fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Practising your answers to these key interview questions will stand you in good stead come interview time.

1. why do you want to work here?

It's an oldie but a goodie. This fundamental question gives candidates the chance to prove they've done their research in the lead-up to the interview.

You should have read about the early learning centre's goals and values on its website and be able to talk about why the way they work not only appeals to you but is aligned with your aspirations.

Don't stop there, though – we live in a world of online information, so visit the early learning centre's social pages and make Google your friend.

Any reviews, publications, forums or videos you find can give you a sense of the organisation's identity and the day-to-day life there – this will all help you flesh out your responses.  

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2. can you tell me about a successful behaviour management strategy you have used in the past?

Employers want to hear about how a candidate has been agile in their career. Which tactics worked? Which ones didn't, and why? Articulate your key learnings from each of your experiences.

No doubt you've faced a massive variety of students and children, all with different interests and needs, so it's crucial you demonstrate your ability to adapt your curriculum, programming and strategies to suit them.

If you can take it a step further and demonstrate how you've linked learning to the community in which students and children live, as well as current trends and technologies, you'll be ahead of the pack.

3. how do you strive to inspire children?

Most importantly, employers want to hear how educators are working to inspire their children every day.

It's your job to prepare a whole range of individuals from varying age groups for the big wide world after they leave your care, and many of them will be tackling jobs that don't even exist yet.

Preparing students for a world that does not exist makes teaching such an exciting career.

4. if we decided not to appoint you, what would we miss out on?

Here's your chance to make them want you on the team. Work your branding to differentiate yourself from the sea of candidates – tell and show your potential employer what you're about, what makes you tick and what the centre will be gaining should they decide to offer you the job.

Think about what you'll be bringing to the children's lives and what you'll be adding to the community and the staff as a whole.

Employers will often choose to conclude the interview with a question such as this, so use the opportunity wisely and leave them with a positive impression.

Handle this well, and you'll get that call in no time.

more common questions to have on your radar

Q. What is your understanding of the early years learning framework (EYLF), and how do you implement it daily?

A. The key to answering this well is familiarity with the framework and putting it into practice – whether you have led the educational programs or been part of using them.

Check the criteria for the job to think about your answers for these.

They are straightforward, but the interviewer wants to know what you'll bring to the team and how you will develop the role. 

  • What have been your most outstanding achievements recently?
  • What motivates you at work?
  • What new skills or capabilities have you developed recently?
  • How do you work under pressure?
  • What would you like to be doing five years from now?
  • What specific skills acquired or used in previous jobs relate to this position?
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about the author

Matt Hodges

national director, randstad education

With over 15 years of experience in the recruitment industry for Education, I manage a large, dedicated team of consultants across Australia and New Zealand. My work philosophy is about maintaining the human touch in recruitment and utilising technology as the stepping stone for delivering a distinctly human experience.