If you are applying for a job as an assistant principal, the first thing you should realize is that administrative roles within the education field are much different than those in other industries. Listed here are some common assistant principal interview questions and answers that may help you enjoy a greater level of success.

How Do You Handle Student Discipline?

As an assistant principal, your first and foremost task will be to assist the principal in his or her duties. From time to time, this means that you will be called upon to discipline an unruly student. You may be asked to determine whether the student should get detention, in-school or home suspension, or even expulsion in extreme cases. To answer this question, you should reply with a past scenario if you can. Explain the offense and the steps you took to discipline the child. If you do not have experience with student discipline, create an imaginary scenario and explain how you would handle it.

Have You Ever Evaluated a Teacher Who was Not Performing to Expectation?

Aside from disciplining students, you will also likely be called upon to evaluate the performance of individual teachers on a regular basis. You may also be asked to evaluate a teacher whose students’ test scores are not on par with national averages; you may even be required to evaluate a teacher about whom you have received multiple complaints from students, parents or even other staff. As such, the interviewer will need to determine your capabilities. Here, you should use another scenario if you are experienced with such evaluations. If you are not, explaining that you would take the time to listen to both sides and then create an effective remedial plan should suffice.

Have You Ever Handled an Upset or Irate Parent?

The parents of schoolchildren are often very involved with their children’s education, and as such, you will sometimes need to participate in meetings or conferences with parents. Sometimes, and especially when students have been suspended or otherwise disciplined, parents can become very upset. Your interviewer will ask you if you have ever dealt with such a situation, and you should answer honestly. If so, describe the situation and how you handled it. If not, you should provide another example of a situation in which your communication skills were able to dissolve the angry party’s frustrations.

Do You Multitask Well?

You will have many duties as an assistant principal, so being able to perform many tasks all at once is imperative. In some cases, your interviewer will provide you with a hypothetical scenario in which the principal is out of the office and you are in the cafeteria supervising lunch break. During this time, you receive not only a report about a fight in a classroom, but you are also notified of an angry parent in your office demanding a meeting. Here, your interviewer is asking you to prioritize these tasks efficiently. Your answer should be short but precise. “I would ask another teacher to supervise the cafeteria long enough to bring the fighting students into my office and schedule a meeting with the parent.”
As long as you can provide honest and to-the-point answers to these questions, you will likely be on your way to a new position as an assistant principal. Although the job can certainly be demanding, your interviewer is trained to determine your capability and, in the long run, whether or not you have the potential to succeed.