Nailing Your School Counselor App and Interview Survey - Shared
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Are you (or have you been) involved in the hiring or review process for school counselor candidates?Can you roughly estimate how many candidates you have screened or interviewed in your career?Please enter the number of years you have been working as a school counselor.How important is the initial impression (handshake, introduction, eye contact, appearance, etc.) to your overall perception of the candidate?With regards to dress - would you rather have candidates over or under dress?Do you expect candidates to bring a copy of their resume for all panel members?Do you have any favorite questions that you ask that really tell you a lot about a candidate?What are things you have seen in the past that have really helped a candidate stand out that you wish you saw more of?How important is the use of data and specific examples in response to questions?In your experience, what is the #1 turn off when interviewing a school counseling candidate?Do you have any tips on helping applicants get through the paper screen?Can you tell when a candidate has practiced and prepared for their interview?Do you have any advice or wisdom to offer on any part of the application, review, or hiring process we haven't covered?
1571081What would be your top priorities as a school counselor?
How would you develop/implement a developmental school counseling model?
CACREP accredited graduate programs
Experience with special education or children with special needs (in or out of educational setting)
9Talking about health/medical problems
Negativity about prior positions/supervisors/coworkers
We typically have very few applicants in our area so anyone with a certification gets an interview1Relax, breath and be yourself
1201110100Scenario questions that allow you to see a person's problem solving, communication and prioritizing skills. I also like, "why would I want you to be my child's school counselor?" I also like the question about what your colleagues would say about you behind your back. Unfortunately, basic social skills are often lacking. Does a person make eye contact, sit appropriately, smile, and answer questions thoroughly during an interview. I really like it when a candidate asks questions of the interview panel or about the school at the end of the interview and when you can tell the the candidate has done some research about the school. 10Lack of preparedness. This is demonstrated in how they answer questions, how they dress, whether they know anything about the school or current counseling program and by how passionate they appear about school counseling in general and being a school counselor. Include related work and volunteer experience. Please be mindful of your social media posts/pictures/presence. I have not given interviews to people based on what they have on social media. It also really helps to go to a CACREP graduate program. I will often screen out applicants who did not go to an accredited program. 1Dress professionally. Watch social media. Do research about school/district/current SC program in place. Be passionate. Answer questions thoroughly. Understand how to use data to make decisions and demonstrate effectiveness.
11025771Tell us about a time you were working with a group or an individual student, and it didn't go well. What did you do?Specific, relevant examples of work with individual and groups of students that allowed the interviewer to determine how candidates relate to kids, how they think on their feet, the degree of their empathy, the degree of their common sense, etc.10early questions about salary, too much personal information, poor grammar1Unless you're asked to do so, don't repeat what's on the resume (probably sitting on the table/desk in front of the interviewer). And remember to ask questions of the interviewer, such as what do you like most about working here? What surprises you about your students?Can you tell me about the expectations of parents? etc.
1251010100Understanding of ASCA model
Passion for school counseling 8Answering questions even when they don't know the answer, better to be honest about unfamiliarity and willingness to learn Depth of internship experience in school setting1Be confident. Be genuine. Be an advocate for students.
15020981How do you deal with unrealistic expectations from students and parents?Candor7Lack of experience, pomposityBe honest, sound enthusiastic, manifest your love of working with young people, WRITE WELL!!1Read and reread what you send us -- correct grammar and punctuation are important, especially in an educational setting!
11010790Questions that address handling a difficult situation with a peer, a student, a coworker, etc. Honesty
Willingness to admit uncertainty about how to handle a situation
5If they are not a team playerSell yourself
Talk about your accomplishments
Tell how you were different or unique from others in your program
1Think through what questions might be asked
