Uncommon Schools

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Uncommon Schools Interview Questions

Updated Dec 17, 2014
Updated Dec 17, 2014
32 Interview Reviews

Interview Experience

Interview Experience

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Apprentice Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at Uncommon Schools.

    Interview Details

    I applied online and heard back about a week later to schedule a phone interview. The phone interview went smoothly with standard questions (why this site, why this employer, describe yourself in three words, greatest professional and personal achievement). I heard back the next day with an invitation to teach a sample lesson. The lesson itself went fine and the students seemed to enjoy themselves. However, the principal who observed the sample lesson rudely interjected a few times (criticism is great, and even public criticism is fine, just not in a rude manner especially in front of students). The interview after the lesson was pretty standard as well, but again the interviewer was rude, even cut me off once. I guess your experience will depend on the school and interviewer, but unfortunately, besides reading to the students, I didn't enjoy myself.

    Interview Questions
    • What are your weaknesses and how can you work on them?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  2.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Uncommon Schools in November 2014.

    Interview Details

    Submitted application on a Sunday, received e-mail about phone interview on Tuesday. Interviewed with an extremely nice recruiter. About a week later, received an e-mail from a principal who seemed very enthusiastic and asked me to attend a campus visit/interview. E-mailed my plans, received feedback, resubmitted them. On the Sunday before my interview, the principal e-mails me that our interview will have to be cut much shorter than anticipated due to a meeting. As I had already booked plane tickets, I just went along with the plan. When I arrived at the school, I waited for about 30 minutes before someone came in to the office to greet me/give me a tour of the school. The actual interview was very rushed...maybe 10 minutes. I went to teach an ELA lesson to a group of about 25 students. After the lesson, I debriefed the lesson with the principal, then the principal had to leave, said would be in touch to continue the interview/finish debriefing. Observed a teacher for about 45 minutes, then left. Never heard from the principal to continue the interview/debrief...

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview
  3.  

    Teaching Fellow Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Uncommon Schools.

    Interview Details

    Completed a phone interview then a week later I was invited to Rochester, NY for an all day interview and sample lesson plan.

    The on site interview was from 9am-5pm. There were ten of us. It started with an introduction of everyone in the room and we had to answer the question "what gets you out of bed in the morning?" Then we spent the next hour exploring the different classes and taking notes of the style of teaching and commands Uncommon's teacher used. This was important because we were expected to implement these techniques into our sample lesson. After that we waited for each person to present their sample lesson in front of a class of 5th graders and finally, the individual interview was last.

    Interview Questions
    • How would you maintain a professionalism outside of the workplace?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Difficult Interview
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  5.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Uncommon Schools.

    Interview Details

    Initially invited to give a sample lesson for High School biology, arrived early but due to other commitments had a late start. Had 2 students, and 1 teacher playing a student. In the room observing were the principal and another administrator. Overall lesson went well, students were enthusiastic and already knew most of what I was discussing. Received email that they went with someone with more high school experience, but asked me to interview at a different location for middle school science.

    This time they provided me with a scripted sample lesson to follow. I arrived a little early, and got to listen to the person before me give the end of her lesson (I was sitting in the hall). The principal didn't know what lesson I was giving, and the science department didn't have the materials for the demo that were called for in the lesson. And because they still had to debrief the other applicant the students went home early. I just wish they had scheduled better.

    In any case, the recruiter responded to information requests and followed up on email quickly. Both principals seemed to truly care about the information for the students and Uncommon is quite supportive of improving the education of its students.

    If asked to present a sample lesson keep in mind that they are reading and writing intensive and like when students have to grapple with a problem themselves. Plan out where a pitfall might be for a student, and if it happens, help the students work out their confusion without just re-explaining yourself. They are very data driven, daily and weekly they want to know where their students are at.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  6.  

    Apprenticeship Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Uncommon Schools in July 2014.

    Interview Details

    I applied online and then I set up a phone interview via email. The phone interview lasted about 20 minutes. It consisted of many straightforward questions. Nothing too shocking or out of the blue, just everything you would expect for a teaching position at an urban charter school. Then I was invited to an "immersion day" to give a sample lesson and have a 1-on-1 interview with the principal of the school. Simple. Either you have it or you don't. I didn't.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview
  7.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at Uncommon Schools.

    Interview Details

    Filled out an online application and was contacted for a phone interview within 2 weeks. The interviewer was very unorganized and cancelled the interview 20 minutes in because of an answer that was clearly stated on my application. She clearly did not take the time out to even look at my application before the interview. I just thought that was really rude.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
  8.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Online app, phone interview, in person interview, offer. The process itself moved fairly quickly (about 3 weeks). They will cover travel expenses for the in person interview if you are coming in from out of state.

