Things being what they are, if you’re being considered for a teaching position, you’re probably going to have to sit through a couple of virtual interviews. But don’t worry. We’re here to give you all the information you need to make sure it goes off without a hitch … and gives you your best shot at your dream job!
Test your technology
As soon as that virtual teacher interview is scheduled, make sure you check your technology. Keep in mind that Wi-Fi signals are notoriously fickle. You may be better off with an ethernet cable. If your video is grainy or you’re getting an echo, it’s probably time to invest in a small webcam with a built-in microphone. Be sure to do a day-of check of your internet connection, as well as audio and video.
Check your login info
Whatever video conferencing program you’re using, you’ll want to take some time to review your login information. If you haven’t used Skype since college, you definitely want to update your profile picture. You should also list your full name. You may need to create another account if you require a new username. Make sure all your accounts are associated with a professional email address that uses a combination of your first and last name. (Zoom will grab your picture from that email account.)
Prepare your interview space
Try to find a quiet, well-lit area for your virtual teacher interview. If possible, find a blank background—like an empty wall—to sit in front of because it keeps you as the focal point. A home office or living room will also work, so long as they are free of clutter and mess. For lighting, try to sit near a window, keeping the light in front of you. Do your best to minimize possible distractions by silencing your phone, closing the window, turning off alerts on your laptop, and arranging for childcare if applicable.
Practice makes perfect
As with any interview, preparation can make all the difference. It’s a good idea to look through a school’s website (hone in on their mission and vision statements). You can also predict some common interview questions and have your responses ready. You don’t want to memorize your answers, but you do want to prepare high-level talking points (you can use sticky notes on the side of your monitor to cue you since the hiring team won’t be able to see them). Be ready with some smart questions of your own, too.
Dress for success
Just because they can’t see your bottom half doesn’t mean it’s OK to wear pajama pants. Dressing the part will give you a confidence boost (and who couldn’t use that?) and send the message that you’re serious about the position. For teacher candidates, that means dress pants, suit jacket, and tie for men and pant suit, skirt and top, or dress for women. Jewel tones work well for most people in a virtual setting.
Monitor your body language
We won’t be giving firm handshakes for a while, so communicate your confidence by sitting up straight and smiling. Nod when listening to show your engagement. Position your camera at eye level and maintain eye contact. It will feel a little unnatural, but you’ll need to focus on the camera and not the screen so it will appear that you’re looking at your interviewer. You can use your hands to gesture when appropriate (don’t overdo it), but avoid touching your face (good advice anyway) and clicking around on your computer.
Perhaps the most important part of the virtual interview is that the real you shines through. They’re looking to someone who is a good fit, so use this opportunity to give them a sense of who you are and what you can offer. Try to make connections. You want your hiring team to leave feeling like they just left an awesome in-person interview.
Just like you would for an in-person interview, you’ll want to follow up within 24 hours of the interview. This is a great way to keep yourself on their radar. A simple email thanking the individual or team for their time and consideration will do.
How do you prepare for a virtual teacher interview? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, Teachers Share Their Strangest Interview Stories.