Teach for America
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Teach for America Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 10, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

77%
10%
8%

Interview Experience 

68%
24%
7%

Interview Difficulty 

Average Difficulty
417 candidate interviews
in

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member
Boston, MA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2011.

Interview Details – After initially being contacted by an on-campus recruiter, I attended multiple information sessions and several (3-4) sit-down informal conversations with the recruiter. TFA keeps a paper trail on applicants, so therefore, it is to your advantage to keep in contact via email and by attending these sessions. I applied to the earliest deadline and because of my continued contact with my recruiter, I was able to skip the phone interview and move immediately into the online short answer activity. The online activity consisted of several short answer questions regarding TFA's core values - specifically, diversity in the corps and in the classroom and humility in collaborating with other teachers and educators. There was a video question regarding a new teacher in a difficult situation with a veteran educator at school, and corps member responses to this series of questions were brought up during the final interview. I was invited to the final interview for which candidates prepare and deliver a 5-minute lesson. Also, all candidates participate in a series of whole-group and small-group activities that are centered around your online short answer responses.

The 5-minute lesson is clearly the "make it or break it" component of the interview, as most candidates who have made it to this stage of the process are clearly qualified leaders both academically and professionally. Your 5-minute lesson should consist of a clear hook (opener) which quickly moves into your introduction to new material (INM). This should be short and concise, as you are introducing your topic to be mastered to the class. Within your introduction to new material, you should clearly state and write down your learning objective on the white board provided. Your objective is what students (your fellow interview candidates) will be able to master and demonstrate by the end of your lesson. From your introduction to new material, guide your "class" into whole-group practice of your learning objective. Whether this is identifying verbs in a sentence or describing the difference between mammals and insects, students must be able to practice as a whole-group with you, their "instructor, and amongst themselves, their "fellow classmates." Then, move into independent practice where individual corps members demonstrate their knowledge of the topic you have just taught. You absolutely must have an assessment piece at the end of your independent practice, which could be just 1-2 questions the candidates must answer to demonstrate your mastery of the objective. This could be on the worksheet or handout your provide them or given verbally. The size of your interview "class" will be about 12-15 candidates, so this is easily manageable. I highly suggest meeting and practicing with current teachers or using YouTube tutorials to model by yourself.

Interview Question – Your interviewers are almost always former corps members and/or recent TFA alumni, and they will open up the floor to candidate questions. They are very open and forthcoming with answering and detailing their own experiences in the corps. Your questions during this time will demonstrate your commitment to and knowledge of TFA, as well as what type of leader you will be in your classroom and region. Many of the candidates applying for spots in the incoming TFA corps are competitive, with past records of achievement and success in their respective fields. Make sure, therefore, that during open question time you clearly and deftly allow others to speak, demonstrate your own active listening skills, and do not hog the speaking time. This shows what type of corps member you will be, and TFA does not want braggarts who can't work or collaborate with others. This was also clearly the purpose of the whole-group and small-group activities; which corps members will be able to work with and for others while leading through action and example, and which candidates are attempting to control and regulate the situation? By the time you move to your final one-on-one interview, be sure to have several questions prepared and anecdotes about your past experiences as a leader and as a learner. TFA will invest in you only as much as you show you are willing to embrace and overcome obstacles - this is not an easy job, but instead very challenging yet rewarding. TFA wants to see your demonstrated experience at overcoming obstacles by problem solving, collaborating with others, and relentlessly pursuing your own goals. Also, I highly suggest coming in with region-specific questions and references to current corps members you know; they want to know that you are aware of what you're getting in to with TFA!   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – After receiving your acceptance offer to join the corps, you will be given your placement subject and/or region (possible). There is little negotiation with this unless you have a valid concern (upcoming marriage, family illness, etc...). Corps members from that specific region will contact you and answer any questions you may have leading up to you accepting your TFA offer.

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Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – Began with the online application and essays, from there moved to a phone interview and then a full day final interview that consisted of a sample lesson teach, group discussion and one on one interview.

