You’re hired! Tips for having a successful interview for an ECEC position
The Sector > Jobs News > You’re hired! Tips for having a successful interview for an ECEC position

You’re hired! Tips for having a successful interview for an ECEC position

by Freya Lucas

January 19, 2023

Attending a job interview, and trying to make a good impression can be very daunting. For those who are just starting their career in early childhood education and care (ECEC) the process of interviewing may be familiar, but the questions may be a whole new world. 


To support, The Sector team have prepared some clues about common interview questions encountered in the ECEC space, and tips on how to create the perfect reply.  


Why do you want to work with children?


This question is one of the most commonly asked questions in the sector, and one of the worst answers you can give is a shrug, a smile, and an “I’ve always wanted to work with them,” or “because they are so cute!” 


Even more so “because my job provider told me it’s easy to get jobs here” or “I don’t know”.


Instead, try and think about your previous experiences with children, either with friends and family, or throughout work placements, and what you enjoyed. 


It might be “because every day brings something new – you never know what you’re going to get” or “working with children gives me the chance to be a role model and to help children have the best start in life”. 


How do you deal with conflict? 


When an interviewer is asking this question, they are hoping to learn more about how you will support children who are in conflict with one another, but also how you will manage unhappy parents, or differences of opinion in the staff team. 


Positive answers here include “I try and see things from multiple perspectives” or “I first try and make sure everyone is calm, and able to communicate well – sometimes this means moving to a quiet area, or making a plan to talk things through at a later time”. 


You can also talk about what you do in these situations to self regulate. Strategies like taking deep breaths, using visualisation techniques, and being mindful to communicate clearly while setting boundaries.


Talk to me about a time when… 


These situational questions are very common in ECEC interviews, and they ask you to think about a time when you have experienced something in either an ECEC context or another workplace, and how you responded to that situation. 


Examples include: 


Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an unhappy parent

Tell me about a time when you had to quickly come up with a solution on the fly, and with limited resources

Tell me about a time when you’ve had to deal with a serious incident


In these situational questions, the interviewer is looking for some insights to understand more about you as a professional. 


It’s good practice before heading into the interview to think about your previous experiences with children, and to recall some of the situations you’ve found yourself in. 


If you are asked about a situation you haven’t experienced, you can say “While I haven’t experienced that, what I would do is…”


What do you bring to the table? 


During an interview there are likely to be questions which are designed to find out more about what you will bring to an ECEC team. 


Are you creative? Passionate about sustainability? Do you enjoy writing? Is organisation your passion?
Think about why this ECEC team would be lucky to have you, and plan your answers accordingly. 


How do children learn best, and what do you do as an educator to support that? 


This question is designed to help the interviewer not only learn more about you, but also to see if your pedagogy is aligned with the service. 

For example, if you’re interviewing for a service which has a strong belief in child led learning, and is very play based, and you are a firm believer in formal ‘school-style’ learning, you may not be the best fit. 


Make sure you do some research about the service prior to attending the interview to limit the chances of this happening, and then craft your answer to showcase your own position. 


You might like to reflect on the way you enjoyed learning as a child, or weave in some aspects of the approved learning frameworks. 


For more suggestions about acing an ECEC interview, please see here

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