Research the school you are interviewing at for a position. What do you see on their website that you like.
12511970Tell about a very challenging situation involving a student or family and how you handled it.Someone who said, "Can we come back to that? I'd like to give it more thought."7Someone who is brash and doesn't seem like a listener/empty vessel.Highlight related volunteer experience and meaningful internship activities.1Really have given thought to your mission and why you want to be a school counselor and that should shine through.
11522770Please share why you chose school counseling as your profession.It is very obvious when a candidate is unfamiliar with the level to which they are applying. Elementary counseling is VERY different from secondary counseling. If you do not have practicing experience at the level to which you are applying, then visit with practicing counselors to see if that level is right for you. Learn what will be expected of you and determine if you have the necessary training or experience and be honest if you don't. Offer suggestions about your willingness to get the needed training.6Private counselors or social workers who have no idea what being a school counselor entails. School counselors have several hundred students on their caseloads and they need to have skills in teaching pedagogy in order to conduct classroom lessons.Check your spelling...three times...and then ask someone else to proofread.1Most districts have online applications now. Each one has different requirements. Most require PDF uploads of transcripts, letters of recommendation, letter of interest, resume, etc. Be organized and make lists of each district application website, login information, and notes for deadlines and extra requirements. Keep a folder on your desktop for all the files you need to upload. Check district websites daily as jobs will often be posted with short application periods. I also recommend starting the online process with districts before any jobs open because the process is labor-intensive and time-consuming. If you do this, you can often apply by clicking a couple of buttons and then waiting for the interview appointment call. :). Don't be surprised if you are asked to do a timed write on a given prompt as part of the screening process. Two times, my question had to with reporting possible child abuse.
150221081what do you know about our school?ability to answer the question, not what they think they should but think about and authentically answer5either too quiet or too talkativesite specifics in their resume - participated on the IEP team1Dress well, make eye contact, be polite, ask questions about the school and the school's counseling program based on what you have learned from researching the school(I noticed you do a College Fair, parent program on ...). Be energetic (no task is too small - you're new and want to learn as much as you can), be willing, be engaged (talk about joining professional organizations to continue learning about the profession - be a student of the profession always), understand the urgency and the power of the job and be aware of how this affects kids, teachers, parents (be responsive, not judgmental). Like parents and love kids!
11528101Tell me about a situation that you failed and how did you learn from it. Some extra materials that show they are prepared for the interview-presentation slides, outlines for the year, etc5Not understanding confidentiality and duty to reportNo mistakes on resume. Appealing resume that isn't just a form. Experience. 1N.A
12514990Tell us something about yourself that is not on your resume
Asking why counseling, but more importantly: why our school/position?
being a "go-getter": evidence of going above and beyond
an awareness of limitations of being "new"...comfortable utilizing the supports around us (we don't expect a new hire w/ no experience to know everything...we look favorably on recognizing limitations as a counselor and seeking support/assistance as needed
asking us why we enjoy working in our positions, what qualities we hope the successful candidate has
8asking about the salary (particularly in the early rounds)
bad mouthing someone you never know who people know.... (we once had a candidate say she decided to become a counselor b/c hers was awful...and a dear friend of some of us)
absolutely NO typos
specific reference to position in cover letter (non-generic)
1network...let others know you are on the may get you in the door for an interview
if not the successful candidate, ask for feedback on how you could improve
bring questions for the committee, show that you have taken the time to know the district better
1511791Please tell me about s time you didn't do something well. How did you find out you didn't do it well? How did you correct yourself? Digital portfolio9Asking about pay or specific grade level (should be prepared for any grade level) Use key words (ASCA language) 1Humor always helps candidates to look more relaxed and gives team a chance to see how you would "fit in"
