School is one of the workplaces that offer various positions, and counsellor is one of them. This article provides 20 interview questions and answers that you can refer to if you are applying for the position.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Position?
This warming up question is important to provide the best first impression you could provide to your interviewer.
Tip #1: Be confident
Tip #2: State your reasons clearly
I am a graduate with a Master’s degree in Counselling. Helping others has always been my dream hence I decided to pursue this field. While there are many branches in counselling, I find myself most attracted to school counsellor since it is important to mould students since they were still young. I like to observe as well as being part of the supporters in the growth of students.
2. What Are The Roles Of A School Counsellor?
The interviewers would like to know if the candidates have done their research on the job offered.
Tip #1: State the roles precisely
Tip #2: Align with the roles stated in the advertisement
The main roles of a school counsellor are to assist students in their education as well as emotional support. In most cases, school counsellors conduct events or activities focusing on how students could further improve their academic achievement strategies. They are the ones responsible to provide insights for students on their academic plans especially the choices offered upon graduation.
3. What Are The Qualities That A School Counsellor Should Possess To Be Effective?
Considering the characteristics needed to become a successful school counsellor is important in interviews.
Tip #1: Provide specific examples
Tip #2: Be familiar with the traits needed
Aside from communication skills, a school counsellor needs to have high empathy. They should be able to imagine themselves being in the same boat with the students to provide the most compassionate approaches and solutions to the students. This skill is complemented with interpersonal skills and being understanding of the students’ circumstances.
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Handle It?
The interviewers would like to know the depth of the candidate’s experience and how well they solve challenges.
Tip #1: Provide genuine experience
Tip #2: Display that you can cope well
The biggest challenge I faced in my previous school was dealing with bullying cases. Detecting a bullying case was not as tough as solving them. The main problem lies in the victim’s refusal to report due to fear. Hence, bullying cases often last for a long time, and the steps to solve them were done by stages.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A School Counsellor?
This question displays how much experience the candidate possesses as a school counsellor.
Tip #1: Be confident and specific
Tip #2: Display your knowledge and familiarity with the job
My daily tasks differed each day. Some days I would be I charge of conducting programs or events which deal with social issues or academic purposes. The other daily role that I was tasked with is listening and providing moral support to students. The discussions may be about their future career or even any personal issues that they were facing.
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6. Describe Briefly Your Experience In This Field?
This is another question that will provide insight on how experienced the candidate is.
Tip #1: Be confident
Tip #2: It is encouraged to provide numerical achievement
My previous school was facing a drastic drop in university admission among students for three consecutive years. I was one of the committees in charge of encouraging students to further their studies in universities of their choice. We planned and conducted events to expose students to good universities locally and abroad. The program managed to boost the percentage of university admission by 60% compared to the previous year.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
Envisioning strategies or having a clear mindset is important to display how much you are serious about working there.
Tip #1: Be confident and specific
Tip #2: Be relevant to your profession
I always keep in mind to be at the same pace as my students. Although the generation gap is inevitable, I will try my best to know what my students’ interests are. This could bring me closer to them as well as understanding them at a deeper level. Being familiar with what is trending will also prevent me from being judgemental by only limiting opinions in my perspective. Doing this will help me to see clearer from their point of view.
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
Being prepared for challenges is one of the key qualities sought in a candidate.
Tip #1: State an example of challenge
Tip #2: Provide how you would overcome it
I anticipated the biggest challenge is the rise of mental health issues. There are a lot of symptoms or situations related to mental health such as anxiety, depression, and so forth. This is challenging as it needs expert intervention to deal with these issues. Hence, I will make sure to track any early symptoms so that these could be countered at early stages with permission from parents and the students themselves.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
Staying motivated is crucial to ensure the quality of your job as well as hinting how long the candidate could stay working there.
Tip #1: Provide personal motivation
Tip #2: It is recommended to state how that way has motivated you in the past
My biggest motivation is seeing my students’ success. There were many instances where my former students visited and thanked me for assisting them in their plans. Seeing them pursuing studies abroad, becoming great people, bring immense joy and motivation to me. I always hope I could consistently provide support to all my students.
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned.
Facing failure is inevitable but it is important to learn from them.
Tip #1: Be genuine
Tip #2: Provide what you learned from the failure
I think my biggest failure was when I expressively display my shock in front of my student when she was opening up about her issue. It took her a lot of courage to discuss the matter with me and I think my lack of composure at that time affected her emotion and trust in me. From that experience, I remind myself to always expect the worst and be composed no matter how serious the issues faced by my students are.
