Deputy Principal Interview Questions - Scenarios

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So you are applying for a deputy principal role in your school and you have heard that panels often ask scenario-based questions?

In the interview, they will set the scene to say something like “A child fell on the yard and was hurt - what would you do?” First of all - reflect ‘has this ever happened to you and what did you do?’ What was good about how you resolved the situation and why? It’s important to note here that the panel are looking for reassurance about an aspect of school life that they feel may happen and it’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to give them evidence that you can act appropriately if the situation arose.

The Tenses You Use are Important

Secondly - aim never to answer in the ‘Modh Conníollach’ - instead, answer in the ‘Aimsir Chaite’ if you can. The past tense will give them the evidence (if you have it) that you have already dealt with a similar situation.

You can say something like ‘This has already happened to me actually and this is what I did….

Here are some sample scenarios to prepare:

  • A child fell in the yard and was hurt.

  • The boiler has broken down and the heat is not working.

  • An angry parent at the door - how would you manage that?

  • You receive an anonymous letter to the school saying that there is systemic bullying taking place in a certain class - what do you do?

  • A parent wants their child to be moved from one class to the other class at that level because their child and teacher do not get on - what do you do?

  • There is an outbreak of Covid in a class and you are acting up - what would you do?

  • You hear that staff members are in disagreement with a decision made by management - what would you do as DP?

  • How would you support the principal in your role as deputy principal?

Note the ‘Why’

Taking a step back and observing these scenarios from afar - we can read between the lines and see that important competencies here are clear communication (how would you do that?) conflict resolution (how did you effectively resolve conflict in the past? what steps did you take?) showing support (to staff members and the management team), showing respect (how can you show respect while dealing with a tricky situation?), investigating (how have you analysed a situation and investigated appropriately in the past?), effective decision making (are you good at making judgements quickly and effectively) etc.

Always read between the lines to get to the root of why scenario-based interview questions are being used. They will always be chosen because they reflect the needs of the school.

 

If you want to learn more about scenario-based interview questions and how to approach all types of interview answers (ultimately helping you to really impress!) check out my online course: ‘Help! I’ve an Interview in a Week.’ which is specifically designed for leadership interviews in education.

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