130128101Situational questions that ask them to describe how they would handle a parent or student, looking for them to apply what they've learned.Candidates who have done their homework on the school and district they are interviewing for. Highlighting detailed knowledge they may have of how a particular school does certain processes, traditions, etc and how they could contribute to that. Like we tell students when they visit a college, do your homework on the website etc before you go!10Poor appearance, grammar, too casual in interactions. Also anyone not completely student centered!Volunteer experience, community service, etc. should be listed, degrees with GPA, and a powerful cover letter that sheds light on personality.1While hard - RELAX! Part of the interview is determining if you are the right fit for our community. We need to get to know your personality to get a "feel" for how you will work with our team. Also, have a "platform" that helps identify who you are, a thread that runs through your answers is outstanding when we go back and are thinking over the six people we just interviewed back-to-back, it helps us think of you quickly and specifically as the person who had a strong skill set in the area of "xxx".
11251071When working on a team, what role do you play? Talk about a time when you were in a highly functional group or a highly ineffective group and describe what contributed to either scenario.Genuine. Friendly. Student Advocate. Give specific concrete examples. Help the committee envision working with the counselor.
I also am impressed by new school counselors who get involved in the professional organizations, potentially present at a conference.
10Overly confident or arrogant. No one is perfect, and we all have things to learn even the most experienced counselor. What are the areas for growth or areas of future focus? Save your answers, then cut, copy, paste and modify based on the school. With little paid experience, has the candidate sought out volunteer opportunities?
(potentially with non profits.) There are other great roles new counselors can seek out in regards to volunteer hours with counseling students, specifically in the college application process.
1After applying - follow up with a personal email.
After interview, follow up with thank you note.
As a board member for a counseling organization, I would encourage future school counselors to get involved, attend conferences, etc. How is the counselor committed to professional development?
1104851Talking about past issue with staff member/admin/parents and how did it solve/overcome?Passionate 9Blaming the education system or other people while they are talking about their experience. Summer camps for youth, attending current workshop for counselor, run a group during intern time 1Stay positive and talk positive during the process.
110271081How would you handle a disclosure about sexual abuse. In depth knowledge of emotional disorders and treatment, knowledge of school law, familiarity with special education procedures and diagnoses, understanding of importance of building relationships with faculty as well as students.8No enthusiasm, no eye contact. No interest in being a leader in the school. Ask for letters of recommendation from any person who supervised them in volunteer positions, or from people who can give recommendations based on the applicants work ethic, etc.0Network, make yourself known. Be thorough when answering questions. Practice interviews with experienced counselors!!
1259101Tell us about how you might use data to make counseling program decisions.Being able to develop rapport and clearly being student-focused are crucial. Being able to address identified strengths and challenges of the school shows that the candidate has done his/her homework. :)10In initial to a disrespectful/disorganized first impression (being late, slovenly, or not bringing a resume), a candidate who talks about why the position would be good for him/her --rather than how he/she would be good for the school-- is a turn off.The resume can highlight relevant skills and volunteer work.1Know the school's demographics, including strengths and challenges. If hired, reach out via email or phone to other counselors at the school.
17301091Why would you be the ideal candidate for this position?Polished look, portfolio, examples of working with children8Please dress properly and speak correctly.Share "what if' type scenarios with the panel concerning counseling situations.1Be calm and speak your truth. If you are not sure about an answer, do not try to fake it.
