Sometimes it seems we live in a world gone mad – there is a constant buzz of opinions and information from people via television, computers, and mobile devices that makes it difficult to focus on one’s inner world and personal thoughts. Tuning out that noise can be easier for an adult than a young person, who is still trying to figure out who they are in the world and can be heavily influenced by others. With the immediacy of the connections to others online, today’s youth can be bombarded with both positive and negative influences from the outside world. Recent studies show that cyber bullying is on the rise and today’s school counselors are the front lines of a battle which is often waged by anonymous, yet vicious, attackers. Given the prevalence of smartphones among teenagers, bullying can escalate quickly and happen at any time of the day. School counselors preparing for a job interview should be able to discuss their experience working with students who have experienced this form of bullying.
Additionally, counselors need to be able to discuss their experience with other common issues creating a barrier to a student’s academic success – mental health, alcohol and drug use, school violence, peer pressure, self-esteem, and sexual identity. To ensure students’ success both academically and socially, school counselors are the primary, and sometimes only, professional in a school to help students with these challenges. An effective counselor should also have an understanding and appreciation for the diversity of students and their different family structures.
Finally, job candidates should be prepared to discuss their strategies for managing a large number of students as many school districts are cutting counseling staff as budgets are tightened.
Possible Interview Questions for School Counselors:
What counseling theories most influence you?
If you had to develop your own comprehensive school counseling program on your first day on the job, how would you start?
How does a school counselor assist with the implementation of ESL in building programming?
What would you do if you suspected a student was pregnant?
What would you do if a student told you he/she planned to kill him/her self?
What is your experience working with LGBT students?
How do you, or would you, deal with a teacher who does not respect the role of a school counselor?
Have you ever disagreed with your principal about how to handle an issue involving a student? What did you do?
Have you ever experienced signs of burnout? What did you do?
What advice would you give someone thinking of pursuing a career in school counseling about how to deal with the biggest challenges they will face.
How have you used data to inform the development of your counseling program?
Can you tell me the mission of our school? How will you help that mission?
What was the biggest mistake you have made with a student?
Do you have experience administering state testing?
What would your last principal say about you?
How do you deal with disengaged parents?
How do you deal with “helicopter” parents?
What would you do if a student told you he/she brought a weapon to school?
Discuss your experience helping victims of bullying, including online.
How can a counselor be a leader in the school?
What do you think is the role of the school counselor in preventing school violence?
What would you say to irate parent who is upset that their student must attend summer school to continue on to the next grade next year?
What is your experience with 504 accommodation plans?
If you knew a student was being neglected at home, what would you do?
Tell me about the most stressful counseling situation you have handled.
What are the top 3 traits of an effective school counselor? Do you have them?
Why do you want to work for this school district?
Have you ever done anything unethical even if your action was intended to ultimately help a student?