Finalist Day Tips

For Instructional Applicants

Part of our hiring process for teachers involves teaching a sample lesson. Our Principals are seeking educators who actively engage students during their lesson, operate with a growth mindset when it comes to receiving and implementing feedback, and arrive to their interview prepared. 

We recommend that you watch Match Education's mini videos on Running a Quality Lesson before you begin planning. Then, follow the steps below to prepare for your finalist day.


At YES Prep, we provide candidates with a template as well as an exemplar lesson plan. There are also many resources available online. Analyze the examples to see what a great lesson plan looks like. Then, create a plan for the time allotted (typically, about 20 minutes). You should:

  • State your lesson objective simply.
  • Plan 3-5 key points that students should grasp when they finish the lesson.
  • Select the way you will present this information (PowerPoint, notes, lecture).
  • Plan the way students will process this information (more on this later) and how you will check for understanding.
  • Choose the length of time for each portion of the lesson.
  • Consider what materials you’ll need. You may even want to print materials for students in advance, so you can arrive to campus on the day of the lesson without the added stress of preparing materials.
  • Set behavioral expectations to message to students on the day of the lesson. Reflect on what students will need to do and how you would like them to do it (such as asking or answering questions).

Perfect Your Content

As you write your lesson, research your key points to make sure that the information you are sharing is accurate. It may have been several years since you studied this objective, so do not expect to rely fully on your memory. The big takeaway is think about how you would communicate this information to a student in either middle school or high school. 


The first time that you present this lesson should not be on the interview day itself.  When you practice in advance, you become comfortable with the material, refine the way in which you will present information to the students, and can time the lesson to make sure that things are completed within the allotted time frame.  Practice the lesson in front of others or record yourself on your phone to hear what you will say. Utilize a stop watch to time how long it takes for you to deliver content and for students to process the information.

  • Prepare for Student Processing.  Plan how students will process the information. This processing might occur in a few ways:
    • Written Processing:  Students take notes on the material being learned.
    • Verbal Processing:  Students talk with a partner about the content.
    • Think-Time Processing:  Students use silent time to think about a question that you have just asked and how they will construct an answer.
  • Interact with Students. Don’t be afraid to connect with students!  Greet students as they enter your classroom. Learn their names or let them create name plates, so you can use their names in the lesson.  Building transformative relationships with students is critical to learning, so begin doing so in the interview.

For Non-Instructional Applicants

All hiring managers, regardless of role, are seeking candidates who are mission aligned, passionate about education reform and looking for their “just right job.”

What to Expect

Interview Activities
Specific interview activities can vary depending on manager, but here are some examples of selection activities:

  • Interview questions
  • Provide a writing sample
  • Analyzing a data set
  • Engaging in a role play

 You might be asked to complete these activities in person, over the phone or by email submission.

Office Tour
During your interview, you might be offered a tour around the school or office. This is an opportunity for you to get to know a YES Prep space and see how we operate. 

Meeting the Team
In your interview, there may be several team members from one or more departments. Our work is cross-functional and requires collaboration across departments and even offices. 


  • Dress Professionally – All YES Prep campuses and Home Office have professional dress codes.
  • Ask Questions – The final interview is your chance to ask your potential future manager about the role, the organization, and working on the team.
  • Research –YES Prep being the right fit for you is just as important as you being the right fit for us. Spend some time reviewing our website and the work we do!

Prepare to Process Feedback

Often, receiving feedback is just as big of a part of your interview day as any selection activity. Generally, those observing will provide feedback on your strengths and areas for growth. It is natural to feel apprehensive about receiving feedback. However, we encourage you to embrace this as a learning opportunity and to hear how can further improve your craft as an educator and impact student achievement. In other words, acknowledge those nerves you might feel in advance, reflect honestly after the activity on what went well and what could have been better, and listen earnestly to what might enhance your work.

Join Our Team

We're looking for passionate, qualified candidates to join our team