Top 21 Principal Interview Questions in 2024 (with Answers)

The principal is a dream job for many people who are in the teaching sector. The principal is a member of the staff and holds the highest authority in an institution. For being a principal, one needs a lot of confidence and a set of skills. 

The main responsibility of the Principal is to manage the school or institution in the best way possible. It is not an easy profession and one needs to be very skilled and knowledgeable. 

Moreover, recruiting a person for the position of a principal is even more difficult. To pick out the best candidates for the position of Principal, the hiring committee of the institution makes a well-researched and detailed interview for an individual.

 The interview is a few minutes long and good detailed questions are asked by the interviewers. One needs to be very fluent and confident to answer them.

Principal Interview Questions

21 Most Helpful Principal Interview Questions

1. How do you set about building good relationships with staff and parents?

Sample Answer

I prefer to be clear and straightforward. It is not like I always impose my decisions on others but I calmly make others understand my point of view and that makes me build good relationships with parents and staff.

2. According to you, what roles should parents play in school?

Sample Answer

Parents play an important role in shaping the future of students. Parents also play a significant role at school and their active participation is required for the success of the student. 

Parents must give proper time to their students and they should be well aware of what is going on in the school.

3. Tell us about your philosophy on discipline.

Sample Answer

I believe Discipline is the most important thing in the life of a Student. Not only students but everyone must have discipline in his/her life to succeed in life. I am very particular about discipline and always teach others to follow it as well. Being a principal, I first listen to both teachers and students, and only after that do I come up with any punishment decision.

4. Can you determine your definition of quality instruction?

Sample Answer

To me, the definition of quality instruction is that it should be clear. Being the highest authority, I think I am responsible for everything that happens within the premises of the institution. Although I give proper instructions about every event I also give them the freedom to teachers and students to perform certain tasks in their way. 

5. Have you ever handled an upset parent?

Sample Answer

Yes, and I think this is the most common situation that principals face. Firstly, I try to stay calm in all situations and try to handle them professionally. I listen to their problems and give the best solution possible.

6. Why are you interested in this position?

Sample Answer

I have already worked as an assistant principal and while I was working as one, I wanted to work as a principal in the future. That is why this position is very close to me and I am interested in achieving it.

7. What is your biggest weakness as a principal?

Sample Answer

As a principal, my biggest weakness is leniency towards teachers and students. Sometimes, I think I am very harsh on them and that’s why at times I am very lenient towards them.

8. Briefly describe your experience in this field?

Sample Answer

I have worked as an Assistant Principal for the last four years. I have learned a lot during my role as an assistant principal and I always wanted to work as a Principal as well. 

My principal knew that I intended to be a Principal and he helped me with the same. He gave me opportunities to make decisions at times which helped me to learn new skills required for being a successful principal.

9. What is the biggest challenge that you foresee in this job?

Sample Answer

Although, I have worked as an assistant principal and have some idea about what it might feel like to be a Principal. The biggest challenge that I foresee in this position is to effectively communicate with my staff and parents. I have some experience of interacting with the teachers but I think it is more difficult when you are the principal.

10. Tell us a time when you had a conflict with a teacher?

Sample Answer

One day while I was in a meeting, the class that was near to my office was shouting. Instead of telling the teacher many times to make sure that no noise comes from the class, she busted and said that the student’s active participation in the class was the reason for the noise. 

11. How do you cope with pressure at work?

Sample Answer

Being an adult and the head of an institution, I face a lot of pressure at work. I always try to stay focused and calm. Taking short breaks also helps me when I am very stressed. 

12. Briefly tell us about the skills needed to be a good principal?

Sample Answer

Good communication and leadership skills along with rational decision-making skills are what is required to be a successful principal. 

The principal is the head of the institution and is required to take all the necessary decisions.

13. What kind of people do you find the toughest to deal with?

Sample Answer

I believe the toughest people to deal with are the ones who take things personally. Being working adults, this kind of behavior is not good and eventually harms the work. 

Initially, I use to get a bit angry because of the behavior of such people but now I have adapted myself to this kind of behavior because it is very common. Although, there are a few times when I have to be very adamant about my decisions.

14. How do you deal with difficult students?

Sample Answer

Students are naughty but I think they are not always wrong. I first listen to them and then carefully analyze the situation. I understand difficult students are not easy to deal with but with the correct attitude and right method, you can easy to deal with them.

15. What are your major strengths as a principal?

Sample Answer

My major strengths as a principal are my leadership skills. When you are the head of an institution or any other department you must have good leadership skills. 

I think this is what helped me be a successful assistant principal and I wish to continue the same for this position as well.

16. What major challenges did you face during your last role? How did you handle it?

Sample Answer

The biggest challenge that I faced was to have a good balance between the needs of teachers and the institute. Various changes taking place in the educational institutions, directly affect the workload of the teachers.

 I did not want to overburden them because they also have a life of their own. Their work is not their whole life but the load was inevitable.

17. What professional development activities have you undertaken recently?

Sample Answer

I have constantly taken part in the conferences and also have been updated with the news and any changes that take place.

18. What kind of strategies and mindset are required for this job?

Sample Answer

I think working as an assistant principal has helped me in having the mindset that is required for this position. Being a Principal, my mindset is to be supportive of students as I want to provide them a safe and good environment. 

I believe, unnecessarily pressuring students to harm them. I want them to enjoy their school life and learn from their mistakes in a healthy environment. According to me, academic excellence can only be achieved if the student is happy and enjoying their studies and his life.

19. Tell us about your leadership style?

Sample Answer

My leadership style is very simple and straightforward. I believe in following a transformational style that benefits teachers as well as students.

 The involvement of teachers and active participation of students in the school events give them a sense of belonging which I feel is very essential.

20. Describe a time you failed in this role and the lesson you learned?

Sample Answer

Once I organized an event in the school alone without the help of staff. At first, I thought that things were going all well but later it was a mess. 

I learned a lesson that it is always better to discuss things when it is something big and important.

21. How do you stay motivated at work?

Sample Answer

I am a person who always motivates others and for me, the biggest motivation is the success of students. 

I try to provide my best support in academics as well as extracurricular activities. When my students excel I feel good about being a principal and a mentor to them.

Download the list of questions in .PDF format, to practice with them later, or to use them on your interview template (For Principal interview):

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