Updated on February 28th, 2019
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 35
Who is your role model? Why do you look up to this person?
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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."
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?
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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."
Community Answers with Professional Feedback
"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 Enns' Professional Opinion:
Very good answer. Straightforward and shows off your great time-management capabilities.
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You don't have to memorise 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 mention 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 resonate with my own values."
Community Answers with Professional Feedback
"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 Enns' Professional Opinion:
Excellent response! You have done your homework on the school and its initiatives, which is exactly what the interviewer would like to see.
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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."
Community Answers with Professional Feedback
"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 Enns' Professional Opinion:
You have painted a great picture here, walking the interviewer through your career and what has landed you where you are today. Great response.
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6. 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? Interviewers know that not all endeavours end up as a success. Do not be afraid to share failed experiences but always ensure to add what you learned from the experience and to share what you are doing so that you won't fail again in the future. Here is an answer example: "I remember the first time I had to talk to a parent regarding a student who was caught pushing another student. However, the parent was not that amenable to meeting with the school due to her busy schedule. I was a bit too assertive when talking to her which angered her, and so she didn't attend our initial meeting altogether. I apologized sincerely, and explained to her the urgency of the meeting, and we were able to settle the issue. So if I could redo that incident, I would have been more diplomatic when I first talked to her so we could have settled the issue sooner. Because of that, I realised that I should also learn how to talk to parents because it is a part of my job." Here is an anonymous answer example: "i recall having the opportunity to work with an elementary school student that i had initially started working with when he was in the 3rd grade. he had difficulty controlling his anger and would often take his frustrations out on peers and teachers verbally and sometimes physically. he did not like being told what to do and often times wanted to be left alone to do what he pleased. during my three years of working with this student before going off to middle school, i attempted to gauge his interests and build a solid relationship with him. i succeeded modestly on this front and saw his behaviors fluctuate over time. he had a lot of problems stemming from his home life, and although i tried to empathize with his situation, i feel that overall, his behaviors did not improve noticeably over the three years. in this regard, i feel i failed him to an extent. however, i do not think, if given the opportunity, that i would change any aspect of what i had done to help this student because every decision i made was to help guide him and get him to realize that a person can succeed despite the obstacles out of his/her control." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: It is excellent that you have taken accountability for the outcome while standing behind your approach. This is exactly what the interviewer would be looking for.7. How do you try to counsel students who are known to cause violence? The format of your answer is similar to when you are asked about handling difficult/challenging clients - define the circumstance, explain your course of action and then state your desired result. This time, you just have to tailor fit your manner of answering to the type of student you are being asked about. Here is an answer example: "Students who are known to cause violence are difficult to talk to because their tendency is to channel all their energy physically. When I counsel students like this, I make sure that the environment is conducive for talking and that there will be nothing or no one that can be an object of his/her aggression. I then ask the student what it is that he/she hopes to achieve every time they act violently. My goal is that by beginning the counselling session with that question, the student will realise that his/her action is counterproductive and doesn't benefit anyone at all." Here is an anonymous answer example: "when i work with students who have a tendency towards violence whenever they are emotional, i first and foremost try to create a safe, quiet space where they can deescalate in the moment of emotional outburst. once i have given he/she time to calm themselves, i often ask what initially triggered the emotional response and get the person to provide alternative solutions to the problem they perceive, other than to use violence. i work with students to get them to realize that they have the power to make decisions that will result in better outcomes if they can learn to control their impulses and take a moment to think before reacting to any given situation. it is a process that takes time and patience and can only be achieved if i make the effort to form a trusting bond with students." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Empowering those who feel powerless is an excellent point to minimizing violent behavior and emotion outbursts. Perfect response.8. What is your greatest strength? Choose to highlight a strength that can be useful to the position you're applying for. That way, the interviewer will have an idea of how that can help you fulfill the job. Here is an answer example: "One of my strengths is being a good listener. I have this genuine desire to help others and I believe that the best way I can do that is to first know what they need. You get that by listening to them." Here is an anonymous answer example: "i feel my greatest strength as a counselor and as a person is the ability to listen and empathize with situations that can arise as a young person. i believe the best avenue towards helping anyone is to make them feel like their voice matters and that someone cares for them. listening to someone else's perspective can be a powerful tool in building trust, which is key to helping anyone solve their problems." