As schools and colleges face the difficult challenge of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and addressing the impact that it’s had on our education system, employers have begun to embrace new interview techniques in order to secure top teaching talent for their upcoming vacancies. With both schools and colleges worldwide closing their doors to students and staff members, you may be asked to interview online via programmes like Skype or Zoom. We’ve got some tips to help you virtually ace your upcoming teaching interview.
Despite not meeting your potential employer in person, you still want to make the best first impression. Prior to your interview, you should ensure that you have the correct software installed on your computer – you don’t want to cause delays to your interview when you realise that you can’t get Zoom to work on your device. Have the software set up around ten minutes before your interview so that you are well-prepared for the interview.
Practice makes perfect
Video interviews can be daunting, so practice talking to the camera before your interview. Ensure that your camera is adjusted to the correct height and there is no external noise that could be distracting during the interview process.
You should dress as though you are attending a normal interview. If anything, this will also help you feel mentally prepared and get you in the zone. Dress smartly from top to toe, rather than just dressing appropriately from the waist up. Given the current climate, it’s easy to get comfortable wearing your favourite hoodie and tracksuit bottoms, but it’s important for your potential employer to see that you are well-groomed and presentable despite the circumstances.
Ensure that your surroundings are appropriate for an interview - a busy or untidy background can be distracting for both you and the interviewer.
It can be helpful to have your CV or personal statement to hand whilst you are being interviewed. Your interviewer will more than likely have a copy themselves to refer to throughout the process, so it’s important to have it handy in case you need a refresher.
Preparation is key
Research the school or college before your interview. Like any regular interview, you may be asked how your experience makes you a good fit for the role you have applied for. It is obvious if you are reading information from your computer screen, so it’s important to demonstrate that you have researched the role fully to signify that you are driven and keen to secure employment at your chosen school.
Thirst comes first
Make sure that you have a glass of water handy during your interview. A combination of nerves and lots of talking can have an impact on the clarity of your voice during an interview. Just like a face-to-face interview, it won’t be frowned upon if you require a drink!
Your body language should remain as it does in a face-to-face interview. Ensure that you maintain eye contact with your interviewer, smile, nod and give other signals that you remain engaged throughout the duration of the interview. It can be extremely off-putting for your interviewer if they get the impression that you have switched off or glazed over.
If your internet connection begins to lag, or you begin to suffer connection issues it’s important to keep calm. We’ve all been there! Internet providers are currently being pushed to their limits as everybody continues to make the switch from office-based working to working from home. It’s very common for connection issues to occur during a video call, so remain composed and ask to reconnect the call if necessary.
The current climate has caused uncertainty in almost every aspect of life, so make sure that you know what is going to happen next before the end of the interview. Schools and colleges may have put a plan of action in place as they accommodate to the needs of their candidates and staff during COVID-19 that may involve slight delays in their recruitment process. If these expectations are set, you can remain at ease post-interview if you do not receive a prompt response.
Gratitude is everything
Once your interview has finished, be sure to send an email of thanks to your interviewer. The current circumstances are stressful for everybody, and we are all attempting to adapt our methods of communication in order to align with government guidelines. Your interviewer will appreciate a thankful follow-up email from you, and it may leave you standing out from the crowd.
It’s important that you have fun with your online interviews. Although they may be daunting, it could be the start of a new adventure for you. Smile and be proud of yourself once it’s done.
About the author
Daniella studied Education Studies (Early Childhood) for three years at the University of Winchester. During her studies, she regularly volunteered at her local primary school working alongside teachers to offer learning support and teaching assistance. Daniella now works at Eteach as Marketing Executive for both Eteach and FEjobs, where she remains passionate about helping to match teachers with their dream jobs and schools.