This is easy because your answer should come from the heart, as cliche as that may sound.
School Counselor Interview Questions
What makes you most passionate about being a school counselor?
This is easy because your answer should come from the heart, as cliche as that may sound.
"As a school counsellor, I am most passionate about making a positive influence in someone's life. I have very high hopes for our youth so working in a school allows me to be at the forefront of creating positive influences to these young individuals. I hope that through the work that I do, I will help mold responsible, productive and compassionate citizens of this country."
What do you do to relieve stress?
You can be more candid when answering this. Interviewers do not want a robot so show a little of your fun side and maybe highlight activities that could show how well-rounded you are (e.g. sports, music, arts, etc.)
"In between work or during the weekends, I hang out with my friends to watch a movie or try a new restaurant. Keeping myself active also helps so I go to the gym 3-4 times a week. However, when I have more time in my hands, I go out of town or out of the country to travel. It helps me recharge and really take my mind off work."
What is the difference between Counseling and Coaching?
When answering technical or theoretical questions, it is important to create an outline of your answer to demonstrate an organized train of thought. Provide concise answers and throw in an example to clarify the definition.
"There are two important factors that differentiate these concepts. First, is the approach. As a counselor, we focus more on understanding the individual's past to help them resolve or heal from a particular problem or issue. Meanwhile, coaching is more focused on setting goals for the future and the action plans that the individual has to do to achieve them. Second, counseling and coaching differ in their educational and training requirements. For example, a counselor is required to have a specific degree such as Psychology or Counseling, while coaches are not. Coaches can undergo trainings offered by coaching institutions regardless of their educational background."
Why did you choose a career as a counselor?
Interviewers want to know a candidate's propensity to stay in a job for a long time. By asking this, they are able to gauge if this is a career that the candidate sees himself or herself doing for a long time or if it is a fleeting interest. Be genuine when answering this question since interviewers can easily tell if you are simply saying nice things to get the job. It helps to add a personal story that could solidify your answer.
"I have always been a people person and I have this inclination to help others when they need it. Help comes in different shapes and forms, but for me, I want to help others in addressing their problems and improving their situations. So when I was choosing a degree for college, I decided to pick something that would allow me to do that and that's how I ended up in counseling."
"I began my educational career as a secondary teacher teaching English Language Arts and then moved on to working with middle school students. As a teacher, I was interested in not only teaching my students but getting to know them as people. Unfortunately, as a teacher, I did not get as much of an opportunity to get to know all of my students well. As a counselor, I am able to form lasting relationships with students and see them as more than just students, but people with problems and issues that contribute to their struggles and successes in the school setting that encompass their lives outside of a school setting. I am able to better understand my students as a counselor because I have more time to know every aspect of their lives."Rachelle's Answer
You have painted a great picture here, walking the interviewer through your career and what has landed you where you are today. Great response.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What influenced you to be a school counselor?
This should be easy for you but remember to always link your answers to important aspects of the job you're applying for.
"My passion for children is what initially inspired me to be a school counsellor. I love being surrounded by children and I want to be able to help them as they go through school life. Eventually, I learned that being a school counsellor requires more than just loving children. And so I decided to pursue that as a career hoping that I'll learn more ways to be of service to the youth."
"I knew that I always wanted to work with children. My undergraduate degree was in psychology. After I graduated, I worked as a case manager for the local mental health center. While I was there, I worked with students from many different schools and wanted to be in a more consistent position to make more of an impact. I also worked with school counselors and loved how the students relied on them."Rachelle's Answer
Being in a more consistent position is excellent reasoning for the change of focus. This is a nice, clear answer that, once again, really shows off your passion for making a difference in the lives of children.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
You witnessed a bullying incident. How will you address the situation?
Do not be afraid to use 'I' when answering situational questions. It is important to demonstrate what YOU would actually do, and not just provide a theoretical answer that would 'sound good' to the interviewer. Apart from providing solutions for the current problem, also offer a 'moving forward' strategy that would prevent this from happening again. It shows that you have the foresight and the ability to act on it.
"I will call the attention of the bully and the victim immediately and ask for their presence in my office separately. I believe confronting both of them in public will not solve the problem. First, I will talk the victim to let him/her know that I (and the school) care for her and that this issue will be addressed. Then, I will talk to the bully to get to the bottom of this act and reiterate the repercussions of his/her actions. Afterwards, I will notify the parents of both parties to request a meeting so that this issue can be discussed further and sanctions can be implemented. Moving forward, I will seek the approval of the school management to conduct an information drive on bullying to raise awareness amongst students and their parents. If there are already anti-bullying initiatives in the school, then I shall propose a relaunch to affirm victims of bullying that the school is with them in this, and that bullies will not be tolerated."
How do you manage your time?
When it comes to prioritizing, remember that apart from importance, urgency is also a major consideration. Don't forget to throw in an activity that you do for yourself to show that you make time for your well-being.
