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Teach for America TFA Corps Member Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jun 19, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

80%
16%
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Interview Experience  

70%
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12%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
41 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty
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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member
Chicago, IL

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2011.

Interview Details – You undergo a stage process. Once you sign up for an account online, you complete the online application and then wait. If your application is approved, you'll be invited to a phone interview which you'll schedule a time for. The phone interview is easy - they ask about what you do and how you keep yourself organized. If they like yyou, you'll be invited to an in-person interview. The in person was straightforward. Group interview. Sample teaching lesson. Individual interview. Then they will let you know via email if you're in.

Interview Question – They ask in the individual interview you have in person what you'd do in a specific scenerio. The senerio i got was about a school district I wanted to start an after school history club in but there was no money. So you have to convince the principal (the interviewer) why you should have the program.   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – I was offered a place in the special ed department and I couldn't teach special ed.


13 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member
Los Angeles, CA

I applied online and the process took 2+ months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2012.

Interview Details – It is an extensive process. TFA is selective, NOT competitive. There isn't an "x" number of people they choose for the corps every year, they choose everyone who is qualified (that is because some districts are so understaffed that they literally take as many corps members as TFA can give them). Thus, you are evaluated based on TFA's "bar", NOT compared to your peers. The selection rate (of around 11%) has gotten lower in recent years is because the number of applicants increased more than the number of qualified applicants.

The first step of the application is online (form, resume, essay), which is a primary screening to see a few things:

1) Do you have leadership experience? Do you have numbers to quantify its significance to an extent? (ex: how many people you managed/led, how big of a budget you dealt with, etc)

2) Do you understand TFA's mission? Are you really on board? Are you just looking for a place to boost your resume?

3) Are you a passionate person? Can you handle the work? Have you been through challenges?

If you come across as someone with these traits, you will move to the next stage in the process. I interned at recruitment the summer before I applied, so I learned a lot about what they were looking for. If you are especially strong in showing these on the initial application, you can even skip the next stage in the process and go straight to the final interview!

The second step is a phone interview. From what I've heard, they mainly try to get you to elaborate/flesh out the 3 things above based on what you submitted for the first step. Their website actually lists 7 "things", but some of the others don't become as important until the final stage of the interview process. Their list of 7 is below (taken from their website under the page "Who We Look For"):

-A deep belief in the potential of all kids and a commitment to do whatever it takes to expand opportunities for students
-Demonstrated leadership ability and superior interpersonal skills to motivate others
-Strong achievement in academic, professional, extracurricular, and/or volunteer settings
-Perseverance in the face of challenges, ability to adapt to changing environments, and a strong desire to do whatever it takes to improve and develop
-Excellent critical thinking skills, including the ability to accurately link cause and effect and to generate relevant solutions to problems
-Superior organizational ability, including planning well and managing responsibilities effectively
-Respect for individuals’ diverse experiences and the ability to work effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds

If you move forward to the final interview stage, the rumors are that they usually take about 50% of the remaining candidates and actually accept them into the corps. However, that number could change drastically from year to year based on how they choose candidates (read first paragraph to review this).

The final interview is intense. Beforehand, they will have you complete an online activity. They force you to sign a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the specifics of that, so I will honor that here. If you focus and take it seriously, you shouldn't have any problems.

The final interview is in-person and is a full day. In the beginning, they have you in an interview group of a max of 10. Each candidate teaches a 5 minute lesson to their "class", which is the rest of the interview group. The time limit is very strict (they will stop you if you're not finished). The purpose is not to impress them with the complex data you can communicate, or to prove you're already a teacher, but to show that you know how to communicate to a class in the teaching environment.

After the lessons are finished, there is a group discussion activity. They want to see that you can make valuable contributions to the discussion while not dominating and make sure that an outcome is compiled by the end of the time limit.

After that, you sign up for a one-on-one interview slot and have an interview for about 30 minutes (some are shorter, but not usually longer than that). During the one-on-one, they ask a lot of questions about your resume, why you want to be in TFA, and if you think you can handle the demanding environment. They also do a scenario of some sort than involves talking with a school administrator about implementing a new program.

Then, you're done!

They are implementing a new program this year in which you can apply as a college junior to start working after your senior year. If you do not get accepted, they will give you some sort of feedback and let you apply for the fall of your senior year so that you can have another chance to still work in the same corps and apply twice. I'm not sure of the other details of that program, but I would highly recommend it if you are a college junior that feels like TFA could be the right fit for you!

