Interview

18 School Counselor Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a school counselor, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

A school counselor’s job is to help students develop academically, emotionally, and socially. They work with students of all ages, from elementary school to college. School counselors also work with parents and teachers to create a healthy school environment.

If you’re interested in becoming a school counselor, you’ll need to go through an interview process. During your interview, you’ll likely be asked questions about your experience working with children, your education, and your counseling skills.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with sample questions and answers that will help you prepare for your interview.

What would you like to accomplish in your first month on the job?

This question is a great way to see how ambitious you are and what your goals are for the school counseling department. Your answer should include specific tasks that you would like to accomplish in your first month on the job, such as creating an action plan or organizing files.

Example: “In my first month on the job, I would like to meet with each student individually to get to know them better and learn more about their interests and strengths. I would also like to create a system of organization within the counseling office so we can find important documents quickly when needed. Finally, I would like to develop a list of resources for students who need additional support.”

How did you hear about the position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your background and how you found out about the job opening. They want to know if you applied for the position on your own or if someone referred you. You can answer this question by briefly explaining who told you about the role, what their relationship was with the school and why they thought you would be a good fit for the counseling position.

Example: “I heard about this position from my friend, Jane Smith. She is a guidance counselor at this school, and she knows I have an interest in working with students who are struggling in math. She said that there is an opportunity here for me to work with students one-on-one and help them improve their grades.”

Why are you interested in working for our school?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand why you are applying for this position. It’s important to show that you have done your research on the school, its mission statement and what makes it unique. You should also highlight any personal connections you may have with the school or community.

Example: “I am interested in working at this school because I believe in the importance of a well-rounded education. I’ve heard great things about this school from my friend who is a teacher here, and I think the counseling program looks like an excellent resource for students. I would love to be part of a team that supports each other and works together to provide the best possible experience for students.”

How do you intervene with at risk students?

School counselors often work with students who are struggling in school or at risk of dropping out. An interviewer may ask this question to learn how you handle these situations and ensure the student’s success. In your answer, explain what steps you take to help these students succeed.

Example: “I have worked with many at-risk students throughout my career as a school counselor. I find that it is important to meet with them one-on-one to understand their unique situation. For example, I had a student who was failing all of his classes because he didn’t want to go home after school. He told me that his parents were constantly fighting, so he would stay late at school to avoid going home. After talking with him about his options, we decided that he should spend lunch with me each day until his grades improved.”

What do you see as the most challenging part of this role?

This question can help interviewers understand what you find challenging and how you approach challenges. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific skill that helps you overcome the challenge.

Example: “The most challenging part of this role is helping students who are struggling with mental health issues. I have experience working with students who have anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns, so I know how important it is to listen to them and make sure they feel comfortable talking about their feelings. I also think it’s important to provide resources for parents and guardians so they can support their children at home.”

What makes you the best candidate for this job?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you feel you can contribute to their school. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this role. Focus on highlighting your most relevant experience and soft skills.

Example: “I am passionate about helping students find their strengths and discover new opportunities. I have worked with many students who were unsure of what career path they wanted to pursue or if college was right for them. My goal is to help students develop self-confidence and understand their own unique talents so they can use those to achieve their goals.”

Do you have any experience working with students?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have any experience working with students and how that experience may relate to your role as a school counselor. If you do not have direct experience, you can discuss other experiences where you worked with people who are younger than you.

Example: “I have never directly worked with students, but I have volunteered at my local library for the past five years helping children learn to read. I love seeing their excitement when they finally understand something new, so I decided to pursue a career in education. My previous experience has helped me realize that I want to work with students of all ages.”

Why did you choose to pursue a career as a school counselor?

This question is an opportunity to show your passion for working with students. Your answer should include a personal story that explains why you chose this career path and what motivates you to do it every day.

Example: “I became a school counselor because I wanted to help students who were struggling in their classes or socially. In high school, I had a few teachers who noticed when I was having trouble in class and helped me get the extra support I needed. After getting some extra attention from my teachers, I was able to raise my grades and graduate on time. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be a school counselor so I can give other students the same kind of care and support.”

How do you provide constructive feedback?

School counselors often provide feedback to students, parents and teachers. Interviewers want to know how you can give constructive feedback in a way that helps others improve their performance or behavior. Use examples from your experience of giving feedback to show the interviewer that you are capable of doing so effectively.

Example: “I find it helpful to meet with the person I’m providing feedback to one-on-one. This allows me to focus on them and ensure they have my full attention. I also try to be as specific as possible when providing feedback. For example, if I notice a student is having trouble with math, I will ask what grade they’re currently getting in math class and then explain how I think they could do better. If I am providing feedback to a parent, I will always make sure to include positive things about their child’s progress.”

How would you handle a student who does not want to talk with you?