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Very good strength to highlight as a school counselor. Bringing your personal beliefs into your response is a nice touch.9. How would you explain cultural differences to students? Sensitive situations are tricky to address but always ensure that your answers are politically correct and impartial. Here is an answer example: "I believe that today's youth are intelligent and discerning so matters like this should be discussed openly and truthfully. I will tell them that because the world is made up of numerous countries, it is inevitable for our cultures to be different. However, different doesn't mean bad. We just need to be more open-minded to understand the differences so we'll know how we can relate with each other more appropriately."10. 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. Here is an answer example: "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."11. Why would you make a great school counselor? It is not just about telling the interviewer what your skills are or the positive traits you have. This question allows you to raise the bar high and communicate to the interviewer that you can offer more than what is expected. Here is an answer example: "Apart form having the educational background and work experience to do the job, I believe that my natural inclination to serve others will allow me to flourish in this position. As a counsellor, I need to be physically, emotionally and mentally ready to address people's concerns and being a service-oriented person allows me to do that wholeheartedly." Here is an anonymous answer example: "other than my educational achievements and experience, i feel i would make a great school counselor because i have a natural ability to connect with people through positive avenues, such as humor, in order to build a relationship. i am inclined to listen rather than talk and find that my personal experiences growing up as an adopted, only child in a single parent home, benefit the students i work with, regardless of age or gender." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Fantastic way to draw back to your educational qualifications while also highlighting how your own personal and professional experiences will leverage you into a successful career as a school counselor. Perfect response.12. 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. Here is an answer example: "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."13. 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. Here is an answer example: "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."14. 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. Here is an answer example: "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."15. What is your experience with parenting programs? A job that involves students would involve their parents. It would also help to research the general profile of the students in the school so you have an idea of the kind of parents you will encounter (e.g. middle class/upper class, rural/suburban) That way, you can tailor fit your answer depending on their profile. Here is an answer example: "There was a time when we had to conduct an information drive on negative effects of bullying and we had to involve the Parent-Teacher Association to create a symposium. It was challenging to get everybody together to plan the event, but because I was able to discuss the objective of the program to everyone involved, it became easier to get their support. Overall, the event was a success, and as a follow through, we allot a section of our succeeding Parent-Teacher meetings by discussing any concerns, incidents or questions that they may have regarding bullying."16. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an anonymous answer example: "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." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Very good that you added the fact that you can pivot in your day. Your response shows that you are structured yet flexible.17. Why should we hire you? This is your chance to highlight your best assets and what you can offer to the school. It is also an advantage if your beliefs or values are aligned with the school's so you can use it as leverage. However, be conscious of your tone. You want to sound confident of your skills, but not arrogant. Here is an answer example: "Apart from my educational background and work experience, I believe that my values are very much aligned with the core values that your school espouses. For me, that is important especially as someone who represents the school and, who will work with the students and their parents very closely. I am also very passionate about this profession and I know that I can take on the responsibilities that this job requires." Here is an anonymous answer example: "i believe you should hire me because i personify all of the traits necessary to be an effective school counselor and have a genuine interest in building relationships with students, parents, teachers, and administrators to benefit students academically, socially and emotionally. i also believe my personal experiences and my experience as a classroom teacher and counselor, who has worked with every age group from kindergarten to high school, will further benefit students." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Well structured answer with very good points. Try to think of other features that those competing against you for the job, would not possess. What is unique just to you? In response to the anonymous answer example, here is a revised answer from Rachelle Enns: "I believe you should hire me because, unlike my peers or other school counselors I have met, I... (insert personal mission statement, continued education or training you have completed, an area where you are a subject matter expert, etc.)