"One of the principles I learned from Time Management is the urgent-important matrix. So what I do is to assess which tasks are urgent and important, then list them down accordingly. That way, I am able to dedicate my effort and energy to the things that need my attention the most. I also believe in work-life balance, so outside of work, I try to dedicate a full day for myself to recharge and relax."
"My time at school is dedicated first and foremost to the immediate needs of students while at school. The majority of my time at school is dedicated to meeting with students or working with them in the classroom setting. If I am not meeting with students, I may be contacting parents or community resources to help students in other ways not necessarily connected with the school. Any remaining time is dedicated to completing any necessary paperwork or keeping track/setting up meetings to develop FBA/BSP's or 504 plans. I always make it a priority to be flexible, as any variety of situations can occur during a school day that I may need to attend to right away."Rachelle's Answer
Very good that you added the fact that you can pivot in your day. Your response shows that you are structured yet flexible.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What would you do when a student tells you that he or she wants to drop out of school?
Normally, scenarios like this would require school staff to respond a certain way. What is important to remember when asked a question similar to this one is to also show consideration for the emotions of the student.
"I would first ask the student 'What made you decide to drop out of school?' instead of asking 'Why?' I've learned that asking just why would put people on the defensive and I want to know the circumstances that led to the student's change of heart instead of making him feel that he needs to justify dropping out. Once he has shared his reasons and feelings towards dropping out, I will ask him what he will do when he finally does it. I believe that by asking the student to expound on his plan after dropping out will they realize how difficult the real world is, and how limited opportunities are to those without sufficient educational attainment."
"If a student were to tell me that he/she wanted to drop out of school, my intial inclination would be to ask what events or circumstances have specifically led to this conclusion. I would then ask if they had a plan for what they would do if they did indeed choose to leave school. Then, based on their answer, I would help to provide them with alternative options and work with them to understand all of the options they have before making a final decision."Rachelle's Answer
Excellent response. Thorough and insightful without being too wordy.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What would you do if a student tells you that they want to end their life?
This is a question that you should tread very carefully. It is best to highlight that you will engage more help to support the child while you are on suicide watch.
"Definitely, I will try to find out where he/she is coming from and what circumstance made him/her feel this way. I will tell him that I am here to help him and refocus his thoughts by asking him about what makes him feel good. Basically, I want the student to know that he/she is not alone in this battle and that I am here to listen to him/her. However, I will still escalate this to a clinical pyschologist/mental health professional who is focused on suicide watch so that we can protect the student better."
"I would make sure that the student and I were one-on-one in a quiet, safe environment and then I would initially ask what situation or circumstance has made him/her feel the need to end their life. I would then conduct an informal assessment to gauge the students level of severity in relation to suicide and ask questions such as: Have you made a specific plan to end your life? If yes, have you written it down somewhere? Do you have the item you plan to use to end your life? Based on their answers, I would ensure the student remained isolated and away from all objects that may be potentially fatal and make a call to my administrator so that a suicide crisis team may be called to help this student further. I would continue to stay with the student until given proper assistance and I would follow up in the days afterward to check on the safety of the student."Rachelle's Answer
Excellent outline of events and attention to detail. The interviewer will appreciate the step-by-step actions that you would take in this situation. The confidence you exude in your answer will set you apart.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I want to provide them with unconditional positive regard and let them know how I know how hard it is to tell someone that and that they did the right thing telling me. I would then follow the school suicide protocol and assess the risk of suicide. I would then contact the parents and continue to protocol. The next time they were at school, I would be sure to pull them into my office and follow up with them and their experience."Rachelle's Answer
The detail you provide showcases your depth of knowledge and also how much you care. Very well done on your approach to this question.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
For you, what is the role of a school counselor?
It is always best if you read and understand the job description because some schools may require more of a specific task than the other. By reading the job description, you'll be able to focus your answer on the highlights of the job.
"As a school counselor, I am not just after the welfare of the students but also everybody who is involved in the child's life as a student of the school. That means, I should be able to initiate programs and be proactive in making sure that the students, teachers, parents and school staff are in sync in making the school a conducive environment for the children"
"In my opinion, a school counselor needs to be an empathetic and objective listener who will advocate for student success and not judge students for their mistakes, but instead, work with them to realize that they have the power to make positive decisions everyday that will ensure their ongoing success as they get older."Rachelle's Answer
Very good response! If there are specific responsibilities mentioned in the job posting, be sure to include them as well.
"I agree with your organization that a school counselor needs to be an empathetic and objective advocate for student success. You even say so in your school's mission statement, which caught my eye. As a school counselor, I am acutely aware that I need to work with students to help them realize they have the power to make positive decisions every day which will ensure their ongoing success."Was this answer helpful? Yes (5) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"For me, the role of a school counselor is to provide support to students and staff by managing the school counseling program as well as providing individual counseling, group counseling, and classroom lessons. I want to be someone that students feel safe coming to. By providing support to staff and students, I want to make the school culture a more positive environment to work and learn."Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic! You have a clear grasp of the role and its responsibilities. If there are any specific details to add from the job posting, be sure to sprinkle those in.Was this answer helpful? Yes (2) or No (1)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Who is your role model? Why do you look up to this person?
