Rapid Interview Prep Toolkit
Need to get ready for an upcoming admin job interview?
1-Sheet Interview Prep Storyboard
Walk into your next interview confident and prepared—even if time is tight
How can you get ready for an interview on short notice?
For ed leadership roles, there are 8 high-priority questions you should always be ready to answer.
"Tell us about yourself and your professional experience.
What makes you the best candidate for this role?"
Even if you're not asked this exact question, you need to be ready to make the case that you're the right person for the job.
The Time To Prepare Is Now
Whether you have an interview scheduled or not, the best time to prepare is...six months ago. The second-best time to prepare is now.
With the Rapid Interview Prep Toolkit, you'll have everything you need to rise above the competition and ace your next interview.
Admin hiring can move quickly—you may have less than 24 hours to prepare for an interview.
When people don't know how to prepare, they say things like "Just be yourself."
Of course you should be yourself...but you also need to be prepared.
Adding to the challenge: preparing for multiple interviews at the same time.
One of our clients got FIVE interviews for different jobs within a 4-day period:
A $589 value—just $30 today
I started doing mock interviews with friends and people in my network just to sharpen my skillset, sharpen my stories, and get prepared for a landing my first principal position, and guess what—it worked!
It absolutely worked. This tool is incredible.
If you've been on the fence, if you're in the hunt for a new principal or assistant principal position, this is an incredible tool.
I highly recommend it.
Danny Bauer // Better Leaders Better Schools
I don't believe I've ever told you thank you for getting me my dream job. I was a special ed teacher and had interviewed and come in second place for several principal positions. I took your advice, and it was a game changer.
The next position I interviewed for, I was up against an internal favorite. I found out after I had the job, the district created a position for another principal who was near retirement so that there was a spot for the internal fave and another one for me!
Ann // Principal
I was frustrated and discouraged by the highly competitive application and interview process for building leaders.
You helped me land a dream job as an assistant principal.
Nancy // Assistant Principal
I applied and followed your advice for interviewing.
I had my stories set for any question they had for me.
I found out that I was in the top 5 candidates, and have secured an Academy Principal at our STEM High School for next year!
I'm extremely excited! Thank you so much for the advice and guidance. I'm looking forward to continuing learning from you as I begin my new adventures!
Thanks so much!
Jen // High School Principal
I am very excited that my first principalship is at the school where I taught for 15 years - going back home.
I used the questions multiple times in preparation and I used your advice to video myself for interview questions and watch it back. It really helped a lot.
You will be glad to know that I got this job after my very first principal interview as well.
Jon // High School Principal
I just had to reach out and say THANK YOU! After 15 applications and 6 interviews this hiring season, I made it to the second round for two different positions this week.
Today I was offered my dream job as a Federal Programs Coordinator at the district level!
I know this is a direct result of your resources.
Melissa // Federal Programs Coordinator
Thanks to your amazing advice, I will be appointed to a principal job on Tuesday evening! It's an incredible job in a high-performing district and will mean a huge raise for me. Thank you!
I know that my résumé and interviewing skills improved because I followed your advice.
Thank you for all that you do to help administrators help their schools.
Kari // Principal
I did what you said...told my stories, expanded on explanations, highlighted what experiences I have, and so many other things.
I went into the 4 (in 3 days) interviews calm and feeling prepared. Thank you so much!
Sometime soon, I will be interviewing for principal positions.
Eileen // Assistant Principal
Hey Justin, your videos and guidance helped my land my current job. I am so thankful for your advice! It took many interviews, but I found the perfect fit for my family and I.
Your questions were a great resource; they helped my prepare and feel confident in my interviews.
Benjamin // Christian School Principal
I used and practiced your interview questions quite a bit. I also used your advice to have some prepared stories to help (which indeed, I did beat out an internal candidate).
Wanted to thank you for your amazing resources! I recently utilized your interview tips and practice questions.
Watching myself was BRUTAL, but it made me very aware the importance of me to be myself.
I applied as an internal candidate for an Assistant Principal position. This past week I was offered the position. Thank you again!
Erin // Assistant Principal
What's Included in the Rapid Interview Prep Toolkit
(a $589 value—95% off)
The 1-Sheet Interview Prep Storyboard
What will you say in your next interview? There's no way to predict exactly what questions you'll be asked...but you can prepare the key stories, accomplishments, and points you want to convey.
