4 Steps to Prepare for a Smooth Video Interview with a School

article by Susan Swier and Jeff Baggs

When hiring teachers from overseas, schools often use an online video interview tool as traditional, in-person interviews are not practical. What unique challenges does a video interview present and how can you best prepare? Here are some tips to ensure your video interview goes smoothly.

1. Plan ahead to avoid technical difficulties.

  • Make sure you know what video conferencing software the school is using so you can download and test it ahead of time. In the Middle East, BOTIM and Skype are commonly used; in China, WeChat is most popular. Schools in many countries also often use WhatsApp for video chats.
  • If you’re in a country or on a certain network that limits access to these tools, try using a VPN.
  • Make sure you have a reliable Wi-Fi connection.
  • Check that your computer or phone audio and mic functions are working properly.  If using a headset, check that as well

2. Prepare to make a good impression.

  • Even though you’re not going to an in-person interview, it’s important to dress professionally and appropriately. Consider the culture and norms in the country where the school is located.  Full length sleeves to your wrists and shirt / sweater buttoned to the top with no showy or flashy jewelry may be prudent for some countries.
  • Ensure you are well rested and give yourself plenty of time to set up the call. You don’t want to appear rushed or stressed when the call starts.
  • Don’t drink too much coffee, it can give you ‘cotton mouth’. Have a glass of water nearby.

3. Avoid potential distractions and interruptions.

  • Check your background. Put away your son’s Metallica poster or the laundry hanging up behind you, etc., and ensure there is proper lighting in the room. If you have natural light available, turn the computer so that you, not the computer screen, are facing the window. Preview your set up prior to the call and adjust lights to reduce any shadows as necessary.
  • If using your phone as your camera, find a way to position it at eye level.  Don’t hold it in your hand; the shaky, unsteady video that will result can be very distracting to your audience.
  • Make sure your phone is on silent/vibrate and any other alarms/alerts on your computer are also turned off.
  • Let other members of your household know about the interview and ask them to help prevent interruptions from small children or pets.

4. Be on time for your video interview.

  • Make sure the date and time are clear for all parties. Often we are dealing with different time zones, so make sure it is clear what time is meant in what time zone.
  • Have everything set up including your computer early, but be prepared to wait as principals often have things come up at school that can delay them. Be patient.

Relax, and you’re ready to start!

Click on these links to review commonly asked questions and on how to frame your responses for the greatest impact.

Common Teacher Interview Questions

Behavioral Interview Preparation for Teachers

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