Preparing for an interview as a lecturer is like training for the Triathlon at the Olympics: there are several events to endure and you’ll probably come out sweating and exhausted. But it’s worth it when you get that dream job you’ve been working towards.
One stage of the process can be a ‘Fishbowl’ conversation. You sit around in a circle with the interviewers and other potential candidates and engage in pedagogical conversation. This could be facilitated by you or moderated by the interviewer.
Every fishbowl is different and it’s almost impossible to know what may come up, but here’s a few tips to succeed… with a few terrible fish puns cast off for good measure… Cod help us all.
Avoid being koi (see what I did there)
It’s important to be polite and listen to others, but don’t just sit back and observe. It’s all about striking a balance. Take in what someone has said and then lead on from that with your own point, without dominating the entire conversation.
Go for the gold…fish
Smile and engage eye contact with the other candidates. If you can, try and remember people’s names and use them as you follow on from what they were saying. The fishbowl isn’t just about what you know, but how you engage with others too.
Don’t be a Largemouth Bass
What? Salmon had to say it! When you’re engaging with others, don’t be negative with other people in response to what they say. If you do disagree, find a way to do so constructively. Undermining other’s points won’t score you any with the interviewers. This is a conversation, not a de-bait. I can’t stop myself now…
Reel them in with your research (I know, I’m skating on fin ice).
Unless you have a crystal ball, it’s unlikely you’ll predict what conversations will come up. If you’ve been asked to facilitate a conversation – do your homework. Think about where the conversation could go; what questions might be asked and how this could lead on to other topics.
Don’t trout yourself
If you have no clue what the conversation will involve, consider what could be discussed. Create a list of topics and your personal thoughts on them beforehand. If you own your opinions and are prepared to justify them, you can avoid this part of the interview being a turtle disaster.
The main thing is to be yourself; be confident and get involved. Enjoy the conversation! After all, you’ll be discussing something you’re truly passionate about: teaching.
Concerned about the other aspects of interview? Take a look at FEjobs' extensive CV and interview tips available. I promise there won’t be anymore aquatic puns swimming around in there…
About the author
After completing a BA in Creative Writing and a Masters in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester, Tammy worked as a Learning Support Assistant, with a focus on helping students develop their literacy skills. She then taught as an English teacher at an all-boys comprehensive school in Berkshire. Now she has turned her sights to a career in writing, with education at the heart of it.