Teach for America
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Teach for America Corps Member Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated May 27, 2014
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3 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Los Angeles, CA

I applied online and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in September 2012.

Interview Details – I actually want to write this review because I found an AWESOME resource that I think really helped my application, and I haven't seen anyone on here talk about it yet. A former corps member wrote a book called "Destination Teach For America" that helps people with their applications and interviews. It's on Amazon now, but I first found the book's website a few months ago (www.destinationteachforamerica). If you're set on getting into TFA, I would highly recommend looking at it.

Anyway, I enjoyed the interview process a lot, probably because I really wanted to get in and was excited about doing this for the next 2 years. The application consists of a letter of intent, resume, and a bunch of other questions that you fill out online. It asks a lot about leadership positions that you have had, and it asks for you to explain your positions and achievements with those leadership positions.

I had a phone interview with a current 2nd year corps member who was really nice, although the interview seemed really scripted. She asked me a lot of questions about Teach For America, and also standard interview-y questions. It took about 40 minutes. I thought it went well (and I guess it did because I was invited to the final interview).

The next step was doing an online activity and getting recommendations. I'd already lined up my people to give recommendations, so that was pretty easy. The online activity wasn't too bad either. Some of the data questions were really straight-forward, although a few of the questions seemed a bit confusing.

My final interview group had 11 people. Obviously I was the most nervous about the 5 minute lesson (although this book teaches you how to put together a lesson using a planning template, so I felt really prepared). People literally taught anything and everything, and all of the applicants helped each other out with their lessons. I liked that the 5 minute lesson was first because it helped us bond.

After that, we sat in groups and discussed articles that we had read. The interviewer sat away from our table and just took notes. It was cool getting in that environment, and I feel like that is what a lot of days with TFA corps members will be: talking about education with people who actually care. I liked this part too.

The 1 on 1 interview is pretty straightforward, like many other job interviews, with the exception of the role play situation that other reviewers have talked about. Again, the book I mentioned gave sample dialogue and advice about the role play, so I felt really prepared for that as well.

I know a lot of the information I talked about is already on Glassdoor from other reviewers, but I mainly wanted to sign up to share Destination Teach For America. I'm not saying I wouldn't have gotten in without it, but it was definitely helpful for me. Now that I'm in, I want to share it with you all.

Interview Question – What would make you quit Teach For America?   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiations, you are hired by a school in whatever region they send you to.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Eugene, OR

I applied online and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2012.

Interview Details – The application process is very extensive. The first step is to submit an online application, which includes biographical information, resume, and an essay explaining why you wish to join TFA. The next step is a phone interview. If you make it past the phone interview, you are invited to the final interview. At the final interview you prepare a 5 minute lesson (there is a strict time limit), participate in a group discussion, and attend a 30-45 minute one-on-one interview.

Interview Question – The most difficult part of the one-on-one interview was the role-playing scenario. The goal of the scenario is for you to demonstrate your communication abilities and your ability to foresee potential difficulties.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – There is no negotiation about the offer. You submit preferences before hand concerning subject and area placement, but once an offer is made it is very difficult to change.

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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Los Angeles, CA

Interviewed at Teach for America

Interview Details – People say TFA's application process is "very rigorous", but honestly, it was one of the easiest interview processes I've ever been through. Starts with an online, written application [personal statement (my advice: don't over-analyze the personal statement! say what you mean, mean what you say--if you're speaking from the heart, it's simple. don't get me wrong, you should edit just to make sure there aren't any grammatical errors or misspellings), description of leadership positions (very important to have leadership experience!), and a resume (try to tailor it a bit for TFA by highlighting any leadership positions or education-related experiences)]. Next is either an invite for a phone interview or final interview (I went straight to the final interview, so I'm not really sure what the phone interview entails). Final interview is a day-long process that starts with teaching a 5-minute lesson (my advice: KEEP IT SIMPLE!! Teach something very basic, elementary-level--use simple handouts, make sure to check for understanding by asking questions throughout to "the class" and/or finding some other way to check for understanding), next is a group activity (pretty simple--I'm not positive what they were looking for in this activity, but I'd emphasize being a team player (don't try to overshadow one another), give positive feedback, and keeping in mind TFA's ultimate goal of closing the achievement gap. Last is the 1-on-1 interviews--just be open and honest. Be sure to look at the 7 traits on the "Who We Look For" section of the TFA website and try to convey these traits in your answers. Good luck future TFA applicants :)

Interview Question – How do you stay organized? What's something you could do better as far as staying organized?   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – Love TFA, but I was unable to relocate.

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Cleveland, OH

I applied online - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2012.

Interview Details – There was an initial application, then a phone interview, then an online assessment, then an in-person interview. Overall, the process took about two months. Teach For America offers a lot of resources throughout the process.

