Careers
Companies
Topics
Get Started
Interview Coach 1:1
Gain the confidence you need by asking our professionals any interview scenario, question, or answer you are unsure about.
Let Us Review Your Answers
Our interviewing professionals will gladly review and revise any answer you send us. Allowing you to craft perfect responses for your next job interview.
Interview Questions by Topic
Interview Questions by Career
Interview Questions by Company

Principal Interview Questions

Author
Ryan Brown
    Job Interviews Careers Education Principal

30 Principal
Interview Questions

  1. What are your career goals?

    Community Answers

    • "I would like to work as an Assistant Principal for several years before I decide if I would like to remain doing that or move on to Principal."
    • "Principal of an elementary school."
  2. How would you handle a difficult behavior situation?

    Community Answers

    • "I would gather all the information I could get about the situation. I would then make any decisions based on that information, keeping the vision of serving students at the core."
    • "I would handle it carefully. I would first make sure that all the people are safe and that the student with the behavior problem has a safe environment to de-escalate in. Then I would start the work of trying to help the student resolve their problem."
  3. What defines success for you as a principal?

    Community Answers

    • "Student achievement and a positive school culture."
    • "Success is based on the successes within the school. Success is when the data looks great, the teachers are happy, the students are happy and engaged in learning."
  4. How do you stay organized?

    Community Answers

    • "Prioritizing and planning."
    • "My calendar drives my day. I also try to stay fairly paperless. I work so that nothing is left unfinished. If I get a parent call, I all them back that day. Same with emails. I try to respond that day- it gets it done and out of the way. I also like keep a running spiral of what is going on in the short term."
  5. How did you deal with upset parents whose child complained about you?

    Community Answers

    • "I would start by having a conversation with the parents about the problem. I would clarify what it is the child had a problem and I would try to find a different way to interact with the student so that it was positive and constructive. I work from a place of positive intent and I assume others will too."
    • "Listen and seek their view. Talk through the situation and do what is best for the student."
  6. What steps would you take to handle a student who is a consistent behavioral problem in a classroom?

    Community Answers

    • "Help the team with an individual plan to support the student. Monitor the student using data over time to determine next steps."
    • "I see behavior problems as an opportunity to teach. Then, if that does not solve the problem I need to find out the function of the behavior. Is the behavior work avoidance, is the student tired at that time of day? Is there a conflict with the teacher, setting, or some other contributing factors that need to be resolved or addressed before the student can be successful. I would also invite the parent to help address the behavior. Most parents would like to know if there is something going on at school."
    • "I would continuously observe the student to see what is causing the behavior and than develop plan to address the behavior."
    • "Behavior is a message .. Investigate why the student wasn't engaged. what is the relationship with the teacher and the student and the student and the curriculum. What purpose does the behavioiur serve the student and how can we support the student with teaching more adaptive behaviours also build more of a connection at home and investigate if behaviors are there, what are the parents thinking, are they concerned and build a team of support around the student.."
  7. Tell me about yourself.

    Community Answers

    • "I earned my degree in education over twenty years ago. After I had my own children I was volunteering at the school and really loved being there- so I went back and got my Masters in Education, then I worked as a teacher, a head teacher, and most recently as Administrative Intern at Daniel Bagley. I am a direct communicator and like to be fair and honest with all my interactions. For me, education is key for our success as a society and I take it seriously. I also belive that childhood is brief and it should not be stressful to learn."
    • "I am a passion individual who believes deeply in the right of every child to receive an effective and strong education system. I'm a mom and a wife, I am a life long learner and write and explore and travel when I am not working. I was supporting my Mother in law on my compassion leave. and deeply commited to my family and work. I give 100 percent to the things I take on."
    • "I am a visionary leader that enjoys working with and supporting others for exemplary student learning."
  8. Why are you the best candidate for us?