Interviewers want to know your motivator/s or inspiration/s. When you are asked this question, highlight a trait that you admire about your role model and share an experience where you used what you learned from that person.
"My mother is my role model. She is a very confident and smart woman who has an excellent work ethic. But more than anything, it is her compassion for others that I admire the most. I learned from her that success doesn't matter if you don't care for the people around you and help those in need. Because of that, I always try to help others to the best of my ability so I can make a difference in their lives in my own little way."
As a counselor, how would you use your role to prevent violence in school?
Offer multiple solutions so the interviewer knows that you have considered different scenarios as you plan this action. Having enough options is important so you are ready for unexpected scenarios.
"For me, prevention is still better than cure. Because of this, I will ensure that information drive in the school is intensive across all grade levels. Students who are prone to being violent should know that we do not tolerate violence, while the rest should know that they can turn to the school for help and support should they be the object of violence. Apart from this, I will also encourage the implementation of school activities (e.g. sports, arts, music). Violence is a result of negative energy so I believe that if we keep students busy with productive activities, it will make them more positive individuals."
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Most people find it difficult to visualise long-term plans. If you haven't decided on one yet, do not say something that you don't mean. Be truthful but keep your answers simple and believable. It would also help if your 5-year plan is still related to the field you are applying for.
"I see myself still in the counselling field, but I hope that by that time, I would have had more exposure in counselling various types of people - young children, older ones, those with special needs, etc. On a personal note, I hope that I am half way through finishing my PhD by then, if not finished."
How would you divide your time between meeting the immediate needs of the students and keeping up with the paperwork?
Time Management is important in almost every job out there. Answer this question by simulating how you would go about a regular day at the office. That way, the interviewer will see how you prioritize your tasks. This manner of answering an interviewer's question also shows that you have the ability to plan.
"It all boils down to knowing your priorities. As a school counselor, the children's welfare are of utmost priority but I would definitely allot a significant amount of time to also fulfill my other obligations such as paper work. I could start the day by doing my rounds in school right before classes start. I believe it is important for me to be visible during the times of the day that the children are out (including break and dismissal time) so I can observe them and also mingle with them. When classes start, I can begin going through paper work and emails before attending to meetings I have scheduled with parents or with students. By doing my paper work in the morning, my schedule can be more flexible in the afternoon in case there are concerns with students that I need to immediately call to my office."
"My first priority as a school counselor is to meet the immediate needs of the students and I would, therefore, make their welfare at school my priority above any paperwork I may need to complete. I would complete any paperwork necessary in between times that I meet with students, teachers, or parents. I would also utilize after school time to complete my paperwork obligations if necessary."Rachelle's Answer
Very good answer. Straightforward and shows off your great time-management capabilities.Was this answer helpful? Yes (3) or No (2)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Why did you choose to apply in our school?
You don't have to memorize the history of the school to ace this part. You can mention what the school is known for (e.g. 'It is among the top private schools in the district', 'It is known for its stellar program for research') or focus on what they stand for (e.g. vision, mission, and core values). You can use this opportunity to mention your personal values that are aligned with theirs.
"The school has received numerous recognitions when it comes to both academics and sports, thanks to the holistic curriculum that you offer to your students. Personally, I believe that a person has to be well-rounded so your school's dedication to holistic development resonates with my own values."
"The school has made improvements in relation to academic standards and progress. I believe the school is implementing programs to help students achieve even more academically while providing support for the emotional and physical needs of students via athletics. I am familiar with the demographics of the student population at the school and have worked with similar students in the past."Rachelle's Answer
Excellent response! You have done your homework on the school and its initiatives, which is exactly what the interviewer would like to see.Was this answer helpful? Yes (0) or No (1)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Can you walk us through a time when a case you handled failed? If you would be given the chance to redo it, what would you do differently?
How do you try to counsel students who are known to cause violence?
What is your greatest strength?
How would you explain cultural differences to students?
Why would you make a great school counselor?
Describe a challenging experience while you were counseling a student. What did you do to overcome it?
What is your experience with parenting programs?
Why should we hire you?
What experiences have you had in working with special education students?
Can you share an experience when you went above and beyond to help a student?
What would you do if a student told you they were touched inappropriately by a teacher?
What experiences have you had that make you feel capable of being a counselor?
How do you keep yourself organized?
What is the difference between a therapist and a school counselor?
How would you handle an irate parent?
How do you handle criticism?
Can you share an experience when you had to work on a project with teachers? What was your role and how did your group go about the task?
What is the role of the school counselor in relation to teachers, parents, and administrators?
What steps would you take if a student told you he or she was being abused?
What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?