With many schools interviewing remotely during lockdown we’ve put together the following tips to help you make the best impression….
Know ‘where’ your interview is taking place
Different schools may use different online platforms for interviews – Skype and Zoom are among the most popular but your prospective employer may be using something else. These different platforms have different features/controls, so if the particular software is new to you make sure you’ve downloaded it and tried it out beforehand so you can interact confidently during the interview.
Set up your space
Make sure the camera is at eye level – during the interview you should be aiming to give the impression of making ‘eye-contact’ with your interviewer/s, so looking down into the camera is to be avoided. If the camera is located ‘off-centre’ on your device then position it so you are directly in front of the camera. You may find it helpful to put little stickers either side of the camera to remind you where to look. Think about the background that will be behind you, and avoid ‘backlighting’ - so don’t set yourself up with a sunny window directly behind you.
Invest in helpful accessories
There’s no need to go out and spend a fortune on new technology for your interviews, but if you have the time and resources to purchase some simple accessories these can make a difference. A basic stand for your tablet will hold it securely (whereas resting it on a pile of books might not). And a USB extension microphone can allow you to be heard clearly while sitting further back from the camera, which may be helpful. (Don’t use a headset microphone though, as these will be very distracting for your interviewer.) Of course, make sure you’ve tried out anything you buy before the interview so you know it works.
Ensure no interruptions
This may be easier said than done, especially if you are sharing a small space with children, housemates or pets during lockdown, but if at all possible ensure you have quiet and no interruptions. This will help to make a good impression but above all will allow you to give your full focus to the interview. However if you are interrupted, for example by small children, don’t panic and stay calm! Most interviewers will understand that these things happen, especially during lockdown, and will not judge you negatively – dealing calmly with the interruption and not letting it affect you may even ultimately impress them!
Think too about other things that could distract, such as notifications ‘pinging’ on your computer/ tablet, and of course put your phone on silent or turn it off.
Dress for the occasion
Dress smartly for the online interview, just as you would for a face-to-face one. If possible avoid striped clothing as this may create a distracting ‘strobing’ effect on some devices and monitors. Ensure that you are smartly dressed across your whole outfit, not just the bits the interviewer/s can see – you may be intending for them to only see your head and shoulders but your tablet falling over or an unexpected interruption requiring you to stand up or could change that!
Practice, practice, practice
If you can have a ‘dry run’ ahead of time with a friend or family member it’s a great idea to do so. You won’t be able to replicate the full interview experience but it’s a great way to check your technology is working properly – can they see you and hear you clearly? You can also take the opportunity to get feedback on your body language, outfit and background.
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