Interview Questions to Screen Applicants for Special Education Roles

Esteban Gomez | March 24, 2015

Special education professionals serve one of the most complex teaching roles within the district and the ability to hire the right professionals for your schools falls heavily on how you screen applicants. The interviewing process is a crucial time for district recruiters to screen applicants for skills that demonstrate their ability to handle the different special needs and demands involved with being a special education professional. The following special education interview questions are to help you identify key competencies of viable education professionals for your district.

1. Team Player

While every special education student is different, there are typically numerous individuals that play a role in the child’s academic growth. Speech pathologists, teaching assistances, therapists, parents and more can all be influencers in the child’s education and individuals who the special education professional would work closely with. Screen applicants for their ability to effectively communicate and work with other individuals.

The Association of California School Administrators recommends to ask candidates, “How have you communicated student process to parents?” or “Tell me about a time you have worked with other teachers in creating the right curriculum for a special needs student.” These questions help district recruiters uncover which candidates are team players and can successfully work with all of the individuals in the students’ lives.

2. IEP Experience

A primary responsibility of special education teachers is to conduct in-depth individual assessments to design Individualized Education Programs (IEP) for special education students. The National Association of Elementary School Principal suggests screening applicants for a strong clinical knowledge and the ability to design and provide curriculums that maximum academic progress for each special education student. Candidates should be able to answer questions like, “What type of literary program would you employ for a student two to three years below grade level?” or “Describe a lesson plan that you have developed.

What were the objectives, the format of the lesson, and how did you evaluate whether or not the objectives were achieved?” Screen applicants for their knowledge and experience in creating effective learning objectives and goals for children across the learning spectrum.

3. Classroom Management

Many special education students need structure and routine in order to thrive and avoid disruption due to behavioral challenges. Screen applicants for their ability to manage a classroom by asking candidates questions like, “How have you established procedures and rules for behavior to maintain order among students?” or “How have you managed a disruptive student?” Special education students demand different attention and disciplinary tactics that teachers must be able to employ in order to keep the classroom a positive learning environment.

4. Using Technology

The National Association of Elementary School Principals states that “the most effective special education teachers know how to use technology to support the participation and progress of students.” Screen applicants for their ability to navigate and implement various technologies meant to enhance learning for special education students. Districts screen applicants for special education roles with digital interviews.

Districts across the U.S. such as Chicago Public School District, Nashville Public Schools, Arlington Public Schools and more use digital interviewing platforms as a means to screen applicants and their ability to navigate easy to use software.

Hiring special education professionals may seem daunting or even slightly out of your comfort zone, but asking the right interview questions helps  identify the best professionals for your district. What are some of your favorite questions to screen applicants special education positions? If you’re interested with learning how your district could utilize technology in the screening process, let’s schedule a time to talk!

About The Author

Esteban Gomez is a marketing consultant with interviewstream. He loves learning and has a passion for traveling, having visited many countries including China, Colombia, Italy, and Peru.


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