(Unsolicited) Job Interview Advice


 Author: Christy McFarland | MTR Pre-Residency Director | christy@memphistr.org


The MTR Application season opened a few days ago and our Pre-Residency team quickly shifted into recruiting and selection gears. As we review applications and conduct interviews, there are occasional missteps by applicants that can easily be avoided with a bit of preventative effort and attention to detail.

MTR is a complex organization – we ask men and women to respond to the Gospel by committing their professional work to the field of urban education. In the midst of this call and spiritual development, we provide significant training (a Masters degree in Urban Education and four years of individual and group professional development). MTR straddles the boxes of higher education, a mission organization, and a professional organization. As you develop and submit your application, it is important to realize that you are potentially signing onto a significant endeavor, personally and for the families and community you will serve. Your behavior, care, and attention to detail in this phase will have a significant impact on how we perceive your readiness for the privilege and responsibility of being a classroom teacher and working within a complex public education system, as well as receiving the residency benefits (housing, stipend, licensure, professional development, and a Masters degree for free!).

Last year I developed a tongue-in-cheek series called, (Unsolicited) Job Interview Advice, that covered some of the mistakes and errors that applicants made throughout the application process. A few highlights:

Use The Shift Key

Shift Key
The Shift Key is an important tool in the application process. Proper nouns require capitalization, especially your name, address, and college/university. Capitalization is a lesson learned in elementary school and you are applying to be a teacher!  This error can be interpreted as laziness or a lack of attention to detail and process. 

Follow Instructions and Meet Deadlines

2014-09-04 07.55.31 am

Deadlines are rarely negotiable and quite often impact other organizational functions. Don’t hijack your application by not paying attention to deadlines or instructions. This error can imply a lack of genuine interest and/or respect for the organization, as well as a lack of attention to detail!

Spell Names Correctly

2014-09-04 08.08.23 am
Do your homework! Misspelled names are another indicator of laziness or (yet again) a lack of attention to detail!

Read the Website

2014-09-04 08.09.44 am
Most of your program questions should be answered on the website. Don’t ever hesitate to ask any unanswered questions, however! Emails that simply say, “Tell me about your program.” or ask questions that are clearly answered on the website are warning flags. If you are unwilling to do the work to read a website and learn about an organization, are you willing to do the work necessary to succeed in the Residency program and earn the Masters degree?

Essentially … first impressions are important! Remember that every email and every personal interaction will impact the application and interview evaluation process. We don’t expect perfection. I promise! Failure and mistakes will happen, from the very first step in interviewing until retirement. We do, however, expect residents, graduates, and staff to work hard and do their best! Our work is not about ourselves but about honoring God and providing excellent opportunities for children and youth to learn and succeed.

Our recruiters and staff are here to help YOU succeed! Will you join us?