Video interviews are not new, as many international schools have been using this technology for years as part of the recruitment process.
However, they are becoming more common since the outbreak of Covid-19 and are likely to remain in place – especially for an international role – given the benefits they can offer over always requiring a face-to-face interview.
Given this, teachers need to ensure they are prepared for this new reality of interviews. However, after a recent round of video interviews, it is clear that some are still making basic mistakes that undermine their application chances.
Online teacher job interviews: How to make a good impression
As such, here are some basics worth considering to make sure you get it right on the big day:
1. Dress professionally
You’d think this was obvious, but as the video interview could take place from the comfort of our own home, I’ve seen some people too dressed down during the interview.
A blazer might not be part of your day-to-day teaching attire but it certainly should be at an interview. After all, impressions matter. Dressing smart shows you are serious about the role and can dress professionally when required to do so. Better to be overdressed than underdressed.
2. Have a good wi-fi connection
This is a big problem and one that, a year into the pandemic, is surprising.
It can be very off-putting when the signal drops and the people interviewing you freeze on-screen, and you might only catch some of the questions they ask.
Or the interviewers may miss out on some of your answers and not really get a full sense of what you’re really like as a candidate.
Avoid this by finding a place where you know the wi-fi connection is strong and secure – or invested in an ethernet cable perhaps. If you can’t get a good connection at home, consider doing it from school or a friend’s house, where you know the connection is good. It could make a big difference.
3. Remove all distractions
Schools fully understand that lessons and interviews can be interrupted at any time; for example, by a fire alarm.
However, try as best as you can to remove any distractions that you can control – such as by turning off your mobile phone or being in a room where you won’t be disturbed by background noise.
If you have a delivery scheduled, then reschedule it – or ignore it when the doorbell goes. You can always pick it up another time. The interview should be your sole focus.
4. Have a good camera set-up
You’d think that, after a year of video calls, people would know this but there’s nothing worse than trying to interview someone when the camera is at a strange angle and you can only see half of their head or too much ceiling.
Make sure you’re in eyeline with your camera and everything is stable. If nothing else, a few hefty books can be a suitable stand for the duration of your call.
5. Don’t speak for too long
It can be difficult in an interview to know how long to talk for. You don’t want your answers to be too brief, as you will need to provide relevant examples and discuss your experiences, and this is your opportunity to show off your expertise.
However, answers that are too long can be very frustrating for the interviewer asking the questions. It can become easy to go off on a tangent, ramble and move away from the original question asked. Keep answers concise and clear.
On a video call, where it might be harder to discern facial expressions or "sense" that you’ve answered enough, this can be even harder.
But try and be mindful of how long you are talking for – you can always ask the interviewer if they would like to elaborate or extend further; that way you can or if they don’t need you to then that suggests you have provided enough information in your answer so they can move on.
The author is a teacher working abroad