Top Headteacher Interview Questions To Prepare For

1-2 minutes

The role of a Headteacher requires leadership, authority and commitment. To become a successful Headteacher, you must lead a school to success and play a crucial part in every child’s education.

This is exactly why the interview process for a Headteacher role can be rigorous and thorough. 

If you’re preparing for a Headteacher interview, we’ve compiled the most frequently asked Headteacher interview questions and how you should be answering them in our latest insights piece.

Headteacher interview questions

Whether you’re an experienced Headteacher, looking to change schools, or you’ve worked your way up the career ladder to a headship, the interview process for such an important role is bound to be daunting. If your interview skills are a tad rusty, conducting a mock interview is an effective way to practise for the real thing.

Rehearsing in advance will ease your nerves and allow you to prepare answers for questions that you might be asked by a hiring manager. 

These are the four most common Headteacher interview questions which you may be asked:

  • How would you describe your management style?
  • How will you ensure that your staff’s well-being is a priority?
  • How would you deal with a dispute between colleagues?
  • If you could change anything about how the school is currently run, what would it be, and why?

How would you describe your management style?

No matter the industry, when applying for a management role, a hiring manager will assess your ability to lead a team. For a school which is recruiting a new Headteacher, it’s important to ensure that their management style will earn the respect of existing teaching and support staff. 

Whilst you must be a good fit for a school, a hiring manager will also be looking for uniqueness in your leadership. An individual who brings something new to the table through their management style will be highly sought after.

The most effective way to answer this question is to think outside the box. Think about how your management style will help you stand out from other applicants and appeal to a hiring manager. Maybe you’re good at remaining calm in challenging situations, or you’re able to confidently make important decisions. 

To make your answer more credible, back it up with real-life examples. If you’ve previously held a management position, draw on this experience and highlight how your management style led the school to success.

How will you ensure that your staff’s well-being is a priority?

Now more than ever, employee well-being is of utmost importance and employers must support mental health in the workplace. As a Headteacher, it will be your responsibility to ensure your staff are happy in the workplace. When answering this question, we advise emphasising the importance of a happy Teacher in a child’s education.

When a Teacher is happy and satisfied in their job, they are more likely to be enthusiastic and motivated in their interactions with students. This can have a positive impact on student engagement, learning, and overall academic performance. 

Additionally, Teacher turnover can be disruptive for schools and students. When Teachers are unhappy in their job, they may be more likely to leave their position, leading to a constant turnover of staff. This can negatively impact school culture and student learning. You should emphasise your understanding of this to the hiring manager.

To enhance your answer, list some measures you would put in place to protect your team’s wellbeing and ensure that staff are fulfilling their roles. This could include flexible work arrangements, recognition and rewards, and fostering a positive work environment.

How would you deal with a dispute between colleagues?

In a workplace with many different personalities, disagreements between colleagues will inevitably occur. A Headteacher will be expected to step in and diffuse the situation before it escalates. A hiring manager will want to ensure you have the right characteristics to resolve a dispute promptly and fairly.

Explain to a hiring manager that to deal with a workplace dispute, you would listen to all sides of the story, remain impartial and create a plan to avoid future conflict. This will prove to a hiring manager that you have a strategy to deal with any issues which arise.

We also advise emphasising which of your personality traits will help you resolve the conflict. Maybe you’re a good listener or an effective communicator who can resolve issues quickly. These are desirable traits for a Headteacher to possess.

Include real-life examples in your answer to assure a hiring manager that you have the experience, confidence and authority to deal with disputes between colleagues.

If you could change anything about how the school is currently run, what would it be, and why?

This is potentially one of the trickiest Headteacher interview questions you could face. You might feel awkward pinpointing something you would change about an establishment when you’re applying for a role.

However, this question isn’t there to catch you out. A hiring manager will be assessing your ability to implement change. To answer this question effectively, we advise researching the school before your interview. Look into the establishment’s culture and procedures for a thorough insight into how the school is currently run. 

If there’s an area where you’d implement change, be confident in conveying this to the hiring manager. As a Headteacher, you’ll be expected to lead the school to success, so it’s vital you have a vision for the future of the school and the necessary authority to implement this vision.

Always remember to provide a strategy or reason for any changes you would like to make. It’s all very well stating you want to improve exam performance, but without a strategy to support your suggestion, your answer will fall short. 

Discover the latest Headteacher jobs

If you’re searching for your next Headteacher job, why not take a look at all the opportunities available with Spencer Clarke Group now? 

Alternatively, why not speak with one of our specialist consultants who can discuss any upcoming opportunities. We work with hundreds of schools across the UK and can offer a range of opportunities including temporary, permanent and to temp-perm positions.

If you have aspirations of working your way up the career ladder, why not check out some top tips on how to become a Headteacher. 

Who is Spencer Clarke Group? 

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Similarly, we understand the impact which an experienced and skilled employee can make to a business and we love seeing clients thrive through the hard work of candidates which we have placed with them. 

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If you’re searching for a new role, why not visit our job page to take a look at the latest opportunities? Alternatively, upload your CV and one of our experienced consultants will contact you when a relevant opportunity becomes available. 

If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help? One of our consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you. 

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