11. How Do You Deal With Domestic Issue Reports From Students?
A good candidate should be able to come up with the appropriate ways to address students’ reports.
Tip #1: Be alert of the boundary that you should not cross
Tip #2: Do not be afraid of involving other authorities to solve students’ problem
I will make sure to check what are the protocols set up by the school in dealing with students’ reports on home problems. I will consult with more experienced colleagues if I am not sure of the problem. If the situation is dire such as an abuse case, I may have to involve the proper authorities to deal with this issue. However, I will make sure to provide as much emotional support to the students.
12. What Are Your Goals As A School Counsellor 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
My early goal if I were to be accepted here is to increase the number of tertiary education admission among students. I would like to encourage students to be aware of their interests and pursue their dreams. This goal will be achieved by conducting program focusing on tertiary educational paths. That aside, I could open one-to-one discussions with students to provide consultation on their plans.
13. How Well Can You Handle Criticism?
There will be times where counsellors are criticized hence it is important to be prepared and handle them well.
Tip #1: Show that you expected critiques from growth
Tip #2: Display that you could accept criticisms positively
Honestly, criticisms do affect me. However, I always teach myself to reflect on myself and accept the positive input from the criticisms. There were times where I was criticized for my conduct. Those critiques taught me to be more flexible in my approaches. I also learned to always ask for opinions from other parties, for instance, my senior colleagues or even the school administrators.
14. How Do You Evaluate Counselling Program?
Aside from coming up with plans, a good worker should be able to monitor their progress and achievements.
Tip #1: Provide clear metrics
Tip #2: Avoid contemplating your answers
I will categorize the evaluation with short-term or long-term. Some results could be achieved in a shorter period. To evaluate them, I will check if the objectives of the program are met. I will also compare with the previous achievement from years before. Presenting the progress in numerical presentation such as graph would provide a clearer insight.
15. How Do You Further Improve The School Counselling Program?
A good candidate will envision further growth in their career.
Tip #1: Be realistic
Tip #2: Provide feasible instances
Doing survey from students to check on how helpful our counselling program will help to track improvements that could be done in the future. I also suggest setting a benchmark from other schools. Doing this will provide insights into how well our school is performing compared to other schools. Valuable input obtained could be applied in our counselling program.
16. How Do You Deal With Upset Parents?
This question will display the candidate’s conflict management and communication skills.
Tip #1: Display that you can stay professional
Tip #2: Bear in mind the necessary protocol to abide by
I will first listen carefully to their dissatisfaction. It is important to clarify the policy and system of work done in the school. This will allow parents to be aware that some matters could not be addressed simply. As a counsellor, I may be able to entertain the parents to a certain extent. However, if the matter is deemed more serious than expected, I may have to ask for intervention from more proper higher-ups.
17. What Do You Think Is Your Biggest Weakness As A School Counsellor?
This question will display the candidate’s honesty and room for improvement
Tip #1: Do not say mandatory skill as your weakness
Tip #2: State how you are working on overcoming the weakness
My biggest weakness is that I often myself emotionally drained after handling big cases of events. This is quite tough as I often had to muster back my strength to give my level best for the upcoming event. However, I am gradually learning to cope. I learned from my seniors that it is okay to take a break as long as it does not disrupt my performance as a good school counsellor.
18. Describe Your Preferred Approach In Counselling.
This question tests the candidate’s knowledge of the profession.
Tip #1: Provide a specific approach
Tip #2: Explain why do you prefer that approach
My most favourite approach is person-centred counselling. Adopting this approach will encourage students to be able to make their decisions. This will make them aware that they are free to control their will and that counsellors will always be there to help them thoroughly judge any plan they are doing.
19. What Would You Do If A Student Told You They Want To Quit School?
This question will display how the candidate deals with issues among students.
Tip #1: Be calm
Tip #2: Display that you could deal with the issue effectively
I will display that I understand their circumstances. I will encourage them to list down what are the pros and cons of the decision that they will make. This will help them to consider the decision more carefully. I will try my best to convince them of the importance of education for them. That being said, I will provide support and help them to draw out their motivation.
20. How Do You Deal With Student-Teacher Conflict?
Being fair and providing the best judgment is needed to become a good counsellor.
Tip #1: Show that you could be fair in such situation
Tip #2: Provide how you could help solve the issue
It is crucial to listen to both sides and avoid taking sides. I will make sure to be neutral and only act after a thorough investigation has been done. If the conflict is minor, I will encourage both of them to approach and overcome the differences themselves. However, if the conflict is huge, I may have to handle the conflict more meticulously.
These 20 interview questions and answers could be referred to if you are applying for the school counsellor position. We wish you luck with your interview!