How to Cope With All Difficult Assistant Principal Interview Questions?

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School where good assistant principals are working

Assistant Principal, one of the most important employees of every educational institution, is responsible for a variety of duties. It is not easy to recruit a good AP, therefore you can expect a complex and sophisticated job interview.

What questions should you expect? How to make a good impression on the people sitting in the hiring committee? What decides the winner at the end?

Simply how to prepare for this challenging experience and walk away with a coveted job contract? We will try to answer the question on our website, that specializes only in assistant principal interview. Written by Glen Hughins, Consultant at Educational Recruitment Agency Meridian & Interview Coach. Enjoy your reading!

What questions to expect in an interview?

First of all, they will test your communication skills, values and opinions with a couple of typical questions:


You should not underestimate the importance of these basic questions, because first impression is made just once. If you manage to make a good one, you can count on it for the rest of the interview and it can carry you towards the finish line – a coveted job contract. . . .

After the “introductory” part of an interview, behavioral questions typically follow. These questions are focused mostly on your past experience with teaching, or with managing the others. You can expect the following questions:


  • How did you deal with upset parents whose child complained about you?
  • How did you deal with lazy students?
  • How did you cope with stress at school?
  • Did you supervise any school event in the past? What problems did you face? How did you handle the problems?
  • How did you motivate the students to do their homework, to prepare for an exam?


As you can see, these questions are focused on your past experience. Employers believe that once you took certain action in situation „A“, you will most likely act in a similar way in the future, should you face the same problem. What more, interviewers also verify your practical experience. Anyone can write anything on their resume. However, if they struggle to remember various work-related situations from the past, employers will not believe them. They will doubt their real experience. This should not happen to you.


Situational and personality questions

Schoolroom with many people

Needles to say, right personality is crucial for a good assistant principal. Your values and opinions interest the interviewers. They will ask you targeted questions to assess if you have right personality for this job, or not. They will also offer some dilemmas for your consideration, to see your opinions and ideas of improvement.
Once answering such questions in an interview, do not forget to have the interests of school at the first place, the interest of students at the second place, and your own interests just at the third place.


General questions, behavioral and situational questions. It is not easy, is it? However, that’s not all!

Personal preferences matter

To be objective, many principals, members of internal HR committees and Departments of Education, or whoever is going to interview you, are not real HR professionals. They are not going to use any scientific methods to analyze your answers to interview questions.
They are just men and women with good interests–to help the youngsters to find their way in life. And they want to do a good job themselves. . . . Like everyone else, also they look for good colleagues, for colleagues they will feel good with, for nice people who will help them to reach their worthy goals.
Can it be you?

Personal preferences are important. You should do your best to build a good relationship with the interviewers. I know it’s not common in many other interviews. But in this case, it is a must if you want to succeed. Smile, be friendly and easygoing. Try to tune yourself on the wavelength of the interviewers.


Do not forget to ask questions, get involved

People shaking hands in an interview

Good applicant for assistant principal position should be creative, responsible and active. You should present your ideas in an interview. Tell them what you would like to improve, what actions you would like to take, what you would like to do with students.
It is also strongly advisable to inquire about the school activities and the overall situation of the institution. You can also inquire about the challenges they face, etc.
More questions you give, the better your chances of getting a job.


Listen more, talk less

However, a good employee in education should be a good listener at first place. Try to present this ability in your interview. Listen carefully, do not interrupt them, and speak to the point only. Use rather short, but to the point answers. Do not forget to be positive. Schools are full of negative people. . . .

As you can see, it’s not to ace this interview. However, we believe that with the help of our website, you can end up being the one with the job contract. But the final decision is yours. We can give you a helping hand, but it is you who must take the first step, and study the information we provide. . . .

What to say at the end?

To get a job of an assistant principal is not a question of luck. The candidate who devotes lot of time to his preparation is typically the successful one. If you want to do more than your competitors, have a look at my Assistant Principal Interview Guide. You will find there detailed analysis of twenty common interview questions, coupled with multiple brilliant answers to each question. And some surprises too. . . . Thank you, I wish you good luck!

Glen Hughins, Your Personal Interview Coach

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