Are you preparing for a school guidance counselor interview?
If so, the good news is that guidance counselor roles do not typically attract many applicants. You may be the only person interviewing for the job, or there could be just one or two other people.
However, the interview will be tough, as the school board needs to be sure you are right for the job. It is essential to be prepared before the interview so that you can make a good impression.
So, let’s take a look at the top guidance counselor interview questions that are likely to come up.
- What inspired your decision to become a school counselor?
- What made you decide to counsel students at this level?
- What do you want to accomplish in this position?
- What do you enjoy about working with students?
- How would you gain the trust of our students?
- How do you handle angry or aggressive parents?
- What would you do if you suspect that a child is being neglected or abused at home?
- How do you deal with criticism from teachers and parents?
- Describe a time you worked with a child who was resistant to counseling?
- What do you do if a student tells you they have suicidal thoughts or plans?
- What would you do if one of your students told you she was pregnant?
- What would you do if a student wanted to drop out of school?
- How would you resolve a conflict between a student and teacher?
- Describe a situation where you worked with teachers and administrators to solve a student’s problem
- What would you do if a student reported abuse by a parent or teacher?
- How would you deal with a student who is consistently disruptive?
- What is the most important quality a guidance counselor should have?
- Do you always take notes during your sessions with a student?
- What makes you more qualified as a guidance counselor than other candidates?
- How do you think a guidance counselor should support a school’s overall mission and values?
- Looking for More Superb Interview Advice?
- Final Thoughts
What inspired your decision to become a school counselor?
It is essential to convey a passion for helping children when you answer this question. In addition to enjoying the counseling process, you need to be genuinely committed to helping children. Your ultimate goals are making sure that students are well-adjusted and helping them reach their full potential.
What made you decide to counsel students at this level?
The counseling techniques you apply will be very different depending on the ages of the students. Your answer should demonstrate an understanding of this and highlight the particular stage of development. This will allow you to make sure that the students are developing properly and that you can communicate with them effectively.
What do you want to accomplish in this position?
If you have done your research, you should be familiar with the goals and values of the school. Your answer should reflect the school values and the desire to help the students thrive. You can highlight one or two examples, such as aiming to lower the dropout rate or improving student-teacher relationships.
What do you enjoy about working with students?
It is important to be able to give an enthusiastic and passionate answer to this question. Think back to what inspired you to want to counsel students in the first place. The answer you give should directly tap into that aspiration.
How would you gain the trust of our students?
Teenagers are particularly distrustful of adults, and this will be amplified if they have had a negative past counseling experience. The answer you give should highlight your strong communication and people skills. Good answers include fair and transparent behavior, a friendly approach, and active participation in discussions and events.
How do you handle angry or aggressive parents?
These kinds of situational interview questions help the interviewer to assess a candidate’s communication skills and personality. A guidance counselor should always try to achieve the best outcome for the student. This includes actively listening to the parent’s point of view, showing empathy, and trying to find common ground with the parents.
Guidance counselors need to remain calm around hostile and even aggressive people. They need to be able to remain professional at all times and set boundaries. No matter what the situation may be, the guidance counselor should have techniques to diffuse it.
What would you do if you suspect that a child is being neglected or abused at home?
Reporting any type of abuse can be a very traumatic experience for a student of any age. Guidance counselors should be adept at looking for signs of mistreatment such as behavioral problems, decreased academic performance, and social withdrawal. If the guidance counselor notices any of these signs, they should talk with the student about their family life.
If the counselor suspects neglect or abuse of any kind, they have to file a report with social services. Your answer should highlight your ability to notice signs of abuse and your skills in getting people to open up. Even if the student is unwilling to speak up at first, you are dedicated enough to follow up on the issue.
How do you deal with criticism from teachers and parents?
This question is intended to assess your emotional intelligence and self-esteem. Criticism is part of a guidance counselor’s job, and they need to be able to accept negative feedback. Instead of dwelling on the feedback, you should highlight how your focus is always on the needs of the students.
Describe a time you worked with a child who was resistant to counseling?
Not everyone is receptive to counseling, and guidance counselors often meet resistance, at least initially. You should be able to highlight the approaches you use to reduce resistance and gain trust. These could be using humor to reduce anxiety and taking the time to build a positive relationship with students.
What do you do if a student tells you they have suicidal thoughts or plans?
