How to succeed at an online teaching job interview

You researched teaching jobs near you. You spent ages deliberating over the application form. You sent it off and spent days on alert every time an email pinged into your inbox. And then it arrived. The invitation to interview for your perfect teaching job. Result.

But interviews have changed. Nearly all (89%) of employers now conduct interviews online. It is more efficient for them, and often easier for you. But can feel slightly alien. So how do you nail an online teaching job video interview?

Prepare your tech

If you were travelling to a location you would look up travel options and make sure you got there in plenty of time. When it comes to video interviews you also need to prepare. If you need to install Zoom or Teams or any other software make sure you do so in advance. Do a practice call with a friend to make sure your sound and camera are working and you know how to use the system.

Dress appropriately

There is a video that went viral of someone being asked to stand up in a video interview to prove they had trousers on. It would be pretty unprofessional of an interview to ask this, but the moral of the story is to dress to impress, like you would for an in person interview. This not only looks good, but helps you get in the right mindset.

Your location 

When having an interview for a teaching job you will usually be in a school, so it might feel strange to be at home. One way to get yourself in the right frame of mind is to think about dressing your location. You don’t have to create a stage, but it might be wise to remove the clothing drying on a chair behind you. A nice light room that is fairly neutrally decorated, and away from other people in the house is ideal. Harvard Business Review found that clean and clear backgrounds resulted in less unconscious bias.

Practice your answers 

Most interviews follow a fairly standard formulaic structure. You will be asked to introduce yourself, and then there will be a series of questions designed to learn more about you and your approach to education and teaching methods. When answering interview questions it is good to think about STAR. What was the situation? What was the task you had to do? What was the action you undertook? And what was the result? Situation, Task, Action, Result. The interviewers will care about what the outcome and impact was, as this is how they can see the impact you will have on students.

Have notes with you 

The jury is still out on whether you should take notes into an interview room with you. But the benefit of an online video interview is that no one will know. Have a piece of paper and a pen handy to take notes, and write out some bullet points of things you want to say on Word and have them on your screen. Just be careful that you don’t sound like you’re reading, but instead speaking and responding to the question.

Engage with the panel 

Whether it’s one person interviewing you or lots of people, make sure you smile and make eye contact, just like you would at a in person interview. Don’t get distracted by looking at yourself and being critical of how you look. Make sure you speak slowly and clearly, as time delays can make it more challenging to communicate online than offline. Smile, be friendly and enjoy having the conversation. People warm to people, so be the best version of yourself. 

And it’s by being the best version of yourself that you will win your next teaching job. Professional, engaging and full of energy – doesn’t that sound like the perfect teacher?

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