..."18. What experiences have you had in working with special education students? This is a question that you have to be brutally honest about. Special Education students have specific needs so you have to be transparent with how much experience you have. If you have a lot, then best to give an extensive explanation. Otherwise, be honest but say that you are open to learning what you do not know. Here is an answer example: "(if limited experience) Unfortunately, my experience with Special Education students is quite limited. I was involved in ensuring that all the teacher aids for these students have been oriented and trained, and that I was there when they met the students..... (if extensive experience) I was very much involved in handling the classes where the special education students were involved. I also ensure that I meet with the parents regularly to ensure that their needs and concerns are acknowledged and addressed (then you can add more of your experiences)" Here is an anonymous answer example: "my experience, thus far, in working with special education students has revolved around primarily being a behavior intervention specialist to help aid teachers in implementing specific behavior interventions in the special education classroom that would help improve academic and social progress over time. i have also provided counseling services and met with certain special education students that teachers felt would benefit from having someone to talk with on a regular basis." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Very specific - this is great! If you have any formal education related to working with special education students, specifically, be sure to mention it in your response.19. 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. Here is an answer example: "I would first ask the student 'What made you decide to drop out of school?' instead of asking 'Why?' I've learned that asking 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." Here is an anonymous answer example: "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." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Excellent response. Thorough and insightful without being too wordy.20. Can you share an experience when you went above and beyond to help a student? Employers want to hire people who can go the extra mile. For this question, just cite an experience that you feel is beyond your normal scope of duty but you did wholeheartedly, which produced a favorable or positive result. Share how you felt during that time, and if you received any commendations for that action. Here is an answer example: "There was a time when (share experience). At first, I was nervous to actually do the job but fortunately, I was able to complete it even if it wasn't something I regularly do. I felt very proud of myself and my immediate superior was also very happy with the output that I delivered. Because of that, I was hailed 'Employee of the Month' for that period."21. 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. Here is an answer example: "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."22. What would you do if a student told you they were touched inappropriately by a teacher? Questions like this would also test your knowledge of the due process. It's not just about comforting the student but also being able to proceed with the right course of action especially if it will turn into an administrative/criminal offence such as sexual harassment or abuse. Here is an answer example: "I will first get the facts from the student such as the details of the incident. I will also ask the student if he/she has told anybody so that I would know how to proceed with the incident. Normally, students are afraid because they are threatened by their abusers. As such, I would assure the student that I am there to help. I will escalate this to the school officials so that an investigation can be conducted. Meanwhile, I will ensure that the student is cared for by making sure that his/her family is informed and that there is protection from the suspect." Here is an anonymous answer example: "in this situation, the first thing i would do is contact my administrator and discuss the allegation with him/her. i would then assist in any way i could to ensure that proper procedures were followed (including contacting the police, informing parents, contacting a crisis outreach center, etc.) and that the student was kept safe and most importantly away from this teacher. i would follow up with my administrator in the days that followed and maintain confidentiality while also working with the parents of this student to ensure he/she gets the proper care, both physically and emotionally." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Highly professional response. If you have dealt with a situation like this in the past, you could mention that you have taken these steps, while maintaining complete confidentiality of course.23. What experiences have you had that make you feel capable of being a counselor? This is somewhat similar to 'what influenced you to become a counsellor'. You can cite childhood experiences or probably something you did in college/past job that made you confident about being a counsellor. Here is an answer example: "Before I pursued counselling as a profession, I was a part of an organisation that welcomes the freshmen in our school. We'd serve as their guide and they ask us for tips or advice about getting through college. I felt fulfilment in being able to help them, listening to their concerns and guiding them as they overcome their problems. I knew then that my ability to listen and give sound advice would help me in this career."24. What steps would you take if a student told you he or she was being abused? Sensitive cases like abuse, that have legal implications, need to be dealt with seriously. When answering, consider all sides of the case such as the well being of the student, the protocols of the school and your moral responsibility to protect this child from danger. Here is an answer example: "First, I will ask the student further on the kind of abuse that he or she is experiencing so I would understand the situation and the next steps that I need to do. Next, if the school has a protocol for cases like this, I will follow the proper escalation process so we can remove or protect the child from the abusive environment. If we cannot remove the child from the abusive environment immediately, I will provide the child with contact numbers or methods to reach me in case he or she is abused again so we can alert the authorities." Here is an anonymous answer example: "if a student were to report to me that they were being abused, i would first encourage the student to elaborate as much as possible regarding the alleged abuse and ask questions such as: who has been abusing you? when did it occur? is the abuse ongoing?