1100026990I have 2. One about confidentiality, and the other is your principal tells you to do something you disagree with. Can really get a lot from those 2 questions.Enthusiasm but not over the top. Also give examples rather than ", " I love kids", "I am a team player", etc.8Too confident. Talk about what they are going to change when they get the job. Also being too black and white. Makes them appear Inflexible.Internships and volunteer work helps. Also letters from a variety of sources. Also helps if they volunteered in the district they are applying in. If there is a long term sub....take it!1It is ok to have notes, but not long paragraphs that you are reading from. There was a candidate one time that when asked first thing "tell us about you and your experience", he had to bring out his notes. I understand that candidates get nervous, but having to look at your notes to tell about yourself did not look well. Candidates have to be able to be quick on their feet with parents, kids, teachers, admin.... No time to look at notes.
1151510100Tell me about a time when you've struggled.Great cover letters, hand-written thank you notes, knowledge about our company5Grammar mistakes in resume and/or cover letterUse strong verbs and descriptions that get right to the point. Your participation in campus and community activities makes up for lack of paid experience.1Use the interview as an opportunity to network and make new friends.
180111081How would your prioritize your day as a school counselor? How would you use data in your work as a school counselor?Confidence, being able to articulate outstanding examples from their internship.7Not being prepared, assuming we know them, distracting piercings or jangly jewleryCLEARLY show where you have experience conducting the job duties. Make sure your credential dates are included if you've recently finished school. Don't be afraid to stand out- color is ok on modern resumes but you'll need to bring copies to your interview. Most HR departments only print in black and white so make sure your color is legible even if printed in grey scale 1If you're applying for HS you will be coaching students through the interview process as your job- be sure you can go through the process yourself in a calm manner.
1500241080What question to you wished we had asked you that we did not?Knowledge of my school and knowledge and comfort level of using data10lack of understanding of a school climate and culture; referring to students as clientsMake a connection to the school in the cover letter. It shows you've done your homework and that you are willing to take the time to individualize the cover letter.1Look at my school's data, ask questions and offer insights or suggestions on how we could improve. This shows deep understanding of the data and thinking about solutions for our problems.
11516990What is something new you could bring to our program?Being prepared with knowledge of the school and community.7Not student centeredForward thinking ideas on resume.1Be sure they are ready for "What if" questions.
1104891Scenario questions, particularly regarding steps to be taken in dealing with multiple crises at one timePortfolios, responses that involve creative approaches to handling student conflict2Too much focus on routine, "advising" and not enough on relationshipsNo, this is tough1Thank you notes and follow up. Be genuine and don't burn bridges because you never know where you will end up
11110100What drew you to the field of counseling? Full explanations of past experiences that are relevant to the job. 10Vague answers Don't wait to be called. Go and introduce yourself to the principal once you put in your application. I got in interview on the spot when I did that. 1Be warm. Be honest. Be genuine. Interviewers are impressed if you take over the interview by sharing all of your relevant experiences.
181110100For millennial: Are you outstanding as a school counselor? If so, how?Specific projects they have done and the impact on stiddnts10Anyone who say "if I can reach one student" We have to try to reach/impact all students No errors or spelling mistakes. Highlight specific projects from your practicum1Know the district you are interviewing with and how you can impact students within that district
19171080Do you have any questions for us?Willingness to ask questions. Evidence that they have researched our school and thought of questions on their own. 5Weak handshake and lack of eye contact. Some, any kind of current employment with kids. You may have the degree, but if you are currently working as a bank teller you won't get past our Administrators. 1If you don't know the answer to a question come up with something, anything! You can begin by saying I don't know the exact an, but how about this, etc., etc. School Counselors are resourceful, show the interview team that you can think on your feet.
11528890I like candidates prepared to answer how they deal with multi-tasking or in responding to difficult situations.A candidate being able to provide evidence of their passion for working with young people is helpful so using anecdotes is effective. Confidence and enthusiasm are wonderful attibutes, particularly when it comes to taking on challenges.8Negative comments about former schools or supervisors. A personal, concise cover letter is a good lead in.1Come prepared with good questions and do your research on the school before your interview!
12512991Tell us about a time where you struggled, either professionally or personally, and how you overcame what you experienced?