On the 1-Sheet Interview Prep Storyboard, you'll map out exactly what you'll say—clearly and concisely—for each of 8 High-Priority Practice Interview Questions.
You'll also plan the three main accomplishments and stories you intend to work into your answers, no matter what questions you're asked.
Absolutely unpaid endorsement here.
A few weeks ago Justin Baeder sent me his principal interview questions before my very first principal interview.
I worked the program exactly like he suggested, writing down my answers, putting together 5-7 stories, even videoing myself for practice.
9 minutes after I left the interview they called and offered the job. Dude knows his stuff.
8 High-Priority Video Interview Practice Questions with Tips
You can't predict exactly what questions you'll be asked, but you can practice for the most likely questions. For example, nearly every interview will have a question like "Tell us about yourself and your professional experience. What makes you the best candidate for this role?"
You'll draft your answers on the 1-Sheet Interview Prep Storyboard, then practice them with our exclusive Video Interview Practice tool. For each question, you'll get video tips on what makes a great answer, then a chance to practice for yourself—as many times as you'd like.
The Tight 5: Practice 5-Minute Answers
It's normally rude to talk, uninterrupted, for 5 minutes at a stretch, but when you're answering interview questions, that's precisely what you must do.
Think of an interview as a series of short performances. A stand-up comedian would never take the stage without a "Tight 5" prepared—that's five solid minutes of good material.
Stop too soon, and you'll miss the chance to convey why YOU are the superior candidate. Or, even worse, if you stretch out your answer but don't have enough to say, you'll ramble on and bore the interview team.
In this strategy guide, you'll learn how to hold center stage in your next interview by practicing concise, compelling 5-minute answers.
The Present-Tense Technique
How can you position yourself as ready for a new level of responsibility, without sounding too confident or too hesitant?
If you talk about what you "WILL" do after you get the job, you'll come across as brash and arrogant. On the other hand, if you talk about what you "would" or "could" do if given a chance, you'll come across as weak and underqualified.
But there's a simple technique you can learn in just a few minutes: using present-tense language to position yourself as ready for the role, even if it would be a promotion. You'll learn how in this guide.
S.T.A.R. Story Framework 2.0
This isn't the old "Situation, Task, Action, Result" approach to answering "Tell us about a time..." or behavioral interview questions.
The problem with this S.T.A.R. "1.0" approach? The interview team doesn't care about the story—they want to know about YOU! The story is just a window.
How can you tell a story, give an example, or answer a behavioral interview question, while keeping the focus on your qualifications? Use our S.T.A.R. 2.0 Framework, with replaces "Task" and "Action" with key details that will tell the interview team who you are as a leader.
In less than 10 minutes, you can learn to highlight what makes you stand out as a candidate, while still conveying the essential details about the Situation itself and the and Action you took.
I'm glad to report I got hired after my 4th interview. Thank you so very much for all your words of wisdom and helping me prepare.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
I would have to say the questions were the biggest help. Some of the items you listed would have never entered my mind as preparation material.
The S.N.A.P. Accomplishment Framework
Every day, candidates rise above their competitors by making the most of their experience—even if they actually have less experience.
How? By describing accomplishments, not duties. Talking about your duties doesn't tell the hiring team anything they don't already know. If you're a principal, you've done teacher evaluations. If you're an AP, you've handled discipline.
So don't waste your time describing your duties—they'll just make you blend in with everyone else. Instead, highlight your accomplishments.
In this guide, you'll discover the 4 elements of a compelling accomplishment, and you'll learn how to work them into your interview answers.
The Rule of 3: Organize Answers with 3 Main Points
Interview responses organized around 3 main points are far easier to understand and remember. Without this basic structure, you'll feel like you're rambling—and your listeners will, too.
In this guide, you'll learn the top "Rule of 3" patterns successful candidates use to organize their responses. Some, like "3 steps" are obvious. Others will become your secret weapon—especially for answering unexpected questions.
If you're thrown a curveball, like "How would you approach budgeting for the music program?" you can lean on your Rule of 3 patterns to create an overall structure while you think about what to say.
