Top 5 Tips for Online Interviews

Top 5 Tips for Online Interviews

During the Covid 19 Pandemic many teaching interviews were held online due to restrictions. Indeed. even before that it was not unheard of for some Board of Management groups to facilitate online interviews from teachers applying to their school. The advent of Zoom and online platforms to facilitate interviews remotely means that there may be greater flexibility in the way interviews are held in the future.

So, what are some tips for planning for your online teaching interview?

1. Plan your Environment

Where is your monitor located? What is the background? It is neutral or “busy”? Is it messy or neat? Does it create an impression? Be very aware of this. Sit in front of a plain wall if possible and be wary of what’s behind you. If your monitor is facing into the room, be aware of a messy kitchen, unmade bed, or anything at all that will distract the viewer and give an impression of you. If it’s a wall behind you, is there some artwork on it, a family photo, a religious image, or even a mirror? I was on a webinar lately and the speaker had a very plain background, but even so, I could see something floral and I was distracted wondering if it was a trendy lampshade or a fancy storage box! Maybe that’s just me!

2.  Zoom Calls and Creative Backgrounds

To green screen or not to green screen? Or choose a background picture or not? My advice – not! Yes, the Golden Gate Bridge may look nicer than the magnolia wall in your spare bedroom, but in an interview? I’d choose magnolia every time. Plus, it can go badly wrong, If you’re wearing green, you’ll be a floating head!

3. Interview Style Online

What do you wear for an online interview? My general advice is to prepare for an online interview in much the same way as you prepare for a face to face one…including your appearance. Your attire will say something about you and what you wear will depend on the industry you’re in and the job you are going for. So neat, clean and smart and (do I even have to say this??) fully dressed! For ladies, go easy on the accessories and make-up, and for gents, clean-shaven (if you aren’t a beard-wearer!) and neat hair. In some circumstances, it’s fine to be a bit more individual and show your creative flair. And another question… to suit or not to suit?? Guys, would you wear a shirt and tie and ladies a jacket?? Very, very generally speaking at this time where a lot of people are at home, and when the sun is shining, it may not be strictly necessary to “suit up” and I don’t think people would expect it but if you are interviewing in a more traditional, conservative industry or at high executive level (law for instance, or C-suite executive) you may feel it is appropriate to get out the business suit. If in doubt, better too formal than too casual.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Do a dry run. If the interview is over a platform that you haven’t used before (or even if it’s not) do a dry run with a friend to make sure you know what to do. It also helps you see what’s in your frame and prepare the setting. Mute until you’re sure you are ready but don’t forget to unmute. I was on a webinar recently where they had some technical issues getting started. Unfortunately, it took 20 minutes to resolve, meanwhile about 200 people were waiting. We were treated to a lot of background noise, huffing and puffing and a choice expletive!! Not a great impression!

5. Last-Minute Preparations…

Have a glass of water and a tissue nearby (just in case!) If you’re very nervous or prone to being clumsy, have your water in a lidded cup in case you spill.

And make sure your devices are fully charged or connected to a power source and that you have a telephone number so you can make contact with someone if the worst happens and your internet or your technology crashes. If you’re on a laptop, make sure your phone is charged too in case the online call crashes and they want to move to a telephone.

If you want to work 1-1 with me to improve your interview skills find out more information about how to do that here.



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