    Interview Questions
    • Make sure your stance on education matches with theirs   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
  9.  

    Office Manager/Special Program Coordinator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Brooklyn, NY
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Brooklyn, NY
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Uncommon Schools.

    Interview Details

    I was referred to Uncommon by a friend. Once I applied, they called me a few days later to schedule a phone interview. The questions were basic, but on the negative side, "tell me about a time things didn't go right?" "How do you deal with projects that don't go well"

    After I passed the phone interview, they called me in for an in-person interview. There was one other candidate there. We had a tour of the school and then they had us do various tasks. Some excel work, writing a memo to parents and prioritization. There was also a formal interview which was pretty basic, but once again, focused on negative questions.

    I was told to come in for another interview, and it was more relaxed. They did have me do various tasks, but nothing major. I got a call about a week later and they said that I was overqualified for the Office Manager role, but wanted me to look into the Special Project Coordinator position.

    I got an interview at a New Jersey school where about 8 other people were there. We did not get a tour of the school or any real info of the school. They quickly had us do some tasks, excel, memo, prioritization and another one which I cannot recall. Once again, there was a formal interview, this time in front of 4-5 people. They asked negative leading questions again, and I did not get a chance to ask any follow up questions. I also met with the Director of Operations, who was a bit kinder and let me ask questions, but since we ran short on time and I didn't get all my questions asked.

    They called me a day later (on Saturday) asking if I can come in for an interview Monday. I would be assisting with parent registration, observing how the lunch room is run and another formal interview. I went in from 8am-4pm and interacted with parents/scholars. After talking to other charter school teachers, I found this part odd that they asked this of me since I was not officially employed. The formal interview was basic questions following up from the first day of interviews (at the NJ school) They needed clarification on stuff. They asked me on a scale of 1-10 how likely I was to take the job, which I said was a 9-10.

    They contacted all my references as well as received a glowing recommendation letter from my previous employer. I got an email about 5 days later from a different HR rep saying I was not accepted for the position. Take back by this, I emailed my HR rep for clarification since I spent days with this school interviewing and to just receive a simple email was not enough for me.

    She called about an hour later explaining that though the email was not a mistake, she was suppose to follow up with me first before the email went out.

    Everything about the process rubbed me the wrong way. It almost felt like the interviewer was using me to do various tasks around the school instead of seeing if I should be a good fit or not. Having me order school supplies, interacting with families are not things you have someone do on an interview. You have them do that once they are employed. She encouraged me to apply for other positions, but I will not be doing that at all.

    Interview Questions
    • None of the questions were really difficult, but they were all just negative based and I rarely got to ask them questions about the role.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10.  

    Special Projects Coordinator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Newark, NJ
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Newark, NJ
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Uncommon Schools in June 2014.

    Interview Details

    Two days after applying online, a recruiter conducted a 15-minute phone interview. The questions were standard: 1) Tell me about yourself; 2) Why Uncommon Schools?; 3) Describe a time when your work was criticized. I was invited to Immersion Day that following week. Immersion Day includes a series of assignments and panel interviews. There were four assignments: 1) Excel Task (requiring knowledge of Conditional Formatting, VLookup, and Pivot Tables); 2) Prioritization Task; 3) Letter to Parents; and 4) Event Planning. I was evaluated on self-reflection, creativity, and tenacity--in addition to skillset. It is clear that they are searching for T-shaped individuals: ones who have a deep understanding in interdisciplinary fields. Although I was nervous and extremely tired, I maintained a positive outlook and shared enthusiasm in wanting to learn more. A week later, I received a verbal offer followed by a written contract.

    **Excel for Educators by Jason Altman helped me prepare**

    Interview Questions
    • Scenario: Imagine you are rushing down the hallway, and three teachers approach you with tasks. How would handle this?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    My recruiter was very helpful and encouraging throughout the process.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  11.  

    School Support Staff Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Uncommon Schools in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    I applied online and heard back a few days later for a phone interview with a recruiter. The questions were pretty simple, nothing difficult. The recruiter was super friendly and pleasant to speak to. A couple of days later I received a follow up email for an in person interview at one of their schools. When I got there I met the office staff & got a quick tour. Everyone seemed pretty pleasant. The work environment came off as a little intimidating. The actual interview consisted of intense role playing, admin tasks (draft memo, Excel spreadsheet), and classroom observations. After completing all tasks, there was a quick follow up to go over everything & ask further questions.

    Interview Questions
    • Role playing questions: dealing with angry parents and upset children   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

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