Dance Teaching Job Interview Tips
Congratulations! You’ve got yourself a job interview for your dream job, a dance teacher. Now what?
Having owned my own dance studio, I have interviewed many dance teachers over the years and I’ve noticed a few things stuck out in my mind.
I’ve got 5 tips that I think every dance teacher should read before showing up to an interview.
1) Show up on time. This may seem obvious, but try to avoid being late to the interview. If you find yourself in heavy traffic or you get lost finding the studio, make sure you call ahead of time; I have hired people who were late to an interview who have called to let me know and were apologetic upon arrival. On the flip side, don’t show up too early for a job interview. Dance studio owners are extremely busy and have often fit in your interview in their tight schedule. Showing up half an hour or an hour early and then seeming irritated when the studio owner can’t meet with you immediately does not give the studio owner a good impression. If you show up early, wait in the car or take a walk around until about ten minutes prior to the interview.
2) Do your research before the interview. It always impressed me when people knew certain details about our studio. It may seem like a little thing, but I own the studio with my sister and mother and upon introducing ourselves, I would notice if the reaction was “Oh, you’re a family who owns the studio?” versus “Oh, I noticed on the website you owned the studio with your mom and sister! How cool!” Similarly, at the part of the interview when I would ask if anyone had any questions, I was more impressed and more likely to hire the candidates who would ask questions regarding things they noticed on the website versus people who would just ask questions such as “Do you offer competition?” which I know they could have easily accessed on our dance studio website. The bottom line to me was if they were interested in the job then they would take the time to look around the website; if they didn’t, it would make me wonder if they were serious about wanting the job and if they weren’t it would make me worry they would end up quitting in a few months. Consistency is important when opening a dance studio so I always liked to hire teachers who I thought would last at least a whole year.
3) Stay positive on the interview. A positive demeanor can go a long way on an interview. When candidates were upbeat and positive it put me in a better mood and therefore would make me more likely to leave the interview with a good feeling. Also, I never liked it when candidates would badmouth a former studio. No one wants to hire a potential negative employee. Plus, let’s face it, no dance studio is perfect so I figured if they found fault with previous dance studios they’d probably find fault with mine and if they were so open to discussing it with me upon meeting me then this could mean they could badmouth our studio to our customers, and who would want that?
4) Be confident, not arrogant. You want to exert a certain amount of confidence on interviews. While sometimes it’s hard to brag on yourself, a job interview is the one place where that’s appropriate. This is your time to sell yourself as a great dance teacher. You need to let them know you can do the job because if it seems you don’t think you can, how can you get the studio owner to believe? At the same time, though, make sure your confidence doesn’t border on unrealistic. Saying that you’ve never encountered problems as a teacher and no one has ever said anything negative about your teaching is unrealistic. Teaching dance is a hard occupation and most teachers take time before they get good at it. If asked what you’ve learned as a dance teacher, don’t be afraid to mention problems you encountered early on (such as you found you screamed too much, you were too easy with the students, you talked to the students more than taught, etc.). Then take the time to express how you learned from this and got better. It always impressed me as a studio owner when someone would say this because it would let me know they reflect on their dance teaching, they are honest and they are coachable as teachers willing to learn and get better.
5) Work in a compliment. I’d like to say that I only hired teachers who were a good fit, but I’ll be honest: if I was choosing between equally qualified teachers, a compliment would go a long way in making the choice, whether I like to admit it or not. Being a studio owner is a hard job and I can go days where parents question my decisions right and left, and sometimes I just really need to hear something positive about my dance studio. Find something on the studio’s website or in the studio and compliment it. I remember one interview (he got the job, by the way, and kept it for years) where he mentioned watching our YouTube videos and being impressed by our classrooms and thinking he wanted to work here. That stuck with me all these years because it meant a lot to me.
So there you have it! Good luck on your interview, and keep these in mind!
About Elizabeth Emery
Elizabeth Emery is a former dance studio owner. She owned Dancers Unite in Charlotte, NC for 6 years, where she helped run the studio as well as taught dance classes six days a week. She sold her studio to one of her teachers and now dedicates her time helping other dance studio owners as well as dance teachers with her new business, Dance Teacher Finder, which helps pair dance studios with dance instructors. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and double majored in Business Economics and Marketing. Elizabeth currently splits her time between Charlotte, North Carolina and Salt Lake City, Utah.