    Community Answers

    • "I am super excited about leading here. I am collaborative and model the way. I want to support adult learning and see students succeed at high levels."
    • "I am the best because I am someone who can jump in and start working. I check in with my Principal but then I just go get the work done. I find ways to help staff and students be productive."
  9. What do you like least about being a Principal?

    Community Answers

    • "The sometimes deeper relationships with students you have when teaching."
    • "The thing I like least about being a Principal, I guess it would have to be when you are making calls to CPS. I never like knowing a child has been through such a hard time that I need to call the authorities and report it."
  10. What qualities make an excellent principal?

    Community Answers

    • "Model the way, collaborative, heart."
    • "A quality that makes me excellent is that I build strong relationships with teachers, students and families. It is through these relationships that I get my hardest work done. People know that if I am asking for something it is to help a student."
  11. What provides you with the greatest joy in being a principal?

    Community Answers

    • "Helping with and watching growth in students and adults."
    • "Being able to help support students and teachers in learning. I see learning as crucial to lifelong success, helping to inspire learning or support learning, or improve education is why I love this."
  12. What do you know about our organization?

    Community Answers

    • "A dedicated staff and caring community."
    • "I know the demographics, I know the neighborhood, I know the expectations for high achievement...I also know that with high expectations can come some stress. So part of my job is to make sure that students aren't stressed about school- that they just get to see it through the lens of being a child and learning."
    • "Our organization is focussed on student success, we strive to provide high quality engaging learning opportunities for the students we serve every day without exception with the goal of highschool completion for all our students there by creating lifelong learners that thrive as adults with the skills and knowledge to be contributing citizens."
  13. What made you choose to pursue a career as a Principal?

    Community Answers

    • "To support others in their journey as teachers and learners."
    • "I think a strong desire to help students succeed in academics and have a strong foundation for life is what drives me."
  14. Can you describe a mistake you have made before and how you addressed it?

    Community Answers

    • "I promised I would get a task completed when I knew I may not have the time. I gave a sincere apology owning up to the fact I should not have said I could finish in such a short time. I did complete the task with an extended time limit."
    • "One mistake I made was not talking to a parent soon enough when I could see she looked like she was upset with me. When I was did finally say, "It looks and feels like you are mad at me," she was able to explain her position and I was able to explain to her that the was not anything I had any control over. Not that I was shifting the blame, but that she and I together could have spoken to the Special education teacher and made some sort of arrangement for what she wanted."
  15. How would you resolve a conflict between two upset teachers in your school?

    Community Answers

    • "Seek out all the information for those involved. Listen carefully to both sides. Any resolution with be focused on our vision of educating students."
    • "First, I would find a neutral setting and make an appointment to sit down and discuss the issues that are affecting them. Then I would explain the context of looking for a win:win solution, looking for a solution rather than who is right or who is wrong. Then I would help facilitate the conversation making sure to have problems supported by concrete examples. Then I would help them to decide how they can resolve it. I would allow them the first opportunity to find solutions, if not then I would mediate it."
  16. Do you work well under pressure?

    Community Answers

    • "Yes, I do work well under pressure. That said, I like to do everything I can to be prepared so that I am not creating pressure in my work."
  17. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    Community Answers

    • "Principal or possibly a district position."
  18. What is your greatest strength?

    Community Answers

    • "I lead with my heart keeping the focus on student learning."
    • "I think my greatest strength is that I work well with both teachers and students."
    • "My passion and compassion. my belief in the positive in everyone,"
  19. How did you deal with lazy students?

    Community Answers

    • "I would try to motivate students by finding something that appeals to their personal interests. Setting achievable goals for students to see progress and receive positive reinforcement should encourage them to work harder."
    • "I would go investigate and see what exactly "lazy" behavior is and determine if there are other factors that I should be aware of before making a plan of action or having a conversation with the student. Then I would try to figure why the student is avoiding the work. After that, I would find some incentive to get the work done or have a conference with parents about sending unfinished work home to be completed."
  20. How will you ensure that staff members continue to grow as professionals?