Interview Question – Which is more important, creating a supportive environment for your students or expecting high academic performance?   View Answer

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Hanover, NH

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2012.

Interview Details – Online application submission, selection for telephone interview, and then final interview that consisted of a demo lesson, group activity/observation, and one-on-one interview with a role-play. Many questions geared towards time-management, organization, and conflict resolution skills and are generally phrased as "describe a time when you...." There is an ideology behind the questions, so yes, there are 'wrong' answers, but as long as you are able to showcase leadership qualities and dedication, you should do well. Interviewers were always pretty friendly, though they seemed to sometimes be behind schedule (10-15 minute waits).

Interview Question – Role-play scenario: If you were a teacher and you wanted to take your class on a field trip that you felt was beneficial to their learning, but I am an administrator who has told you no, what would you do?   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Very little negotiation is allowed for as placement in regions/content is a national logistics nightmare. However, if you are extended an offer, it's not impossible to negotiate for a different region/content, so long as you have a valid reason. Be mindful of Induction/Institute dates when applying and you'll have a general idea of what they can be flexible on. TFA staff (individuals) are always much more flexible and understanding than the official 'rules.'

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3 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
New York, NY

I applied online - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2010.

Interview Details – The online application computes a numerical score for every application. Any score exceeding the threshold results in a phone and/or final interview.

The application scoring algorithm rewards points for the typical admissions stuff (SAT, GRE, GPA, etc. etc.) Just as important as the admissions-y stuff is the TFA traits they test for.

Always highlight experiences you've had that exhibit the following traits:
-leadership
-goal-setting
-ability to find yourself at fault to fix a problem
-ability to thrive from adversity
-tolerance of different views
-helping others out of a love for humanity

These types of traits are very intentionally coded into the possible answers you can choose from in the application.

Know that you're selling your brand when you're applying to TFA... while knowing that your brand really means their's.

Interview Question – What would make you prematurely leave your region and not finish your 2 year commitment?   Answer Question

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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Williamsburg, VA

The process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2012.

Interview Details – Submitted application and bypassed phone interview. Interview day consisted of a presentation, group conversation, and 1:1 interview. The interviewers spent most of the time taking copious notes on every word said. 1:1 interview last about 45 minutes and included going over resume and small role play. Was less of a conversation; interviewer wrote down almost every word said. Interviewers were friendly and the interview was not stressful. However, my perception was that TfA continues to be all about "drinking its own KoolAid." Received and declined offer.

Interview Question – How would you talk to a principal about starting a new club?   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – Go find out more about TfA -- I had a lot of problems with their politics.

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Raleigh, NC

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2010.

Interview Details – We had to first complete a lengthy application. It included a cover letter and a resume along with different questions. Then we had to complete an online activity that included reading articles and answering questions dealing with different situations.
The in person interview took about a day and included group activities and discussions as well as a sample lesson.

Interview Question – Why do you want to be in this organization?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Charlotte, NC

The process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2010.

Interview Details – I was contacted by Teach for America during my senior year in college. I had a brief phone interview with a recruiter and was encouraged to submit my application. A week after submitting my application, I was notified that I had advanced to the final interview round (I've heard that if TFA wants you, they will bypass the phone interview). Before the final interview, I completed an online assignment about various situations that I might encounter as a corps member. Although the final interview can be tricky because of the mini-lesson you are required to present, they were very straightforward about what the interview process entailed. My interviewers and fellow interviewees were driven, pleasant, and intelligent. There is a skills test that requires that you analyze data, but it's nothing too difficult. During the 1:1 interview, my interviewer took notes the entire time; don't be alarmed by this since all their hiring decisions are made centrally. I heard back from them on the date that they had specified at the beginning of the interview process, and I accepted the offer during the following week.

Interview Questions

Negotiation Details – No negotiation. You are assigned to a region and a subject/content area.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Denver, CO

I applied online and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in January 2010.

Interview Details – After uploading a detailed resume, including all classes and grades from college, and a letter of intent and essay, potential corps members must pass a phone screen asking general questions related to the organization's mission statement of closing the achievement gap. Especially strong candidates sometimes skip the phone screen all together and go straight to an in person interview. The in person interview takes all day, usually off site (i.e., not at your college campus.) This interview consists of a short sample lesson (so interviewers can see your presence in front of people), a panel interview, a group simulation (to screen your dynamics working with others), a role-play scenario (to see how you respond to situations in which you would have to be persistent and professional), a debrief of the role play, and a one-on-one interview in which you talk a lot about leadership experience, how you respond to adversity, and your attitudes toward education and low income communities. If you are a fit, you will be contacted on a certain date which you know ahead of time with your region, grade, and subject area placement.

Interview Question – Your school principal is refusing to let you hold an additional tutoring session that your students desperately need because there is a pep rally. What do you say?   Answer Question

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