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Top Tips for a Video Interview

Online video interviews using Zoom, Skype and FaceTime are becoming increasingly popular with schools and business, and not just for interstate or international recruitment. Living with COVID-19 lockdown,  all teachers looking for a new role are experiencing virtual interviews.

Online interviews can leave you feeling more nervous than usual, as you are often somewhat distracted through the process.

You can make them work to your advantage though!

Retired UK Principal, Stuart McLaughlin hosts the Teach in Headteacher Series video on: “Preparing for Virtual Teaching Interviews.”

Here are Teach In’s top 5 tips to help you nail that video interview.

1. Maintain good eye contact, posture and body language throughout the interview 

This has to be the most important tip to follow to ensure you engage effectively and appropriately with your interviewing panel. It can be tempting to watch the video of yourself in the box down the bottom of the screen, but that will ensure you never make eye contact with the person interviewing you (and as you know, lack of eye contact makes you look a bit dodgy…) To avoid this amateur mistake, hide this box (even if you simply move it off screen or cover it over with a post-it-note! Ensure your eyes are on the webcam the majority of the time, this way you’ll make direct eye contact with the camera and in turn the interviewers. Maintain good posture throughout the interview and don’t slouch or hunch over the computer screen. Make sure your screen is at eye level (raising a laptop with a stack of books if necessary). Lastly, your body language needs to be open, inviting and engaging. The whole reason interviewers use Skype and similar platforms to interview is so they can see how you engage and communicate. Make sure you don’t have your arms crossed or are playing with your hands nervously. Use expressive hand gestures and make sure that you smile and direct your questions and answers to the webcam.

2. Update Your Username 

You may have downloaded Skype many years ago to chat with your overseas pen pal and still be holding on to a username that is far from professional. Before adding the school contact double check your username and attached email address is one that you feel comfortable with them seeing. If it needs updating, then simply download a new Skype account for professional use.

3. Dress appropriately for the position

This one may seem pretty obvious, but it is really important to dress as if you were attending a face to face interview. Firstly, it will put you in an interview mind set and, secondly, it doesn’t look great for a prospective employer to first meet you wearing a dirty t-shirt or your gym gear.

4. Find the right location

Setting the location for your video conversation is also critical. You must find a location with no distractions, good lighting and minimal sound interference. Set yourself up at a desk or table with a blank background and ensure that you are lit from the front and not behind (to avoid looking like an angel with a hallow). Be sure to check that there is nothing that you wouldn’t want to be seen visible in shot. And, finally, if you live in a share house and don’t have anywhere but your bedroom to escape your housemates, DO NOT conduct the interview from your bed. We see this far too frequently and know how off-putting it is for hiring schools and interviewers. Find somewhere else.

5. Test your equipment!

Ensure you do a test run prior to the interview to make sure you aren’t experiencing any internet connectivity issues, that your Skype / FaceTime account is up and running, and that your camera and sound are working properly. There’s nothing that will make you look less prepared than not knowing how your equipment works, and schools simply don’t want teachers who aren’t prepared at all times. Testing your equipment prior to the start time will also ensure you aren’t adding to your nerves, and that the interview can run as smoothly as possible.

Don’t panic at the thought of a video interview. Just remember it is an chance for you to meet your potential future employer and to show them your personality and why you want to come work at their school. Have fun and enjoy yourself, it’s an opportunity to shine!

video interview tips