and punishment.
11. How Do You Conduct Parent Meetings?
Being able to deal with parents is highly needed to become a good assistant principal.
Tip #1: Be sensitive in dealing with other people
Tip #2: Showcase your interpersonal and communication skill
My mindset whenever I have to interact with parents is to build their trust. It is important to make them aware that we mean no harm to their children and want to provide the best for them. I also have to choose my words carefully no matter how dire the situation is. This is to avoid provocation and negative effects that may befall the school or worst, the students themselves. Then only, we could calmly discuss the course of action that best fits the situation.
12. What Are Your Aspirations As A New Assistant Principal In Our School?
The interviewers would like to see candidates’ career plan and see if candidates aim to stay at the company for the long term.
Tip #1: Provide short-term or long-term goals that you have
Tip #2: Be realistic and provide achievable ones
The first step that I ought to do is to gather as many insights about how the culture in this school works. This may help me to adapt and carefully plan my vision later. I will establish a good relationship not only with the staff, teachers, and students but also with the parents. Gaining full support from various stakeholders will improve the culture and environment of the school, which is one of my goals as an assistant principal.
13. Explain Your Leadership Style.
An assistant principal is one of the leaders in the school community hence it is fundamental to be alert of your approaches and style.
Tip #1: Display your leadership skills
Tip #2: Provide examples from your experience
I like incorporating transformational leadership style in my workplace. I am a person who is full of visions and also enjoys listening to others as well. Hence, I would bring the best effort and ideas from my team. I will consider all the ideas brought up by everyone and discuss them thoroughly with everyone involved. However, there are times where I have to set the boundary and be firm with the decisions I made when things become unstable.
14. Briefly Share What Do You Think Are The Skills Needed To Be A Good Assistant Principal?
The interviewers want to know if candidates are aware of the skills needed.
Tip #1: Provide several qualities needed to become a good assistant principal
Tip #2: State examples where those qualities are needed
The most indispensable quality needed to become a good assistant principal is communication skills. This is because an assistant principal needs to interact with different people in different situations. The other important skill is organizational skills. This is highly sought since they are one of the main administrators in the school.
15. How Do You Deal With Students’ Disciplinary Issues?
Share an experience with the interviewers to display your conflict management skill.
Tip #1: Be consistent with your philosophy or principles
Tip #2: Avoid demeaning but provide support to the student
I will investigate the case thoroughly before coming up with the next course of action. It is important to get students to speak up on their behalf as well. For me, it is important to provide moral and emotional support to students regardless if they commit disciplinary problems or not. My end goals would be to minimize students’ negative behaviour and accept their changes towards betterment.
16. How Do You Motivate First-Year Teachers?
This question will display the candidate’s interpersonal skills.
Tip #1: Relate your experience with what you expected would be helpful
Tip #2: Display that you expect much and do not underestimate their potential
When I was a first-year teacher myself, the motivation I received from my fellow senior colleagues was to be passionate and caring towards the students. Whenever that passion seems to deteriorate, it is crucial to reflect and search for ways to ignite them again. This advice keeps resonating in my mind. I believe this motivation works for other first-year teachers. Aside from advice, I will provide as much help I think necessary to make them enjoy their profession.
17. What Do You Think Is Your Biggest Weakness As An Assistant Principal?
Saying you have no weakness is a huge mistake.
Tip #1: Be honest
Tip #2: State how you are trying to improve on that weakness
My weakness as an assistant principal is that I tend to be over-friendly with students. This may lead to the misconception that my friendliness would be the key for them to escape any disciplinary actions for their behaviour. It did pose some problems in the past. However, I learnt from an experience and have been trying to improve myself. I gradually learn to clearly set the boundary that must not be crossed between educators and students.
18. How Do You Deal With Upset Parents?
Dealing with stakeholders is another main task of an assistant principal.
Tip #1: Show that you could be calm and professional no matter how dire the situation is
Tip #2: Provide that you could manage the issue fairly
I will first find the root of the issue. I will take into account the opinions of every party involved in case the parents are clashing with a teacher. I always keep in mind that unfairness with dealing with issues may cause distrust from others. Hence, I will think of a solution that will benefit all parties. That aside, I will be clear that all actions taken abide by educational policies.
19. What Would You Do To Underperforming Teachers?
This question will display the candidate’s problem solving and leadership skills.
Tip #1: Be clear that underperforming is not a good thing and should be addressed
Tip #2: Display your leadership skill
The first question when I detect underperformance is how to assist them to meet expectations again. The way to approach them is a huge key in succeeding in this. Before discussing with the teacher in question, I will observe and gain insights from other staff to see if the teacher is having personal problems. Then only I would have a face to face discussion to talk about the progress and expectations.
20. What Do You Think Is Important When Supervising Extracurricular Activities?
While supervising extracurricular is not the main task of an assistant principal, it is important to be alert.
Tip #1: State the important things to look out for
Tip #2: You may share an experience
The crucial thing to always keep in mind when monitoring extracurricular activity is safety. Students tend to be very active during curricular activities and may lead to injuries if not well supervised. Aside from that, it is important to ensure students attend and do not go to dangerous places while extracurricular activities are taking place.
These 20 interview questions for an assistant principal position may help interviewers and candidates if the position. We wish you luck in your future endeavour.