Interview Question – What is a policy you did not agree with, but were expected to follow?   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – The location I was matched with was not my first choice.

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Corp Member Interview

Corp Member
Baltimore, MD

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2014.

Interview Details – First, an online form is filled out, where you answer questions about you, your experience, etc. You also upload a resume. If you advance, there is a phone interview. If you advance past that, there is a day-long, in-person interview. The interview includes a teaching sample, small group work, and a personal interview.

Interview Question – They ask you to go into great detail of a time when you overcame a problem.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in April 2014.

Interview Details – One phone interview, and in called into final interview. Process included 5 minute lesson plan, group activity, and personal interview.

Interview Question – Questions were straight forward   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – Online application, followed by phone interview. They just asked about items that were on my resume, as well as some behavioral questions. Finally did a group assessment, followed by a one one with role play.

Interview Question – There weren't any surprise question, plus you were given a lot of time to prepare for the role play.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher

I applied online - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2014.

Interview Details – The hiring process is very extensive because there are 3 aspects when applying for TFA. You should dedicate time (enough time) to finish the application efficiently. The application consist of extended response questions, demographic questions and etc. If accepted to the next step you will be invited to a phone interview, which is like a typical interview. Asking follow up questions and getting to know who you are. The last step is the in-person interview which consist of a teaching portion, group activity and a one on one interview with one of the interviewers.

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied online - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2014.

Interview Details – I applied online on whim because the deadline was approaching. It was mostly leadership and volunteer activities. A week or so later I was notified I was selected for a phone interview and an online application/test. The test was evaluating grades of "students" and finding out ways to improve education. The phone interview was weird - I've done a bunch of tutoring but the interviewer only wanted me to respond to her questions regarding one position that had nothing to do with education. I spent about 45 minutes trying to answer questions about this position and the questions didn't make sense.

Interview Question – What has been your greatest accomplishment?   View Answer

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Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Easy Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
London, England (UK)

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – Filled out the 4th deadline online application the night before the deadline and was notified within two weeks that I had been advanced to the final interview stage, skipping the phone interview. My final interview was about 3 weeks later and I had to complete an online activity. I prepared my sample teach the night before, read the 3 required articles. The group interview was approximately 2 hours long - short presentation first, then sample teaches (roughly 7 people candidates interviewing), then the group problem-solving activity, and then signing up for idividual interviews. The individual interview was about 1 hour long.

Interview Question – Probably the most challenging part was that mine was a virtual interview, which placed some limitations on the sample teaches. Overall in the personal interview I got the impression that they wanted statistics - how many members did I lead in my extracurricular activity, how much of an improvement that was over the previous year, the size of our budget, etc.   View Answer

Reason for Declining – My finals conflicted with the Summer Institute.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher
Miami, FL

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2013.

Interview Details – The application process was intense, and thorough, but well worth the acceptance and final reward of the offer of position. All initial interview phone calls, phases/rounds of interview process were well planned, and they gave sufficient information to help you prepare for the phone call(s) or assessment tasks.

Interview Question – I was asked to go into very specific details as to challenges that I've faced in my employment, and how was the situation(s) handled from beginning to end; they are very concerned with your ability to work well with others (especially administration, set leadership and your direct supervisors/co-professionals)   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – There is no cause/need to negotiate. This is a non-profit organization that connects you to the direct channel of employment. You are given a ball-park figure of initial earning potential. However, I believe that the ability to negotiate will come in terms of working with the school system/principal of the school at which you work.

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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corp Member Interview

Corp Member

I applied through college or university - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2013.

Interview Details – i had a phone interview as well as the day long group interview a few weeks later. Both experiences were generally pleasant. I enjoy talking about education and issues related to it, so I tended to ramble. The phone interview was casual, with questions about "a time when you were challenged" and "what is your organization style."

Interview Question – Actually describing your organization and scheduling style required me to think about why I do what I do.   Answer Question

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