    Community Answers

    • "By following a school improvement plan that includes staff development. Also, by surveys seeking out what staff wants and needs to learn about."
    • "Attend professional development workshops."
    • "Most teachers and staff members know what areas they want to grow in and develop. One thing I can do is to make sure that the shared staff professional development times are meaningful to them. The other thing is to make sure staff has time and access to collaborate throughout the year. Collaboration and access to quality Professional development opportunities are also important. I really see myself as a facilitator and guide."
  21. What is the most rewarding part of being a Principal?

    Community Answers

    • "Watching the growth and development of teachers and students as they learn to become self-aware of their strengths and the challenges they face."
    • "Making a positive impact on students and all stakeholders throughout the community."
    • "I love being able to work with both teachers and students to improve education. I think getting to work with student over the course of their time at school and develop those relationships is also why I love the work. I love being a part of a community where my influence can be helpful, calming, supportive and ultimately help students be the best they can be."
    • "Creating a positive culture and climate to help students' increase there learning abilities."
    • "Working with students and staff and having influence to create a effective learning community that impacts student success."
  22. Do you manage your time well?

    Community Answers

    • "I manage my time very well. I like to be busy throughout the day. The operational demands of a school are a full time job. Safety, supervision of both staff and students- resolving problems all factor into my day as assistant principal. Then there is also writing 504s, managing iep meetings, I live by my calendar but I am responsive to urgent concerns immediately."
  23. What do you think is the most important task of the principal?

    Community Answers

    • "Be the consistent voice of the vision and mission of the school and provide support to staff so they can be the best teachers."
    • "I think it is important for a Principal is to constantly ask "Is this what is best for students?""
  24. How did you cope with stress at school?

    Community Answers

    • "Mentally I stay focused on the vision and mission of educating students. I try to stay balanced and take care of myself."
    • "Ah. That is a the real work. First, I love the work that I do. I try not to add to it. I try to manage my life so that there are less stressors in other areas of my life. I garden, I walk, I ride my bike, I hike-I try to live my life to the fullest and come to school strong and fresh and ready to do the hard work. When there is a hard case- I talk to my husband about it. I tell him, he rubs my back and tells me that I can't fix everything and that all I can do is my best."
  25. Tell me about your education.

    Community Answers

    • "Diverse. with a focus on leadership."
    • "I graduated from SDSU over 30 years ago with a BA in education. After having my own children I went back and got my Master in Education. Most recently, I go my Principal cert at SPU."
  26. What have you done in the past year to better yourself as a Principal?

    Community Answers

    • "I have been reading and networking with other leaders and educators on social media."
    • "Experience. I have jumped right in and tried. I work to be a learner and knowledgeable about issues in our schools."
  27. What qualifies you for this position?

    Community Answers

    • "I have the proper certificates, experiences and drive to get the job done ensuring adults and students are learning at high levels."
    • "I have a masters in Education and I just completed my Principal certification. My leadership experiences include Behavior interventionist, safety, teacher evaluations, ELL coordinator The other thing that makes me is an excellent assistant principal is that I am self-starter and I work independently."
  28. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?

    Community Answers

    • "Sensitive when there is dissatisfaction with a staff member. Work even harder to build relationships."
    • "I think sometimes I take things to heart. I work on trying not to wear things home, or if I am still thinking about something- I have to give it the attention it requires and then move on. I need to work to balance my life and work."
  29. What is the most difficult part of being a Principal?

    Community Answers

    • "Having to release a teacher."
    • "Some of the hard moments of being a Principal are the things that are outside your control. It is about the student in a hard home situation and you have to trust that parents are doing the best that they can."
  30. What do you like most about being a Principal?

    Community Answers

    • "Working with like minded people who are continuous learners to support student growth."
    • "I like knowing that my positive attitude can help set the tone for teachers and students."