Just as with an in-person interview, you’ll want to spend time preparing for your virtual (video) interview. This is your first face-to-face impression, albeit a bit different than the more traditional means of meeting your potential employer for the first time. And of course, this poses some challenges you’ll want to consider. Though we won’t go in depth with these in this article, they are definitely things to keep top of mind as schools are likely finding ways to implement the following into their interviews:
- How can you share your teaching competencies or sample lessons online?
- How will you engage with the school’s community, students, and families?
For now, you’ll find some of our favorite tips for a successful interview below - and we’ll make sure to cover the above points in a future post.
Before the Interview
To state the obvious, be sure to dress the part. This isn’t the time to practice the “dressed up from the waist up” trend. Remember, you are interviewing for a professional position, and the virtual interview is a professional experience.
- Materials: Check to see if your interviewer has sent over instructions or guidelines for the call. This would likely include any pre-work, dial-in information, and dress code expectations. If they are using a specific interview platform (i.e. Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom, Whereby, etc.) take some time to familiarize yourself with the site and its features.
- Location: Find a comfortable, quiet spot where you can eliminate any distractions. Remember to ensure a neutral, tidy background as your interviewer will be given a glimpse of your space during the call - in other words, clean your room.
- Staging: Check to make sure your camera and microphone are working properly and that you have reliable internet connection. Then, ensure proper lighting so that your interviewer can see your face - this is key. Next, position your computer at eye level so that your head and shoulders are visible in the frame. This puts you close enough to the camera for your interviewer to read your facial expressions - something that separates the virtual interview from the initial phone screen. Pro Tip: Test it out with a friend! Call them in using the same platform your interviewer plans to use, and see how things look and sound.
During the Interview
Stay calm. We know this set-up can be a bit intimidating. We know you want to put your best foot forward. And as teachers, we know that sometimes technology isn’t always running as planned or as practiced. But you’ve done what you can to prepare for this interview, and now it’s your time to shine.
- Be early. Log in 5 minutes before the scheduled start time to ensure your technology is working properly and you can make any last minute adjustments to the height of your computer screen/camera and lighting in the room.
- Remove all distractions. If your interview will require a screenshare, close any other tabs that are open and go on “do not disturb mode” on your PC. This will ensure that notifications will not disrupt the interview process - or be seen by the interviewer. Finally, put your phone on airplane mode so that it does not ring or vibrate during your interview.
- Be patient. Know that your interviewer is likely taking notes on your responses. Because of that, you will likely experience delays in communication as they finish capturing what you had to say.
- Slow down. Be sure to speak slowly and clearly so that you don’t have to repeat yourself. And if you’re confused by what your interviewer asked, or perhaps you simply didn’t hear it, remember that it’s totally acceptable to ask them to repeat the question.
- Watch your body language. Unlike with a phone screen, the interviewer can see you. Sit up straight and look into the camera whenever possible.
- Stay flexible. If technical difficulties persist, know that your interviewer may need to call you via phone, or reschedule your interview altogether. This happens for numerous reasons - glitches with platforms, a loss of connection, etc. It doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong!
After the Interview
Show your appreciation for the school’s time, and your interest in joining the team, by following up with a thank you. Since the interview itself was virtual, an email thank you is appropriate - and there’s a good chance that the email address(es) of your interviewer(s) are listed in your invitation.
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