Tell us about a project that you worked on. What went well, what do you wish was different?

What is your favorite activity to do with students?

What do you want to work as a school counselor? (this one could be telling on their expectations for the work)
Data production and analysis sharing. Do they know how to collect and use data?

Balance of work and personal life.

Use of specific examples when answering questions.
9Poorly dressed sets bad tone (especially if too revealing clothes)

Unprepared or does not know anything about our school.

EDIT!!! Look for spelling errors, typos, etc.

Make sure letters of rec are either generic to position or are not for another posting. I don't like seeing a letter where it says what an amazing fit they will be for another school.

Up to date letters. Quality is better than quantity. I would prefer a letter from their last position or internship over one from a professor in their bachelor program.

Think about things that make you a stand out. They may not even be "education related", but figure a way to include. Example, I worked for Disney. This is not education, but I was able to talk (and write on resume) about guest service and sales experience.
1I worked in high schools as counselor and AP. I was always impressed when candidates knew our school or came dressed in school colors. Have them think about ways to get involved and use their strengths outside the classroom/office. Does the school offer after school programs that candidate can contribute to? Do you they love managing websites? Are they willing obtuse a club advisor?
167961YesConfidence in data driven program10You know. . . ResponsesHighlight professional development; things you do outside of the job to enhance practice1Over prepare; learn about the neighborhood where you are interviewing, look at public school data - do your community homework
11525680Yes...the first one where they summarize their career / experienceKnowing information about our school rate etc10Low energyOrganize resume with skills vs where u have worked.. i.e. Ability to run groups ...
List things they did in internship
1Take a breath and think before you start talking. You don't have to talk right away.
It's ok to say you don't know something and then say..I look forward to learning X.
185891How they work as a team with other staff, admin, etc.

Also, situational questions relating to parent concerns, student situations and teacher/staff concerns or situations
Genuine care/concern for students; experience and/or knowlege of local college and career readiness initiatives; background knowledge of school make-up (demographics) and surrounding geographic area5Name dropping Be open and honest, and include graduate school experiences and any non-paid experiences that could relate1Be real and true to yourself...don't just give canned responses...
001991What is your most innovative idea?N/a8N/aNetworking 1Be genuine
12527880Why did you become a school counselorEnergy and passion for being a team member. 9When the tell us they became a school counselor because they lover to work with kids.Neat and short resume. 1Share specific examples. Be unique and creative. Don't talk too much. NE prepared with at least 2 questions to ask them.
1205581"Who owns student failure"Research about the school or district, well prepared questions. 7Being late without a call to alert the interviewer Please don't send in a resume longer than two pages. Always check for grammar and spelling errors and have someone else check too.1Plenty of times in the interview room we as the panel can acknowledge the candidate may have said or done things as a result of nerves but 9 times out of 10 that doesn't factor into our decision so try not to get too bogged down in worrying about appearing nervous.
1218881NoExamples of classroom guidance and tech skills8No eye contact and a flat affect Be certified or eligible for certification 1Talk to experienced counselors before you go so situational questions won't shock you. Understand the different between a title 1 school and non title one. The way you serve kids in need is very different than an affluent community.
1156881yestell a story of how thwy went above and beyond to help a student5name dropping of people they may know in the school or district.... its not about them, its about you and your abilities!!!some sort of relivant experience, involvement in local or state counsling groups, attending conferences or extra trainings1Always get the names of those on the committee and follow up with a hand written thank you note
133981Organizational strategies Body language. Relaxed. Eye contact with everyone in the room. 4No eye contact Volunteer at student center, previous experience in the counseling lab 1A mentor taught me this... think of every question they could possibly ask during the interview then write down the questions and your answer. When they ask those questions, you already know your response!
12025661Tell me about a time you felt less than successful with a student and how would you have changed your approach?A true love of students!10General statements having no "real world" connection. The cover letter is important. Also personal statement of core school counseling beliefs. 1Be knowledgeable of the school district and what programs are used - PBIS, etc.
145291080Some of my favorites are not related to school counseling.

We always ask about their hobbies or what they like to do outside of school because it gives us a different insight into their personality.

We sometimes ask them what book they are presently reading for pleasure and what they are reading related to their work.

I like to ask about a major faux pas/mistake they made and how they repaired or bounced back from it.

