Graduate (17th February 2009)
In addition to the technical stuff we usually throw in a few questions to test whether the candidates have given any thought to the particular problems of working in a school. Questions like - what do you think are the pros and cons of giving pupils their own email or even the very general what do you see as the particular challenges of working in a school?
Common sense approach is I feel best and humility in that you will not know what the answers to some of the technical questions will be, you can turn that around by letting them see your enthusiasm for the post.
Anyone can learn the job as you go on and gain the necessary skillset but the enthusiasm and drive is something you cannot learn as some people are not capable of setting targets and achieving them.
I gained this post through my enthusiasm for the job when up against graduates and Microsoft accredited candidates and the feedback I was given by the persons that interviewed me was just that, plus I was cheap hehe!
Just go with your gut feeling at the interview and just relax if you want the post enough you will get it.
its amazing how many people are given a job because they are the cheaper option!
biggest tip i was given the other day is make sure you say something at the end of the interview when asked if you had any questions or anything to add. perhaps they asked difficult questions or only concentrated on 'academic' experience. This is your biggest chance to fight for the job to say what you want to say instead of answering their questions and leave a good impression!
PS my orignal interview here was the worst interview ever. luckerly i had been working at the college for 2 years voluntary and i used to find it difficult selling myself especially when most the people in the room had known me for well over 8 years!!!! (also went school here, lol)
Last edited by gaz350; 17th February 2009 at 12:09 PM.
I realise you may be nervous about the technical side of things during an interview. I dont like people looking over my shoulder when doing things as it puts me off. However, it is an interview and a test of your skills. They wont always be looking at whether you managed to solve the problem, but more at how you go about solving it. If it is an entry level position and you will be working with someone else, then you will be learning from them. And it is important that you can work with them.
They obviously think you have the skills to do the job as they wouldn't have offered you an interview. By reading posts on here you can gain knowledge of the types of things you may be asked. But in all honesty if you have a job description/duties listed in the application pack, read over that because it's probaly those areas where you will be tested.
I think 'people' skills can be just as important as technical skills. Being able to get on with people, have a sense of humour, be able to work under pressure, be self motivated, and not lose your temper in front of students & staff are all attributes that are vital. Of course you need a basic technical aptitude, but as bossman says you can acquire technical skills 'on the job'.
At my school, when we interview for a technician, we always set simple technical tasks; we also ask the candidates to work in a classroom with students and staff where they will be called upon to assist students or the staff member with some ICT related activity. During the interview we will ask a set of questions, some technical, some school related, and some people related.
The last three ICT technicians we appointed following this formula have turned out to be really good recruits; they were appointed on the strength of their attitude towards the school, the job they wanted to do, and their ability to work with students and staff. None of them did particularly well during the practical test but they stood out from the field in the other areas.
In the case of the first two, we trained them up, and then unfortunately because of poor school pay scales & their desire to move on in their careers they have now moved on.
Anyhow, some advise from me haha. Here we go:
In two jobs I've been for in a school, I've been asked the question "You're a young 'good looking' man who may receive a lot of attention from some of the female students. How would you deal with this kind of attention?"
So that's something to think about - they may throw in questions like that.
As for asking questions after they've had their turn - this needs some serious thought. My gaffa taught me how to deal with this.
He split it down into 4 area's. (I'm trying to remember haha). Something along the lines of:
Think long and hard about idea's for each of these. Come up with a solution that will help each of the topics and then when you come to ask the question word it like: (example for technical).
"A stable, always-on network is now vital in any school. Are there any plans to introduce fail-safe/fail-over systems to achieve this...."
Or for staff topic:
"In past experience I've found that there are breakdowns in communication with staff. A messaging system can be installed....."
You get the drift.
When thinking of your ideas, try to think of stuff that isn't going to cost the school (or cost it much). They won't give you the job if they think you're gonna come in and demand money straight away. Instead, win them over by saying "Have you thought about doing this? The advantages are.... Oh, and it can be done for nothing (next to nothing).
This has been extremely useful to me in the past, and have been successful in getting 2 out of 2 jobs since I started interviewing like this. It shows your potential employer that you have already started thinking about how you will improve the school through the use of technology.
I didn't read everything here but questions I imagine will come up like:
1) Prioritize job questions
2) What would you do if a kid did this scenario and how would you react
3) Why a school?
4) What do you know about the school?
5) What would you do if a staff member argued with you and wanted there job done over someone elsE?
6) Where do you want to be in 5 years time
8) A computer with cables unplugged/ram unseated - technical test
9) Maybe a basic theory test such as what is DHCP? OU? OSI Model?
More for Secondary I imagine. Most of those questions came up in the the two interviews I had @ secondary level.