The VIP Champion's Routine
The 1-Sheet Interview Prep Storyboard (above) will help you plan what to say. But to take your prep to the next level, you'll want to go beyond planning and actually practice your answers on video.
Professional athletes review game film to identify opportunities for improvement. You can't record your real interviews, but you can record your practice responses, and this guide will show you precisely what to do with the recordings, so you get better quickly and bring home the prize—a job offer.
Video Interview Practice Rubric
What makes a good response? We've condensed everything you'll learn from the guides in this Toolkit into a 10-point checklist.
Record yourself using your VIP tool, then watch the video and find your best opportunities for improvement.
Then, practice again until you're ready to nail each question!
Thanks so much for your awesome interview questions and materials on your site.
I got the job this afternoon!
I worked through your set of questions and videoed myself answering the questions.
When I reached the interview, 2/3 of the questions were versions of what your list included.
The others were specific about school data. I felt very prepared!
Entry Plan Google Doc Template
Wondering what to include in your entry plan? You may be asked to turn one in at some stage in the hiring process, or you may just want to distinguish yourself as a candidate by preparing one.
And when you get the job, you'll want to start right. Our Google Docs template is pre-filled with essential actions to take in your first 100 days on the job, and questions to help you identify your priorities.
BONUS: Introduction PowerPoint Template
You may also be asked to prepare a presentation introducing yourself to the school community—as part of the interview process, or after you get the offer.
Our beautiful Introduction Presentation PowerPoint Template has all the sections you need, so you can quickly and easily add your own details.
BONUS: 120+ Extra Interview Practice Questions
Ready to go big? You'll get our complete list of 120+ practice interview questions, including many for specialized admin roles and unique contexts.
The Rapid Interview Prep Toolkit is yours for a single payment of
I GOT THE JOB. I'm now a first year A.P. and loving my job!
Robin // Assistant Principal
Frequently Asked Questions
The toolkit includes instant access to these printable prep tools:
- 1-Page Interview Prep Storyboard
- Tight 5 guide
- Present-Tense Technique Guide
- S.T.A.R. Story Framework 2.0
- S.N.A.P. Accomplishment Framework
- Rule of 3 guide
- VIP Champion's Routine
- Video Interview Practice Rubric
Plus the following customizable templates:
- Entry Plan Google Doc template with video training
- Introduce Yourself PowerPoint Presentation template
You'll also get the interactive Video Interview Practice tool, featuring tips on the 8 High-Priority Practice Interview Questions, plus 120+ additional practice interview questions.
You get lifetime access with no expiration—you can use the Toolkit to prepare for interviews now and at any time in the future.
You will get access immediately upon checkout. Your login info should arrive within 10 minutes.
The Rapid Interview Prep Toolkit is $30, and includes lifetime access.
The interview strategies could be used for any type of job interview, but the practice questions and tips are geared specifically toward landing your next educational leadership role, e.g. central office, principal, assistant principal, dean, instructional coach, etc.
Yes, you can watch the trainings and read the PDFs on a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone. To edit the PowerPoint templates, you'll want to be on a Windows or Mac computer. The Google Doc template can be edited from a Chromebook or Windows or Mac computer.
If you are not satisfied with the Rapid Interview Prep Toolkit for any reason, contact us within 30 days for a full refund.
About Your Trainer
JUSTIN BAEDER, Ph.D.
Director, The principal center
Justin Baeder, PhD is Director of The Principal Center, and has been a full-time author and consultant since 2012.
His trainings and resources on the admin job search have helped thousands of leaders land their current roles—from dean of students to superintendent.
Dr. Baeder is the host of Principal Center Radio, a weekly podcast featuring interviews with leading authors and thinkers such as John Hattie, Charlotte Danielson, Robyn Jackson, Douglas Reeves, Ken Williams, and more than 300 other distinguished guests
Justin served his entire career in public education as a principal and teacher in Seattle Public Schools. He holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from Seattle University and a PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy from the University of Washington.
Dr. Baeder is the author of Now We're Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership (Solution Tree), the leading book on classroom walkthroughs.
At The Principal Center, it's our mission to help instructional leaders:
Founded in 2012, The Principal Center has over 15,000 participants in our free and paid programs, representing more than 50 countries around the world.