Interviewing can be a daunting task for any prospective candidate, and paraprofessional interviews are no different. Paraprofessionals are folks who are trained to do a job, but under the direction of a professional. They are often referred to in educational settings as instructional aides or teacher's assistants. If you are going for a paraprofessional interview, a few tips will help you. Get familiar with the job's duties ahead of time and pay attention to your personal presentation and your speaking skills.
Be Familiar with Job Duties
All job candidates are better served if they prep for the recruitment process. Often in educational environments, there will be a series of interviews, possibly with different department personnel. Prepare for the interview by researching the description of the paraprofessional job. Most public agencies, school districts, and educational organizations post these descriptions on their websites. If not, take the initiative and contact the human resources department to get this information.
Best Foot Forward
Another interview tip for paraprofessionals is to always put your best foot forward. Although this may sound simple, the best interview candidates will be fully prepared for any scenario-type question that may be thrown at them. Interviewers want to know how well you cooperate, collaborate and support the professionals you've worked with. Present yourself well by dressing like a professional. Be on time, be prepared, and be personable. These three principles will definitely lead the employer to look favorably upon you as a job candidate.
Practice Communication Skills
You can look at the interview as an audition. An important tip for paraprofessional interviews is to be confident in your answers and to have concise and descriptive communication skills. You need good listening and speaking skills to work with your professional colleague, pupils or patients. Face it, the employers will be evaluating your interpersonal skills and communication skills during the interview. It's best to practice possible interview questions and answers with a friend before you go to the real interview. It isn't overdoing it to videotape yourself answering questions to check out your gestures and body language, either.
The specific role of a paraprofessional is to be a team player and take direction from a teacher or other professional that you are working with on a daily basis. A paraprofessional needs to be willing to work in a cooperative environment, learning from the supervisor and applying the principles and practices each and every day. A paraprofessional must be able to show in the interview process that she will fulfill this role.
Jennifer Burton is a human resources professional based in California. She holds an M.A. in American studies from California State University, Fullerton.