School counselors often work with students who are struggling emotionally or socially. They may not want to talk about their problems, but the counselor needs them to open up so they can help them. Your answer should show that you understand how difficult this situation can be and that you have strategies for getting through it.

Example: “I would first try to make sure I was available when the student wanted to talk. If they don’t want to come in during my office hours, I will meet with them at a time that works best for them. I also know that sometimes students need some space before they feel ready to talk. In these cases, I give them a deadline to contact me and then check back with them later.”

Why are you leaving your current job?

This question can be tricky because it’s a chance for you to explain why you’re looking for a new job without sounding negative about your current employer. It’s important to remember that the interviewer is likely asking this question to understand more about your decision and how it relates to their school, so try to answer honestly while also showing enthusiasm for the position.

Example: “I’m leaving my current job because I feel like I’ve learned all I can there. I have been working as a school counselor for five years now, and I am ready to take on a new challenge. I think the opportunity at this school would allow me to use my skills in counseling students even more than before.”

How would you handle a child abuse case?

School counselors often work with students who have experienced abuse. Interviewers want to know how you would handle such a sensitive situation and ensure the child’s safety while maintaining their privacy. In your answer, explain that you would report any suspected cases of abuse to the proper authorities and support the student through the process.

Example: “I once worked with a student who was experiencing severe emotional distress. After talking with him for several weeks, I learned he had been physically abused by his father. I immediately reported my suspicions to the police department and arranged for the boy to stay at a safe house until they could apprehend his father. The boy stayed in our school counselor program for the rest of the year as we helped him recover from his trauma.”

How would you handle students who bully other students?

Bullying is a serious issue in schools, and school counselors often need to help students who are being bullied. Your answer should show that you understand the severity of bullying and how it can affect students’ lives. You can talk about your plan for helping students who bully others or those who are being bullied.

Example: “Bullying is something I take very seriously because I know how much damage it can do to students. In my experience as a school counselor, I have seen many different types of bullying. When I see students bullying other students, I first try to get them alone to talk with them. If they continue to bully after talking with me, I will call their parents into the office so we can discuss what’s going on. I also encourage victims of bullying to reach out to me if they feel like they don’t have anyone else to turn to.”

How would you work with teachers to create effective plans for students?

School counselors often work with teachers to create plans for students. These plans can include academic goals, social skills development and other important aspects of a student’s life. Interviewers may ask this question to learn how you collaborate with others and develop strategies that help students succeed. In your answer, explain the steps you would take to create these plans with teachers.

Example: “I believe it is essential to have open communication between school counselors and teachers. I always make sure to meet with new teachers before they start their jobs so we can discuss each student’s needs. This allows me to provide teachers with resources and information about students’ past experiences. It also gives them an opportunity to share any concerns or questions they might have about working with certain students.”

What do you know about state graduation requirements?

School counselors often work with students and their families to ensure they meet state graduation requirements. Interviewers ask this question to make sure you have the knowledge necessary to help your students succeed in school. In your answer, explain what you know about state graduation requirements and how you plan to support your students as they prepare for high school graduation.

Example: “I am familiar with the state graduation requirements for my home state of California. I also understand that each state has different requirements for graduation. For example, some states require a certain number of credits while others require a specific grade point average. To prepare for these differences, I would first speak with my students’ teachers to learn more about the curriculum. Then, I would create individualized plans for each student based on their strengths and weaknesses.”

What computer programs are you familiar with using?

School counselors often use computer programs to create student schedules, record attendance and communicate with parents. Interviewers ask this question to make sure you have the necessary skills to complete these tasks. Before your interview, review the job description to see which computer programs they list as requirements. In your answer, name any programs that match those listed in the job description.

Example: “I am familiar with using Microsoft Office Suite, Google Drive and Dropbox. I also regularly use email for communication with students, parents and other school staff members. These are all programs I used at my previous school.”

What is your approach to professional development?

School counselors often have to keep up with the latest trends in their field. They may attend conferences, read journals or take online courses to learn about new ways of helping students succeed. Interviewers want to know that you are committed to your own professional development and will continue learning throughout your career as a school counselor.

Example: “I am always looking for ways to improve my counseling skills. I regularly attend workshops and seminars on topics like building positive relationships with students and families, how to help students overcome trauma and how to support LGBTQ students. I also subscribe to several education-focused newsletters so I can stay informed about current events in education.”

What is your general attitude toward disciplining children?

School counselors often have to discipline students, and the interviewer wants to make sure you understand this responsibility. Your answer should show that you can be firm but fair when disciplining students. You can also include a specific example of how you disciplined a student in the past.

Example: “I believe in being firm but fair when it comes to disciplining students. I always try to give them one warning before taking action. If they continue their behavior after the first warning, then I will take more serious disciplinary measures. For instance, if a student is talking out of turn, I might ask them to stop and remind them about our classroom rules. If they continue to talk after my reminder, I would send them to the principal’s office.”

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