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Assistant Principal interview questions and answers

This Assistant Principal interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

Christine Del Castillo
Christine Del Castillo

Former Community Manager at Workable specialized in employee experience, talent brands and our event series, Workable Ideas.

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10 good assistant principal interview questions

  1. Tell us about your professional experience in the field of education.
  2. In as much detail as possible, describe your vision of a highly effective elementary school.
  3. What are your personal benchmarks for success in this role?
  4. How would you rate yourself as a leader? Describe your leadership style.
  5. How would you rate yourself as a disciplinarian?
  6. How does this role differ from the role of the Principal?
  7. Describe a time you disagreed with the Principal’s decision-making.
  8. Discuss the relationship between teacher evaluations and student achievement.
  9. How do you involve other staff in organizational decision-making?
  10. Describe a time you suggested a way to cut costs in order to maintain a service or activity.

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. Tell us about your professional experience in the field of education.

This question aims to gauge the candidate’s background and how it has prepared them for the role of Assistant Principal.

Sample answer:

“I have over 10 years of experience in education, starting as a high school teacher before moving into administrative roles. My diverse experience has equipped me with the skills needed for effective school management.”

2. In as much detail as possible, describe your vision of a highly effective elementary school.

This question seeks to understand the candidate’s educational philosophy and vision.

Sample answer:

“A highly effective elementary school fosters a nurturing environment where students are encouraged to be curious, teachers are highly qualified, and parents are actively involved.”

3. What are your personal benchmarks for success in this role?

This question aims to understand what the candidate considers important metrics for success.

Sample answer:

“My benchmarks for success include improved student achievement, high teacher retention rates, and strong community engagement.”

4. How would you rate yourself as a leader? Describe your leadership style.

This question assesses the candidate’s self-awareness and leadership skills.

Sample answer:

“I would rate myself as an 8 out of 10 as a leader. I believe in a collaborative leadership style that empowers teachers and encourages open communication.”

5. How would you rate yourself as a disciplinarian?

This question aims to understand the candidate’s approach to discipline within the school.

Sample answer:

“I consider myself a firm but fair disciplinarian. I believe in setting clear expectations and following through with appropriate consequences.”

6. How does this role differ from the role of the Principal?

This question helps to clarify the candidate’s understanding of the role they are applying for.

Sample answer:

“The role of an Assistant Principal is more focused on the day-to-day operations of the school, whereas the Principal is more involved in strategic planning and external relations.”

7. Describe a time you disagreed with the Principal’s decision-making.

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to handle disagreements professionally.

Sample answer:

“There was a time when I disagreed with the Principal’s approach to handling a disciplinary issue. I voiced my concerns privately and we reached a compromise.”

8. Discuss the relationship between teacher evaluations and student achievement.

This question aims to understand the candidate’s views on teacher performance and its impact on students.

Sample answer:

“Effective teacher evaluations are crucial for student achievement. They help identify areas for improvement and offer opportunities for professional development.”

9. How do you involve other staff in organizational decision-making?

This question assesses the candidate’s approach to collaborative decision-making.

Sample answer:

“I believe in a democratic approach and often form committees or focus groups to involve staff in important decisions.”

10. Describe a time you suggested a way to cut costs in order to maintain a service or activity.

This question aims to understand the candidate’s ability to manage resources effectively.

Sample answer:

“I once suggested switching to a more cost-effective software platform, which saved the school money without compromising the quality of our services.”

What does a good assistant principal candidate look like?

A strong candidate for Assistant Principal will have a solid educational background, leadership skills, and a vision for the school. They should be adept at problem-solving, have excellent communication skills, and be able to work collaboratively with staff, students, and parents.

Red flags

Be wary of candidates who lack experience in education, have poor communication skills, or seem unprepared for the interview. A lack of vision for the school or an inability to articulate their role can also be warning signs.



Assistant Principal Interview Questions

The essential requirements for hiring your Assistant Principal were likely decided by a committee, based on existing data, with state and district goals in mind. The same committee tends to steer the hiring process. Candidates for this position typically interview with the committee first before proceeding to one-on-one interviews.

The following interview questions are meant to start purposeful open-ended conversations with candidates and can be used at the initial committee interview. These questions will help you learn more about your candidates’ practical experience as an educator and their overall ability to lead teaching and learning at your school.

This a high visibility, high-pressure role. During the interview, you’ll want to evaluate candidates’ experience of being in a school leadership role, and their overall ability to help you achieve your school improvement goals. You’ll also want to investigate their soft skills and leadership style. Are they better at taking direction or at taking initiative? How does this correspond with what your Principal needs? Can they assist in hiring, training, and developing teachers? Are they effective relationship builders? Are they effective disciplinarians? What are their professional goals, and what motivates them to do well in this role? These are all critical factors to consider when hiring your new Assistant Principal.

Let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • Tell us about your professional experience in the field of education.
  • In as much detail as possible, describe your vision of a highly effective (elementary/middle/high) school.
  • What are your personal benchmarks for success in this role?
  • How would you rate yourself as a leader? Describe your leadership style.
  • How would you rate yourself as a disciplinarian?
  • How does this role differ from the role of the Principal?
  • Describe a time you disagreed with the Principal’s decision-making.
  • Discuss the relationship between teacher evaluations and student achievement.
  • How do you involve other staff in organizational decision-making?
  • Describe a time you suggested a way to cut costs in order to maintain a service or activity.
  • In what ways have you helped teachers improve their methods of instruction?
  • What classroom management strategies do you recommend?
  • What guidance would you give to teachers during their first year on the job?
  • How would you give negative feedback to a veteran teacher?
  • Describe a time that a student complaint resulted in reprimanding a teacher.
  • How do you know when a parent organization is effective?
  • Describe a time you involved a parent in disciplining a student.
  • How would you organize and promote a new student activity?
  • How would students at your school describe you?

Frequently asked questions

Ready to fine-tune this interview kit?
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