I did suggest questions and tests to be put into the interview process but as you saw nothing was really took place which TBH was stupid as they could have got any old twit. Instead partly interviewed by the local PCSO - lol. Though I do have every respect for the leadership team there, I thought they were brilliant IMO. Most approachable and friendly boss I ever had previously.
Still tho don't really need to much at Infant/Junior level really - most of the people applying won't be of high caliber anyway.
BTW how is the job going Witch? I hope well.
or maybe I am not of very high calibre???
It is nonsense to say that infant/junior level are not of high calibre - after all, we have to deal with everything whereas lowly techs in senior schools (like you ) may be limited to basic stuff with the senior staff or NM doing the AD or GPO stuff.
I have visited the local high school for advice about policies and the like and I was only able to speak to the NM because the techs had nothing to do with it.
As for the job: well this twit has now got ALL the programs working that weren't, sorted out the filtering (there wasn't any), got the policies to apply properly - they weren't doing and the children could have gone anywhere and done anything to the system/printers etc (not your fault, You -know-who) I suspect), got rid of all the old machines, etc etc
Last edited by witch; 22nd February 2009 at 03:47 PM. Reason: Name removed
Hell hath no fury like a Primary School Tech scorned, you mean
I didn't say you personally were not high caliber or an old twit, I was suggesting that, the scenario with an unqualified person taking the role as I.T. Technician at the school could have happened. God forbid! I Imagine it is also a similar case across the country. I doubt many people who are not starting out in the world can afford to take on a part time role/pro rata role on bad pay. Its usually a Mrs.Smith, old TA who has the role. I am glad you can handle the job now? I don't think the other choice could have done better than you in all honesty, which I did state. The fury of witch!!
Thats the problem when I was there etc o you just work at a Junior School so therefore thats an easy job? People think - On 8 hours a week. Whilst at uni full time in final year + doing website and newsletter. You should have seen the school before you came. There was about 40 old machines about. It was a sht hole.
I ve learnt a fair bit yeh in my new job tbh. I do have the right to do high up stuff as such. But theres no need to as it works fine and is not broke. However end of the day primary - secondary compared its a big difference sorry. I do a hell of allot more than I did at the Junior school. Now tho I don't have to do all the purchasing and chasing up suppliers + deal with all the shite of being the only I.T. tech. I start my life in the I.T. world as you are progressing yours at a Junior School. To complement anything @ work I do have rights for is my home network, which I am using whilst studying for the MCSA & the N+ / A+. Any questions I do have, I know alot of people in the I.T. industry, who are on 70k +. Very clever guys.
You-know-who was an idiot to say the least. I did many a time say no!!! During the tendering process it was a complete mess up.
Filtering on the SWGFL was fully on when I left, don't know what happened after I left. Same with printing etc which was working ok when I left. Everything was locked down when I left if I remember rightly. Again I don't know what happened after I left. Unfortunately due to budget demands it wasn't possible to get the same laptops, change policy across the board for logins etc. However with your fiery force I am sure you have made good changes! Scared them into submission (banged a few doors about - they don't call you the Witch for nothing) Hell hath no fury like Witch!
I pretty much had, had enough after stock take and paul booth last July - Also had just lost a job at the Infants and lost a few hours, wasn't enough work to do after a new network had been put in.
I didn't do the policy's, had a quick flick through tho - you had never done AD or GP stuff tho had u? You-know-who was forced upon me. I actually wanted School Care to come in and do the whole lot like they did at the Infants. You can't really do much on 15 hours whilst finishing off the CMS + newsletter.
Anyway apologies for not responding timely to all your emails requesting support and advise. I hope the website is ok for you? That version of the CMS was a bit shoddy. Still though its much better than most of junior school websites out there.
Last edited by witch; 22nd February 2009 at 03:48 PM. Reason: names and language
what we look for is common sense and a genuine, natural interest in IT and more importantly someone who can talk to people. A good understanding of education issues would be a huge plus too.
Ubergeeks need not apply. Skills are definitely secondary to attitude.
We sit down, get to know applicants and if they've got the right attitude and character to fit in in our school they'll get the job. Me and the boss will sit with and teach them whatever they need if they're lacking in any area.
We also don't rate practical tests very highly here.... how many times have we (old hand techs) gone to a call and missed the obvious solution / resolution to a problem. Speaking personally, dozens of times. Anyone who says they've never done that is a bullshitter.
Sometimes its all to easy to get blinded by problem when sometimes its literally just a 'check its plugged in' solution - especially so in an interview situation.
We can teach anyone with an interest and a desire to learn all the skills and more a tech needs to be a bloody good tech.
Of course, that's our way of doing things, and things work pretty well here
The ability to prioritise is very important. If the network goes down and my cup of tea is running low you had better know which one to sort first. Two sugars usually
Nah just kidding.... prefer cherry coke if i am playing the Xbox 360.
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