I also like to ask at the end of the interview if there is anything they would like us to know that has not yet come out in the interview. I think this is a great opportunity for candidates to sell themselves, as well as an opportunity for them to let us know about something that might sway us in their direction that our questions did not bring out.
Their own ability to interview us and their interest in us as a school community.6When a candidate cannot "go deep" with a counseling-related question and only gives textbook answers. I don't want regurgitation from a candidate; I want to know that they have internalized their learning and can apply in it ways that may not be obvious initially. I find this the hardest question to answer, but I will say that I look at a candidate's work history to check for longevity, regardless if it is a school related position or not. Job hoppers concern me. 1I would say that it is okay to follow up to an interview, but it would be important not to hound and contact the school over and over. I once had a candidate that repeatedly emailed and called and that was a big red-flag to us.
165241081Tell me something about you that would not be on your resume?Answers that show a human side of the candidate. Personal examples of using own struggles as learning ideas to help others.7Bragging about someone on the committee. It is a real turn off to keep identifying someone on the interview committee as a "guru" or the person is very well known out there, etc..Add specific examples of activities you have done in your experience. Grab the attention by sharing groups and classroom lessons done, for example: friendship, social skills, etc...1Bring a portfolio of activities and data done in an internship. Speak from the heart as you can always learn the daily activities, but I often look for the connection to the profession.
15261091YesPrepared with questions for the panel9Lack of information or very short answers Make sure combination of practicum and internship is in all 3 levels. Find a job working with kids. Let it known on the paper applications that you still practice the skills you've learned1Not at the moment
11069100How would your spouse/ best friend describe you?
Tell me what your ideal counseling program would look like.
Experience at the appropriate level (so volunteer and seek out opportunities even if new)
Track record of success/leadership
Great work energy
Knowledge and experience with ASCA model
6No experiences/ knowledge evident.
Never smiling.
Seek out volunteer opportunities so you can demonstrate/ have knowledge of as many experiences as possible. Strong reference letters.
Quality resume.
1Everyone gets nervous and everyone has their first interview and first job. Don't be discouraged if it takes a while to get a job. Keep growing and interviewing because it gets easier.
Also...I look for candidates from certain grad programs over others. Not a fan of the online programs in my area.
153790If you were to create a program at our school to help with the social emotional needs of students what would it be? It could be either whole school or grade level. Be CREATIVE! Don't be afraid to ask questions! Research the school you are interviewing at, you should know a little bit about the demographic you are working with!10Don't be too sure of yourself! Knowing what you are talking about is one thing, but coming across like you know everything is a turnoff. Chances are schools are hiring new candidates before they have amazing ideas, but also because they are moldable, you have to look like a team player!Anything you have done with kids at that level really helps! Doesn't have to be paid!1Just be you!!! We don't want to have to guess if you will fit in with our team or not, we want to have a good picture of who you are!
1548100Give us an example of a time you advocated for a student. How did it turn out for the student? Being relaxed, laughing7Extreme nervesWhen listing practicum experience, make sure you can take ownership or a strong partnership in activities. Help organize the college fair and career day, plan and teach classroom lessons. Don't take a backseat role. 1Be yourself. Sometimes you aren't the right fit and that's ok. It's better to wait for a position with people you'll enjoy working with than to be offered a position and be miserable because you're not the right fit for the culture.
1109780We usually have to do regular questions from the district but I like to ask about something they have done with kids that they are proud of.Smile and have a fun, layer back personality6Someone very nervous and showing little personality. Bottom line for me is more about fit in the office and being able to work together rather than data.Principals usually do the paper screen so I'm not sure. 1Wear school colors. Smile, laugh, have fun.
121810100Tell me why you want to be a school counselor. Professionalism, on time, confidence2Showing up late or dressed casualVolunteer, in rural schools coaching experience is good1No
1620881Tell me about your experience as a high school counselor regarding presenting to parents and students.
What strategies do you use to assist a student struggling in school?
Coming in familiar with the school and district goals. Professional dress, well spoken, and ideas that they wish to implement in the program8Too casual in demeanor or presentationShare your classroom and internship experiences.1Have them peepare with questions of their own. Have a minimum of theee questions to show hou have done your homework and have an jnterest in the position.
11512791How they handle parent conflict.Knowledge of strategies to help students and to communicate well with all those involved (Principal, teachers, parents, etc).9Lack of knowledge of basic information-how to help a student through a crisis, how to approach a teacher, etc. Be hopeful, truthful and have goals in mind that you can articulate. Never, EVER, over inflate your skills. 1Research the school you are applying to and have specific questions. Prep answers for potential questions. Don't be afraid to ask for a couple of minutes to think your answer through before answering a question.
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