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Teach for America Corps Member Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 10, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

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Interview Experience 

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Interview Difficulty 

111 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
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Declined Offer

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Easy Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
London, England

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

Neutral Experience

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

Interviewed at Teach for America

Interview Details Make sure you emphasize how you have dealt with difficult circumstances, as they are looking for teachers who can deal with difficult times and not quit. Showing interest to a Campus Coordinator and reaching out to your regional representative means a lot. TFA monitors your interactions with them religiously (word for word) so be persistent and send a consistent message.

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

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Declined Offer

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Corp Member Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

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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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Employee

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

Interview Details Interview process begins with submitting an online application. The application focuses on leadership and mindsets about the achievement gap. Some applicants are selected for a phone interview, and others are moved straight to an in-person interview. I completed a phone interview, where the interviewer asked questions about my resume and about my basic qualifications for the job. The in-person interview is a day-long process involving a group activity, teaching a short lesson, and a one-on-one session.

Interview Question – TFA loves role-playing activities. Be able to think on your feet, and be sure you're grounded in what you believe about kids, parents, communities, etc. that you're planning to serve.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

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

Interview Details You have to apply online through the TFA website. The application consists of leadership/work experience and some essay questions. Then, after the deadline period ends, you'll hear within about 2 weeks whether or not you have been invited to participate in a phone interview. The phone interview takes about 30 minutes and the interviewer asks you to expand on some of your initial application, then asks you some questions related to your leadership experience, organizational skills, and why you want to join TFA. After another week or so, you may be invited to the final interview stage, where you will present a 5-minute lesson plan, participate in a group activity, and an individual interview. It's a fairly relaxed interview setting, and the process isn't competitive in the sense that only a select number of people in your group can get the job. If they think you are qualified, you will get hired. Be sure to use the STAR method for answering their questions; that's what they recommend.

Interview Questions

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details Several steps- online application, phone interview, final interview.

Interview Question – Have you ever missed a deadline?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Employee
New Haven, CT (US)

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2013.

Interview Details The process is known for being rigorous, and the reputation is deserved. You turn in a few essays at the beginning with your basic stats, and then they might call you for a phone interview. Then you go to an in-person group interview where you must give a 5-minute sample lesson (demonstrating that you know 5-step lesson planning), talk about an article related to education, and do a 1-on-1 interview with a recruiter.

Interview Question – What is your biggest failure/regret?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Employee
Chicago, IL (US)

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

Interview Details The application process has multiple steps. Beyond an initial application where you answer a few general questions [why do you want to join Teach For America], you are basically submitting a resume for the first round. Then, if you are moving forward, they will contact you for either a phone interview or to let you know that you are advancing to the final round. They state that getting a phone interview does not mean you are somehow not 'as good' as someone who advances to the final stage, though it does introduce one more opportunity for you to be eliminated from the process. The final interview is an all day commitment. I don't have specific knowledge about the phone interview because I advanced to the final round. In a room with about 10 or so other applicants, you will have to present a 5 minute sample lesson. The key to this portion is your ability to name a specific objective that you will teach and literally achieve that objective such that you can demonstrate student mastery of the objective. The other applicants role play being your students during this portion, in addition to the interviewers who tend to take on 'adversarial' roles. Afterwards there is a group activity. The group has a limited amount of time to read a prompt relating to a school issue, such as expanding a program and seeking out approval from a principal who has every reason to say no. During this time, interviewers are walking around and listening/observing. This is not the time to overtalk/interrupt or 'be the boss', but rather demonstrate that you can work productively with a group of people. Finally, you will have a one on one interview where you are asked to discuss in detail how you manage tasks in high pressure situations.

Interview Question – I was asked what I would do in a situation where I would not meet a deadline for a project.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – I was given the choice of my top 5 cities and I got my #1 choice. I was also given choices for subjects to teach and got one of my middle range choices.

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details online Application, phone interview, final group interview

Interview Question – sworn to confidentiality   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Employee
Claremont, CA (US)

I applied through other source and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2013.

Interview Details TFA is very transparent. Prior to my phone and in-person interview, I studied their website and mission diligently (TFA recommends doing this.) I also went online and looked for suggestions as to how best to prepare for the phone and in-person interview. I would highly recommend preparing several (maybe 3 to 4) vignettes that highlight your leadership abilities. It may even be good to detail a time when you struggled or even failed to accomplish a goal. However, if you choose to include a vignette of this type, be sure to make clear the lessons/principles you took away from that experience and how it may have helped you to approach similar situations.

Interview Question – TFA is pretty transparent about their interview process. Though, little information is given regarding the actual questions they might ask, they do provide several suggestions in follow-up e-mails about how to tackle and prepare for the interview.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – At first I was placed in a region far from home, but I was able to get a regional transfer. Keep in mind, that my situation is not typical. TFA states that their offers are usually final. The placement team works to place you in one of your preferred regions, but they necessarily have to do so within the contexts of regional/employer needs i.e. if you lack significant coursework in the science or math, it will be difficult for them to place you in the Bay Area , as this region is in need of teachers competent in that subject.

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