i would then ask the student to show any bruises (if in an appropriate place) and i would take pictures of any bruises for documentation that i would provide to authorities if necessary. i would then contact the child welfare office and report an alleged abuse and provide any details they may ask for and i would adhere to their recommendations as far a contacting police. i would then contact my administrator and inform them of the siutaiton and follow up in the days after the intial report to ensure the students safety both at school and after school." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Your training in this area is apparent. Very good response, with highly specific action steps. Perfect answer.25. How do you keep yourself organized? Time and records management are very important skills that you need to have. They are easier said than done so keep your answers short, practical and believable. Here is an answer example: "I always keep a to-do list to keep track of the things that I need to do for the day. I also make sure that my work space is clean, organised and properly labeled so that throughout the day, I maintain an efficient work environment. Lastly, I prioritise those that need my utmost attention so that my schedule is well-planned and easy to manage."26. What is the difference between a therapist and a school counselor? Research is key! Always prepare yourself to answer questions involving concepts in your field that could create confusion. You don't have to be too technical in the definition but it should be concise. Here is an answer example: "One of the differences would be how extensive their services can be. For example, school counsellors may address cases that require immediate action (e.g. school fights) or periodic counselling with students depending on the severity of the issue. However, therapists may offer services for a longer period of time because they use multiple approaches during therapy sessions and would require more time to observe behavioural patterns that need to be addressed."27. Describe a challenging experience while you were counseling a student. What did you do to overcome it? Similar to the other questions, the basic guide to answering situational questions is to describe the circumstance, explain your course of action and then the result of your action. Answering this way also shows the interviewer that you know how to organize your thoughts. Here is an answer example: "There was a time when I had to counsel a student who was giving me an attitude the entire time because she didn't want to talk to me. I told the student that if she didn't cooperate, she'll be seeing more of me in the coming days because I'll schedule more sessions until she decides to cooperate. I believe she wants to get it over with and so she cooperated. In return, I made the sessions worth her while by being very understanding of her concerns. Eventually, we were able to complete her sessions with me."28. How would you handle an irate parent? Working for a school means that you would also have to work with the parents. For questions like this, be sure to outline your answers according to your course of action and the expected output of said action. You should be able to illustrate clearly how you will manage situational questions. Here is an answer example: "I will first ask the parent to calm down. After the parent calms down, I shall ask for his/her concern so I can start addressing them. It is important that during the discussion, I empathize with them and tell them that I understand where they are coming from yet still making sure that all their concerns are addressed truthfully and accordingly. However, if the parent does not calm down, I will respectfully but sternly communicate that being angry will not solve anything and so he/she has to calm down so we can discuss the matter as how mature adults should." Here is an anonymous answer example: "i would first give the parent a safe place to calm down and once they have composed themselves, i would then ask what the problem is and listen to what they have to say. i would then work with the parent to try to come to a solution to their perceived problem." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Are there any additional steps that would be required, such as bringing in an Administrator or third party? If so, be sure to include that. Also, if this has happened in your career before, be sure to bring in your specific experience as an example. In response to the anonymous answer example, here is a revised answer from Rachelle Enns: "I have worked with an upset parent in the past. I gave this parent a safe place to calm down and compose themselves. Then, I asked to hear a breakdown of the perceived issue so that I could gain an understanding of the most sensitive points. Once I had gained a full understanding of the issue, I pulled in an Administrator to help create a plan for resolution."29. 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.) Here is an answer example: "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."30. 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. Here is an answer example: "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" Here is an anonymous answer example: "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." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Very good response! If there are specific responsibilities mentioned in the job posting, be sure to include them as well. In response to the anonymous answer example, here is a revised answer from Rachelle Enns: "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."31. How do you handle criticism? Criticisms can either be negative or constructive, so it would help if you could share an experience for both. This would show your ability to discern the feedback that you get from others and how you act on what you hear from them. Here is an answer example: "Before I react, I try to assess first if it was a negative or a constructive criticism. Constructive criticisms are helpful, so when I receive one, I reflect on what I did and try to look at it through the eyes of my critic. Then I take note of what I need to improve on or change moving forward. But if it's a negative criticism that was given just for the sake of criticising, I ignore it and focus my attention on more important items."32. What is the role of the school counselor in relation to teachers, parents, and administrators? This is the interviewer's way of communicating to you that being a school counselor involves other stakeholders, not just the student.