Teenagers, in particular, tend to suffer from suicidal thoughts as they try to find their place in the world. Guidance counselors need to be ready and willing to tackle heavy topics in a compassionate way. It is important to be able to talk to students openly about their thoughts and feelings and provide assistance.
Your answer should demonstrate a willingness to do whatever it takes to help and support students. You should be prepared to make parents and teachers aware of the issue. You need to make sure that the student receives any mental help services that they may need.
What would you do if one of your students told you she was pregnant?
The key to this answer is support. You should have created an atmosphere where students feel comfortable talking about serious issues. Highlight the types of support and encouragement you provide to help students find the right solutions for them.
What would you do if a student wanted to drop out of school?
This is one of the most common Guidance Counselor interview questions, and while the main goal is to keep students in school, you need to demonstrate compassion and understanding. The first step to solving this issue is listening to the student to discover and understand their reasons.
Once the student feels that they have been heard, they will be more receptive to listening to you explain the importance of staying in school.
How would you resolve a conflict between a student and teacher?
In any type of conflict, students tend to act out because they feel unheard and misunderstood. The first step should always be listening to the student explain what they feel the problem is. A separate meeting should be held with the teacher to get their viewpoint before arranging a group meeting to talk through the issue together.
Describe a situation where you worked with teachers and administrators to solve a student’s problem
Guidance counselors need to work with a wide range of people to make sure that students’ needs are met. There is sure to be a time when you have worked with various people in order to help a single student. Give your example, highlighting the communication skills that you used to solve the problem.
What would you do if a student reported abuse by a parent or teacher?
You need to demonstrate that you understand school protocols and the legal requirements when reporting abuse. Respect for student confidentiality and trust are also key issues that need to be highlighted. Outline the steps you would take to make sure that the student receives the care they need while also protecting the school.
How would you deal with a student who is consistently disruptive?
It is important to demonstrate that you can handle a wide range of student problems. Your answer should highlight an awareness of school policies on the issue in balance with the student’s needs. The key here is successful communication and collaboration with students and parents to resolve the issue.
What is the most important quality a guidance counselor should have?
This is your opportunity to highlight your core values, such as empathy, compassion, and collaboration. Try to make sure that your answer is in line with the core values of the school. However, your answer also needs to be honest and authentic, and you should deliver it passionately.
Do you always take notes during your sessions with a student?
It is essential to take good notes during counseling sessions, both for your records and for other interested parties. If a student has severe behavioral problems or other issues, your notes can help you to track the issue. Being able to take good notes also demonstrates strong organizational skills.
However, some students may feel intimidated if they see you openly taking notes in front of them. Explain how you tailor your note taking according to the student to make sure they are comfortable. In some cases, you may have to take mental notes at the time and write out your notes when the student leaves.
What makes you more qualified as a guidance counselor than other candidates?
While you can refer to your qualifications, it is only part of the answer. The key to answering this question well lies in highlighting your unique skills and experience. Give examples of working with people in the real world and the skills and abilities you have used.
How do you think a guidance counselor should support a school’s overall mission and values?
Your answer should demonstrate that you understand the school’s basic mission statement and values. While your job is helping students, you are employed by the school and need to work with them.
Looking for More Superb Interview Advice?
Then, check out our guide to Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, and also the best way to answer difficult interview questions such as Why Do You Want to Work Here and Why We Should Hire You?
Or, if you’re currently leaving your current job, you may need some advice on How to Write a Resignation Letter. Plus, for an entertaining look at the brighter side of the process, check out Good Luck Finding Awesome Coworkers Like Us Again, Work Sucks!: A Funny View of a Serious Problem, as well as How to Quit Your Job Gracefully.
And while on the subject of humor, you might also enjoy some quality products that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, such as this YouNique Designs Guidance Counselor Mug, this stylish I’m a school counselor guidance counselor Gift Shirt, or this inspiring Counselor Coffee Mug.
OK, back to today’s topic…
Your main goal during the interview is to demonstrate a sincere interest in helping students with their problems. It is important to show that you are a compassionate person who knows how to connect with people. Your manner in the interview should be calm and confident, and as open as possible.
You also need to highlight that you have the skills and experience to do the job successfully. When preparing for the interview, practice is key. You should go over both your answers and your interview technique to make sure you secure the job.
The very best of luck with your next interview.
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