Interview Question – Most unexpected: Have you ever missed a deadline?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – There isn't much negotiation. You submit your preferences when you apply, so they know what you want.

Your offer comes with the content you will be teaching, your grade level range (elem, middle, or high school), and the region (most are cities, some are geographically larger, see their website for details). There are cases where they will make changes for you, but they try all they can not to switch you. If you tell them you will not do the program unless you are switched and they are able to feasibly make the switch, the history I've seen is that they will. It is still very difficult to do, though. Also, none of it is guaranteed and it could switch. This is the case because your placement depends on the district and their needs, which change often. Teach for America does everything they can to get you where your original offer is, but since it is ultimately out of their control, that doesn't always happen. At the end of the day, if you're there to make an impact for kids, it doesn't matter where you are or what you teach. If you are a "professional" (meaning not just out of college), and you have a mortgage or a family to care for or a spouse with a job that limits your regional options they WILL do all they can to honor that. They honestly don't care where your boyfriend/girlfriend is unless you are engaged.

Also, on the form for your regional preferences, you can place regions into categories of highly preferred, preferred, and least preferred. You only need to put 10 regions, so if you have a specific desire for a region, only put 10 regions and only put the ones you really want in the "highly preferred" column. I say this because if they decide to make you an offer, they decide that before they consider the region. They want you to accept your offer, so if they choose you don't be afraid to make it clear which region you want to be in. I did this and was a later applicant and was surprised that I got my 2nd choice, which was a very popular choice (Los Angeles).


Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member
Denver, CO

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

Interview Details – The interview process was extensive. It began with an online application. Then a phone interview, a group interview and finally a 1:1 interview. Be sure that you read the materials provided by Teach for America and reference them during your group/1:1 interview to show that you have knowledge of the organization's mission. Don't stress out about the lesson plan. It does not have to be a huge show.

Interview Questions

Reason for Declining – I applied for the final deadline (poor choice) and was, thus, only offered one option. I could not make the option work.


No Offer

Neutral Experience

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

Interviewed at Teach for America

Interview Details – online app with statement of interest, phone interview, online assignments, in person interview

Interview Question – lots of questions about leadership experience   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied through a recruiter and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – Getting through the first rounds of the interview process are strictly resume-based. You want to include any accomplishments from college in which you demonstrated your ability to persuade, impact, change, and especially lead a group. Especially for the first round, since they are basing their judgement only on your resume. For the second round, you want to be prepared for interview questions that demonstrate your ability to overcome adversity, show good judgement, demonstrate how you can work with others to achieve a greater purpose. I found it extremely helpful to read their website a zillion times in order to demonstrate the aspects of my personality and character that were most in line with their organizations goal (closing the achievement gap).

Interview Question – How do you achieve a goal?   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied online and the process took 7+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – Time your 5 minute presentation. Also. To save on using all your one minute of set up time I suggest having your name/grade/subject/objective printed out large enough so that you can just post it. Everyone that didn't do that ran into presentation time.

The group discussion was interesting. I thought we were going to be broken up into small groups but as it turns out we just did one large group... which was not very efficient. This activity was also timed.

During personal interviews I was asked how I felt the morning went. So. Show that you learned from the experience. I was asked to role play a scenario... the idea is to advocate for the kids but also to know when to prioritize.

Interview Question – Tell me about how you organize. If I were to look at your planner would I be able to tell what is imperative and what is flexible?   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – Resume, Letter of Intent, Online Application

Online Activity, Phone Interview

Letters of Recommendation, Full Day Interview

Interview Question – What would make you quit TFA?   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

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

Interview Details – There are 3 rounds. First they look at your application, then a phone interview, and lastly a final in-person interview. Whole process takes about 5 months. Very long. Not very hard just long. Interviews focused on one aspect of resume and nothing more. Talked about scenarios in which you would likely face in the fall if you were hired. Interviewers were very friendly and nice. They are respectful.

Interview Question – How do you get funding from your principal for an after school program when your students cannot afford to contribute and your school has no money? They keep responding to you with "that won't work, what else can you do" and make you keep thinking of more answers...   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiations.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in May 2012.

Interview Details – It was very hard.

Interview Question – Would you ever quit?   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

The process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2009.

Interview Details – When I became a corps member in 2009, the TFA process started with electronically sending the organization my resume, one essay about why I wanted to join and another essay describing an experience mentoring someone.

Interview Question – What would cause you to want to dropout of Teach For America if you were chosen?   View Answer

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