School counselors are not only for the students. As such, it is important to prepare yourself by researching the typical concerns of teachers/parents/administrators and the types of activities that could encourage their engagement and participation. Here is an answer example: "Since school counselors are there to support, guide and address concerns involving the students, we have an important role in ensuring that these are communicated to the other members of their immediate social circle, that is the school, their teachers, and their families. For example, if children are having a difficult time in school, one of the things that we can do as School Counselors is to engage teachers, parents, and administrators to ensure that the classroom, the household and the school, are conducive in fostering a holistic and healthy environment for the children." Here is an anonymous answer example: "as a school counselor, my role within a school is to advocate for all students. this means that i need to be able to work collaboratively with all teachers and help to implement behavior interventions in the classroom that can benefit all students. i also need to be a good communicator with parents so that they are aware of any issues in school which may be impacting their child in perceived negative way, whether that be academically, socially or behaviorally. i also need to be in regular contact with my administrators so that they are aware of any student issues which may need additional resources or guidance from a disiplinary standpoint." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Concise response, addressing all three avenues: teachers, parents, and administrators. Good work!33. 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? Share an experience where you took an active role in a team. Emphasise on what you personally did or contributed, not just what happened to the activity in general. Questions like this allow interviewers to see if you have leadership potential or if you can work well with others. After describing the experience, you may also share how you felt about the whole endeavour. Here is an answer example: "There was a time when all the school personnel had to work together to organize the school's anniversary. I was a part of the Secretariat Committee together with 4 teachers, and our task was to arrange the registration list and the invites for the event. I personally handled the release of the invites and monitoring the RSVP. Everything was released on time and nobody in the list was left out. As a group, were able to accomplish our task and I was proud to have contributed to the success of the anniversary."34. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it? I know it's difficult to share a weakness because you might feel that it will turn the interviewer off. But interviewers know that nobody is perfect. Everybody has flaws. It's a matter of how aware you are of it and what you are doing to address it. Here is an answer example: "I am not a good public speaker. Put me in a room with 10-15 people, and I'll be fine. But ask me to deliver a commencement speech and I will be a ball of nerves. Working for a school has helped me to overcome that slowly since I am constantly surrounded by people. Meeting new faces regularly helps in building my confidence. But definitely, I still have a lot to work on." Here is an anonymous answer example: "i am not always comfortable working collaboratively with others and sometimes procrastinate with tasks that i perceive are difficult. in the past, i have learned to be self-reliant and have not trusted others to come through for me when asked. this is a result of being let down time and time again when having to work collaboratively with others.
however, as i have had the opportunity to experience positive outcomes in relation to collaborative efforts during my time in education, i have learned to trust those i work with because we are all professionals and are working towards a common goal and that belief has allowed me to trust others in the workplace." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: Although very honest, this response may be too transparent, creating red flags for the interviewer. Try to focus on the parts that are less negative sounding (being let down time and time again sounds like you're often disappointed in others). Try putting a bigger spotlight on what you are doing to improve your areas of weakness. In response to the anonymous answer example, here is a revised answer from Rachelle Enns: "I have learned to be self-reliant in the workplace, even at times when it wouldn't hurt to ask for a bit of help. I enjoy co-worker collaboration and look forward to more positive experiences when it comes to leaning on my team."35. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an anonymous answer example: "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." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: 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.
Writers for School Counselor Answers and Questions
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 08/12/2014 Last modified on: 02/28/2019
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