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School Counselor Interview

35 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated 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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How to Answer
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.
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Top 35 School Counselor Interview Questions with Full Content
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"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.
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Why did you choose to apply in our school?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"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.
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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.

Rachelle's 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."
Anonymous Answer
"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.
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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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"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."
Rachelle's Answer
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.
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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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"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."
Rachelle's Answer
Empowering those who feel powerless is an excellent point to minimizing violent behavior and emotion outbursts. Perfect response.
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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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"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."
Rachelle's Answer
Very good strength to highlight as a school counselor. Bringing your personal beliefs into your response is a nice touch.
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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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
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